|“||No Compromise in Defence of Mother Earth.||„|
|~ The ELF motto.|
The Earth Liberation Front (ELF) is a direct-action activist group associated with ALF and ARM - like many extreme activists they are considered terrorists by some and freedom-fighters by others, the FBI however considered ELF to be one of the greatest threats to American security and condemn their use of arson as a favored assault - stating it is "sheer luck" that none have yet died due to the group's actions.
ELF has no centralized leadership, and most members operate either independently or with others in loose cells, claiming actions under the name. However, there are organizations, ELF Press Offices(typically one for each region), whose purpose is to publish claims of responsibility for attacks and distribute these claims to the wider media.
Attacks usually target businesses, construction projects, or other buildings that harm the environment in some way. Most commonly, this entails arson against SUVs and pickup trucks at car dealerships, new housing developments in rural areas, and universities involved in genetic engineering research.
The ELF peaked in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but an FBI investigation known as Operation Backfire has led to a decrease in activity since it began in 2004 as more ELF members have been arrested.
- April 1, 1992: ELF activists sabotage peat digging equipment in the UK in response to failed peaceful campaigns against peat bog harvesting. This is the first claimed ELF attack and there may have been others before.
- November 1997: The ELF and ALF jointly claim responsibility for an arson attack targeting a Bureau of Land Management wild horse corral near Burns, Oregon in response to allegations that the horses were being slaughtered for meat.
- June 1998: ELF or ALF members commit an arson attack against a USDA Animal Damage Control building near Olympia, Washington.
- October 1998: The ELF claims responsibility for the arson of a ski resort in Vail, Colorado, in order to stop plans to expand which would damage lynx habitat in the area. Damage is estimated in excess of 12 million dollars.
- March 24, 2000: The ELF claims responsibility for sabotaging road construction equipment near Minneapolis, Minnesota, causing 500,000 dollars in damage.
- May 21, 2001: ELF firebombs the Center for Urban Horticulture at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. They accuse the center of genetic engineering research, and the attack causes up to 4.1 million dollars in damage.
- March 24,2002: ELF spikes trees and sabotages logging equipment in Wintergreen Gorge, Pennsylvania.
- January 20, 2003: Arson at a McDonald's in Seattle, Washington causes 7,000 dollars in damage. In an anonymous telephone call, the perpetrator claims the attack was committed by "ELF-ALF".
- August 22, 2003: ELF firebombs and vandalizes car dealerships across East Los Angeles, California. The dealerships targeted were selling SUVs and Hummers. At least 125 of the targeted vehicles were damaged or destroyed, totalling 2.3 million dollars in damage.
- September 22, 2003:The ELF attempts to firebomb a bottled spring water pumping station in Martiny, Michigan, but the bombs are discovered by maintenance workers. Notably, the company targeted is later told to stop pumping water from the area by a judge.