This one came out of the blue, considering I didn’t even know anyone was still looking for them. Up on the Canadian border, the FBI has arrested somebody who has been on their radar for a very long time. Rebecca Jeanette Rubin was a high profile member of the ecoterrorist group ELF (the Earth Liberation Front) and has been on the run for quite some time. It appears that run has come to an end.
A Canadian woman who has been an international fugitive from charges relating to a string of fires set by environmental radicals surrendered to U.S. authorities on Thursday, officials said.
After a decade on the run, Rebecca Jeanette Rubin, 39, turned herself in at the Canadian border in Blaine, Wash., the FBI announced. She faces federal arson and conspiracy charges in Oregon, Colorado and California. After an appearance in federal district court in Seattle, she will be sent to face trial in Oregon, officials said.
Rubin is accused of being part of a cell known as the Family, which was based in Eugene, Ore., and was affiliated with the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front. From 1996 to 2001, the group was responsible for 20 arsons in five Western states, officials said.
“The Family” was under the direction of William C. Rodgers of Arizona, who was arrested in 2005. He committed suicide. Most of this took place quite a while ago, but among the many infamous cases of arson they perpetrated, one of the most violent, spectacular and expensive was the burning of a 206-unit condominium which was under construction near San Diego, California in 2003. Fortunately, nobody was killed in the massive blaze, but it caused approximately $20M dollars in damage, including a $7M construction crane and the explosion of a 500 gallon fuel tank. When it was all over, the following charming message was left in the rubble.
If you build it, we will burn it.
The cited reason for burning down the complex? They were protesting urban sprawl. By 2005, the FBI considered ELF to be “the country’s biggest domestic terror threat.” You can view a pretty good timeline of their attacks at Wiki, spanning a period from 1997 to 2009. It’s a lengthy tale of pipe bombs, arson and mayhem, all in the name of supposedly helping to save the planet. They claimed to be “the burning rage of the Earth.”
This is all more than enough reason to be glad that another of their members has been brought to justice, even if very belatedly. Now we have to find out if she’s already got some legal loophole to get out of this or if she’ll actually face trial.