Okay, here finally is some of the Barbarash/Thurston story - the rest is left to your imagination for the moment.
More will be revealed in due time of this sordid story of police and security agencies protecting criminals - so agents can go on playing spooks?! - while law-abiding citizens are used as bait and suffer bombs and arson.
And some murky story it is! Breaking even as we speak!!
I am talking about two so-called "animal rights activists" - David Barbarash and Darren Thurston and the trail of destruction they left for years across Canada and the USA. A third one - Rebecca Rubin, from North Vancouver - was briefly implicated in a crime spree across Canada in 1995 as well, but little has been mentioned of her.
Most of the information below came from on-line sections of the Toronto Star, as well as various other papers. This is a well-researched and carefully referenced story, and the credit for some excellent detective work must go to them.
Here's Barbarash, in a letter to Earth First Journal, 1994:
"What it comes down to, I believe, is that they're scared. They know our potential, even if most of us don't. They know the threat we pose to their bull***t way of life. ... You've heard it before, and I'm not afraid of proclaiming it: Let's hit them where it hurts the most. Figure it out. Be secure. Be tribal. Go for the jugular."
Barbarash defined "they" as ". . . those who are, quite simply, wrong about what life is all about."
Brainy, isn't it?
The Animal Liberation Front (ALF), the papers wrote, ". . . claims to eschew violence except against property, leaving the business of hurting humans to an affiliate, called the 'Justice Department'."
The Star and various other papers reported that on July 4, 1999, David Nathan Barbarash, 35, of Vancouver, BC, claimed he was the spokesman for ALF's North American Press Office. Further, ". . . he has attached his name to several claims of responsibility for terrorist acts."
* On June 25, 1999, Barbarash declared that ALF was behind the firebombing of a truck at Worldwide Primates in Florida, "in support of the 1999 Primate Freedom Tour" -
* On Aug. 11, he announced that ALF had torched the United Feeds mill in Wisconsin -
* On Sept. 2, he claimed ALF was responsible for the theft of dogs from a California supplier to research labs -
* On Sept. 13, he announced that ALF was behind the release of (a?) domesticated fox in Minnesota -
* And on Oct. 3, he announced that ALF was to blame for three attacks on Maine hunting clubs -
That's only for 1999 - and ***after*** he was mysteriously released from prison, where he had spent some time waiting for his trial in connection with the 1995 parcel bomb mailings that were sent to four Canadian outfits, some of them tangentially involved in the fur trade, and one bomb to the Zundel-Haus - which, had it exploded, would have killed anybody in a radius of 300 feet, according to Toronto Metro Police!
The spring and summer months in 1995 were very tense months for Ernst Zundel and his staff and supporters. I remember that time very well.
First posters appeared all over Toronto - by the thousands! - urging arson by marking the address of the Zundel-Haus and showing a man throwing a molotov cocktail. There were also posters showing Ernst Zundel's face in the crosshairs of a rifle. There were mob demonstrations in front of his house with people howling for a "kosher barbecue".
In the very early hours the 50th anniversary of the surrender of Germany during World War II, the Zundel-Haus went up in flames, destroying a priceless library as well as irreplaceable documents, valuable office equipment and many personal belongings. Ernst Zundel was on a lecture tour, but his camera man narrowly escaped the flames, as did four young people in a neighboring building.
The Zundel-Haus security camera had caught the fire bug pouring a flammable liquid and setting a match to the building, but despite the video, which was turned over to the police, and subsequent substantial leads provided by Ernst Zundel, the police did not ever apprehend the culprit(s) - or even seem to want to.
Ten days later, a parcel bomb was sent, preceded by a mousetrap with a razor blade attached, claimed to have been laced with AIDS-infected blood. An accompanying note, poorly written, announced "Next time it will be BOOM!"
The bomb squad detonated that parcel bomb, filled with heavy nails and a trigger mechanism. Some perfunctory notes were taken, but came of that investigation either. Ernst tried to lay charges against "person(s) unknown" at the police station, but only smirks resulted.
On June 26, 1995, the Montreal Gazette received a communiqué from a group identifying itself as the Militant Direct Action Task Force ". . . concerning the pipe bombs sent to Zundel. . . " The MDATF warned that its "armed resistance" would not be limited to "fascists" but also "imperialists, military weapons producers, eco destroyers, and all oppressors."
Shortly thereafter, Ernst's Zundel was called by police and warned that an assassination attempt was being planned by his political enemies, who were on a vendetta. He was asked to be extra careful. That summer, as Ernst was digging himself out of the ashes and rebuilt the Zundel-Haus, there were many cross-country calls to California, where I was laboriously learning the secrets of HTML coding for a website I had called the "Zundelsite", and I remember very clearly that his eyes always seemed to be on the security camera as he spoke to me. He would often stop our conversation and investigate what had set off the alarm motion censors, or what seemed suspicious movements in the dark. My heart just ached for him.
We had never heard the names Barbarash and Thurston and did not know that there was a connection between the "animal rights" cause and the two Zundel assassination attempts. Recently, during the last few weeks, as the names Barbarash and Thurston surfaced again here and there in Canadian papers, I asked Ernst how he explained a connection - since "animal rights" had never been of any great interest to him as a political cause.
"Animal Rights" is a Marxist/anarchist front. It serves as the training ground for criminal elements put in the service of the Marxist underground. Bombings, arson, blackmail and intimidation tactics need to be learned and practiced in order to become proficient. We were merely the live targets, hung out to dry by the cops and the intelligence agencies so they could go to a judge and ask permission to bug thousands of phones. We were the excuse used by the spooks. Our security, the safety of our staff and families were immaterial to them."
And he added, after a pause: "It still is - otherwise they would not have withdrawn the charges against Barbarash and Thurston."
Yesterday, I scanned the Toronto Star's website and found the following description of Barbarash, sub-titled "Arrogant Anarchist":
"Over the last decade and a half, Barbarash has built up a persona which includes the key ingredients of a classic anarchist: he is anti-establishment, and he is arrogant enough to believe he can force change by taking the law into his own hands. His occasional writings focus not on workable solutions to society's ills, but simply on ways to destroy the existing order - without getting caught."
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have a similar profile on him. They have linked him with the Anti-Racist Action, the Anti-Fascist Militia, the Militant Direct Action Task Force, ALF's Justice Department, and the tree-spiking Earth First!
His criminal record reaches back to 1982 for narcotics possession. In 1987 he was one of the "Kentucky Fried Five" who vandalized a fast-food outlet in Toronto.
According to the Toronto Star,
"The defendants pleaded guilty to mischief resulting in willful damage, and possession of burglary tools and stolen property. The original charges also accused Barbarash and one other of possessing explosives, carrying weapons, and vandalizing the Toronto University dentistry school in 1987, but these charges were dropped as part of a plea-bargain."
In 1991, Barbarash acquired a roommate and partner in crime, called Darren Thurston, who firebombed three trucks belonging to a fish supply company in Edmonton.
Again, according to the Toronto Star article, ". . . during their investigation, police seized from his apartment a loaded assault rifle, a semi-automatic handgun, 150 rounds of ammunition, a gas mask, two training grenades and two bayonet-type knives, plus literature on incendiary devices and improvised weapons."
The duo crime spree continued:
In 1992, they raided an Alberta University laboratory, released animals and caused C$50,000 in damage. Thurston was jailed. Barbarash escaped and went into hiding. In 1994, the FBI nabbed him in California, and he was extradited back to Canada where he spent three and a half months in jail awaiting trial. He pleaded guilty. He briefly served time, sentenced by a judge who called the "zealousness" of his beliefs "frightening" and said he was a "danger to the public."
By 1995, both criminals were free and working for a British Columbia organization, Bear Watch.
Barbarash was a little out of control," said a spokesman for this organization. "We didn't like what they were doing. That's why they're no longer with Bear Watch."
In other words, they were let go, but not before a woman named Bloom allowed Barbarash the use of her credit card to buy a laptop, along with encryption and other software. Some interesting e-mail resulted, some of which was caught by Zundel-Watchers on the Internet.
"The RCMP's investigation began in response to a series of pipe bombs sent through the mail in 1995. First on the list was Holocaust-denier Ernst Zundel, who received an envelope rigged with a razor blade, and shortly after, a pipe bomb packed with nails. Other bombs went to Aryan Nations leader Charles Scott, Dr. Ted Mitenko of cattle biotech firm Alta Genetics, and John Thompson of the Mackenzie Institute, a think tank which researches issues relating to organized violence and political instability. A fifth was addressed to the Aryan Resistance Movement in Vancouver, but was intercepted by the postal service.
"Most of the bombs were disarmed or detonated safely by authorities, and no one was seriously hurt. But Mitenko only escaped with his life by using his heavy desk as protection while opening the parcel with a coat hanger. The shrapnel left embedded in the walls of his office left no doubt that the RCMP were investigating cases of attempted murder. Barbarash and Thurston were suspects."
In January 1996, a total of 27 people - 22 outfitters and five media organizations - received envelopes containing cards with razor blades attached.
ALF's "Justice Department" claimed responsibility.
In 1997, after lengthy telephone and internet surveillance totaling some 5,300 - some sources say 7,000 - man-hours, the RCMP secured a warrant to search the premises of Barbarash and Thurston and their public storage unit.
In 1998, the two, along with a girl, Rebecca Rubin, were arrested. Apparently the girl was let go. ***Oddly, no charges were filed for the pipe bombs.***
THE SEARCH WARRANT HAD READ: "...FOR THE ATTEMPTED MURDER OF ERNST ZUNDEL." This phrase dropped soon thereafter right into the memory hole before it even got to court!
On Apr. 12, 1999, a preliminary court hearing upheld all the charges against Barbarash - except for the five arising from the razor blade mailings to the media. The court's explanation was that since the packages to the media contained a warning, it would be difficult to argue that the senders intended to cause bodily harm. (!)
Another odd development followed shortly thereafter: ***A publication ban was imposed*** - meaning that reporters could not write about the trial, set for June 25, 2000 and expected to last for six weeks.
Also, shortly thereafter, Barbarash was let out of jail, ***without bond*** - the only restriction being that he had to report to police once a week.
On September 24, 2000, the Fur Commission USA sent out a press release, which reads in part:
Charges Stayed Against Suspected Eco-Terrorists Barbarash, Thurston
THE ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE (RCMP) has dropped all charges against two suspected eco-terrorists rather than disclose information about their investigation in court. (...)
A Stay of Proceedings means that the RCMP will not proceed with the charges, but they have one year to change their mind. If this option is not exercised by that time, the charges will be dropped completely.
The RCMP's decision to stay proceedings followed ***a court order to disclose the origin of certain information relating to the investigation***. (Emphasis added) The RCMP said in a statement that it could not comply because to do so "would compromise the undertakings and obligations that we have entered into with our law enforcement partners. The professionalism and integrity of the Force would be impugned, present and future investigations would be jeopardized, and the ability of the RCMP to maintain its presence in the global fight against criminal organizations would be lost."
In other words, the safety of citizens meant nothing to the cops. They valued their "partners from overseas" more than their citizens' safety, which they are sworn to uphold.
According to the ALF Press Office, however, the RCMP was seeking to cover up the details of a "dirty tricks campaign" against the accused! A handy trick indeed!
In a statement issued Sept. 25, 1999, the ALF Press Office accused the RCMP of waging a campaign of harassment for five years, involving the use of undercover agents.
ALF also claimed ***the RCMP attempted to entrap Barbarash and Thurston by encouraging them to commit arson.***
The RCMP denied the accusations. The ALF Press Office claimed documentary evidence already brought to light proved they were lying.
"It is an absolute outrage that I was ever charged!" stated Barbarash. "This was a vicious campaign of political harassment waged by the RCMP's National Security Investigations Section against two non-violent activists. They had no evidence against us. Now they want to cover up their abuse of power by staying the charges."
The Vancouver Sun, relying on court transcripts, documents provided to them by Barbarash and Thurston, and their own investigation, summed up the evidence the police collected against the duo:
On Oct. 14, 1995, police tailed Thurston and Barbarash to the Lower Mainland Mini-Storage on Richards Street, where Thurston rented a storage locker and placed a brown file box inside, court was told.
A month later, on Nov. 7, police got a warrant to secretly search the locker. In the box, they found, among other things, brown envelopes that contained a card to which a razor blade was attached.
There were also letters and communiqués from a group calling itself the Justice Department, and photocopies of instructions on how to build explosive devices.
Two days later, police secretly marked the locker so they could determine if anyone had been inside. Then, in December, police got another warrant for the locker, and this time used an ultraviolet pen to mark envelopes containing the razor blades. The pen's ink was invisible to the naked eye, but it would allow investigators to identify the envelopes if they were ever sent.
In January, the Victoria Times Colonist received a press release from the "Justice Department." It bore the ultraviolet markings. Guides and outfitters later received razor blade letters bearing the same markings.
So why are the charges being dropped? According to the police, because the Canadian intelligence service was also investigating Thurston in connection with a series of pipe bomb attacks he was a suspect in. The police decided to cooperate with the intelligence agency investigation. Under Canadian law, however, since the police coordinated their efforts with the intelligence agency, everything about the intelligence agency's investigation has to be disclosed in order for the case to proceed -- a move which the intelligence agency has blocked for national security reasons despite the police desire to move forward with the case.
One has to ask: Why did the spooks protect these people? Did they' indeed, egg them on to commit arson? If so, which agents of which agency?
The article reiterates that, theoretically, the charges could be reinstated at some point, and ends: This is certainly a very bizarre legal situation all around."
That's what I thought for some three years. To call this situation "bizarre" is surely an understatement.
Let me just guess: Could it be that what's really playing here is a very serious rivalry between the traditional RCMP and the CSIS, the government's civilian spy agency? And, if so, will the kettle boil over one of these days in the not-too-distant future - and we'll find out just what the "umbrella" or blackmail material consist of that protects such people like Barbarash and Thurston?
As children, we played a game calling "cold...lukewarm...warm...warmer...hot..." following a cue that would lead to the solving of a puzzle, usually a missing piece. I believe that, on this continuum, we are somewhere between ". . . warmer. . . and hot"!
I say this because there was yet another article in the Toronto Star, dated December 26, 2000 - that is, two days ago.
It contained this intriguing piece of information for the Sherlocks of this world:
"What was curious, aside from the shadowy nature of the evidence, were the two spooky agencies involved. Testimony at the 1999 preliminary hearings revealed that the RCMP's National Security Investigations Service and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service had carried on parallel and sometimes competing investigations.
At one point, RCMP officers following the suspects ran across CSIS tails doing the same thing. In memos later made public, the RCMP complained that so many agents driving unmarked, unregistered rental cars were following Barbarash and Thurston that the suspects were almost certainly tipped off.
At least one of the agencies - and perhaps both - placed undercover operatives in what they deemed to be a suspicious vegetarian restaurant. The defendants claim that ***two of these agents encouraged them to burn down a building.*** (Emphasis added)
What kind of a leap of the imagination does it take to guess that maybe the suggestion was to torch the Zundel-Haus?
* When these suspects' phones were tapped by the police, there were up to 7,000 hours of tapes listened to by security analysts. ***Never before in Canada's history has the Marxist underground been as closely observed and analyzed*** - another "gift by default" from Ernst Zundel to the people of Canada!
* How many people know of this story?
* How many people know of details in this story that never made it into print?
* You know the proverb: "Two can keep a secret, but three will tell the world"?
This is a story that leaks from the seams. This is a story that reeks of political intrigue involving the possibility of government-sanctioned-if-not- ordered assassination. This is a story involving two competing - and, chances are, mutually antagonistic - intelligence operations.
Sooner or later, this egg shell will crack! Perhaps then we'll know who desperately wanted Mr. Zundel dead for asking the Forbidden: "Did Six Million Really Die?"
A lengthy Thought for the Day:
Even as I wrote this ZGram, there came over my fax line, ***dated today***, the following article in the National Post, titled "Animal Rights Group takes credit for firebombs."
"Animal rights activists claimed responsibility yesterday for placing firebombs underneath parked trucks at a Burnaby meat distribution plant.
"The group, calling itself the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) said it placed the firebombs on Christmas Day, hoping to cause property damage so the plant's insurance rates would increase. (...)
Mr. Barbarash said he was not involved in the attack but was running the group's press office in Courteney, B.C. a coastal town about 170 km north of Victoria."
(National Post, December 28, 2000)
Back to Table of Contents of the Dec. 2000 ZGrams