Animal Rights Activist's Home Raided in San Diego Fire Case

Law enforcement officials investigating a San Diego fire that destroyed a five-story apartment complex on August 1 raided the home of animal rights activists David Agranoff and Cari Beltane on August 14.

Agranoff and Beltane run an animal rights group called Compassion for Farm Animals. In May 2003, Agranoff was forced to submit hair, saliva and fingerprints to a Indiana grand jury investigating an arson at an Indiana poultry case.

Agranoff and Beltane later led a protest attended by about 30 activists complaining of the “harassment” they faced from police. Agranoff said at the protest,

We are not guilty of anything. Neither was Martin Luther King when he was targeted by the FBI. People have the right to an opinion without being subject to criminal investigation.

Most news outlets, however, failed to note that Agranoff has faced legal troubles before this related to his animal rights activism. In 1996, Agranoff, then 22, was sentenced to 6 months in jail and fined $1,000 after being convicted of resisting arrest and unlawful assembly during a protest at a New York fur store. At the same trial, Nicole Rogers, 19, was sentenced to two months in jail and a $500 fine, and Christopher Tarbell, 20, to one month in jail and a $500 fine for trespassing and unlawful assembly.

Agranoff’s sentence was thrown out on appeal to the New York State Supreme Court, but Rogers and Tarbell’s sentences were affirmed.

Oddly enough at trial, lawyers for the trio complained that they were being unfairly associated with Anima Liberation Front-style actions, so it was a bit surprising to see that among other things that apparently drew the attention of law enforcement to Agranoff is his role in arranging an appearance of Rodney Coronado to speak in San Diego the day of the arson.


Judge Sentences Fur Protesters To Jail Three Animal-Rights Activists Were Convicted Of Misdemeanors For Their Actions During A Demonstration At Georgio’s Furs. The Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York), August 2, 1996.

Animal Rights Activist Sentenced To 7 Months Convictions Of Two Other Members Of The Group In Separate Incident Upheld. Jim O’Hara, The Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York), March 1, 1997.

Agents raid activists’ home in arson probe. San Diego Union-Tribune, August 2, 2003.

They call search by agents harassment. Ray Hubbard, San Diego Union-Tribune, August 24, 2003.

Pacific Lumber's Rod Coronado Advertisements

Back in April, an amusing controversy broke out in Humboldt County, California over ads taken out by Pacific Lumber specifically targeting convicted animal rights extremist Rodney Coronado.

Coronado lives in Humboldt County these days and has apparently been quite active in a local campaign designed to stop Pacific Lumber from harvesting trees from an old-growth forest it owns.

Pacific Lumber paid for television, radio and newspaper ads that pointed out Coronado’s conviction for firebombing a Michigan State University research lab. The ads rightly noted that Coronado had in the past participated in and advocated for, “damaging property, endangering lives and terrorizing innocent people.”

The ad also included quotes from Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. to contrast their version of nonviolence with what Coronado and his fellow extremists consider to be “nonviolence.”

At least one radio station, KHUM-FM, originally ran the advertisements but later dropped them arguing that they were too “inflammatory.” Of course setting a fire to a building is inflammatory. Simply telling people about a convicted arson is not.

An article on the ads in the North Coast Journal noted, in fact, that Coronado continues his past behavior,

Coronado, who has advocated property destruction against Pacific Lumber in the past, did not claim involvement in the apparent vandalizations of a front-end loader in the Freshwater area a few weeks ago. But he noted that the sabotage, if that’s what it was, occurred immediately after the resumption of helicopter logging. “If I was a resident in an area and I saw Pacific Lumber cutting down trees and taking them away with this helicopter, that would be a point where I might cross the line and say, ‘Screw this company.'”

Coronado seems to have had no problem finding like-minded people in the area. As a Pacific Lumber spokesman noted, the folks carrying out protests against Pacific Lumber were angered that the company tied them with Coronado, but on the other hand many of the protesters embrace Coronado. For example, here’s the North Coast Journal quoting one of these geniuses,

Lodgepole, a leader among the Greenwood Heights tree-sitters, said that Coronado is “a really passionate guy, and that can be twisted to seem like violent.” Lodgepole characterized the PALCO ads as “inaccurate” and “slanderous.”

“It’s total lies,” he said. “They’re holding a whole group of people responsible for one person’s action.”

Okay, lets see if we can follow the logic here. When Pacific Lumber says that Coronado is a convicted arsonist who advocates and participates in damaging property, etc., that is a total lie, except when its true in which case the evil company is “twisting” Coronado’s firebombing of a laboratory to make it “seem like violent.” And, on top of that, where would they ever get the idea that other people agree with Coronado’s views that burning down a building is a nonviolent act.

Coronado is apparently working with Earth First! now, among other things, and a press release apparently written by him went out under Earth First!’s imprimatur in April as well. The press release was pretty dull, except for an amusing final paragraph,

PL is also the target of a lawsuit by the Martin Luther King Jr. Society which is suing the company for the use of King’s image in their ad campaign which states, “Let their words speak for themselves.” The ads feature quotes from a lecture Coronado gave in Washington D.C. at American University in January discussing the legitimacy and use of illegal activities in history by social change movements. “This kind of attack on free speech should send chills to those who believe in our constitutional rights. Corporations like PL would love nothing more than to silence, through intimidation, outspoken critics who historically serve a vital role in effecting [sic] positive social and environmental changes in our society in a different time,” Coronado stated.

Which makes it all clear. Quoting someone accurately in an advertisement — an attack on free speech and intimidation. Firebombing a laboratory — nonviolent action.

Like I’ve said before, the more Coronado talks, the better I sleep at night.


Timber Company and Tree-Sitters: Can’t Beat ‘Em? Smear ‘Em! Press Release, Earth First!, April 23, 2003.

Eco-terrorism in Humboldt? PL ads spark controversy. Bob Dornan, North Coast Journal, April 24, 2003.

Earth Liberation Front Claims Credit for $50 Million Fire

Earth Liberation Front extremists carried out their most expensive arson to date in early August when they set fire to a five-story apartment complex under construction. Estimates of the total damage was $50 million.

A 12-foot banner reading “If you build it, we will burn it” and the ELF initials was found at the scene.

About 400 people had to be evacuated from surrounding apartment complexes as the 3 a.m. fire raged.

By coincidence, Rodney Coronado just happened to be giving a speech in San Diego the same evening the fire was set, and numerous media outlets sought out the convicted arsonist for his views on the attack. The Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise compiled a list of quotes of Coronado from various media sources,

  • “I disagree with the FBI’s declaration that ELF is a terrorist organization. I consider a terrorist to be somebody who kills people.”
  • “The fire was a message. The first intent is obviously to cause economic hardship to companies, individuals responsible for destroying the environment.”
  • “I would rather see an apartment complex burn to the ground than developers making money off the environment.”
  • “Regardless of how people feel about these actions, they do help bring the issue to the public’s attention and maybe when it’s enough in the public’s attention that’s when governments will be called upon to do something about it.”


Earth Liberation Front claims responsibility for San Diego arson. Seth Hettena, Associated Press, August 18, 2003.

The Center View: Earth Liberation Front commits most dangerous arson yet. Press Release, Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, August 1-4, 2003.

Coronado Says the Planet and the Animals Talk to Him

Another one of these hilarious interviews with Rodney Coronado was posted at IndyMedia earlier this month. Coronado’s a lot like Ingrid Newkirk — the more he talks, the better it is for those of us opposed to animal rights.

Coronado expands on his rather unique and expansive view of rights,

My world view isn’t founded on philosophy or ideology. It’s based on one that sees all other living beings and aspects of nature, including plants, animals and rocks, as just as important as all others. My family raised me to believe that not only humans but all living beings and natural things deserve respect.

Every rock is sacred, and “just as important” as a human being. Despite Coronado’s claim, that is most certainly an ideological position and an extremely hideous one at that. I can’t wait for PETA to pick up on this, since they’re such big supporters of Coronado, and start a Holocaust-In-A-Quarry campaign.

Much of this view, by the way, expresses it in an odd religious view that the planet is literally talking to Coronado. Describing being on the run after being indicted for the arson of a Michigan State University laboratory, Coronado said,

? I decided I was sick of running, I would get rid of the gun I was carrying, and I would die. I heard all the plants and animals speaking to me through the wind and they said, “We are here for you, but we can only help you if you believe in us more than you believe in them.”

Similarly, Coronado believes that animals were seeking him out while he was in prison for that crime,

Even in prison, he said, “the spirits of the animals didn’t forget me.” He said he would see coyotes come to the prison fence and howl greetings to him when he was in the yard, and when he was working in the prison garden hummingbirds would fly towards him.

Instead of giving speeches, Coronado might want to seek professional help.

Coronado also has an odd philosophy related to the goal of ELF/ALF terrorist actions,

Last night in San Diego a bunch of townhouses were burned down, and reporters from two corporate TV stations just asked me, “What good does that do your movement?” I said, “If that hadn’t happened, you wouldn’t be here tonight.” People willing to risk their lives to protect the environment by destroying buildings built on the habitat of endangered species make people take notice.

So the ends justify the means if it results in a lot of media coverage. This is, of course, the Eric Rudolph school of media theory.

Coronado also has a Beavis and Butthead like worship of fire that borders on self-parody,

Fire is a very sacred power, one of the key elements of our planet. We use fire to cleanse ourselves, and when we address buildings and institutions that have no other purpose but to destroy life, fire is the only way to stop them. When people ask if someday someone might get hurt by one of our actions, I ask them why they don’t get so concerned about the people who are killing animals for a living. That is what the terrorism in this society is. Destroying property to protect life is the most sacred thing we can do.

Arson-as-sacred-duty. The wind and plants talking to him. Hummingbirds being drawn to him. Keep on talking, Rodney.


Rod Coronado Speaks in Hillcrest Aug. 1. Mark Gabrish Conlan, August 2, 2003.

Rodney Coronado on Why He Supports Terrorism

An interview of Rodney Coronado conducted by Mirha-Soleil Ross was recently posted on Infoshop.Org and offers an interesting look at the mind of an animal rights terrorist.

Coronado offers the standard sort of defense of his indefensible actions. He starts off by claiming that, say torching a lab, is not really an act of violence at all but rather of self-defense,

Well, to take a gun away from the hand of someone who is ready to use it to kill someone cannot be considered a violent action because it is understandable that you are preventing a much greater crime from taking place. Similarly, to take away the tools that are used solely for the destruction of innocent life before they can be used to cause that destruction is the prevention of a much greater and evil crime. So in such instances, I consider aggressive acts to be non-violent and we’re living in a society today that legally sanctions the destruction of the last ancient redwoods, that legally sanctions the decimation and extinction of 10 000 species a year. I think it is a non-violent action in our society to remove those tools that cause that destruction before it can be done. And to have the label of terrorist, extremist, violent offender or criminal leveled against us by the people who themselves are responsible for an incredible amount of suffering, torture, and realistically terrorism, violent terrorism, is ludicrous. I think that society and people in the public only have to look at who has the blood on their hands to recognize who the real violent members of our society are.

Which degenerates into the “we live in a violent society maneuver,

Well I think that once we begin to recognize terrorism and real violence in our society and recognize it’s something that our society will not tolerate, then we need to recognize that when governments commit murder, it is called legal military maneuvers or police operations. But when rebel forces or people that are defending their homelands or their environment do it, then it’s labeled as terrorism or violent responses. So I think it is important for us to recognize that the only reason that this type of reaction is happening is because our government and our society live in this hypocrisy and double-standard whereby not only we don’t oppose all violence in our society but in fact we legislate and legally sanction a lot of it.

How could they claim to have a concern with violence when there’s so much violence happening legally in our society around us today. And these accusations are always made when we destroy property but they are never made when industry officials and their hired foot soldiers and the police practice violence on a regular basis against our non-violent protesters. The only reason we are seeing the Animal and Earth Liberation Fronts respond as aggressively and outside of the law is because we are no longer respected as non-violent protesters and demonstrators. We are seeing an increased amount of pepper spraying of activists and of civil and human rights being violated.

Followed by the claim that, really, democracy itself is being subverted because Congress doesn’t legislate based on the number of letters it receives,

Here in the United States, there is no other issue that receives more letters in congress than animal issues. Now if we lived in a true democracy, that would translate into laws that would protect animals. But instead what we are seeing to this day are animals in laboratories with only the bare minimal protection. And some animals like rats and mice and birds and fish and farm animals aren’t even recognized as animals, they are called non-animals. So as long as our government fails to answer to the majority of the public’s concern for animals and the environment, they can be damn sure there is going to be an increase of actions by people who have no faith in the government.

And, of course, the world Coronado wants is so much better than this one that the ends justify the means,

Also, we have to recognize that what we fight for is something so much more beautiful and compassionate and loving than anything that the dominant society has ever offered us. Everything that they have ever created, all this illusion of reality that they force us to live under is based on fear and intimidation and consumerism and all these things that you have to strive to achieve and respect. Not because you believe in it but because you are afraid of the consequences and of what happens if you don’t adhere to societal norms. And you have to look at what the alternative is and what we represent. And we represent the power of love, the power of the earth. That power isn’t created by man but it’s something that you see in a river in a mountain range, in a wilderness, in a wild lynx or mink and that is something that is so sacred. For me, as an individual, when I was on the run from the FBI and being hunted, I realized for the first time that I had so much more of a similar relationship to my animal creation than I ever had previously. And I believe that I was closer to them than I had been before. Only when I got to that level of feeling like a hunted animal, did I really gain the level of appreciation for my life and freedom that we all have strived to gain because this is such a beautiful thing we have before us.

And such a religious experience requires an equally silly theology (emphasis added),

We nurture ourselves with the same energy and life force of the earth that they nurtured themselves with and their spirits speak to us. We live in this urban environment so we respond accordingly. Because we are in the belly of the beast, we respond by rejecting animal abuse and environmental destruction. And in this day and age we are called environmental or animal rights’ activists but I think it’s important for all of us to recognize that it’s much bigger than just the environment and the animals. It’s about earth rights. It’s about air rights, water rights, rock rights, the rights of every natural creation to survive. So we have to get outside of these little pockets and compartments that society tries to force us in and rip off those labels that they stick on us.

Down with entropy!


Rod Coronado: A Voice for Liberation. InfoShop.Org, April 14, 2003.

Rodney Coronado on the Need for More Animal Rights/Environmental Terrorism

Animal rights terrorist Rodney Coronado recently gave a long, rambling interview to an EarthFirst! magazine. Much of the interview focuses on Coronado pretending he was some sort of latter day Cochise when he committed arson at Michigan State University, for which he served 4 years in jail.

In the interview, Coronado talks about how he thinks the Animal Liberation Front/Earth Liberation Front will be viewed 100 years from now as well as calls for more violence by these extremists,

[Coronado:] The ALF or ELF will never be hailed as heroes in our time. Their roles will be seen more clearly in 100 years when the ecological shortsightedness of our present government is realized. Some people say that in a ?post-September 11? world there?s less room for direct action. But that?s exactly what the Consumer Freedom whores want us to believe. They?re exploiting September 11 to push their own agenda, while hoping it will force us to compromise ours.

Personally, I don?t know why someone hasn?t tried to burn down Pacific Lumber or the Horse Butte Capture Facility. How many more rivers and salmon runs have to be destroyed and buffalo slaughtered before we realize these corporations are killing us and our only home? I don?t care what the political climate is, it?s never not a good time to take direct action to rescue victims from suffering and cease the destruction.

EF!J: Unfortunately, it seems like more folks are getting caught. Are there any words of wisdom or lessons that you want to convey to potential elves to keep them safe?

RC: Hopefully, it seems that way because there are just more people fed up and taking action. Words of wisdom to all ELF and ALF warriors out there: Stay away from your old friends and familiar above ground political scenes; don?t use computers or telephones for anything; don?t put any faith in techy gadgets; keep it simple; never use your own vehicle or those of other activists; physical exercise (think of the embarrassment of being run down by a cop); and don?t pinch pennies, your freedom is worth the few extra bucks it costs to increase your security. Pray to the powers of Earth for guidance?stealth of Cougar, night sight of Owl, like lightning, the power to strike your enemies suddenly and return home safely. I love you all, and I?m praying for you to make it count. Maximum destruction! Not minimum damage.

Okay, what do I have to do to get Coronado to throw a little love my way and refer to those AnimalRights.Net whores the next time he goes on like this? I’m praying to the powers of Earth for that.

I don’t know what people will think of Coronado 100 years from now, but lets hope they remember that he was so serious about his principles that while on the run from the Feds after the MSU arson, Coronado abandoned his vegeterianism, only to miraculously find his way back to the True Path(TM) again. Coronado’s strongly held beliefs led him to firebomb a research laboratory, but apparently didn’t keep him from the joys of nicely cooked animal flesh.


LIVING THE TRUTH – An Interview with Rod Coronado. EarthFirst!, 2003.