FBI Offers $50,000 Reward for Information Leading to Conviction of ELF Criminals

The FBI last week announced that it was offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of Earth Liberation Front criminals who on May 21, 2001 firebombed an Oregon tree farm and a Seattle horticulture center.

According to an FBI press release announcing the reward,

At 3:20 a.m. on May 21, 2001, the University of Washington Urban Horticultural Center in Seattle and the Jefferson Poplar Farm in Clatskanie, Oregon, were simultaneously ignited causing millions of dollars in damage. Five days later, the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) claimed responsibility for both arsons, citing its disapproval of genetic engineering research for poplar trees.

According to The Oregonian, the FBI believes that the two arsons along with three other earlier arson in Oregon, including one at an automobile dealership, are all the work of the same individual or group of individuals due to the similar construction of the incendiary devices used in all five bombings.

Anyone with information about the arsons should contact their local FBI office.


FBI Press Release. FBI, May 21, 2004.

FBI offers $50,000 reward for ELF leads. Bryan Denson, The Oregonian, May 22, 2004.

Researchers Discover Genes Linked to Alzheimer's

Researchers at the Oregon Health & Science University recently announced they had identified a set of genes that are believed to play a role in the early development of Alzheimer’s disease.

In a press release announcing a forthcoming paper to be published in Human Molecular Genetics, lead researcher P. Hemachandra Reddy of the OHSU Neurological Sciences Institute said,

Through studying a mouse model of Alzheimer’s, the research team found that a series of genes related to mitochondrial metabolism in brain cells were more active than in normal mice. Mitochondria are structures located in the cytoplasm of cells that produce energy for the cell. Prior research has linked Alzheimer’s to mitochondrial function. However this is the first time genes that are responsible for early cellular change in Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis have been identified.

. . .

We studied gene expression levels at three distinct stages of disease progression in the genetically-altered mice relative to age-matched wild-type normal mice. We conducted gene expression analysis long before (2 months of age), immediately before (5 months) and after (18 months) the appearance of beta amyloid plaques. In doing this, we found that these mitochondrial genes were more active at 2 months of age when compared to normal mice, and in some cases their activity heightened as the disease progressed. We believe the abnormal gene expression comes in response to beta amyloid-induced mitochondrial dysfunction, even in its early stages. Based on prior research, it’s thought that energy metabolism in mitochondria is impaired by heightened levels of beta amyloid in the brain. We believe the genes identified in our study increase their activity to compensate for this damage, but unfortunately in the end they cannot keep up with the progression of Alzheimer’s.

A companion study published in NeuroMolecular Medicine finds similar gene expressions in human Alzheimer’s patients, demonstrating the value of using a mouse model to study Alzheimer’s and, using this new finding, hopefully one day developing a test to detect the onset of Alzheimer’s early in the disease’s development.


OHSU researchers uncover genes involved in early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Press Release, Oregon Health & Science University, April 27, 2004.

June 12 – International Day of Action for Jeff Luers

Supporters of convicted arsonist Jeff Luers are planning an international day of action in solidarity with the extremist who is currently serving a 22 year jail sentence. Luers was convicted for his role in a June 2001 arson at an automobile dealership and May 2000 incident in which he tried to set fire to a gasoline tanker.

According to the release being circulated about the June 12 day of action (emphasis added),

International Day of Action & Solidarity with Jeff ‘Free’ Luers June 12, 2004

June marks the fourth year that our friend and comrade, Jeff “Free” Luers has been imprisoned and held captive by the state. Sentenced to 22 years and 8 months for burning three Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) at Romania Chevrolet in Eugene, Jeff has continued to be active in prison and fight back with his words and inspiration. This June 12, we aim to strengthen his efforts by promoting a day of action and solidarity with Jeff throughout the world.

This day will mean many things to many people – we say do what fits your local situation and your desires. Some ideas are film screenings, protests at SUV dealerships, wheat-pasting campaigns, letter writing and outreach, music shows and direct actions. The important thing is that you ask yourself: will this action help Jeff’s situation? Remember that what we do on the outside has an impact on his life on the inside-sometimes its positive and sometimes negative. Consider this crucial bit of information when planning your event.

There is no central organizing body or group to check in with but the J12 Organizing Committees can help by providing you with flyers, graphics, and merchandise such as videos, zines and stickers about Jeff’s case. It is imperative that you be able to speak about Jeff’s case if you do a public event. Take some time and read about it on our website www.freefreenow.org

Jeff’s imprisonment and sentence is without a doubt, intolerable but keep in mind that his sentence is yours as well. It is meant as a deterrent to social and environmental movements all over. Let us not forget that when you fight with Free for his freedom – you fight for yourselves and your freedom.

There will be events in many US cities and potentially in countries as diverse as England, Australia, Finland, Brazil, Russia and more. There is already a large public outreach event planned for Eugene, which will involve speakers, music and more. If you choose to hold a public event, email us and we can include the event on the website as well as include your information in outreach materials. After the day, you can send us write-ups, photos and updates and that too can be posted online. Many people have emailed us about a desire to do more for Jeff -this is the perfect time to show your solidarity.

As has been pointed out before, rather than accept a plea deal, Luers decided to go to trial and was convicted on 11 of 13 counts. Based on those convictions, the judge in the case had no choice but to sentence Luers to 22 years and 8 months under an Oregon mandatory minimums statute for arson. This was not an attempt to send Luers or activists any message — in fact, Luers’ co-conspirator Craig Marshall received just a 5 1/2 year sentence as a result of a plea agreement.


Day of Action for Jeff Luers – June 12. Infoshop, April 23, 2004.

Activists Disappointed by Oregon Trap-Checking Limit

In 2001, the Oregon legislature passed a law that, among other things, required that traps set for “nuisance animals” be checked “on a regular basis.” It was left to the state Fish and Wildlife Commission to determine what qualified as “a regular basis,” and it issued a decision on that in February that pleased farmers and trappers but disappointed animal rights activists.

State law already requires traps set for fur-bearing animals be checked every 48 hours. On a 4-2 vote, the Fish and Wildlife Commission ruled that traps for nuisance animals must be checked every 76 hours. In addition, if a trapping is done for “damage control” the traps only need to be checked every 7 days, and conibear traps need to be checked only ever 30 days.

In Defense of Animals’ Connie Durkee told The Oregonian that the Fish and Wildlife Commission was putting the interests of trappers ahead of the animals,

The message that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife sends is that convenience for the trapper outweighs being humane. No wild animal should have to suffer needlessly.

Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society for the United States said the trap-check limits were inhumane and would likely spur his and other groups to bring a ballot initiative to address “inhumane traps.” Pacelle told the Bend Bugle,

The Commission has abrogated its responsibility to provide the most elemental humane standards for trapping. Animals caught in inhumane traps will languish not for hours, but for days. The Commission has all but incited humane and wildlife protection organizations to renew their effort to pass a comprehensive ballot initiative to halt the use of inhumane traps in Oregon.

HSUS Oregon program coordinator Kelly Peterson noted that many states require traps to be checked every 24 hours and argued that Oregon should have brought its trap-check limit in line with other states. Peterson told the Bend Bugle,

Given that more than 30 states mandate 24-hour or daily trap check requirement, it is most disappointing that the state will allow animals to linger in traps for three to thirty days. The suffering the animals will endure is immense.

The 76-hour limit was favored by a majority of a citizen’s committee that looked at this issue in 2003. It was favored in order to accommodate federal Wildlife Service so that such individuals could set traps on Friday and not have to check them again until the following Monday.


Oregon panel sets 76-hour trap-checking limit. Mark Larabee, The Oregonian, February 7, 2004.

Humane Society dismayed by trap check rules. Bend.Com, February 6, 2004.

Trapping decision angers animal-rights activists. Mark Freeman, Mail Tribune (Jackson County, Oregon), February 7, 2004.