Media Eggs On Eco-Terrorism, Vandalism, and Violence

Posted on Friday, November 18, 2022
by Andrew Abbott

AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott

An odd story emerged from a small rural community in northwestern Ohio this week as police reported that between 25,000 and 40,000 mink had escaped from a farm in the area, causing chaos on a nearby highway and in the surrounding neighborhoods. Soon, investigators discovered that a fence had been deliberately cut, allowing the small carnivorous mammals to leave their enclosure. Nearby, someone had painted “ALF” and “we’ll be back.” The letters presumably referred to the Animal Liberation Front, a radical animal rights group that claimed responsibility for releasing a much smaller number of mink at the same farm a few years ago.

While most of the mischievous creatures were eventually recaptured, thousands remain unaccounted for, and transportation workers have just finished cleaning carcasses off roadways. Although mainstream outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post picked up on the story, they depicted the episode as a curiosity rather than what it actually was – a deliberate act of eco-terrorism that caused real economic harm to both the mink farm and residents in a blue-collar midwestern town. It was hardly the first time that the media has ignored the disturbing rise of radical acts of left-wing lawbreaking and “environmental justice” in recent months.

Perhaps the most high-profile incidents have come from Europe, where the group “Just Stop Oil” (JSO) has engaged in a number of harmful and destructive acts that highlight the dangerous extremism of the far-left environmental movement.

Earlier this month, JSO blocked a major roadway in and out of London, demanding that the British government halt new oil and gas projects. Activists climbed gantries above the highway, forcing it to close in several places, and caused hours-long traffic jams. Nearly 700 JSO activists have also been arrested for gluing themselves to roadways, leading to scuffles with frustrated motorists.

As British journalist Dan Wootton has pointed out, these activists are far from legitimate peaceful protestors, and are a real danger to public safety, calling them “green militias” in an opinion piece for the Daily Mail. The activists “apparently caused a police officer to be knocked off his motorcycle and injured when two lorries crashed in the chaos,” he reported. “And that’s before you get to the countless missed hospital appointments, destroyed business opportunities in a cost of living crisis, mass inconvenience caused to hardworking ordinary Brits, and even a grieving man being sickeningly denied the right to be a pallbearer at his own father’s funeral.”

Just Stop Oil was also behind the high-profile vandalism of priceless artworks. On October 14, two activists threw tomato soup at The Arles Sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh and then glued themselves to a wall. Less than two weeks later, another pair of activists glued themselves to another painting, Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer. Thankfully both paintings were protected by glass and, therefore, not damaged. But the willingness of these “green militia” members to go to such extreme lengths to advance their radical agenda should be alarming to both political leaders and ordinary, law-abiding citizens.

Though thought leaders on both sides of the political aisle condemned their actions, some sympathized with and even celebrated them. The left-leaning online publication Vox rationalized the activities with the headline: “How Many Van Goghs is One Earth Worth?” The article outlined opposition to destroying art while still calling the vandalism an act of “brilliance.” Other climate activists praised the group’s actions because of the large amount of press they generated.

Traditionally, publications do not extensively publish the demands of groups that engage in acts of destruction or terrorism. Doing so is tantamount to rewarding the protesters for their destruction and may even encourage future actions or “copycat” movements. Yet mainstream publications gave explicit details about the organization, their various manifestos, and even quotes from the vandals.

The New York Times had perhaps the most unsettling response. Shortly after the vandalizing of Sunflowers, the outlet published an op-ed by one of the most prolific eco-terrorist apologists in the world, Andreas Malm, a Swedish professor. He applauded the activists for their intent and creativity, stating, “We cannot afford to forgo creative methods that might further the cause.” He continued: “As a rule, I tend to think sabotage is most effective when it is precise and gritty. When activists from the same group smashed gas stations in April this year, they hit the nail on the head.”

Malm was made famous for his 2021 book; How to Blow up a Pipeline: Learning to Fight in a World on Fire. The book calls for climate activists to engage in extensive acts of eco-terrorism against the fossil fuel industry on a global scale. Further, he blasts activists who eschew violence as “ineffective.”

Notably, JSO has repeatedly threatened “escalation” if their demands are not met. The media seems content to dismiss these threats as mere posturing. Yet far-left groups have an extensive history of escalation and violence. In the 1990s, several anti-logging groups placed iron spikes into trees that caused chainsaws to “kick” out. Several loggers were significantly injured as a result. Arguably the most famous U.S. domestic terrorist organization, the Weather Underground, eventually issued a “Declaration of a State of War against the United States”. More recently, other eco-activist groups have engaged in terrorist actions like slashing the tires of SUVs and destroying a natural gas pipeline worksite.

As these attacks become more extreme, so too will the consequences, both in terms of economic fallout and real material harm to innocent people. These young activists have been raised to believe that the destruction of the Earth is imminent, and they are the last line of defense to prevent the extinction of the human race. When a group is indoctrinated two such a high level of fanaticism, an escalation of violence is often not a question of if, but a question of when.

Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.