Case vs. ALF flak dropped

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2000:

Royal Canadian Mounted Police on
September 25 withdrew charges that frequent
Animal Liberation Front spokesperson
David Barbarash, 36, and his
longtime associate Darren Todd
Thurston, 30, sent more than 20 razor
blade-rigged letters to hunters, furriers,
and a newspaper columnist.
R C M P spokespersons told
media that they remain confident that
Barbarash and Thurston were rightly
accused, but felt an order from British
Columbia Supreme Court Justice
Kenneth Lysyk to fully disclose the evidence
against them would jeopardize
confidential sources and agreements
with other law enforcement agencies to
protect the other agencies’ sources.

Also withdrawn was a charge
against Barbarash of allegedly illegally
possessing a weapon, a charge against
Thurston of false impersonation, and
charges that both Thurston and a third
defendant, Rebecca Jeannette Rubin, of
North Vancouver, had illegally possessed
Barbarash and Thurston may
still be suspects, Vancouver Sun
reporters David Hogben and Chris
Nuttall-Smith indicated, in an ongoing
investigation of four 1995 pipe-bombings.
The bomb recipients included cattle
breeding company vice president
Terry Mitenko, Holocaust denier Ernst
Zundel, white supremacist Charles
Scott, and John Thompson, a staff
member at the Mackenzie Institute in
Toronto. The Mackenzie Institute has
been associated with a conservative faction
that took over the Toronto Humane
Society in the early 1990s, and took
THS––then the biggest animal protection
organization based wholly in
Canada––out of opposition to hunting,
trapping, and wearing fur.
Barbarash and Thurston were
believed to have had motives for attacking
each of them. Each had a long history
of engaging in property damage on
the pretext of animal rights activism;
Thurston had allegedly been fascinated
with explosives even before becoming
involved in animal causes; and
Barbarash and Thurston had each done
jail time for vandalizing a University of
Alberta laboratory together in 1992,
taking away 29 cats.
Documents obtained by Barbarash
and Thurston from the prosecution
before the razor blade-mailing
charges were dropped, shared with the
Vancouver Sun, show that the RCMP
while doing surveillance of the two men
was in contact with the Canadian
National Security Intelligence Service,
the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
and Firearms, and the London Metropolitan
Police, in Britain––and that the
various agencies at times tripped over
each others’ operations.
The RCMP alone had more
than 100 people monitoring Barbarash
and Thurston at various times, collecting
5,300 hours of taped conversations
and video of their activities.
All the while Barbarash continued
to announce ALF actions, including
removals or releases of animals from
at least two laboratories, two fur farms,
and an egg ranch in January, February,
May, and August 2000.
The outcome of the Barbarash/
Thurston case recalled the end of a conspiracy
case brought against California
activists Crescendo Vellucci, Jonathan
Paul, and Bill Keogh in 1990, for
alleged involvement in the 1986 removal
of about 200 animals from a University
of Oregon laboratory. Like Barbarash,
Vellucci has at times announced clandestine
actions in the name of animal
rights. Almost a year after the case was
filed, Oregon State Circuit Judge
George Woodrich on April 25, 1991
dismissed all charges because the prosecution
refused to disclose the identity of
a key witness, thereby denying the
defendants the opportunity to confront
and cross-examine their accuser.
Grand jury probes of arsons,
break-ins, bombings, and vandalism
allegedly committed by animal rights
activists were underway in California
and Oregon both then and now––and
many activists then and now refused to
testify, sometimes at cost of going to
jail for contempt of court.
On September 28, 2000, FBI
agents in Seattle arrested Josh Harper,
25, for failing to appear before a grand
jury in Portland, Oregon, which has
been probing illegal actions claimed in
the names of the ALF and Earth
Liberation Front. Harper in 1998-1999
worked closely with Jonathan Paul in
attempting to obstruct Makah efforts to
kill grey whales on Puget Sound.
Another frequent ALF spokesperson,
Craig Rosebraugh, did testify to
the Portland grand jury in May, but said
he provided no specific information

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