[Ppnews] On Darren Thurston - By Daniel McGowan

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Dec 5 11:22:01 EST 2007

A Lack of Honesty and Integrity— On Darren Thurston
By Daniel McGowan
November 24th, 2007

I understand my cooperating co-defendant 
Thurston via his support person/ex girlfriend 
Megan Adams’ 
is once again promising an essay that will 
somehow justify his cooperation with the US 
government and prosecutors in the 
Backfire cases.

I welcome this essay and have been anxiously 
awaiting it for some time—since January 2007 when 
freedarren.org (oddly enough, hosted by an 
activist tech collective, resist.ca) reported 
that Darren and/or his one support person would 
address his cooperation with the 
investigation(s). It would be more accurate to 
say that I have been waiting to hear Darren’s 
explanations since March 2006—when he abandoned 
the Joint Litigation Agreement (JLA) he had with 
my fellow non-cooperating defendant, 
Paul and me.

His support person and resist.ca have both 
conceded that 
Darren did cooperate but that they are 100% ok with his cooperation because:

1) Darren was facing a large prison sentence-- he 
was facing 35 years (compare this to almost all 
of the other defendants who faced upwards of life in prison).

2) Well, he did cooperate but since everyone 
cooperated, he had no choice. Yet 4 defendants 
worked hard to get non-cooperation pleas which 
Darren could have been part of, 4 are considered 
fugitives by the FBI’s website, 
is going to trial, 1 resisted a grand jury and 
was imprisoned for 8 months and any number of 
people who have shut the door on investigators or 
made their intention of non-cooperation publicly well known.

3) And last but not least – the classic snitch 
enabler comment...He only told them what they 
knew anyway This will remind people who have been 
involved in the animal rights movement of the 
justifications used by 
Samuel for snitching on 
Young years ago. In fact, it’s the reason pretty 
much always cited by people who cooperate with 
investigators. I can’t help but wonder why Darren 
divulged to the government details of a conflict 
we had in 2001-- something having nothing to do with any indictable offense.

When one side lies, obscures, hides and refuses 
to be forthright, resolution of these issues is 
difficult and next to impossible. Yet, the 
behavior of Darren and his support person have 
used these methods to postpone the inevitable 
conclusion. For some time, the official story 
from Darren’s support person was that he was not 
cooperating. After much evidence surfaced that he 
was, including his departure from the 
non-cooperators’ joint litigation agreement, his 
refusal to answer any questions from outside 
supporters about his cooperation, his letters to 
both the 
First! Journal" and 
ELPSN (Earth liberation Prisoners Support 
Network) asking for clarification about their 
policies on cooperation and his plea hearing 
taking place at the same time as other 
cooperating witnesses as well as his lawyers’ 
fervent arguments for sealing his whole plea 
bargain, it became impossible to deny his 
cooperation. Then, the story changed, seemingly 
overnight, acknowledging his cooperation but 
offering support for him nonetheless (it should 
be noted that this article of continued support 
for Darren from his lone support person and 
resist.ca only came about due to agitation and 
questions being put to them by political prisoner 
supporters). Comments made by US attorneys, 
Darren’s lawyer Dan Finer and the judge all prove 
that not only did Darren cooperate but he was a 
very useful and “extraordinary” witness (some 
conjecture that he had lots to say about issues 
like computer security, past Canadian crimes and 
how to locate one of the fugitives-- herself a 
Canadian and former co-defendant of Darren’s).

Darren’s extraordinary cooperation got him a 
37-month sentence despite these issues:

1) He was arrested with his girlfriend (and 
cooperating witness in the same case, Chelsea 
Gerlach) living under false identities with many stolen fake IDs.

2) He was already banned from the US and had been deported in the late 1990’s.

3) He had already done a short sentence for ALF actions in Canada in 1992.

4) He was indicted for sending razor blades to 
bear hunt outfitters in 2000 and charges were 
dropped due to the government’s reluctance to identify informants.

5) When arrested, he had large amounts of illegal 
drugs and automatic weapons in his apartment and 
a cache in the Siuslaw National Forest.

It’s absurd to think that Darren got a 37-month 
sentence for any other reason except his 
extensive cooperation. My co-defendant Jonathan 
Paul got 51 months for one arson from 1997 and 
hadn’t been engaged in any future acts of 
property destruction. But, he didn’t cooperate so 
the feds gave him 14 more months than Darren. The 
question remains, then, is 14 months less in 
prison really worth the betrayal of your friends 
and allies? Maybe Darren can address that in his essay.

I’m sure Darren will not deny his cooperation but 
I’m certain he will deflect attention by 
minimizing his cooperation or slogging either the 
non-cooperating defendants or those who snitched 
on him. That sort of behavior is what I’ve come 
to expect from the cooperating defendants-- blame 
everyone else, take no responsibility for your 
actions and minimize your betrayal. Darren seems 
to think that he won’t ever have to testify in 
open court. Maybe he thinks the so-called 
fugitives won’t get caught but sadly, that’s 
unlikely. Maybe he thinks that Canada will offer 
him protection and won’t send him to the United 
States. The cases of 
Arrow and U.S. soldiers trying to gain refuge in 
Canada all show that Canada is more than happy to 
assist the U.S. anytime. It is possible that 
Darren was told by the government that he won’t 
be called as a witness but that wouldn’t be legal 
considering that his plea bargain says he doesn’t 
have additional agreements with the government. 
My theory is that he is a major witness for 3 
so-called fugitives that are indicted for the 
2001 BLM Litchfield horse release/arson (oddly 
enough, Darren did not receive a terrorism 
enhancement for this action despite the fact it 
was a government facility and the communiqué 
stated government policy as a rationale for the action!)

There has been much clamoring for Darren to 
unseal the parts of his plea agreement that 
covers cooperation (paragraphs 14-17). All the 
cooperating witnesses in the case have this 
section sealed and even myself and the 3 other 
non-cooperating defendants can only view the 
full, unsealed plea bargain in the company of our 
lawyers. What is in this agreement and 3 
paragraphs? I am prohibited from sharing the 
specifics but I believe strongly that the public 
and the media need to see these sections. 
Darren’s support person’s argument for why it 
cannot be unsealed is that he no longer has a 
lawyer since he had a panel attorney (a 
state-funded private attorney). We will see what 
happens when motions are made to unseal those 
parts of the plea agreement. With multiple books 
being written and films being made, it is 
imperative these plea bargains be unsealed. Then, 
there could be some honest discussion and 
analysis about what happened in this case.

I challenge Darren to unseal those paragraphs in 
his plea bargain and the 200 pages of his 
302/debrief documents which detail his 
cooperation. I’m sure many people in the movement 
would help pay for that! I have no faith he will 
take me up on my offer but that information would 
help clarify the issues many have argued over. 
So, it’s November 2007 and I’m looking forward to 
seeing this promised essay. Something tells me it won’t come anytime soon.

P.S.-- I’ve referenced resist.ca, but let me 
explain. Recently, resist.ca has come out in 
support of Darren (see statement 
Whether this is a deeply held position or his ex 
Megan’s asking for favors for her ex is unknown. 
Either way, it’s pathetic to think a so-called 
radical tech collective would publicly support 
and provide web-space (which they always say is 
so limited) to a snitch. In light of this, I 
think now is the time to pull ALL support from 
resist.ca including your email accounts and 
websites (such as 
from Ontario already have). Do you really want 
your email and website hosted on resist.ca after 
you have read 

On a related note, Chelsea Gerlach’s site is 
hosted on mutualaid.org. Now that they have been 
notified about this situation and her actions, I 
am hoping they will immediately cease their 
support for her and pull her site and email 
accounts. Continued support for cooperating 
defendants is an insult to all of us who did not 
cooperate and destructive to our movements. 
Please send a polite and educational email to 
mutualaid.org (info at mutualaid.org or 
support at mutualaid.org) asking them to end their 
support of activists who turn other activists in 
and send them to prison. My relationship with 
mutualaid.org was always good and I hope they make the right choice.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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