Today's Huffington Statement on Anti-SUV Terrorism: 'From Outrageous to Memory Loss' Says SUVOA

WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 2003 -- Statement by SUV Owners of America President Jason H. Vines in regards to Arianna Huffington's response today to SUVOA petition, delivered August 27, 2003, asking her and her cohorts to stop their SUV bashing which may be encouraging domestic terrorist, anti-SUV groups like the Earth Liberation Front (ELF):

"We see that Ms. Huffington has moved on, from outrageous statements against 24 million SUV owners to convenient, yet remarkable memory loss.

"In her statement today she finally condemned the extremist domestic terrorists that burned a West Covina dealership, six long days after the heinous incident. SUVOA issued a statement blasting the ELF hours after the crime. In her tardy statement today, Huffington said:

"'What these people are doing isn't activism it is vandalism, and I strongly oppose it. I have nothing against SUV owners -- my problem is with Detroit. The automakers have the technology to make more fuel efficient SUVs and that is what consumers deserve.'

"Her statement is a classic Arianna flip-flop.

"Last fall, Huffington had a different battle cry. In her November 25, 2002 column, she directly attacks SUV owners stating:

"'How nice it must feel for SUV owners, knowing that their swaggering imprudence is helping the world's anti-democratic oil sheiks sleep just a little better at night.'

"And, earlier this year, Ms. Huffington unveiled to a national media audience her television commercials accusing SUV owners of supporting terrorism. The coverage she and her group received was substantial. Here is the text of that commercial:

"'I helped hijack an airplane. I helped blow up a nightclub. So what if it gets 11 miles to the gallon. I gave money to a terrorist training camp in a foreign country. It makes me feel safe. I helped our enemies develop weapons of mass destruction. What if I need to go off-road? Everyone has one. I helped teach kids around the world to hate America. I like to sit up high. I sent our soldiers off to war. Everyone has one. My life, my SUV. I don't even know how many miles it gets to the gallon.'

"Huffington's statement and commercial are unquestionably a direct assault on American SUV owners and nothing less. We suggest she review her previous allegations before she makes a weak attempt to cover her assertions. Unless, of course, she finds that exercise too taxing."

SUVOA was formed to give voice to the 24 million SUV owners whose rights are being trampled by special interests and activist groups, as well as to provide consumers with practical information about their SUVs. Founded in 1999, the group actively defends the rights of SUV owners and rebuts false charges regarding SUVs' safety and environmental record.

Since re-launching the new SUVOA Web site in May, the group has accumulated 16,818 supporters.

Fact sheets addressing key safety and environmental issues are available at www.suvoa.com .

                         The SUV-Bashing Timeline
                (Domestic Terrorism Events with Asterisks)

1999 SUVOA founded by a retired businessman from Wisconsin tired of SUVs constantly getting attacked in the media.

October 21, 2000 Robert Lind of San Francisco discusses his vigilante bumper sticker campaign against SUVs on National Public Radio.

March 30, 2001 * More than 30 Chevrolet Suburbans and Tahoes scorched or destroyed in $1 million Oregon fire. "Anonymous" group takes credit.

June 20, 2001 Union of Concerned Scientists releases "Drilling in Detroit," criticizing SUVs.

July 4, 2001 * The Earth Liberation Front (ELF) takes responsibility for the destruction of eight Ford Expeditions by arson at Michigan Ford dealership.

November 24, 2001 Robert Kennedy, Jr., senior attorney for the NRDC, joins the anti-SUV camp, speaking out against SUVs in a New York Times op-ed.

July 2002 * The ELF continues campaign of domestic terrorism on SUV owners by launching a wave of destruction in Richmond, Virginia.

September 17, 2002 Release of new book attacking SUVs: "High and Mighty: SUVs: The World's Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got That Way."

October 21, 2002 Columnist Arianna Huffington writes a column suggesting a link between SUVs and terrorism.

Fall 2002 Americans for Fuel Efficient Cars (AFEC) is co-founded by Arianna Huffington. The group attacks SUVs, linking SUVs to funding terrorism.

November 20, 2002 Rev. Jim Ball and the Evangelist Environmental Network (EEN) jump on the anti-SUV bandwagon and launch the "What Would Jesus Drive?" campaign.

November 27, 2002 * The ELF takes credit for the destruction of 40 SUVs in Richmond, Virginia (dating back to July 2002).

January 2003 The Detroit Project, started by the AFEC, releases to media copy of commercial linking SUVs to terrorism. (See text in body of press release.)

January 2, 2003 * The ELF takes credit for the destruction of SUVs at a Pennsylvania dealership.

January 29, 2003 Bashing SUVs, Robert Kennedy, Jr. appears on the Today Show.

May 7, 2003 The Detroit Project and the NRDC release an ad claiming Detroit has the answer to increase fuel efficiency, but is keeping it a secret.

May 28, 2003 "What Would Jesus Drive?" begins a tour of the "Bible Belt."

July 14, 2003 "What Would Jesus Drive?" tour is scheduled final stop in Washington D.C.

August 1, 2003 * The ELF takes credit for torching a huge apartment complex under construction in San Diego, California.

August 22, 2003 * The ELF destroys 20 SUVs and a building in arson fire at an auto dealership in West Covina, California.

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