[Ppnews] How Rebecca Rubin Became a "Most Wanted" Woman

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jan 14 11:40:19 EST 2011


http://www.counterpunch.org/
January 14 - 17, 2011


How Rebecca Rubin Became a "Most Wanted" Woman


The Accidental Terrorist

By PETRA BARTOSIEWICZ

“
people’s movements of resistance against 
deprivation, against unemployment, against the 
loss of natural resources, all of that is termed ‘terrorism.’”

– Edward Said

The only known photograph of Rebecca Rubin is a 
headshot that looks like it was taken for her 
driver’s license. She’s wearing a plain gray 
sweatshirt, her long brown hair is unkempt, and 
her expression is careworn. But splashed across 
thousands of ‘Wanted’ posters across the country, 
her face aligned next to those of serial 
murderers and bank robbers, the headshot sends a 
message that she is someone to be frightened of. 
This, though Rubin – aliases “Kara” and “Little 
Missy” – has never harmed a soul.

According to the FBI, Rubin, 37 years old, 
belongs to an ultra-radical group known as the 
Animal Liberation Front (ALF), which along with 
its sister organization, the Earth Liberation 
Front (ELF), authorities describe as “the most 
active extremist elements in the United States.” 
In the late 1990s, Rubin is alleged to have 
participated in a spree of arsons that caused 
upwards of $55 million in damages. As recently as 
2008 FBI spokesman Richard Kolko described the 
loose-knit confederacy of eco-guerillas as “what 
we would probably consider the No. 1 domestic terrorism threat.”

But those who know Rubin best will point out, 
correctly, that while she has perhaps destroyed 
property, she has never harmed nor even 
deliberately targeted a human being. They will 
tell you, also correctly, that the FBI’s Most 
Wanted poster, which warns Rubin is “armed and 
dangerous,” is false, since no member of the ELF 
or ALF has ever wielded a firearm to further 
their cause. They will argue that the acts of 
“terrorism” Rubin and others are accused of came 
after many years when protests and boycotts 
failed to prevent the logging of old-growth 
forests, or to deter polluters from violating 
environmental regulations, or to protect animals 
from being abused in the name of medical science. 
They will say that radical animal and 
environmental rights activists like Rubin – who 
has not been accused of any further crimes since 
she went underground five years ago – are being 
redefined as terrorists in a post-9/11 era of 
increased surveillance and hobbled due process.

Rubin grew up in the city of Vancouver, British 
Columbia, surrounded by a wilderness of forests 
and mountain peaks. Nearby Vancouver Island is so 
wild it’s believed to have the world’s highest 
concentration of mountain lions. Her parents 
divorced when she was young, and she grew up with 
her mother, a nurse. As a girl Rubin was quiet, 
at times painfully shy, with a lifelong affinity 
for the outdoors and wildlife. According to 
friends, she lived for some time in a cabin in 
Canada’s Kootenay region, east of Vancouver, with 
only her cats for company. She worked odd jobs 
but mostly she volunteered at wildlife 
sanctuaries. She studied at Vancouver’s Simon 
Fraser University, but was soon itching to be in 
the field. When renowned anthropologist Jane 
Goodall came to guest lecture there, Rubin was so 
inspired that she trekked to East Africa and 
spent time on a gorilla reserve. She dreamt of 
someday starting her own wildlife rescue facility.

In 1994, 20-year-old Rubin was back in Canada, 
protesting a landfill project proposed for Burns 
Bog, a spectacular peatland in Vancouver, when 
she met David Barbarash, a fellow Canadian animal 
rights activist based in the Pacific Northwest. 
They began dating amidst the spirited and often 
combative environmentalist movement emerging in 
the region at the time. Barbarash was drawn to 
Rubin’s earnest devotion. “The thing with the 
radical fringe,” says Barbarash, “is it attracts 
people who are isolated in society for whatever 
reason and are looking for something to belong 
to. Rebecca was intelligent and she didn’t have 
emotional problems. She was one of the true 
people in the movement – she was in it for the right reasons.”

At the time environmental and animal rights 
advocacy was increasingly generating results. The 
activists were organized, capable, 
uncompromising. They built tent cities and 
chained themselves together to thwart loggers. In 
California a woman named Julia “Butterfly” Hill 
lived for 738 days in an ancient redwood 
nicknamed Luna, in order to prevent the tree from 
being logged. In Oregon, activists blockaded 
police and loggers for nearly a year at the 
Warner Creek area of the Willamette National 
Forest, until they secured an agreement from the 
Clinton Administration that no logging would be 
permitted there. The four days of mass protests 
surrounding a meeting of the World Trade Center 
Organization in Seattle in 1999 emboldened the 
movement and infuriated industry interests.

But the movement itself was no monolith. Among 
the ranks of anarchists, vegans, hippies, 
misfits, and intellectuals, there were those who 
were more hardcore than others, who argued that 
corporations and the government could not be 
reasoned with. It was this militant faction that 
would take up the banner of the ELF and ALF, and 
it was to this more militant strain that 
Barbarash belonged and to which Rubin was soon drawn.

Barbarash, who for several years was the North 
American spokesman for the Animal Liberation 
Front, already had a history of run-ins with the 
law. Two years before hooking up with Rubin he’d 
served four months in prison for releasing cats 
from a University of Alberta lab – cats that had 
been earmarked for use in medical experiments. By 
1994 he and a fellow member of the ALF, 
24-year-old Darren Todd Thurston, were the 
subject of an investigation by the Royal Canadian 
Mounted Police in connection with a number of 
threatening letters that had been sent 
anonymously to Vancouver game hunters. Inside 
were razor blades, which the letters alleged had 
been smeared with rat poison and HIV-infected blood.

In March 1997, police executed a series of raids 
that targeted Thurston and Barbarash, including 
one on the home of Rubin’s stepfather, Douglas 
Taylor, where Rubin was living at the time. 
According to RCMP records of the raid, Barbarash 
“ran from the rear door away from the [Taylor] 
residence, without shoes or a jacket, and fled 
the area.” The police continued their 
surveillance of Barbarash and Thurston for 
another year, before finally arresting them in 
March 1998 for the threatening letters. Police 
also picked up Rubin, and charged her with 
possessing packaging for batteries, which they 
claimed she was going to use to build an 
incendiary device. “Poor Rebecca,” recalls 
Barbarash’s attorney, Michael Klein. “She was 
this bewildered woman, going ‘What am I doing 
here?’ There really wasn’t much evidence against 
her.” The following year, after revelations that 
Canadian authorities had dispatched undercover 
officers to incite Barbarash and Thurston into 
burning down a barn – with the undercover cops 
going so far as to provide the gasoline – the 
charges against all three were thrown out.

Barbarash says the intense scrutiny from the 
Canadian authorities brought him and Rubin closer 
together. After the raid on Rubin’s house, which 
he says left her parents none too pleased, the 
pair rented a tiny apartment in Vancouver. “We 
were both feeling under siege and paranoid,” he 
said. But ultimately, within six months, Rubin 
had broken up with Barbarash, packed her things 
and moved out. Barbarash says the relationship 
was a casualty of stress; he regrets their 
parting. “I was in love with her,” he said.

* * *

Yet investigators claim it was during this period 
of intense scrutiny that Rubin stepped up her 
involvement in the radical animal rights movement 
and began traveling into the United States to 
commit acts of sabotage on behalf of the Animal 
Liberation Front. According to the FBI, in 
October 1997 Rubin was involved in the illegal 
release of 2,000 minks from a farm in Palmer, 
Idaho, where the ALF claimed the minks were being 
electrocuted and skinned alive. And a month 
later, the FBI contends, Rubin and several other 
members of the group traveled to a horse corral 
in Burns, Oregon, where it was rumored that wild 
horses, captured in wilderness areas managed by 
the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, were being 
auctioned off (to slaughterhouses, the ALF 
maintained). Rubin was apparently a last-minute 
recruit for the action, which involved releasing 
the horses and burning down the barn using timed 
explosives. She was given the task of 
“obtain[ing] the necessary items to make the 
timing devices,” which she allegedly helped 
assemble and carry to the barn. On a frigid 
winter night, the group released the horses, set 
the barn ablaze, locked the access road gate to 
prevent fire trucks from getting in, and then 
buried their clothes after dousing them in acid. 
The next morning, BLM employees arrived to find 
the barn a smoldering heap, the damages totaling 
some $200,000. The ALF issued a statement 
claiming responsibility and denouncing the BLM’s 
policies as “genocide against the horse nation.”

Jacob Ferguson, a former ALF member who would 
later become an FBI informant, describes Rubin, 
whom he knew by her alias “Kara,” as a reliable 
partner. “She wasn’t super athletic, but she was 
really smart, and she was really good,” he said. 
Rubin would take elaborate routes to the site of 
a planned arson, he said, making multiple 
transfers on buses to ensure she wasn’t being 
followed. She always kept her long hair in a 
tight bun, he recalls, “so she wouldn’t leave any 
evidence.” But, he adds, “She wasn’t really into 
doing arson. She was into setting animals free.” 
Still, after calling it off with Barbarash, Rubin 
linked up romantically with Kevin Tubbs, a 
longtime animal rights activist who would later 
confess to participating in at least 14 arsons, 
among them a handful at which he said Rubin was present.

A year after the Oregon arson, Rubin participated 
in an arson at a stable in Rock Springs, Wyoming. 
But the action didn’t go as planned. As the 
devices were placed near the barn, Rubin 
prematurely opened the gate to release the 
horses. In the chaos that ensued, the action was 
abandoned and the group fled. The ALF nonetheless 
issued a press release decrying the “slaughtering 
of horses for foreign dinner plates.” Though the 
operation was a bust, the crew was already onto 
their next act, which unfolded just a week later.

The October 1998 arson at the ritzy Vail Mountain 
ski resort in Colorado – a high-end getaway 
frequented by celebrities and moguls – catapulted 
the ALF to national attention. Angry over a 
planned 4,100-acre expansion, which they believed 
would endanger the local lynx population, the 
group assembled to take out their most visible 
target yet. According to court records, Rubin was 
dispatched to help construct several incendiary 
devices and was also among a handful of 
participants assigned to drive to a staging area 
on the mountain to drop off canisters of gas and 
diesel fuel. As the group made their way to their 
destination, however, their truck got stuck in 
the snow, and Rubin and the others were forced to 
bury the canisters and drive back down the 
mountain, with the plan of returning a few days 
later to finish the job. For reasons of 
scheduling, however, only two individuals 
returned to the Vail site; Rubin was not among 
them. Nonetheless, she was inextricably connected 
to the events that followed, as one of her 
confederates retrieved the fuel she helped to 
bury and placed the firebombs she helped to build 
next to several buildings along a one-mile span on the ridgeline.

Just before dawn, explosives ignited Vail 
Mountain in an inferno that engulfed a radio 
tower, the resort’s elaborate Two Elk Lodge 
restaurant, and four ski lifts. More than a 
hundred firefighters from ten different 
battalions converged on the scene to battle the 
blaze – an effort hampered by the rugged terrain 
and a lack of water on the slopes. All told, the 
damages exceeded $25 million. At a press 
conference the next day, Vail Resorts President 
Andy Daly told reporters, “I’m very grateful that 
no one was up there.” In fact, the group had gone 
to lengths to avoid human injury, setting the 
fires at night when the resort was closed, and 
avoiding a cabin where they discovered a pair of 
sleeping hunters. Nevertheless, even as the 
resort burned, the ALF issued a press release 
warning skiers to steer clear of Vail until it 
“cancels its inexcusable plans for expansion.”

By this point the FBI had launched a probe into 
the string of arsons in the region. John Ferreira 
headed up the bureau’s investigation, initially 
dubbed “Arson Heat,” a moniker that agents found 
so objectionably lame that it was changed to 
“Operation Backfire.” The case wasn’t an easy 
one. Ferreira, now retired and the owner of a 
sports memorabilia shop in Eugene, said the 
groups’ raids were carefully executed, leaving 
almost nothing in the way of clues. The case 
languished, evincing little attention outside 
Oregon and Colorado, where the arsons were 
concentrated, and mustering few additional funds 
and manpower from FBI headquarters. As if sensing 
the FBI’s impotence, the ELF and ALF launched 
action after action. Rubin was spotted at several 
of these, including one in August 1999, where she 
was reportedly the getaway driver during the 
release of 55 beagles implanted with human 
pacemakers at a medical research laboratory in Orange, California.

But then came the attacks of September 11, 2001, 
which gave the federal government a mandate and 
an influx of cash to track down homegrown 
terrorists of every stripe. The decisive break 
came in 2003 when agents were able to gather 
enough evidence to summon Jake Ferguson before a 
grand jury. He would later admit to at least 15 
acts of sabotage and agree to cooperate in 
exchange for leniency. Central to that agreement 
was the concession that he would wear a wire, and 
the conversations that he taped with his friends 
and fellow activists enabled the FBI to link 
Rubin and a dozen other individuals in a grand 
conspiracy case that covered twenty acts of 
eco-sabotage. “Rubin came to our attention 
because of Jake,” Ferreira said. “We had no idea who she was before that.”

In truth, many of the participants barely knew 
each other and weren’t even involved in the same 
events. But under the definition of conspiracy 
laws in the U.S., they were all linked into a 
group dubbed “The Family” by law enforcement, and 
held liable for every arson. This spurred law 
enforcement to devote serious manpower to 
apprehending the various members of the ALF and 
eventually to put Rubin on the most wanted list.

The last arson to which Rubin is linked came in 
October 2001 – the burning of another 
government-owned horse corral, this one in 
Litchfield, California. According to a 
participant who asked not to be named, the group 
was jittery about the operation, fearing that 
security would be tighter in the wake of the 9/11 
attacks. Still, they proceeded as planned, with 
Rubin illegally crossing into the U.S. in the 
company of Darren Todd Thurston, who by then had 
succeeded David Barbarash as the ALF’s spokesman. 
Rubin and Thurston were picked up by two other 
participants and driven to Seattle. The following 
day the pair washed down the truck to be used in 
the operation, and wiped clean the equipment 
they’d need­backpacks, water bladders, 
flashlights, pepper spray­to remove any traces of 
fingerprints. They then drove to Eugene, Oregon, 
to pick up Rubin’s boyfriend, Kevin Tubbs, before 
continuing on to Litchfield, where they set up 
camp. The following night, dressed in all black 
with socks over their shoes to avoid leaving 
identifying footprints, Thurston and Rubin cut 
and removed part of the fence and used a rope and 
plastic tarp to funnel the horses out of the 
corral. The others set up handmade incendiary 
devices attached to buckets of fuel. The 
operation would cause approximately $200,000 in damages.

After the Litchfield arson the participants 
scattered and the arsons stopped. By now a series 
of grand jury subpoenas had been handed down in 
connection with the arsons, and the group was 
spooked by a fear that the FBI was closing in. 
Rubin returned to the work that had inspired her 
at the outset – protecting animals. She went home 
to Canada and finished her undergraduate degree 
in April 2002, majoring in geography. A few 
months later she started as an intern at the 
Island Wildlife Natural Care Center on Salt 
Spring Island, near Vancouver. Jackie Ballarone, 
a longtime employee, recalls Rubin as “dedicated 
and passionate,” but said “she had a very veiled 
past and didn’t reveal anything about herself.” A 
background check conducted during the interview 
process at the wildlife center yielded no 
evidence of her previous life, and Rubin didn’t 
offer details. Given what they know about her 
now, said Ballarone, the organization doesn’t 
want any association with Rubin. Neither do other 
groups that hired Rubin, like the Ventana 
Wildlife Society in California, where she spent 
six months in 2004 as an intern working with 
endangered California condors. Current Ventana 
employees wouldn’t comment, but a former 
colleague, Curt Mykut, says that while Rubin was 
at Ventana she showed no evidence of her 
tumultuous past. “She was one of the more 
dedicated employees,” he said. “It’s a very 
solitary job, mostly hiking in the park to keep 
tabs on the birds.” To feed the condors Rubin 
would often be tasked with hauling carcasses of 
stillborn calves deep into the forest. “She never 
complained,” said Mykut. She was also taking 
ornithology courses online and talked about a 
future devoted to rehabilitating wild birds. “I 
think she probably [viewed the job as] an 
opportunity to leave her past behind and really 
make her way in the field,” he said.

It was not to be. In December 2006 the FBI made a 
series of sweeping indictments in the Operation 
Backfire case. The indictments, which named 18 
people, decimated the radical environmental and 
animal rights underground in the U.S., and ended 
any chance of a quiet redemption for Rubin. Most 
of the accused were captured or turned themselves 
in, and pled guilty. One of the group’s leaders, 
William Rodgers, who went by the alias “Avalon,” 
hung himself in his jail cell. The others, most 
with the threat of domestic terrorism charges 
looming over their heads, made the wrenching 
decision to give confessions that implicated 
their compatriots. Kevin Tubbs, Rubin’s former 
boyfriend, was sentenced to 13 years in prison. 
Darren Thurston served two years in prison before 
being deported to Canada. Rubin, along with three 
others, fled the U.S. and became fugitives.

***

Jacob Ferguson, the ALF member turned FBI 
informant, laments that everything they burned 
down was rebuilt, bigger and better. If anything, 
Operation Backfire has benefited industry groups 
that have for decades sought to classify radical 
environmental and animal rights activists as 
eco-terrorists. The term “eco-terrorism” has been 
in circulation since the early 1980’s, coined by 
the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, a 
group backed by mining and timber interests, 
property rights advocates, off-road vehicle 
clubs, and conservative think tanks. In 1988 the 
group drafted what came to be known as the “Wise 
Use Agenda,” which called for opening 70 million 
acres of federal wilderness areas to commercial 
development, mining in national parks, old growth 
forest logging, and increased oil exploration in 
Alaska wilderness areas. A few years later an 
organization known as the “Alliance for America” 
was formed by similar groups, who defined 
themselves as those “who view big environmental 
groups as a threat to their livelihood and way of life.”

Their efforts came to full fruition when Congress 
passed the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act of 
2006, which effectively made it a crime of 
domestic terrorism for individuals to interfere 
with any animal-related company, including 
medical researchers, grocery stores, even zoos. 
The measure amended a 1992 law known as the 
Animal Enterprise Protection Act with changes in 
language that were subtle but crucial: The term 
“economic damage,” which in the old legislation 
referred exclusively to physical property damage, 
became “economic disruption,” a broader category 
that covered a company’s loss of profits, both 
“real and projected” – an important caveat 
because sentencing guidelines are based on the 
dollar amount of financial damages. The term 
“animal enterprise,” which previously covered 
only businesses directly related to animals – 
such as laboratories, zoos, furriers, circuses, 
and grocery stores – was expanded to include 
third party companies doing business with animal 
enterprises, such as accountants, investors, and 
securities firms. Most important, disrupting any 
of these animal enterprises or causing 
“reasonable fear” amongst their employees would 
now be a crime of terrorism­a designation that, 
in addition to ratcheting up potential prison 
terms, brought with it an array of enhanced 
investigative and surveillance authority.

The law itself was largely inspired by a March 
1997 documentary, “It’s a Dog’s Life,” which 
aired on Channel 4 television in Britain and 
depicted the treatment of test animals at 
Huntingdon Life Sciences, then the largest 
contract animal testing company in Europe. Shot 
surreptitiously over two months by an animal 
rights activist working undercover as a 
technician at Huntingdon’s laboratories in 
Cambridge, England, among the footage captured 
were images of beagle puppies being kicked and 
punched in the face by laughing workers when the 
animals cried out and wriggled during blood 
tests. The film sparked an international animal 
rights campaign called Stop Huntingdon Animal 
Cruelty, whose aim was to shut Huntingdon down 
through protests and the “secondary targeting” of 
the company’s clientele, investors, and business 
affiliates. In an effort to quell the outrage, 
Huntingdon moved its corporate headquarters to 
New Jersey, but activists in the U.S. continued 
the campaign through a website that published the 
home addresses of Huntingdon’s corporate 
officers, who were then visited by protestors 
shouting “murderer” and throwing red paint at 
their doors. By 2000 Huntingdon had lost major 
investors, was nearly bankrupt, and was delisted 
from the New York Stock exchange.

But Huntingdon, courtesy of Congress, had the 
last laugh. In 2003, with protests against the 
company in full swing, a little known lobbying 
organization called the American Legislative 
Exchange Council (ALEC), jumped into the fray. 
Bankrolled by major corporations, among them big 
pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer that pay up 
to $25,000 in annual dues, ALEC has had proven 
successes in getting pro-business legislation 
passed and environmental regulations rolled back 
(the Natural Resources Defense Council denounced 
the group as “corrosive, secretive, and highly 
influential”). It counts among its members 2,400 
state lawmakers, nine former governors, and 80 
congresspersons, who draft over 1,000 pieces of 
ALEC-drafted legislation each year, 17 percent of 
which are passed. Working closely with members of 
Congress ALEC managed to draft the language for 
the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, right down 
to the proposal to impose penalties based on 
financial damages and a suggestion to put 
defendants into a terrorist registry. The group 
noted that the preceding legislation was “overly 
narrow,” and argued that existing laws, such as 
the Patriot Act, were of no use in these cases 
because “the federal definition of terrorism 
requires the death of or harm to people, an 
element not characteristic of eco-terrorists.” It 
was a key concern: Domestic terrorism needed to 
be redefined to mean harm against corporate 
persons, not just flesh and blood persons.

The resulting legislation, which passed in a 
secret roll call vote by overwhelming majorities 
in both houses, covers not just acts of 
vandalism, but virtually anything that can affect 
the company’s bottom line, and as such has been 
criticized by activists, including the Humane 
Society of North America, for having a “chilling” 
effect on a wide array of legitimate forms of 
protest.  In 2006, the same year the Animal 
Enterprise Terrorism Act was passed, the Patriot 
Act was amended to allow for the wiretapping of 
individuals suspected of “animal enterprise 
terrorism,” meaning any suspected activist – even 
one never convicted of or charged with a crime – 
could be monitored and placed without notice on a 
terrorist watch-list that circulates among both 
local and federal law enforcement.

The AETA has already been put into action under 
the Obama Administration. Last year three 
activists from Northern California were charged 
under its auspices for having picketed a 
biomedical researcher’s home; they now face five 
years each in prison. Critics say the kinds of 
undercover investigations once mounted by groups 
like the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals 
are now prosecutable as terrorism offenses. 
PETA’s website, for example, has an archived 
video of an investigation in a hatchery where 
baby chicks have their beaks cut off, and another 
of a farm that supplies Land O’Lakes, where 
farmers drive spikes into the spines of cows too 
weak to get up. Pus drips from open sores near 
the udders that are giving milk.

***

Although ELF/ALF activists like Rubin were well 
aware they were breaking the law, none could 
conceive the impact that the terror attacks of 
9/11 would have on their situation or the 
precedent their case would set. Even the lead FBI 
agent who investigated the Operation Backfire 
arsons was loathe to put Rubin and her peers in 
the same category as Osama bin Laden. “We never 
imagined they’d be called terrorists,” said 
Ferreira. His colleague, Jane Quimby, sounded 
sympathetic when discussing Rubin, whom she 
described as a “low-level participant” in the 
arsons – someone who “really walked the walk, and 
talked the talk” when it came to helping animals. 
“I guess under the law she is considered a 
terrorist, but philosophically does she meet the standard? No,” said Quimby.

Recently I went to see Rubin’s ex-boyfriend, 
David Barbarash, who works as a film curator and 
lives in a remote coastal town near Vancouver 
that’s only accessible by ferryboat. Barbarash, 
now 45 years old, says he himself was spared 
prison only because he’d been deported from the 
U.S. and was in Canada during the time the arsons 
were committed. As he spoke about Rubin he was on 
the verge of tears. He told me that though they 
had remained friends after their breakup, the 
last time he’d spoken to her was in 2005, around 
the time she disappeared – just before the first 
round of Operation Backfire indictments were 
handed down. “The thing I wonder about is, if she 
was arrested and convicted along with all the 
others, would she be out of jail now?” said 
Barbarash. “What’s happened to her is harsher in 
a way. It’s a sentence in exile.”

After visiting Barbarash I went to see Rubin’s 
mother and stepfather in Vancouver. They live in 
a large, modern, wood-frame house overlooking the 
city’s glittering downtown. I wondered at the 
pain and frustration Rubin’s absence had caused 
them. In 2007 Rubin’s mother traveled to 
Bangladesh as part of a Canadian non-profit group 
that had sponsored a nursing clinic in the city 
of Dhaka. It seemed the kind of trip a mother 
would have wanted to take with her idealistic 
daughter. Instead, any visit from Rubin with 
family and friends means legal jeopardy for all 
involved. By turning herself into a fugitive, 
Rubin had not just made herself disappear, but 
silenced herself as well. When I knocked on the 
front door, Rubin’s stepfather, Douglas Taylor, 
answered but did not invite me in. “The charges 
are unmitigated baloney,” Taylor told me. “I 
could tell you why, but I’m not allowed to talk 
about it because I’m fairly convinced they’re 
listening.” He pointed to the ceiling to signal 
the place was bugged. Then he said goodnight and 
politely shut the door.

Petra Bartosiewicz is a freelance journalist 
whose book on domestic terrorism trials, The Best 
Terrorists We Could Find, will be published this 
year by Nation Books. This is an expanded version 
of her article on Rubin’s case in the January 
2011 issue of Marie Claire magazine. You can 
reach Petra at <http://www.petrabart.com/>www.petrabart.com.




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