January 20, 2006

US indicts 11 environmental, animal activists

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Eleven environmental and animal
rights activists have been indicted in a series of attacks in
the U.S. West on targets that included the Vail Ski Resort in
Colorado, the Justice Department said on Friday.

The defendants, based in Portland, Oregon, and acting on
behalf of the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation
Front, were named in a 65-count indictment that included
charges of arson and destruction of an energy facility, U.S.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said at a news conference.

A Justice Department official said property damage from the
incidents reached $100 million.

The indictment cited 17 incidents in Oregon, Washington
state, Wyoming, Colorado and California. They included arsons
or attempted arsons at U.S. Forest Service ranger stations,
animal holding facilities, lumber companies and timber farms,
the Vail Ski Resort and the Eugene, Oregon, police department.

"The indictment tells a story of four-and-a-half years of
arson, vandalism, violence and destruction claimed to have been
executed on behalf of the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth
Liberation Front -- extremist movements known to support acts
of domestic terrorism," Gonzales said.

Eight of the defendants -- who refer to themselves as "the
family" and have such aliases as "Country Girl," "India" and
"Dog" -- were arrested before Thursday's indictment was
returned by a federal grand jury in Eugene, Oregon. Three
others are believed to be outside the United States.