FBI Increases Reward for Suspected Eco-Terrorists to $50K Each

  • Published on November 20th, 2008

[social_buttons]Looking back on the actions of so-called “eco-terrorist” organizations like the now less-active Earth Liberation Front, they almost seem quaint as compared to the destruction wrought by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, or what I like to call, ‘the real terrorism.’

But the Federal Bureau of Investigation doesn’t think the ELF’s actions were so quaint. On Wednesday the FBI announced it is increasing the reward for information leading to the arrest of four people accused of sabotage attacks in five Western states,”including the largest eco-related arson in history, a $26 million arson at the Vail Ski Resort in Vail, Colorado.”

The FBI is now offering up to $50,000 each for information leading to the arrest of Joseph Dibee, Josephine Overaker, Rebecca Rubin, and Justin Solondz, all believed to be living abroad. Investigators charge the group as being responsible for “25 domestic terrorism criminal actions totaling over $48 million in damages.”

The group also is suspected in a 2001 fire at the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture in Seattle. A fire that, ironically, wiped out the portion of the lab that does research on endangered species, wetlands restoration, and urban forestry and gardening. The fire may have killed a good portion of one rare species: the showy stickseed. At the time of that particular incident, Dr. Steve Strauss, plant geneticist at Oregon State University, whose own research was vandalized said, “I don’t call them ecoterrorists anymore. They don’t deserve the ‘eco,’ They’re terrorists against science.”

To date, Operation Backfire, the FBI program set up to ferret-out eco-terrorists has resulted in the indictment of 17 individuals for eco-terrorism criminal activities.

“During the last ten years, the federal government has wasted countless resources on its ‘Operation Backfire’ campaign aimed at demonizing those who are protecting the planet,” said Lisa Nesbitt – one of the four new regional press officers with the ELF.

ELF representatives have recently turned the tables on the discourse of eco-terrorism, calling the big three U.S. automakers the real eco-terrorists. One recent release said, “Instead of targeting Hummer and SUV dealerships over the last few years, the ELF should have put General Motors out of business years ago with well-placed incendiary devices in Detroit.”

Image: FBI.gov

About the Author

is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media, a media network about the politics of energy and the environment, green business, cleantech, and green living. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.