|January 22nd, 2006, 10:01 PM||#1|
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11 Indicted in Eco Terrorism case
11 Indicted in 'Eco-Terrorism' Case
17 Attacks Claimed by Activist Groups Caused $23 Million in Damage
By Blaine Harden
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 21, 2006; A03
SEATTLE, Jan. 20 -- After taking nine years to penetrate what they called a "vast eco-terrorism conspiracy" in Oregon and four other Western states, federal prosecutors announced on Friday the indictment of 11 people in connection with a five-year wave of arson and sabotage claimed by the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front.
The 17 attacks, which occurred from 1996 to 2001, caused no deaths but resulted in an estimated $23 million in damage to lumber companies, a ski resort, meat plants, federal ranger stations and a high-voltage electric tower.
After its members allegedly set fire to the office of the Boise Cascade wood products company in Monmouth, Ore., on Christmas Day in 1999, the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) sent out a communique saying, "Early Christmas morning elves left coal in Boise Cascade's stocking."
In Washington, the Justice Department called the indictments a breakthrough in what prosecutors said has been a long and difficult investigation of the animal rights group and the environmental organization, which organize themselves in small, Maoist-style cells and advocate "direct action" against those who abuse animals or Earth.
"Today's indictment proves that we will not tolerate any group that terrorizes the American people, no matter its intentions or objectives," Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said at a news conference.
Joining Gonzales, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III said: "Investigating and preventing animal rights and environmental extremism is one of the FBI's highest domestic priorities."
There are 188 open investigations of crimes claimed by the two groups, dating to 1987, according to Carl J. Truscott, director of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He said 25 to 30 of those cases are being actively being pursued -- about half of them in the Pacific Northwest, California and Utah.
In Oregon, where a federal grand jury handed up the indictments, U.S. Attorney Karin J. Immergut said that it took a long time for federal, state and local authorities to gain investigative traction in the arson cases because the 11 alleged conspirators, who referred to themselves as the "family," had taken an oath to protect each other. A key break occurred, she said, when informants were found.
"Getting inside information was one of the critical components of being able to crack the case," she said.
Investigators said that most of the 11 people indicted have lived in and around the university town of Eugene, Ore. Eight of them have been arrested -- six in December in locations across the nation and two this week in Eugene. Three are at-large and believed to be outside the country.
Immergut predicted that the indictments "will put a significant dent in the movement."
This week, though, the ELF claimed another arson -- a mansion under construction on an island in Puget Sound was destroyed by a fire. The ELF has claimed responsibility for burning down a number of big houses being built in Washington state in the past two years, and no arrests have been made. In California in recent years, the ELF has also claimed responsibility for arsons in housing developments and attacks on SUV sales lots.
"Our law enforcement has a lousy record of catching these people," said Gary R. Perlstein, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at Portland State University in Oregon. "Unfortunately, I think the message you can take away from these indictments is that you can get away with these kind of crimes for a long time."
The ALF was created in the mid-1970s in Britain as a radical outgrowth of the animal rights movement. The group became active in the United States in the late 1980s. Its Web site says that one of its primary goals is "to inflict economic damage to those who profit from the misery and exploitation of animals."
The ELF emerged in Britain in the mid-1990s, and its organization and tactics are modeled after those of the ALF. Members of the two organizations often work together, Perlstein said.
"These people have the ability to hide and stay away from law enforcement in a way that traditional criminals are not able to do," Perlstein said. Among those arrested in connection with the 17 attacks are college students from Virginia and Arizona, a firefighter from Oregon, and a woman who works in a group home for the developmentally disabled.
The defendants were listed as Joseph Dibee, Chelsea Dawn Gerlach, Sarah Kendall Harvey, Daniel McGowan, Stanislas Meyerhoff, Josephine Overaker, Jonathan Christopher Mark Paul, Rebecca Rubin, Suzanne Nicole "India" Savoie, Darren Todd Thurston and Kevin Tubbs. Dibee, Overaker and Rubin have not been arrested.
An unindicted co-conspirator in the case -- William C. Rodgers, 40, who was arrested in December in Arizona on related arson charges -- killed himself shortly after his arrest.
Staff writer Dan Eggen in Washington contributed to this report.
|January 22nd, 2006, 10:08 PM||#2|
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FBI affadavit on Sacramento arrests outlines deep infilatration of radical movements
by ed from Bombs and shields Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2006 at 2:54 PM
keep an eye on Bombs and Shields, excellent source for news and updates of all sorts.
Sacramento, California, U.S. - FBI documents released today reveal details about the state's case against Eric McDavid, Lauren Weiner, and Zachary Jensen, who were arrested Friday for allegedly conspiring to blow up U.S. Forest Service buildings buildings and cell phone towers on behalf of the Earth Liberation Front. According to the criminal complaint the group considered bombing the Nimbus Dam on the American River near Sacramento, a cellular telephone tower, a power station, banks, trucks, mountain-top-removal projects in West Virginia and Communist Party offices.
The complaint went on to claim that the three "scoped out" the US Forest Service's Institute of Forest Genetics in Placerville, California, building and the Nimbus Dam, on January 10th. The following day they allegedly purchased ingredients for a homemade bomb at an area Wal-Mart store. Agents say that they recovered a notebook from Eric McDavid which contained a diagram of the Forest Service Institute and pictures of pipe bombs.
Information in the complaint comes from a paid "confidential source (CS) who is deeply imbedded within the subjects' cell. The CS has worked for the FBI since early 2004. S/he has agreed to testify in court." Supporters identified the CS as a young woman named "Anna" who "went to Auburn" with the defendents shortly before their arrests. The document says that she has has provided information in at least 12 anarchist cases since 2004. She has traveled to and infiltrated various anarchist gatherings and protests across the country including the Biodev 2005 demonstrations in Philadelphia, a CrimethInc. convergence in Indiana and the Feral Visions green anarchist gathering in North Carolina. A police officer suffered a fatal heart attack during a confrontation at the Philadelphia protest which the defendants are now being linked to.
Additional information provided in the complaint was gathered from the defendant's own blogs and and MySpace.com an online community were at least one of the defendants has a personal profile and blog. MySpace is a popular networking and dating forum used by young people. MySpace profiles regularly contain fictitious information about individuals. For instance, one of the defendants profiles which was used against him in court said that he lives in "the barren wastelands, Morocco." A profile on the LiveJournal.com personal publishing site and online community was also used as evidence.
All three suspects are being held in the Sacramento County Jail. They have had difficulty receiving vegan or vegetarian meals from jail authorities. Lauren's case is particularly serious because she has Lymes disease which is maintained through dietary control and is also lactose intolerant. She has requested that people contact the jail on her behalf and request that she be given food which she can eat.