I think what these people were doing was terrorism by all definitions of the term. They were seeking to deter others from building developments by torching buildings and destroying property. Their agenda was one of eco-terrorism and forcefully changing government and corporate policy through their violent actions:
Meyerhoff faces the stiffest sentence recommendation for his involvement in seven fires and the toppling of a high-tension power line. The terrorism enhancement question will be settled in his case and, under an agreement with all parties, applied to the remaining defendants. Each has pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and arson.That no one was injured is a matter of luck, not one of design. Firefighters could just as easily been injured by the fires started by the thugs. Millions of dollars in property damage was done by those fires.
A ruling that the 10 are terrorists is not likely to boost the time they spend behind bars — the prosecution recommends three to 16 years — but it could land them in tougher prisons.
The fires targeted forest ranger stations, meat packing plants, wild horse corrals, lumber mill offices, research facilities, an SUV dealer and, in 1998, Vail Ski Resort. No one was injured, the defense notes in legal motions.
The case, known as Operation Backfire, is the biggest prosecution ever of environmental extremists, and has turned on its head the prevailing idea that arsonists have generally acted alone, said Brent Smith, director of the Terrorism Research Center at the University of Arkansas.