DHS and FBI Depict Vegan Activists as Potential Domestic Terrorists
The national security state continues to hound and prosecute a group of animal rights activists.
Imagine a young woman named Jane who recently adopted a vegan lifestyle after learning about factory farming in college. She discusses animal welfare and begins attending protests.
For most, Jane’s experiences sound remarkably benign.
But for the Department of Homeland Security, the young woman is following a "path of potential radicalization," according to new documents released through a public records request.
The scenario was one of several depicted in a violence prevention workshop from the DHS Office for Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention, a division of the agency that works to counter domestic terrorism.
Jane's supposed path towards violence — as featured in the DHS workshop — is composed of little more than everyday experiences that many Americans take as they embrace activism.
In the workshop scenario, Jane reacts with anger when discussing animal cruelty and mentions that she joined a group that has "a reputation for holding controversial protests." She had not only become "an animal lover," but had become "militant about food and animal rights, and other issues like testing."
In other words, Jane exercised her rights to engage in constitutionally-protected speech. The documents, obtained via a public record request filed by American First Legal, show a series of potential domestic terrorists, including a pro-life mother and an anti-government conspiracy theorist. The workshop documents are dated in late January 2021, shortly after President Joe Biden took office.
The agency’s interest in animal rights activists follows years of influence from industry groups to pursue their critics as a threat to national security. The memo follows a pattern of federal agencies reaching to classify animal activists as domestic terrorists.
Take, for example, this internal Federal Bureau of Investigation Sacramento Field Office memo that I am publishing on this Substack exclusively. The document uses flimsy evidence to take aim at Direct Action Everywhere, a Berkeley-based animal rights group, as a bio-terror threat.
The FBI memo claimed that DxE had recklessly heightened the risk of spreading viral pathogens. The document, compiled by the Chemical and Biological Intelligence Unit, under the FBI Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, carried a threat level of “high confidence.”