August 10, 2018
From Lauren Regan, Director and Senior Staff Attorney, Civil Liberties Defense Center

On August 10, 2018, the US Department of Justice announced that it had “apprehended” Green Scare defendant Joseph Dibee after indicting him 12 years ago. Dibee was allegedly arrested in Cuba. In 2006, a federal grand jury in Oregon indicted Dibee and 12 coconspirators for acts of economic sabotage by the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front. The groups caused more than $45 million in damages to horse slaughterhouses and federal horse capture facilities, old-growth timber companies and a ski resort encroaching on Canadian Lynx habitat, to name a few of the operations targeted between 1995 and 2001. One of the co-conspirators, Jacob Ferguson, from Eugene, Oregon, volunteered himself to become an informant for the FBI and agreed to wear a wire and travel around the country attempting to entrap his co-conspirators. Without Ferguson’s cooperation with the State, it was unlikely the FBI would have solved any of these cases.

As the cases proceeded over the years, the codefendants broke into two groups: those who chose not to cooperate with the state and received approximately 18 additional months of prison time, including Jonathan Paul, Daniel McGowan, Joyanna Zacher, Nathan Block (and since the original case other non-cooperating Green Scare defendants include Marius Mason, Rebecca Rubin, and Justin Solondz). And those who became informants for the State included Jacob Ferguson, Kevin Tubbs, Stanislas Meyerhoff, Chelsea Gerlach, Darren Thurston, Kendall Tankersley (Harvey), Lacey Philabaum, Suzanne Savoie, Jennifer Kolar, Briana Waters (at her 2nd trial after being snitched on by Philabaum and Kolar at her 1st trial), and Frank Ambrose. Only Marius Mason remains imprisoned until the recent arrest of Dibee.

There were two individuals who were indicted in 2006 but were not found within the U.S to be prosecuted, Joseph Dibee and another person. Now, 12 years later, and under the authoritarian Trump regime, Mr. Dibee faces prosecution in the District of Oregon, the Western District of Washington and the Eastern District of California. He is currently charged in the District of Oregon with one count of conspiracy to commit arson, conspiracy to destroy of an energy facility, and one count of arson regarding the destruction of the Cavel West Horse slaughterhouse. He also faces one count each of conspiracy to commit arson, possession of an unregistered firearm, and possession of a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence in the Western District of Washington and one count each of conspiracy to commit arson, arson of a government building, and possession of a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence in the Eastern District of California for an action at the Susanville federal wild horse capture facility (where wild horses are then shipped to slaughterhouses).

“As usual, the State is using terrorism rhetoric to attempt to bias the judicial process against individuals accused of property damage crimes that were not intended and did not cause harm to any humans or animals. The fact that the government is attempting to inflame hate and ignorance about the fact that this former American animal rights activist is of middle eastern background is appalling and racist.” Lauren Regan, Director and Attorney with the Civil Liberties Defense Center and one of the former criminal defense lawyers for activists previously prosecuted as part of the Green Scare. In fact, the ELF and ALF credo according to their website states that they are “a nonviolent campaign with activists taking all precautions not to harm any animal (human or otherwise).” Their intention is to cause economic damage to those who profit from misery and exploitation of animals as well as the destruction of the environment according to their website.