Ecoterrorism: Bruce Hoofman´S Five Points On Terrorism

2104 words - 8 pages

A definition of terrorism must be set in place in order to keep every party on the same page and to secure a starting point of conversation. Bruce Hoffman, an esteemed expert on the subject of terrorism, examined the definition of “terrorism”. After performing immense research and collecting dozens of definitions of the word “terrorism” from organizations such as the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), and many more, Hoffman calculated the frequencies of definitional elements in all of his definitions of “terrorism”. After analyzing the data he produced his own definition of “terrorism”:
“By distinguishing terrorists from other types of criminals and terrorism from other forms of crime, we come to appreciate that terrorism is :
→ ineluctably political in aims and motives
→ violent—or, equally important, threatens violence
→ designed to have far-reaching psychological repercussions beyond the immediate victim or target
→ conducted by an organization with an identifiable chain of command or conspiratorial → cell structure (whose members wear no uniform or identifying insignia) and
perpetrated by a subnational group or non-state entity.”10
He goes on to state that, “Terrorism is designed to create power where there is none or to consolidate power where there is very little. Through the publicity generated by their violence, terrorists seek to obtain the leverage, influence and power they otherwise lack to effect political change on either a local or an international scale.”11
The first point Hoffman discusses is that the group must be ineluctably political in aims and motives. This is at the core of what the Earth Liberation Front urges. They believe that humans are butchering and destroying the environment and that they need to protect Earth. In their eyes, every living thing, whether that be a human, or a dog, or tree, are all equal and because of that, they need to be afforded equal rights under the law. They need to change the current political system in order to do that. The Earth Liberation Front has also stated that they would aid in above-ground environmental organizations (i.e. Sierra Club, Earth First!, Greenpeace, etc.).12 This proves that they are trying to get somewhere politically and not just trying to create havoc. Also, there are multiple websites that illustrate ELF’s cause. These include:,, and most notably, The name of that last website speaks for the political motive. Green refers to the environmental movement while red refers to the old communist “red scare”. Thought this website deals with all eco-terrorism, many of the articles and blogs deal with the ELF. On its “About” section we can see their political motives: “Welcome to! This website focuses on how fear of ‘terrorism’ is being exploited to push a political and...

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