Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Animal rights activist world's 24th most dangerous man

Today, the FBI added the name of Daniel Andreas San Diego to the agency's list of 25 most wanted terrorists in the world.

Osama Bin Laden, mastermind of 9/11 as well as of other deadly attacks like the 1998 bombings of embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, is #1 on the list.

San Diego, who allegedly set off three pipe bombs, early in the morning, at two empty corporate offices in 2003, is #24.

Really, an animal rights activist is the 24th most dangerous man in the world, and is the only American on a list populated entirely by Muslim fundamentalists who have killed Americans?

I am astounded by Andreas' inclusion on this list, and not just because I once knew him. (We worked together at In Defense of Animals a few years back; I remember him as a sweet, idealistic, young kid.)

I am astounded because including Andreas on the same list as Osama bin Laden implies that both men's crimes are, if not equivalent, at least comparable.

But how is that possible? If Andreas is guilty of the crimes of which he is accused, he indeed broke the law. Property destruction is indeed a crime, and it is a crime for which many animal rights activists have gone to jail. But comparing destruction of property to the killing of thousands of people? It bears repeating (although no news article that I saw on this story today even mentioned it) that even radical direct action like Andreas is accused of has never, not once, resulted in harm to any human being.

Many people are wondering about the timing of today's announcement. Was it made to counter right-wing outrage aimed at the Obama administration after last week's release of a memo by Homeland Security warning of a rise in right-wing extremism?


But even then, the activities of "left wing extremists" like Andreas, who break into buildings, destroy property, and often rescue animals, and right wing extremists who preach white supremacy, death to doctors who perform abortions, and armed anti-government activity, are hardly comparable.

If Andreas is caught (he is thought to be in Costa Rica), at least he can be thankful that the Bush Administration is no longer in power; otherwise he would most likely be sent to Guantanamo Bay and be subject to "enhanced interrogation techniques."

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