Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Another domestic terror attack

Looks like arson and firebombs aren't just things that happen around here.

From the LA Times, it seems there's been a firebomb attack on two UC Santa Cruz scientists.

Santa Cruz -- Firebombs that struck the home and car of two UC Santa Cruz scientists this weekend were part of an increasingly aggressive campaign by animal rights activists against animal researchers at University of California campuses, officials said Monday.

Santa Cruz police officials said the blasts, which occurred three minutes apart, caused one of the scientists, his wife and two young children to flee their home through a second-story window.

There's a reward in the case:

City officials joined in harshly condemning the bombings and urged members of the public who might have evidence in the case to contact authorities. They announced a $30,000 reward, including $2,500 donated by the Humane Society of the United States.

"The threats and attacks are shocking and abhorrent," Santa Cruz Mayor Ryan Coonerty said. "We as a community are unambiguous in our condemnation of these actions. Let me be clear, this is not protest. This is terrorism."

Nationwide, incidents of violence by self-described animal rights activists have been on the rise, according to the Foundation for Biomedical Research, which has tracked such attacks since 1981, when there was one.

In 2000 there were 10 such episodes against biomedical research facilities alone, and in 2006 that figure had grown to 77, according to the group's website. In addition, the type of attacks has changed in recent years.

"Prior to that, the vast majority of actions taken were against institutions -- break into the lab, steal the animals, trash the facility," said foundation President Frankie Trull. "More recently, however . . . they've become much more personal, attacking the researchers at their homes. California seems to be the focus of this activity right now, but not the only focus."

Note that there's also a $110,000 reward in a related case.

Federal and local officials on Tuesday announced a $110,000 reward for information leading to arrests and convictions in the attempted firebombing of a prominent UCLA eye doctor’s car last month.

A group known as the Animal Liberation Brigade claimed responsibility on a website for the act, which authorities described as “domestic terrorism.”

On June 24, an incendiary device was lighted next to a car parked at the Westside home of Dr. Arthur Rosenbaum, who is chief of pediatric ophthalmology at UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute.

The device did not ignite, but authorities said it had the potential to cause great harm.

Rosenbaum has conducted research that, among other things, used monkeys to test procedures correcting severe cross-eyed conditions.

UCLA says that all animal research at the university is humane and meets federal standards.

At a news conference Tuesday at FBI offices in Westwood, law enforcement officials urged anyone with information about last month’s incident to call the FBI at (310) 477-6565; the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives at (888) 283-2662; or local law enforcement agencies.

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