Earth First! Journal describes itself as “the voice of the radical environmental movement,” and it is one of the 75 groups identified by Breitbart News within the #DisruptJ20 movement, which hopes to wreak havoc at this week’s inauguration of Donald Trump.
Earth First! Journal is closely connected to domestic groups, such as the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front.
As Breitbart News has reported, 75 groups have descended on Washington in order to roil the city, set up blockades at the checkpoints around the parade route, and shut down Washington D.C.’s transportation infrastructure. One of the organizations involved has said that Trump supporters are legitimate “targets” for violence.
Earth First! Journal was one of the earliest advocates of the #DisruptJ20 movement, and it posted a notice about the event on their Newswire section on Nov. 14, 2016, shortly after Trump won the election.
The Earth Liberation Front, or ELF, is a splinter group of Earth First! However, it should be pointed out that Earth First! uses the common leftist dodge of acting as a supposedly “non-violent” front group for the ELF group that allegedly conducts criminal acts.
DisruptJ20 support organization Earth First! Journal has remained essentially the public relations vehicle for the ecoterrorist group Earth Liberation Front and the affiliated Animal Liberation Front, or ALF.
The Terrorist Resource and Analysis Consortium lists Earth First! on their website and gives some basic background:
Provoked by what they considered a sell-out by mainstream environmental advocates, EarthFirst! activists envisioned a revolutionary movement to set aside multi-million acre ecological preserves. They used disruptive direct action as a stalling tactic in an attempt to prevent possible environmental destruction while Earth First! lawsuits attempted to secure long-term victories. Tactics included road blockades, activists locking themselves to heavy equipment, tree-sitting, and sabotage of machinery. More militant members of Earth First! split into another, more violent Earth Liberation Front.
James Jarboe, then the Domestic Terrorism Section Chief of the FBI, testified before the House Resources Committee on Feb. 12, 2002 about the group’s history:
Disaffected environmentalists, in 1980, formed a radical group called “Earth First!” and engaged in a series of protests and civil disobedience events. In 1984, however, members introduced “tree spiking” (insertion of metal or ceramic spikes in trees in an effort to damage saws) as a tactic to thwart logging. In 1992, the ELF was founded in Brighton, England, by Earth First! members who refused to abandon criminal acts as a tactic when others wished to mainstream Earth First!.
Jarboe testified about some of the group’s tactics:
The ELF advocates “monkeywrenching,” a euphemism for acts of sabotage and property destruction against industries and other entities perceived to be damaging to the natural environment. “Monkeywrenching” includes tree spiking, arson, sabotage of logging or construction equipment, and other types of property destruction.
As an article in Forbes points out, these activities have caused millions of dollars in damage and have hurt projects designed to help feed the hungry:
On New Year’s Eve in 1999, for example, arson caused about $1 million in damage to Michigan State University’s architectural landmark Agriculture Hall, damaging offices involved in a project intended to enhance the use and commercialization of crop genetic engineering in developing countries. The Earth Liberation Front, which claimed responsibility for the attack, said that it was “in response to the work being done to force developing nations in Asia, Latin America and Africa to switch from natural crop plants to genetically altered sweet potatoes, corn, bananas, and pineapples.” (The research, under the direction of Professor Catherine Ives, actually was intended to enhance the nutritional value of African staple foods like sweet potatoes.) A U.S. Attorney in Michigan condemned the act as domestic terrorism.
The combined damage in North America alone from eco-terrorism was estimated by the FBI to exceed $100 million.
The Earth First! Journal’s website helps instruct radical activists on conducting such “direct actions,” some of which are designed to “Attract Media.” The group offers detailed instruction on using the media, telling their readers:
You can’t hope to change people’s minds or put pressure on politicians without calling attention to the damage. Demonstrations “demonstrate” to the world that when all of our letters are ignored, our arguments mitigated and our legal appeals denied, we still refuse to accept the accelerating destruction of the Earth. Civil disobedience can expose an issue through print, television and radio media.
For a group that claims to be on the fringes of society and which is actively trying to promote the overthrow of capitalism, the Earth First! Journal is very media-savvy. It urges their activists to act while trying to frustrate law enforcement. They dispense advice like:
Send out news releases a few days before your event. Withhold sensitive information until the action occurs. Follow up with phone calls to the media the day before the action. Never assume they’ve read your release. Get the name of the reporter and ask them if they plan to come. You might hint at the more radical (photo opportunity!) aspects of your action, but don’t tip them off to anything that the cops shouldn’t know ahead of time. Don’t promise a more radical scenario than you can really come up with or the press may not cover your future events.
Breitbart News will provide continuous coverage of both the inauguration and planned protests all day on January 20th.
Breitbart News has also created The Definitive Field Guide to Black Bloc Terrorists Who Want to Shut Down Trump Inauguration, which explains how to spot would-be domestic terrorists during the inauguration.
Lee Stranahan is the Lead Investigative Report for Breitbart News. For an overview of the news every day that will make you smarter, subscribe to the free Stranahan Report.