[Ppnews] Eco-Eleven update

Political Prisoner News PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jan 23 08:50:07 EST 2006

Date: Sun, 22 Jan 2006 15:15:09 -0800
From: Free Darren Thurston <freedarren at resist.ca>

Subject: Support Update for Darren Thurston 01/22/06

You are receiving this message as a result of making an inquiry or
expression support to freedarren at resist.ca. If you wish to be removed from
further update distributions, please email freedarren at resist.ca and we
will not include you in future mailings.

Support Update for Darren Thurston 01/22/06:

If you have been following the case of the "Eco-Eleven" over the past few
days, you will know that Darren was indicted on two conspiracy counts
Thursday afternoon (announced Friday) - Conspiracy to Commit Arson, and
Conspiracy to Commit Arson and Destruction of an Energy Facility. For
those of you interested in the full indictment, it can be downloaded at

In all, eleven people have now been indicted on charges related to 17
ALF/ELF and unclaimed incidents of arson and property damage that took
place over a period from 1997-2001.

Arraignments are expected to happen this Thursday in Eugene, which means
Darren will be transferred sometime mid-week from Inverness to Lane
County. Please put a hold on all mail you wish to send to him in the next
few days until we know where he will be imprisoned and for how long.  He
has so far really appreciated all the support by mail, and we will let you
know as soon as he is able to get post again.

Although his Federal "ID" charges still stand, it appears at this point
Darren will not be expected to testify at the Eugene Grand Jury in
February, though he has not yet been formally released from those
proceedings.  The recent call we put out for information related to grand
juries is at this point moot for us, though there is still organizing
being done against the grand jury since many people are still required to

Despite this latest turn of events, Darren is still holding up well and is
confident in fighting these latest charges. As you might know, our friend
is a courageous and committed individual who has faced the prison and
legal system in the past, and it is heartening to see his spirit remain
strong in the face of the accusations against him this most recent time
around. Dan Feiner will continue to represent Darren in the new charges,
and has provided a tremendous amount of support to us already - so for
that we are really very thankful.

There has been a ton of media over the past few days, though we have taken
a position of non-engagement with reporters at the current time. A longish
(and not totally horrible) article on Darren ran in the National Post
yesterday with a photo and can be found online at

Background information on Darren's case may be found at
<http://freedarren.org/>http://freedarren.org. We 
will send out updates as we know more.

Gratitude and thanks;
Family and Friends of Darren Thurston

canada, canadian search engine, free email, canada news

Monday » January 23 » 2006

Canadian indicted for 'domestic terrorism'
Animal rights activist accused of attacks in five American states

Stewart Bell
National Post

Saturday, January 21, 2006


CREDIT: Ian Smith, CanWest News Service
"I'm protecting voiceless beings from animal 
exploiters," says Darren Thurston, who was 
indicted in the United States on a series of 
charges for arson and other crimes linked to 
radical animal rights groups between 1996 and 2001.

TORONTO - Fourteen years after he was arrested 
for "liberating" 29 cats from a University of 
Alberta research lab, a Canadian animal rights 
activist has been indicted in Oregon for his 
alleged role in a "domestic terrorism" campaign 
that spanned five Western states.

Darren Todd Thurston is one of 11 suspected 
members of a Portland-based cell of animal rights 
and environmental extremists facing 65 counts of 
arson and other charges stemming from incidents 
between 1996 and 2001, according to an indictment unsealed yesterday.

The group is accused of carrying out 17 attacks 
that targeted a ski resort, tree farm, police 
station, lumber mill, car dealership, meat 
company, high-tension power line, government 
buildings and university research facilities.

"The indictment tells a story of four-and-a-half 
years of arson, vandalism, violence and 
destruction claimed to have been executed on 
behalf of the Animal Liberation Front or Earth 
Liberation Front, extremist movements known to 
support acts of domestic terrorism," said U.S. 
Attorney- General Alberto Gonzales.

"Specifically, the indictment alleges that a 
group of defendants who referred to themselves as 
'The Family' worked together with extensive 
planning to influence the conduct of government 
and private businesses through the use of 
co-ordinated force, violence, sabotage, intimidation and coercion."

They left a "trail of destruction" that caused 
millions worth of damage to private and government property, he said.

"Today's indictment proves that we will not 
tolerate any group that terrorizes the American 
people, no matter its intentions or objectives."

Mr. Thurston, 35, has been active in the fringe 
of the animal rights movement since his teens. 
Although he used to enjoy shooting birds, after 
reading a pamphlet he stopped eating meat and 
became the spokesman for a small band of Edmonton 
activists called Citizens Organized for Animal Liberation.

At 19, he led protests against the circus, 
furriers, and deer culls at CFB-Edmonton.

He called for the animals at West Edmonton Mall 
to be set free, and held a candlelight vigil 
against the use of animals in experiments at the University of Alberta.

"I believe animals are just as worthwhile as 
people," he told the Edmonton Journal in a 1989 
interview. "I'm protecting voiceless beings from 
animal exploiters, who have black hearts and don't feel anything, basically."

While he advocated radicalism and civil 
disobedience, he said he would not break the law. 
But in 1993, he pleaded guilty to firebombing 
three fish shop trucks and stealing more than two 
dozen cats from a university lab. He was sentenced to two years.

Four years later, police identified Mr. Thurston 
as a suspect in an RCMP investigation into mail 
bombs and booby-trapped letters that were sent to 
a variety of Canadian addresses. He and David 
Barbarash were charged with 27 counts each, but 
the charges were stayed in 2000 when police 
decided to drop the case rather than disclose 
documents concerning another investigation.

Mr. Thurston later moved to Portland where, the 
indictment alleges, he lived with Chelsea Dawn 
Gerlach, alias "Country Girl," who has also been indicted.

The indictment accuses Mr. Thurston of taking 
part in an Oct. 15, 2001, arson attack at the 
Litchfield Wild Horse facility in California. The 
Earth Liberation Front claimed responsibility in 
a communique publicized by another Canadian, Mr. 
Barbarash, the indictment says.

He was arrested in Portland on Dec. 7 and charged 
with possessing a fake green card and social 
insurance card, but he now faces more severe 
charges of conspiracy to commit arson and destruction of an energy facility.

A search of his home turned up false documents, 
information on manufacturing false documents and 
a book titled Advanced Anarchist Arsenal: Recipes 
for Improvised Incendiaries and Explosives.

The charges are the result of a lengthy federal 
investigation called Operation Backfire that 
probed a string of sabotage attacks in Oregon, 
Wyoming, Washington, California and Colorado.

The suspects are accused of using incendiary 
devices made from timing devices, milk jugs and 
plastic buckets filled with petroleum products to 
wage their eco-campaign. Eight have been 
arrested; the other three are believed to be outside the United States.

According to the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) 
Web site, the group's aim is to "reduce animal 
suffering in the world," while the Earth 
Liberation Front (ELF) calls itself "an 
underground movement with no leadership, membership or official spokesperson."

"Terrorism is terrorism, no matter what the 
motive," FBI director Robert Mueller told 
reporters. "There is a clear difference ... 
between constitutionally protected advocacy, 
which is the right of all Americans, and violent, 
criminal activity. It is one thing to write 
concerned letters or to hold peaceful 
demonstrations. It is another thing entirely to 
construct and use improvised explosives or 
incendiary devices to harass and intimidate 
victims by destroying property and to cause 
millions of dollars in losses by acts or threats of violence."

The ALF and ELF have also been active in Canada, 
where they firebombed two Vancouver butcher shops 
and a British Columbia hunting outfitter they 
accused of "crimes against the Earth." The ELF 
initials were spray-painted near two recent fires 
in Guelph, Ont., in which a Zellers outlet and a 
golf and tennis club were torched.
© National Post 2006

The Freedom Archives
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