Homebrew terrorism

| March 8, 2008

Here in Colorado, we’ve had on-going trials involving the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front (ALF and ELF — how cute!), a group that practices domestic terrorism in support of their environmental goals.

The coverage of the trial reads as though it were taken from the plotline for a mediocre contemporary novel or TV movie:

Kolar testified that she got her start in activism as an undergraduate working with the Colorado Public Interest Research Group, volunteering with Rocky Mountain Animal Defense and teaching at a student environmental center on the CU campus.

In the winter of 1996-97, she told jurors, she met activist Jonathan Paul at an animal rights conference in Minnesota.

Paul, sentenced last summer to 51 months in prison for his part in the arson that destroyed the Cavel West horse slaughterhouse in Redmond, Ore., was active with the Animal Liberation Front and an ELF cell in Eugene, Ore.

The two were soon in a romantic relationship, even though Paul lived in Oregon, Kolar testified. In the summer of 1997, he asked if she was interested in joining the movement. She said yes.

Kolar testified that she and Paul spent several days mixing an inflammatory brew of vegetable glycerine soap, gasoline and diesel fuel.

On July 21, the couple met three other ELF members – Joseph Dibee, Jake Ferguson and Kevin Tubbs – in Eugene, Ore., and then traveled south to a rendering plant owned by the Belgian company Cavel West.

According to court documents from Oregon, animal rights activists considered Cavel West a particularly heinous facility that destroyed wild horses rounded up and sold by the Bureau of Land Management.

Using the fuel mixture created by Kolar and Paul and delayed timing devices built by Dibee, the group set the horses outside free and burned the slaughterhouse to the ground.Kolar said she flew home to resume her normal life, embarking on her Ph.D. and working as a consultant for a scientific software company. Paul cut her a check to cover travel expenses to and from the arson.

Kolar’s next target was the Wray Gun Club in October 1998, chosen because it was known for hosting contests to shoot prairie dogs.

“We at the RMAD had been unsuccessful trying to stop them, so we decided to burn that gun club down,” she testified. The attempt was unsuccessful.

Kolar said she eventually abandoned her academic career and moved to Seattle in 1999, to be closer to her father, she said, and her boyfriend and fellow ELF activist Joe Dibee.

She continued her double life, working in lucrative high-tech jobs in Seattle during the dotcom boom. She lived in a chic North Seattle neighborhood with a boyfriend from outside the movement, and spent weekends racing sailboats at the Corinthian Yacht Club.

According to evidence presented at the Waters trial, Kolar twice in 2001 helped execute successful arsons and then resumed her normal life, racing her sailboat just a few days after the fire at the Center for Urban Horticulture, and starting a vacation in Hawaii a day after burning down a BLM horse corral in Northern California.

I’m sure they told themselves at the time that the ends justified the means. I wonder how they’ll think after a few years in prison.  ..bruce w..

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Category: Environment, Legal, Main

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at bwebster@bfwa.com, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.

Comments (1)

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  1. 2Am4Sure says:

    They’ll become tenured professors like Ayres and Dohrn.