The FBI watches them, trying to determine where and when they'll commit acts of violence. The government sets up major raids to round up and arrest dozens of them at a time. They're charged under post-9/11 terror laws. These people are not members of Al Qaeda or terror groups; they're animal-rights activists and environmentalists. In recent years, several branches of local, state, and federal law enforcement have worked to lock up members of groups that have released animals from fur farms, burned down Hummer dealerships, and performed other acts of extreme advocacy. While there is no question that groups such as the arson-happy Earth Liberation Front are legitimate threats to commerce, logging operations, and employees, are they really the number-one domestic terror threat, as an FBI deputy director claimed in 2005? Of course not, says writer Will Potter and those tied to the movement. Potter will speak on the "Green Scare," what activists call new efforts to charge their comrades with crimes—they claim that the government is overreacting by branding them terrorists. Potter, who calls himself an independent journalist—but is clear about where he stands on the issue—will speak on this underreported and complex subject. Potter's talk should offer a unique perspective on how the use of the word "terrorists" changes the public's view of activists.
Thu., Feb. 12, 7 p.m., 2009