The Unabomber, Domestic Terrorists And The FBI
The reason I am submitting this story is because of the series that just aired on television about Theodore Kaczynski the Unabomber. The series claims to be taken from a true story. However, there are portions that are totally inaccurate and there is obsoletely no truth within those portions of the TV series. The FBI was given all the credit for finding Kaczynski in the series, when in fact it was others including two U.S. Senators who helped figure out who the Unabomber actually was. This is prior to the FBI’s false claim that they did all the work. The following is an accurate truthful story.
Prior to admitted Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski’s arrest I had profiled him with the help of the late Tony Snow of Gannet News Service and as a result, the FBI was aware that he had attended a radical environmentalist meeting on November 10, 1994 in Missoula, Montana, 30 days prior to his assassination of Thomas Mosser of Burson·Marsteller.
The following is a story taken from chapters of my 2004 book, BURNING RAGE – The Growing Anger Within My Country. In addition my involvement in the Unabomber case had become a major issue with radical environmental terrorist.
Gil Murray, president of the California Forestry Association (CFA) invited me to speak at the CFA’s annual conference in Sacramento in January of 1995. Murray and his staff thought informing their membership of the possibility of expanded terrorism against timber interests would be of benefit to those attending the conference.
Just as my speech was to begin, there was a commotion at the entrance to the conference room. At the doorway stood Andy Caffrey, a Humboldt County, California radical Earth Firster and one of his cohorts demanding entrance. When members of Earth First attended my previous speeches their attendance had always added a little excitement to my presentations. There had been no problems in the past, so Caffery was admitted. Most of these extremists who have challenged me publicly usually show up filthy and un-bathed, have long matted hair, and in desperate need of a good deodorant. Caffrey was no exception.
As part of my speech I always explained to the audience that Earth First is an organization that advocates anarchy, terrorism and revolution through their publication, the Earth First Journal. “Terrorists? Not us” is always the response by those Earth Firsters in the audience. This speech was no different and Caffery wanted his five minutes. I asked the audience if Caffery could speak to them. The response was overwhelmingly in favor, as many within this audience had never seen an Earth Firster let alone ever heard one and this audience wanted to hear what he had to say. As Caffrey began, it was obvious the anger within the audience grew as he spoke. Nadine Bailey of the CFA stood up, picked up her belongings and walked out. A couple of others soon followed. The audience was anything but impressed. Eighty-nine days later, one of the Unabomber’s bombs was delivered to Bailey’s CFA office.
I remember vividly the chain of events that led to my discovery that Gil Murray was killed by a bomb. The date was April 24, 1995. The very end of a news story stated that a U.S. Forest Service (USFS) office had been bombed and there was a death. The news story was no surprise to me as Earth First leaders have always compared the USFS and their leadership to Nazi Germany. The comparison was obviously not because of the mass execution of people, but rather as a result of the mass “execution” of trees. The radical group’s deep ecology religious beliefs place the value of trees and animals before the welfare and safety of humans.
While listening to the news report, I thought about the continual growing anger towards the USFS and Earth First by loggers, miners and ranchers. Surprisingly, there had been no violence by natural resource-dependent companies and employees. Allegations were numerous, of course, as Earth First members continually cry to the media about the violence directed at them and the press eats it up.
Upon arrival at my office my message machine was completely full of messages. There were messages from ABC, NBC, CBS and every major newspaper in the country. What surprised me was the bombing I heard about on my car radio was not a USFS office as reported but rather the CFA office and the death was the man who had asked me to warn his members about future violence against his industry.
Gil Murray was dead. He had been blown apart from the waist up. Even though the following is very descriptive, it clearly shows what happens when a bomb explodes in an office or a home. I for one cannot possibly imagine the impact and resulting effect this event has had on the thousands of people connected to the victim. When describing Murray’s death, author Ron Arnold wrote in ECOTERROR – The Violent Agenda To Save Nature – The World Of The Unabomber.
Gil Murray stood alone in the lobby. He laid the wooden container on the chest-high reception counter and opened it.
There was a brief flash.
The device expanded in all directions. Four streams of hot metal separated from the spherical blossom of light.
A blast of snipped-in-half wood screws and tiny melted machine parts shot straight down the hallway where Lisa Tuter had stood a moment before, slicing off drywall as it went and snapping into the kitchen wall at the back of the building nearly a hundred feet away.
A vortex jetted straight ahead, piercing the wall behind the reception desk and burying dozens of little projectiles in a row of steel filing cabinets in the next room.
The devise lid lifted on a gaseous ram, shredding the heavy false ceiling, pounding through heating ducts and piercing the roof deck, letting jagged sunlight into its slipstream.
The main thrust of the detonation did not throw Gil Murray back from the counter. It cut through him. It ripped off his face and an arm. It embedded the bulk of his chest in the wall behind him, then bowed the wall into an adjoining storeroom, toppling heavily loaded bookcases on the far side. It riddled the reception area with pieces of his body. What was left fell to the floor? The shattered false ceiling collapsed over him. Flames and acrid smoke billowed outward.
Total elapsed time: Less than seven-tenths of a second.
To take a human life in seven-tenths of a second is incomprehensible. How many hours, days and months of planning had this taken and why? All Kaczynski said later was, it was “because of his [Murray’s] beliefs.”
At that point, violence against the timber industry had taken on a new and horrifying twist. Earth Firsters had been responsible for millions of dollars in sabotage to logging equipment, but no one had anticipated a bomb would kill anyone. Among the many phone messages on my machine were numerous timber company officials wanting to know, “What do we do?” and “Will there be others?” They were obviously looking for help and most everyone within the timber industry knew the FBI was doing nothing to investigate the criminal acts directed at their industry.
Almost immediately, the FBI announced they suspected the bombing had been the work of the “Unabomber.” I knew at that point the Unabomber was part of Earth First and this could only mean one or more members of Earth First had taken the violence to a new level.
My thoughts were numerous, what could I do? Believing that the FBI would be interested in the information I possessed, I called the Unabomber Task Force in San Francisco. The agent listened for a few minutes, took my name and thanked me politely. They just weren’t interested. Was it because my conversation included information about Earth First? I later read a June 6, 1995 article in The Chicago Tribune titled “20,000 tips – no suspect, Unabomber recast as warped, not political.” I could not help but wonder how many of the “20,000 tips” people had called in were ignored.
Following my uneventful contact with the FBI, my attention turned to my elected officials. Not believing they would actually listen I called the offices of Senators Conrad Burns (R-MT), Slade Gorton (R-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA). Was I surprised! I hit pay dirt. I now had two Republican Senators interested and one democrat who was not. I wondered if the reason Senator Murray was not interested was because of the outspoken views I had earlier shared with her staff. Two out of three Senators listened. Not a bad average and I had always heard politicians were inaccessible.
The staff of both Republican Senators reviewed the information and interviewed me about it. They determined the documents I had supplied regarding terrorism and the Unabomber were accurate and creditable. Following that process, Senators Burns and Gorton went out of their way to help. The Senators were interested; their staffs were interested, but how to get the FBI to listen?
Burns and Gorton sent letters to numerous branches of the Department of Justice with no success. It was not until Burns sent a June 24, 1995 letter to FBI Director Louis Freeh that things changed. The letter outlined the requests made by himself and Gorton to Michael Bromwich, Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice. A portion of the letter stated:
As of this date, we have not had further response on this matter. As you will readily agree, many incidents have occurred since November that would peak one’s interest in just what Mr. Clausen has been telling the public. I would appreciate knowing what action has been taken on this matter. I look forward to your prompt reply.
Almost immediately wheels started to turn. What happened next was a total surprise. I received a phone call from FBI Special Agent Don Glasser. Glasser had been assigned to interview me about the information I possessed on the Unabomber case. I met Glasser in Seattle. He turned out to be the owner of a sailboat as I was, so over the course of an hour lunch we discussed both sailing and the Unabomber. I left wondering what would happen next as Glasser had not taken notes nor requested any documents from me.
It didn’t take long, before I received a copy of a letter the FBI sent to both Senators Burns and Gorton referring to Charles Mandigo of the Seattle office of the FBI as the contact person for the Senators. The information contained in the letter was an outright lie. It stated the FBI had interviewed me and was reviewing the information and documents I supplied.
I was outraged that the FBI would lie to United States Senators so I called both Senators offices. When the Senators discovered what had happened, apparently, they weren’t happy either. Shortly after, the phone rang again. It was Glasser. He apologized for the letter sent to the Senators and admitted they were not correct.
“Yes Don I know, I was there.”
“Can we meet again?”
Glasser came to my office in Port Ludlow, Washington. At the beginning of the interview I felt Glasser was pacifying me until at one point the agent looked at me and said, “You’re right.” I realized I had caught his interest and that interest appeared to be sincere. After five hours of reviewing the information, Glasser told me he was sure I was correct and yes the FBI was interested. He left me with his assurance the information would not be ignored. I met Glasser several times after that second meeting. I later gave Glasser a list of those attending the Montana Earth First/Native Forest Network (NFN) conference, which did contain the name of Kaczynski with a different spelling, “T. Casinski.”
The FBI was so convinced my information was correct; they sent undercover agents to Missoula, Montana. One of those was Special Agent Candice DeLong who had joined the Bureau in 1980 and had worked with Glasser on other cases. (Both she and Glasser had been involved in the investigation and arrests of the Puerto Rican terrorists Clinton released from prison in 1999).
After meeting with Glasser I decided not to wait for the FBI to act. I believed if I could get an article in the press it would push the FBI into acting. On August 2, 1995 I called Cynthia Hubert a reporter for the Sacramento Bee about what was labeled the “Eco-F**ker Hit List.” Of the 12 company names on the list, two of the top three were the last victims of the Unabomber. I didn’t believe this to be a coincidence. Cynthia’s story ran the next day. The following is a portion of her story:
“Hit List” had Unabomber Targets – Terrorist’s possible link to
underground newspaper probed by FBI.
The FBI is investigating whether the Unabomber used a “hit list” published in an underground environmental newspaper five years ago to select some of his recent targets, including the California Forestry Association in Sacramento.
The list, published in a 1990 edition of “Live Wild Or Die,” included the Timber Association of California, now the CFA, whose president was killed when he opened a mail bomb in April.
It also listed the Exxon Corp., which the Unabomber has mentioned in connection to his fatal attack on a New Jersey advertising executive last year….
Barry Clausen, a Seattle private investigator who specializes in “radical environmental groups,” said he believes the Unabomber used the “hit list” to select some of his victims. He has discussed his findings and theories with the FBI and the targeted groups, authorities confirmed Wednesday.
“I can confirm that we have met with this individual and we are very interested in what he has to say,” FBI spokesman George Grotz in San Francisco said Wednesday….
Clausen said he received his copy of the newspaper, which was published in Portland, Ore. from a member of the Earth First environmental group. “I am not saying that I know who the Unabomber is or that Earth First is involved,” Clausen said, “but I think this list is where he drew some of his victims.”
He and others familiar with such groups said they do not know who publishes the radical underground newspaper or whether it is still in circulation. Earth First members said the group is not affiliated with the newspaper and disavows the kind of violence perpetrated by the Unabomber.
Karen Pickett, an organizer for Earth First in Berkeley, said none of the information published in “Live Wild or Die” represents a call to violence. “The rhetoric is extreme, but it is a list of corporations that are doing harm to the environment and have been a target of direct action and protest, not murder,” Pickett said.
“Letter bombs and murder are not a tactic that have ever been used or suggested by the environmental movement,” she said….
The Unabomber last struck in April, when a package bomb mailed to the offices of the California Forestry Association in Sacramento exploded and killed its president, Gilbert Murray. The package was addressed to Murray’s successor, care of the Timber Association of California.
Last year Thomas Mosser, a New Jersey advertising executive, was killed when he opened a package later attributed to the Unabomber. Mosser lived on Aspen Drive and worked for Burson-Marsteller, a leading public relations firm.
In letters to East Coast newspapers in recent months, the Unabomber said he targeted Mosser because “among other misdeeds, Burson-Marsteller helped Exxon clean up its image after the Exxon Valdez incident.”….
Donn Zea, a vice president for the California Forestry Association, noted that the “hit list” was published at the height of the battle over proposition 130, a timber regulation measure backed by environmentalists. “We went toe to toe with many of those kinds of groups during that period,” he said….
Zea said he has a copy of the information published in the “Live Wild or Die” for at least two years and alerted the FBI to it after the bombing that killed Murray…
After Murray was killed, Zea said he retrieved the document from the CFA’s bombed-out-office and gave it to the FBI. Later the Unabomber mailed his 35,000-word manifesto to the New York Times, and the newspaper has since published excerpts from it….
Although some of the organizations said they were aware that they were on the list published in 1990, others said they had taken additional security precautions in recent days, since alerted by Clausen….
Several things happened following this story. Kaczynski’s world was unraveling. His manifesto was being dissected by the FBI, which had cross-referenced the name “T. Casinski” with the 20,000 tips they had received. It was then the FBI discovered David Kaczynski’s tip about his brother was in fact correct. This gave them two independent sources of information on the same person.
The phone rang, and this time it was FBI Special Agent Patty Jannett from the Seattle office. Glasser was out of town and the list of conference attendees I had given him could not be found. I explained to Jannett that Glasser had given the list to Doug Aukland, the domestic terrorism expert in their office. Jannett wanted to know if I had a copy and would I let her have it as soon as possible.
I told her I would be in Seattle later that day and would give her the list. I took the Kingston Seattle ferry to Seattle about noon, went to two other meetings and later in the afternoon called Jannett. She had been waiting for my call.
“Where are you.” She asked.
“Over by the Space Needle, I’ll drop off the list in about an hour.”
“Let me know exactly where you are and I’ll pick you up.”
Within minutes Jannett arrived. “Get in.” She said.
At this point I asked her for a ride to the ferry terminal, as it is one block from the federal building. She agreed. As we drove down Seattle’s First Avenue I explained to Jannett that I had received the information from an undercover agent in Montana and gave her his name. On the way to the ferry terminal Jannett slowed down at two intersections then ran the red lights. I remember thinking, either this lady is a real bad driver or the list is really important. Either way, I knew she wouldn’t be getting a ticket.
Shortly after, the undercover FBI agents in Missoula were joined by dozens of others. Kaczynski had been located in Lincoln just 53 miles north of Missoula.
Prior to his arrest the FBI and many others had dissected his manifesto, including the media and many of those I work with. There was no question; the Unabomber had used a book titled, Earth In The Balance – Ecology And The Human Spirit by Senator Al Gore to write most of his manifesto. Even though Gore’s book was used by this admitted eco-terrorist, Gore cannot be blamed for the actions of Kaczynski. However it is interesting that one of America’s foremost political leaders and the Unabomber share the same ideologies.
One of those that saw the similarities was Tony Snow of Gannet News Service who wrote a column on September 21, 1995 prior to the arrest of Kaczynski.
The article made a comparison of the Unabomber’s manifesto and Vice President Gore’s book, Earth In The Balance. Snows comparative analysis of Gore’s book and the Unabomber’s manifesto was so accurate; the puzzle was now beginning to make more sense.
Snow’s article ends with: “Gore and FC [Unabomber] disagree vehemently about means and ends – but both want to step in and seize control of other people’s inventions. Gore wants to regulate using the power of the state; the Unabomber wants to annihilate. This is the difference between a terrorist and a vice president.”
Henry Lamb of ēco●logic did another comparative analysis. His analysis was between the manifesto and the writings of Earth First, Dave Foreman and the Wildlands Project ideologies. Yet, another accurate analysis of Kaczynski’s manifesto, making it obvious that Kaczynski was a follower of the most radical environmentalists.
But did Kaczynski really use Earth In The Balance to write his manifesto? During the week of June 10, 1996 American media chose to cover the story of the FBI investigating hundreds of Republican politicians. During the same week, only one news source covered the story of Al Gore’s book Earth In The Balance having been discovered in the cabin of Theodore Kaczynski. The June, 1996 issue of The American Spectator reads: “FBI agents on the scene are telling colleagues they were amused when, while tearing apart the shack of suspected Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski, they came upon Al Gore’s 1992 eco-tract, Earth In The Balance.” Many sections were underlined in pencil, and there were copious notes in the margins.
The Sacramento Bee article mentions the publication Live Wild Or Die (LWOD). The following will give you a better idea of what LWOD is about. In early 1988 the first edition of LWOD was published. The publication was partially funded by Earth First cofounder Mike Roselle.
The second edition of LWOD contained the “Eco-F**ker Hit List” which was the list used by the Unabomber to select his last two victims and it was found in his cabin when it was searched.
Earth First claims this edition of LWOD was not of their doing, however that is simply not true. The LWOD publication containing the “Eco-F**ker Hit List” was given to me by long time Earth Firster Mitch Friedman. Friedman is currently the head of Greater Ecosystem Alliance in Bellingham, Washington. The Earth First Journal has publicized LWOD since the beginning of the radical anarchist, terrorist publication. Listed, as targets in LWOD were the Timber Association of California, National Rifle Association, Exxon Company USA, National Cattlemen’s Association, American Farm Bureau, Nevada Mining Association, Utah Association of Counties, Pacific Legal Foundation, Lindsey, Mart, Neil and Weigler, American Motorcycle Association and the Wilderness Impact Research Foundation.
When Brian Ross of ABC News asked me why I believe the Unabomber had used this list, the answer was simple. With eleven company names on the list, what were the odds of two of the top three being the last two victims of the Unabomber? Also, the name of the California Forestry Association had been printed wrong. The Unabomber sent his bomb to the Forestry Association of California when the correct name of the organization had been changed to the California Forestry Association several years earlier.
Thomas Mosser, a public relations executive Earth First claimed represented Exxon, had received one of the Unabomber’s bombs. This information also proved to be incorrect, as Mosser did not represent Exxon. Just another erroneous piece of information he took from the Litha 1993, Earth First Journal.
In subsequent years LWOD was published six different times. On page 38 of the August-September, 1996 issue of the Earth First Journal there was an advertisement for the LWOD anarchist publication. The August/September 1996, issue number 6 was released several months after the arrest of Kaczynski and the ABC News Story. The current authors remain anonymous. To give you an idea of the ideologies and outright filth contained within the publication, the following is exactly as it appears on the cover of the publication:
If it is good enough for the Unabomber, Barry Clausen, USA Today, the FBI, and ABC News then it is good enough for you! LIVE WILD OR DIE – INSIDE: THE COLLAPSE OF CIVILIZATION VEGANISM CARMAGEDDON HOW TO D.I.Y. HEMP EVOLUTION AS FACT NUCLEAR MADNESS IMPERIALISM AS CANCER CLASS WAR MAKE YOUR OWN MEDIA C**TS! TAMPONS! & DOZERS! PREPARING FOR REVOLUTION AND MORE!!!
An article by Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin in the same LIVE WILD or DIE called for the assassination of the CEO of Shell Oil Company. It reads as follows.
In order to smash their movements we must organize commando type actions…but in a better and more effective way. For instance, pigs like David Duke and Tom Metzger, who have been advocating and leading the fascist movement in America, should be assassinated. We should infiltrate…in order to assault leaders and disrupt them, or hide at a distance and snipe at them with high-powered rifles. I have always felt that the underground guerrilla movements like the Black Liberation Army, Weather Underground and New World Liberation Front should attack Fascist movements and assassinate their leaders…. this is the only way to stop fascist.” The article concludes, “I think that the Nigerian government and Shell Oil are both racist and fascist in their pursuit of genocide in Ogoniland. And I for one very subversive anarchist amongst y’all am going to wage war on these motherf**kers. I urge you to do the same.
The article then lists names and addresses of Shell Oil Company’s corporate executives in several countries including the United States.
The most recent LWOD publication contains yet another “ECO-F**KER HIT LIST” along with a news article from the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). The first name on the new “HIT LIST” is once again the Timber Association of California with an X through CFA’s name and a written caption stating: “Who’s next?”
Following the arrest of Kaczynski, ABC News interviewed me on April 5, 1996 when I met with Brian Ross, David Rummel, Sarah Koch and an entire ABC News crew at the Alexis Hotel in downtown Seattle.
Ron Arnold, author of ECOTERROR, felt this was a significant event and so chronicled the process. His account is accurate and well written. This is how he described the ABC News story.
The door was open, so Barry Clausen entered room 414 of the Alexis Hotel. He stared bewildered. The furniture had been shoved into corners and stacked on end. A thicket of lights, reflectors, camera gear and the ABC News production crew crammed the space.
“I’m here for an interview.”
“They’re down the hall,” a soundman said. “You’ll see it. Their doors open, too.”
Clausen found the room, actually another part of the same larger suite.
“You must be Sarah Koch,” he said to the ABC news producer.
“And you must be Barry Clausen,” she said. “Thanks for breaking off your trip to Canada for us.”
The reference to breaking off my trip to Canada was made because when Koch called my office, I was aboard my sailboat. She was given my cell phone number and had been able to contact me there.
Note: We were in high winds and heavy seas between Seattle and Vancouver, Canada. Communications between Koch and myself proved difficult due to uncharacteristically poor reception brought on by the extreme weather conditions. My first inclination was to yell “no” into the phone but just as I was about to decline her offer, the phone went dead. Koch was persistent; she called back three times before we finally agreed to meet in Seattle the next morning. We docked the sailboat at Port Townsend, Washington, made arrangements for transportation, then I headed to Seattle for the interview.
“Well you guys flew up here from San Francisco.”
“Barry, this is David Rummel, our senior investigative producer, and this is Brian Ross. There’s coffee and pastries here if you’d like some. Now, what have you got for us to look at?”
Clausen gave them a stack of materials with several lists including the Live Wild or Die “Eco-F**ker Hit List,” the same one he had given the media – including ABC News the previous August. Clausen told them he’d been trying since then to get the FBI to realize that the Unabomber had to have some connection to Earth First or other radical environmental groups. They talked about the last two Unabomber victims and the possibility that they had been targeted from this list.
Rummel studied Clausen. He spoke bluntly: “What makes you think the Unabomber could have used this list?”
Clausen looked at him in near-surprise. “Look at how visually prominent this list is on the page. Your eye is drawn to it. What are the odds that two of the top three companies on that list were hit by accident?”
“But the name on the timber association is Roberta Anderson, not the guy the package went to.”
“Association directories have listed Bill Dennison as president for years. You can find them in any library. And small libraries still have old directories with the old name, Timber Association of California. The same applies to Burson-Marsteller. Thomas Mosser hadn’t worked there for a year, but his name was still in old business directories. And his home address was listed in the phone book.”
They took Clausen to the cameras and wired him for sound. Ross asked him to repeat their conversation.
“There are eleven names, or eleven company names, on the hit list. Two of the top three are the last two victims of the Unabomber. The number one name on the list is the Timber Association of California, with the current address.”
It was a nice day in Seattle, so the crew took Clausen for an outside shot walking side by side with Ross along the Elliot Bay waterfront. Ross asked Clausen why he thought the Unabomber was somehow linked to the radical environmentalists.
“Based on his beliefs and what he’s put in print with his manifesto and his letters, his way of thinking – his ideologies – conforms to that of Earth First.”
Off camera, he told the news crew he thought the Unabomber had been at a radical environmentalist conference in Missoula, Montana in November of 1994. “Thomas Mosser was killed 30 days after that meeting,” he told them. “I think that’s a weird coincidence.” He had compiled a partial list of attendees that suggested Kaczynski was at that meeting.
Ross was unimpressed. He asked if he knew he was there for sure.
“No, I don’t know. I wasn’t there. I didn’t see him. But it’s still a weird coincidence.”
It was nearly noon when they all went by taxi to the newsroom of the Seattle ABC network affiliate, KOMO-TV. Rummel asked Clausen to view some footage of Earth First in a screening room. Barry watched a patchwork of scenes showing conflicts between loggers and Earth Firsters.
When the tape was over, he walked out of the newsroom where Koch, Rummel and Ross were busy on the phone or watching the story wrote as it unfolded on her computer monitor.
“Barry,” she said, “I don’t mean to be rude, but it’s really distracting to have you there.”
“Sure no problem,” Clausen said, and backed off. He stood awkwardly near the newsroom entry for some time, probably ten minutes.
Brian Ross got off the phone and called excitedly to the three others. “Come here, c’mere, c’mere.”
Koch, Rummel and Clausen collected around him.
“I just had a long talk with my government contact. Get this: the FBI had Kaczynski’s name in their files two years ago as an environmental radical. They believed he was at the Missoula conference.”
Peter Jennings: (voice-over) The Unabomber suspect Ted Kaczynski – he was on the FBI’s list of suspects years ago….
Announcer: From ABC, this is World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.
Jennings traced the new twists in the Unabomber story: The FBI had Kaczynski’s name in its files at least a couple of years before his arrest. It was there in 1994 as having a connection to a radical environmental group, and again in 1995 in the files as a possible suspect in the Unabomber case itself.
Following the ABC News stories, both ABC and I took a terrific bashing for their running of such a story, which featured the information I had given them.
Earth First cried “foul” because we dared to connect such a mad man as the Unabomber to their organization. After all, they didn’t actually advocate killing anyone. They only advocate and promote terrorism.
Earth First and their sympathizers generated many misleading or outright false articles in retaliation. Remaining true to form, they not only posted deliberate character assassinations against me on the Internet, but they also posted the phone numbers of ABC executives. This action ultimately resulted in a number of nasty, intimidating and threatening calls to ABC. At that time members of Earth First disowned Kaczynski. Just because he read their materials, they reasoned they were not responsible for his actions. Good logic, but there was more to the story.
Perhaps Earth First’s claim of no connection could have been accepted had not Kaczynski himself stated on January 22, 1998, as part of a plea bargain agreement, that he had used inaccurate rhetoric published on page 4 of the “Litha [June] 1993” Earth First Journal when he decided to kill Thomas Mosser.
Court documents state Kaczynski admitted he killed Gil Murray of the California Forestry Association in a letter he sent to the New York Times on June 24, 1995: “We have no regret about the fact that our bomb blew up the wrong man, Gilbert Murray, instead of William Dennison, to whom it was addressed….”
While addressing the court Steve Lapham, prosecutor for the government stated:
…The cabin searchers also found a copy of a letter to a radical environmental group known as Earth First, and that letter began, “This is a message from FC.” The F.B.I. calls us Unabom. We are the people who recently assassinated the president of the California Forestry Association.
Your Honor, in a letter to the New York Times dated April 20, 1995, the Unabomber stated in part, “We blew up Thomas Mosser last December because he was a Burston-Marsteller [sic] executive. Among other misdeeds, Burston-Marsteller [sic] helped Exxon clean up its public image after the Exxon Valdez incident…” A carbon copy of that letter was found in the defendant’s cabin.
It is also worth pointing out, your Honor that letter contained a number of misstatements, one of which was that Burson-Marsteller had anything to do with the Exxon Valdez cleanup; it did not. Also Burson-Marsteller was misspelled. The first name, Burson, did not contain a “t.” The relevance of that is, during a search of the defendant’s cabin, searchers also found a copy of the Earth First Journal dated June 21, 1993, in which the statement was made that Burson-Marsteller did have responsibility for the Exxon Valdez incident, for the cleanup of the image over that incident. Furthermore, in that Earth First article, the name Burson-Marsteller is misspelled in the same fashion it is misspelled in the Unabomber letter.
Furthermore, during a search of the defendant’s cabin, the Government found a letter written to Earth Firsters. Its title was “Suggestions for Earth Firsters from FC.” That letter stated in part, “As for the Mosser bombing” – and I’m quoting now – “our attention was called to Burson-Marsteller by an article that appeared in the Earth First, Litha,” which is the way of describing the edition of that journal, “June 21, 1993 page 4.”
When the court asked Kaczynski: “Mr. Kaczynski, do you agree with the factual representation just made by the Government’s attorney?”
The defendant: “Yes, Your Honor.”
Kaczynski himself stated he read Earth First publications and used them when he decided to murder, yet the press elected to keep Kaczynski’s confession under wraps. Very few elected to run the story. Even after the bashing ABC News had taken, they were quiet. Was this due to the enormous number of intimidating calls, and had continual threats against reporters by design had this impact on the media?
In a portion of the address on the package that Kaczynski sent to the California Forestry Association there was an error. He had mailed the package to the Forestry Association of California. The association was called the California Forestry Association. The package was opened by Gil Murray but had actually been addressed to Bill Dennison the former association president who had retired.
During Kaczynski’s plea bargain agreement, Bill Dennison read a prepared speech on behalf of himself and the entire CFA staff. Prior to his presentation Steve Lapham, prosecutor for the government, approached Dennison on three different occasions and requested he not read his statement. Lapham apparently had an opportunity to read the prepared speech and did not like the idea of Dennison referencing other groups and individuals. Dennison’s speech referenced other Earth Firsters who were awaiting trial for other felony crimes. His presentation was accurate, correct and informative. Dennison presented his speech to the court anyway. However, the press ignored what Dennison had said.
There is room to wonder if the American news services would have felt differently and covered the story if Kaczynski had been a member of a right wing militia group? Was the lack of media coverage because Kaczynski was instead a radical left wing terrorist with ties to an organization that, according to documents, the Clinton/Gore administration is protecting?
Or could the reason the press did not cover the story be because two of the biggest supporters of Earth First organizations are Ted Turner and Jane Fonda through the Turner Foundation? Wait a minute! One of their own contributes a huge amount of money to members of an organization whose ideologies promote terrorism and members of the press fail to mention that fact. Does this mean Turner along with the big dollar foundations have control over what the mass media produces and what the American people are “allowed” to know?
What possible reason could there be for not informing the general public that, according to Kaczynski himself, he was a “follower of Earth First” as I stated on national television many times?
Each new story and book about Kaczynski brings new information about the man the FBI had been unable to find for over a decade. An article in The New York Times on Sunday, March 14, 1999 was based on a new book Unabomber: The Secret Life of Ted Kaczynski. The book shows additional activities by Kaczynski, admitted eco-terrorist. The story by James Brooke was titled: “Kaczynski Pioneered Environmental Sabotage, book Says.”
The article claims Kaczynski was also involved in more than 50 incidents of vandalism which included booby-trapping motorcycle trails with wires strung between trees, sabotaging mining equipment with sand, burning logging equipment, pouring sugar into snowmobile gas tanks, and destroying hunting and mining camps and vacation cabins with ax blows.
The information about Earth First and Kaczynski had been virtually non-existent until October 2000 when we finally saw a major publication write about the Earth First/Unabomber connection. The 11-page story in Outside magazine by Bruce Barcott told the entire world that, yes, Kaczynski was indeed a follower of Earth First as myself and numerous others have always known and stated publicly.
My involvement with this case actually began in Montana in December of 1989. I had been hired as a licensed private investigator to investigate crimes of sabotage that had been directed at my clients. We now find out Kaczynski committed some of these terrorist acts. The crimes against my clients had cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses. Nationally, there had been an increasing number of incidents of sabotage to logging equipment, with a large portion of this sabotage centered in Montana.
The group most vocal in advocating the sabotage was Earth First. To me it was obvious, radical Earth Firsters were using the campus of the University in Missoula, Montana as a staging ground for their acts of sabotage. It later became apparent they were also using the Montana University for their campaign throughout the entire Western United States.
During the initial meeting spent with my new clients, I was told several students from the university, representing Earth First, had already been arrested for tree spiking. Among the people initially investigated was the universities own Professor Ron Erickson. After contacting USFS Federal Agent Mike Merkley, he informed me that Erickson was of interest to a Federal Grand Jury. However, Erickson was never indicted or charged with any crimes. The reason for the investigation became the subject of an article in the November 20, 1989 High Country News:
Erickson, who cites energy issues and air and water pollution as his main academic concerns, taught two classes on deforestation and environmental ethics last spring. The deforestation class dealt mainly with tropical forests, he says, and his ethics class only touched on tree spiking following a satirical tree-spiking skit by students at a campus festival in April.
With the help of Agent Merkley and the Idaho U.S. Attorney, I was able to obtain the information about Merkley’s investigation and the subsequent convictions in the tree spiking case.
Earth Firster John Lilburn was one of those subpoenaed before the federal grand jury, as were several others. Lilburn’s sister, Gwendolyn, had also been involved. Gwendolyn had received a severe beating by Earth Firster John “Spicer” Blaunt. Following the beating, she immediately left Montana and went to Denver where she contacted the FBI and eventually turned state’s evidence against five defendants.
Arvid Hartley and Neil McLain two of the defendants also cooperated with federal authorities and pled guilty to a misdemeanor in the tree spiking case. Daniel LaCrosse was cut loose on a Rule 29 (insufficient evidence). According to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Boise, Idaho, Jeffery Fairchild and John Blaunt were convicted of a felony. Lilburn testified against his fellow Earth Firsters to protect the life of his sister Gwendolyn, who is currently in the witness protection program as a result of death threats. Professor Ron Erickson ran for public office and is now a member of the Montana State Legislature.
Many, including Leo Giacometto, who was then the head of the U.S. Marshall’s Service in Montana, briefed me on the serious potential for danger in my new undertaking. Until recently, Giacometto had been in the position of Administrative Assistant to Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT). For several years Senator Burns had played a large part in assisting me with ATF and the FBI’s Unabomber Task Force.
Special FBI Agent Mike Byrne of the Seattle office, as well as several members of his staff had also met with me during my orientation in this case. In yet another briefing with FBI agents from San Francisco, they felt the need to alert me to the potential threat I was opening myself up to. They not only supplied me with useful information but also gave me a “hello number” to call if I needed assistance. A “hello number” is a phone number manned by the FBI, 24 hours a day.
Following the FBI briefings, and by reading the huge quantity of information distributed by Earth First the conclusion was unanimous, there was indeed a strong potential for violence. That violence would come not from the Earth First organization itself, but from the radical extremists within the organization. My first concern was personal safety. My clients had given me a free hand to investigate the criminal acts any way I felt appropriate.
I had just completed several undercover drug investigations and so my hair was still long and my face supported a straggly beard. All I had left to do was to quit bathing and I’d fit in with the rest of this radical ragtag organization. I decided the best way to discover the extent of the involvement with the acts of sabotage against my clients would be to infiltrate the Earth First organization. They were, after all, the logical suspects, as they had already advocated it in print to their followers that they had committed the terrorist acts many people in Montana were experiencing.
My plan was to begin by writing letters to the editor of many Montana’s newspapers criticizing logging, mining, ranching and everything else I could find to write about, in other words I became a radical anti-everything extremist, on paper. It didn’t take long before Earth Firster Keith Hammer called me. On November 16, 1989 Hammer met with my partner and myself at the Lighter Side Restaurant in Kalispell, Montana. Phil Knight and many others of Montana’s radical Earth Firsters followed suit. On November 22, 1989 Earth Firster Kelly Yarns sent me the first of what would be many letters. Knight suggested we meet in one of his two letters. Another arrived on December 27 from Missoula Earth Firster Bill Haskins. Clearly, my new “friends” believed they had a new recruit.
During the next year, time was spent as a member of this terrorist organization, which I chronicled in my first book Walking on the Edge. What I discovered was the intensity of their religious convictions that man is bad, industrialized technology is destroying the planet and the only way to save Gaia (mother earth) is through radical actions, including terrorism and anarchy.
Numerous terrorist acts still continue with some variation. The older Earth Firsters have moved on to continue their campaign against rural America and natural resource industries with the millions of dollars they receive from foundations.
© 2017 Barry Clausen – All Rights Reserved
E-Mail Barry Clausen: [email protected]