“Earth Liberation Front” delivers a letter in Victoria

Uh-oh, spaghetti-o.

Tonight’s ABC News reported that a letter, authored by the ‘Earth Liberation Front’, was hand-delivered to Hazelwood Power’s CEO Graeme York. The story was broken in the Melbourne Herald Sun:

Earth Liberation Front threaten Hazelwood power’s Graeme York
Mark Buttler, Stephen McMahon
June 15, 2009

UPDATE 11:15am GREEN activists are under pressure to dob in eco-terrorists [sic] who threatened the Hazelwood power station’s boss.

The Brumby government has warned the extremist Earth Liberation Front can’t be taken lightly with the FBI ranking them as the biggest domestic terrorist threats in the United States.

That State has also hinted tougher eco-terror [sic] laws could be on the cards in response to the terror threat.

Energy and Resources Minister Peter Peter Batchelor said today he would be “asking the Victorian Government to make sure we’ve got adequate laws to deal with these type [?] of activities”.

Any move is likely [that is, certain] to win support from the major parties, with the State Opposition also calling for wants tighter security at power plants after the threat to station CEO Graeme York.

Mr Batchelor said this was a “real threat” and that everything will be done to protect Mr York and his family after the letter was delivered to his house in Melbourne’s outer suburbs.

Mr Batchelor described the personal attack on Mr York as “unacceptable” and a worrying development.

“This [is] a direct escalation [sic] of the invasion of power sites that has been taking place in recent times – directly threatening the people that make operational decisions.

“It is totally unacceptable to invade power plants or to threaten management at their homes or invade the city offices of power plants,” he said.

“We want the Victorian police to bring down the full weight of the law on the sort [?] of people making these threats.”

Mr Batchelor said the green movement in Victoria must show that it respects the law and identify those people that have threatened Mr York.

“Victorian power supplies are threatened by these sorts of actions,” he said.

“There has been a steady and systematic escalation of environmental actions against our power supplies… it is unacceptable for the protest movement to put utility supplies at risk.

“It doesn’t matter if it is gas, electricity or water citizens deserve to have an uninterrupted supply.

“We ask the environmental movement to very rapidly identify the people who made this threat and tell the Police who they are.”

The surge in environmental protests shutting down facilities has also forced the federal government to look at boosting penalties for eco-vandalism [sic] and eco-terrorism [sic].

Power boss in terror threat

The comments come after the Herald Sun this morning revealed the extremist Earth Liberation Front secretly visited the eastern suburbs home of Hazelwood power station boss Graeme York and hand-delivered a menacing letter.

Police are investigating.

Shadow Attorney-General Robert Clark said today there had been three invasions at Victorian power stations by environmental extremists [sic] in recent months.

“They’ve been let off without conviction or with just fines,” he told 3AW.

“We’ve got to ramp up the penalties on people who do things like that.

“If you take a step out of a line at an airport and breach airport security you’re up for a very serious penalty indeed and we’ve got to do similar things at our power plants.”

Mr Clark said new laws were needed.

“These guys have just been let off, as I say, without conviction or with small fines, and that’s not acceptable, but we’ve also got to stop them getting in there in the first place, and the fact that Peter Batchelor wasn’t even told about this latest problem shows that our security’s not up to scratch,” he said.

The hand-delivered letter to Mr York reads: “The irreplaceable and precious eco-systems of this Earth are worth much more than your manicured lawn, expensive car and opulent suburban house.

“Your property will not remain safe so long as Hazelwood continues to pollute at such an inexcusable level, swallow millions of litres of fresh water every hour and cough out hydrochloric and nitrogen acids in return.”

Police confirmed they were investigating and sources said they were taking the threat seriously.

The extremist group has a record [sic] of following up on threats in the US, where it is suspected of torching dozens of homes, car yards and timber yards.

[NB. In reality, dozens of individuals have been arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced for such crimes.]

A police source said delivering the letter to Mr York’s home was a form of intimidation, much more menacing than posting it to his office.

“It’s saying: ‘We know where you live. We know your car. We know you’ve got a family’,” the source said.

Details of the letter are posted on the eco-terrorists’ [sic] website.

“Dear Graeme,” the letter opens. “As the Chief Executive Officer of Hazelwood power station, you are responsible for the dirtiest power station in Australia and the most polluting in the industrialised world.

“You are causing irreversible environmental destruction which will go on to harm not only those living on the planet today, but your children’s children too.

“We hold you personally accountable for this assault against our Earth. We do not take lightly to the perpetual destruction of our land-base for the selfish and short-term objective of fattening your bank account.”

The eco-terrorists boast of causing $150 million destruction in their crusade to protect the environment.

Their website shows photos of a burnt-out SUV dealership, a torched Hummer and wrecked earth-moving machinery.

They claim to have committed attacks in 17 countries and pledge to cause maximum economic damage.

Some ELF members have been jailed for the destructive attacks.

Established in England in the 1990s, Earth Liberation Front operates without a formal leadership structure.

The sprawling Hazelwood complex, in the Latrobe Valley, is one of the state’s biggest providers of coal-powered electricity.

Last month, 14 Greenpeace activists chained themselves to a dredger to get their point across.

The power plant is supplied by a mine, which produces 18 million tonnes of brown coal a year.

Hazelwood, which is owned by International Power, employs about 800 workers.

Mr York could not be contacted for comment.

A spokesman for International Power said the matter was in the hands of police.

Little is known of ELF’s activities in Australia, but there are suggestions it threatened the head of a major corporation last year.

A few points.

1. To the best of my knowledge, exactly one ‘action’ has been claimed on behalf of the ELF in Australia. The communiqué, published by Bite Back zine, reads as follows:

On the morning of Thursday the 31st of July, the Earth Liberation Front attacked the Victorian office of Gunns Ltd. This was an act of economic sabotage and resistance against the proposed Tamar Valley Pulp Mill, an ecocidal project which would cause disastrous and irreversible damage to the ancient and precious ecosystem of Tasmania.

This mill’s hunger for woodchips would mean a doubling of the already immense current rate of wood-chipping[1], ravaging the native forests of the North-East of the state. It would bring the Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle, the Spotted-tail Quoll and the Giant Freshwater Crayfish to the brink of extinction[2]. It would spew 30 billion litres of dioxin and furan laced effluent into the Bass Strait every year[3], consume up to 40 billion litres of fresh water[4], and contribute greatly to climate change[5].

We will not accept Gunns’ continual assault on Tasmania’s old growth forests, wildlife, water supplies and carbon sinks. More extreme forms of ecocide call for more extreme forms of protest.

We will not cease until Gunns abandons its controversial Tamar Valley Pulp Mill.

In defense of our Earth,

Earth Liberation Front.

[1] Gunns Ltd. Bell Bay Pulp Mill, Draft Integrated Impact Statement.
[2] Gunns’ referral under the EPBC Act, April 2007.
[3] University of Melbourne and Forestry Tasmania 2003; Bekessy transcripts, Wielangta court case 2006.
[4] Gunns Ltd. Bell Bay Pulp Mill, Draft Integrated Impact Statement.
[5] Trees — The forgotten solution to climate change, The Wilderness Society, 2006.

I reported it at the time on my blog (it went down today for some reason, btw). Anyway, this brings me to my second point.

2. I’ve blogged reasonably extensively on ‘eco-terrorism’ in North America, especially inre the activities of the ELF, and the recent wave of state repression popularly known as the ‘Green Scare’ (almost completely ignored by the state/corporate media sector). Regarding the Herald Sun article: the ELF was indeed elevated by the FBI to No.1 in their rankings of ‘domestic terrorist’ groups. This was the case until the 9/11 attacks, at which point Islamic groups leaped ahead.

3. The reaction by the Victorian Government to the publication of the letter is predictable, not only in terms of their assessment of the seriousness of the ‘threat’, and Peter Batchelor’s promise of new legislation which will tackle the ‘issue’ (obviously — and being, seemingly, a knee-jerk response — lacking in detail), but also in terms of locating the delivery of the letter in question on a continuum of behaviour which extends to the forms of civil disobedience engaged in by activists at power plants:

“This [is] a direct escalation of the invasion of power sites that has been taking place in recent times – directly threatening the people that make operational decisions.

“It is totally unacceptable to invade power plants or to threaten management at their homes or invade the city offices of power plants,” he said…

“There has been a steady and systematic escalation of environmental actions against our power supplies… it is unacceptable for the protest movement to put utility supplies at risk.

This should be read as the Government sending a clear message to environmental activists that they should expect increasing repression by police, and stiffer penalties for engaging in civil disobedience. The motivations for this warning are fairly clear, and corresponds to increasing public concern regarding the disastrous consequences of global warming, and recognition of the role the Australian power industry plays in its continued generation.

4. While it has been assumed that the source of the letter is indeed someone acting on ‘behalf’ of the ‘ELF’ — which, as noted, has no formal membership, and which title anyone is free to adopt to describe their action/s — its source could well be elsewhere.

TO BE CONTINUED…

See also : June 2009 Day of Solidarity with Jeff Luers and all Eco-prisoners (June 12, 2009) | Eco-terror threats in Australia on the rise, Lauren Wilson, The Australian, June 15, 2009 | Greenpeace slams threat to power station boss, Mex Cooper, The Age, June 15, 2009 (Note that the ELF site to which Cooper links — earth-liberation-front.org — is only one of several ‘ELF’ sites, in this case being established on July 10, 2007 by a self-proclaimed member of the IWW, and consisting of little more than criticisms of the tactic of arson. Further: “A copy of the letter, in which Mr York was told his “property will not remain safe” as long as Hazelwood continued to operate, was posted on the Earth Liberation Front’s website [that is, ‘The North American ELF Press Office’, not the site to which The Age links] on June 3.”)

Some words of warning!

Earth Liberation Front Communique: 06.03.09
Earth Liberation Front Leaves Message for Hazelwood CEO Graeme York in Australia

Communique:

Following the Australian government’s refusal to act on reducing climate emission while paying into the hands of the country’s largest polluters, the E.L.F paid a visit to the home of the CEO of the dirtiest Coal Power Station in the Industrialized World, Hazelwood Power Station, in Melbourne, Australia.

The E.L.F hand delivered the following note to his home:

Dear Graeme,

As the Chief Executive Officer of Hazelwood power station, you are responsible for the dirtiest power station in Australia and the most polluting in the industrialised world. You are causing irreversible environmental destruction which will go on to harm not only those living on the planet today, but your children’s children too.

We hold you personally accountable for this assault against our Earth. We do not take lightly to the perpetual destruction of our land-base for the selfish and short-term objective of fattening your bank account.

The irreplaceable and precious eco-systems of this Earth are worth much more than your manicured lawn, expensive car and opulent suburban house. Your property will not remain safe so long as Hazelwood continues to pollute at such an inexcusable level, swallow millions of litres of fresh water every hour and cough out hydrochloric and nitrogen acids in return. This Earth does not exist for the profits of avaricious CEOs like you,

The Earth Liberation Front.

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2020 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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7 Responses to “Earth Liberation Front” delivers a letter in Victoria

  1. Thomas says:

    Communique: We wish we knew how to sound as bad ass as the angry brigade, but we suck. Environmental terrorism just isn’t as cool.

    Out.

  2. Ana says:

    This reeks of police & gubbbament spin as a pretext to introducing more punitive laws & policing that aid in the criminalisation of dissent.

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Criminalising_civil_disobedience

  3. @ndy says:

    It’s a bit odd; similar accusations of ecotage — which the sending of a threatening letter is not, btw — have been made in Tasmania (and elsewhere in Australia, going back decades). In the latter case, it’s well-known that the destruction of and damage to logging equipment is one means by which hard-pressed loggers can try to obtain (insurance) $. Whether ‘genuine’ or not, the uses to which this episode has been put have been predictable, whether coming from government, police, or the corporate sector (media and NGOs).

  4. @ndy says:

    …also included in the above post… and on the sidebar (along with various other neat-o sauces)…

  5. lumpnboy says:

    Sorry, missed it.

  6. jungney says:

    I like the song ‘Anna is a Stool Pigeon”. All environmental activists need to familiarize themselves with the history of the US – from the murder of Judi Bari through to the extensive us of infiltrators as agents provocateurs. I contend that the US agency Pinkertons, which has a long history of being the muscle of the US coal industry, is active in Australia. Watch out for the fit young blonde with a ponytail who no one seems to know.

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