Environmental Extremism Takes Ugly Turn

Published September 5, 2010

Environmental extremist took an ugly turn Aug. 1 when activist James Lee, armed with two guns and several bombs stormed the Discovery Channel headquarters in Silver Spring, Md., took employees hostage, and attempted to force the Discovery Channel to air environmental propaganda on global warming and other issues. The assault ended in the late afternoon when police shot and killed Lee as it appeared he was preparing to detonate a bomb and kill some or all of the hostages.

Threatened to Detonate Bombs
Shortly before police ended Lee’s attack, Lee spoke on the phone with an NBC television producer and angrily criticized the Discovery Channel for not devoting enough air time to global warming.

“I have a gun, and I have a bomb. …I have several bombs strapped to my body ready to go off,” Lee told the NBC producer.

After shooting Lee, police found several explosive devices strapped to Lee, with still more explosive devices in a bag and a box that Lee had brought with him.  

“Attached to propane cylinders, he had pipes that contained shotgun shells. In addition he had a couple of pipe bombs strapped to it. They appeared to have some sort of firework-type material inside of them,” Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said.

Gore Movie as ‘Awakening’
Lee was first arrested for engaging in disruptive environmental protesting outside Discovery Channel headquarters in 2008. At the time, he explained he had had an environmental “awakening” after seeing Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth.

In An Inconvenient Truth, Gore bemoans the fact that peaceful, democratic means have not motivated people to enact his desired global warming restrictions. “I used to believe in democracy,” Gore says near the end of the film. 

History of Violent Rhetoric
In 2006, Grist magazine staff writer David Roberts wrote, “When we’ve finally gotten serious about global warming, when the impacts are really hitting us and we’re in a full worldwide scramble to minimize the damage, we should have war crimes trials for these bastards—some sort of climate Nuremberg.” The penalty imposed in Nuremberg for war crimes was death.

In 2007, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (I) invited Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to keynote a state-sponsored conference designed to rally public support for global warming legislation. During his remarks, Kennedy called the producers of conventional, carbon-based energy “traitors” and perpetrators of “treason,” and then demanded they be punished as such. The U.S. Constitution authorizes the death penalty as punishment for treason.

In 2008 NASA global warming activist James Hansen said CEOs of fossil energy companies   “should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.” The penalty for high crimes against humanity is death.

Environment Manifesto
As Lee prepared to storm the Discovery Channel headquarters with his guns and bombs, he issued a manifesto and a list of demands, much of which reads like an environmental activist wishlist.

“The Discovery Channel MUST broadcast to the world their commitment to save the planet and to do the following IMMEDIATELY:” reads the title of the manifesto.

Among the demands:

“Focus must be given on how people can live WITHOUT giving birth to more filthy human children since those new additions continue pollution and are pollution.… Perhaps also forums of leading scientists who understand and agree with the Malthus-Darwin science and the problem of human overpopulation. Do both. Do all until something WORKS and the natural world starts improving and human civilization building STOPS and is reversed!

“Find solutions for Global Warming, Automotive pollution, International Trade, factory pollution, and the whole blasted human economy. Find ways so that people don’t build more housing pollution which destroys the environment to make way for more human filth! Find solutions so that people stop breeding as well as stopping using Oil in order to REVERSE Global warming and the destruction of the planet!”

“Saving the Planet means saving what’s left of the non-human Wildlife by decreasing the Human population. That means stopping the human race from breeding any more disgusting human babies!”

“Develop shows that will correct and dismantle the dangerous US world economy.”

Ongoing Environmental Terrorism
Lee is not the first, or even the most threatening, environmental activist to engage in acts of terrorism. Unabomber Ted Kaczynski wrote an anti-technology environmental manifesto and targeted for death prominent people whose work conflicted with environmental extremism. Eco-terrorists have similarly attacked businesses, laboratories, and homes of people they believe are harming the environment.

James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is managing editor of Environment & Climate News.