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(sup) Canadian Secret Police Raid Activist's Home for U.S. Authorities

From megan <megan@tao.ca>
Date Fri, 6 Dec 2002 02:49:28 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

Canadian Secret Police Raid Activist's Home for U.S. Authorities

Political police continue harassment campaign against Animal Liberation
Front spokesperson

By David Barbarash
North American A.L.F. Press Office
Aug. 18, 2002

On Tuesday July 30, 9 members of the RCMP, Canada's national police
agency led by Cpl. Derrick Ross of the Integrated National Security
Enforcement Team (see sidebar article, "Insidious INSET" below),
executed a Search Warrant and raided my home and office in Courtenay,
British Columbia. The search and seizure was carried out on behalf of
law enforcement from two counties in the State of Maine, under the
auspices of the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Treaty.

Although no one was home at the time, and access to the house could
easily have been gained by breaking a window or picking a lock (the
latter of which they would normally do to install electronic
eavesdropping devices), the RCMP felt it somehow necessary to kick in
the door. The wood was shattered, the window was cracked, and the
doorframe and wall were damaged, all of which made the door completely
unusable. When the police completed their search at 6:30 pm, ten and a
half hours after they began, they screwed in a sheet of chipboard over
the doorway, leaving behind ransacked rooms, scattered files and
garbage, and probably a few more bugs in the walls and ceilings.

Seized from my home were both my computers, dozens of computer disks,
hundreds of videos, miscellaneous photos, files, and papers, four U.S.
postal mail bags, plus documents and files seized (and later returned)
from previous RCMP raids.

One might reasonably suspect that there was some recent ALF action of
immense and costly proportions in which I was suspected of having some
involvement to warrant such a cross-border raid, but in fact the
incidents Kennebec and Sagadahoc County Sheriffs are investigating took
place three years ago in the summer of 1999, and the damages from the
relatively minor actions total no more than $8700.

 From May through Sept. 1999 the Animal Liberation Front took credit for
four actions against hunting clubs and one action against a Food and
Drug Administration building in Maine. The actions essentially boil down
to break and enter, spray painted walls, broken windows and doors, and
stolen stuffed animal heads, which were returned to their natural
environment to rest in peace according to the Communique received by the
Press Office.


In July 1999 I took over the ALF Press Office and became the North
American spokesperson. The actions in Maine were some of the first I
worked on in my new role, giving interviews to Maine media outlets in
Sept. 1999.

Four months later on Jan. 23, 2000 Kennebec County Sheriff Everett
Flannery made a request for a search to be conducted against my home. On
Oct. 11, 2000 and on May 14, 2001 supplemental requests for a search
were made by U.S. authorities to the Canadian Minister of Justice.

Almost one year later, on May 07, 2002, the Canadian Justice Minister
approved the request, and two and a half months after that on June 25
RCMP Cpl. Derrick Ross swore out an Information to Obtain a Search
Warrant which was approved and signed by Associate Chief Justice Patrick
Dohm of the BC Supreme Court.

(Dohm was recently in the news regarding another search warrant he
signed against a former Premier of British Columbia. In that instance,
RCMP officers traveled to California where Dohm was vacationing at the
time to obtain his signature for the warrant, apparently wanting to
ensure they got the warrant signed. Dohm is known for being extremely
conservative; perhaps another Justice might have refused their request.)

(Perhaps not-so-coincidentally, Dohm was also the Justice who authorized
wiretaps to be placed in my home and vehicle back in 1996 in regard to
an RCMP investigation of mail bombs sent to fascists and razor-blade
letters sent to hunters. Charges of sending razor-blade letters to BC
guide outfitters were laid in 1998 but dropped in 2000 for lack of
evidence and because the RCMP did not want to disclose critical
information as ordered to by a judge.)

On July 30, 2002 the Search Warrant was executed by four INSET members
and five Vancouver Island based RCMP members.

It must be noted that I am neither charged nor under investigation for
any actions or crimes in either country.

"I have no real interest in Barbarash at all," said Sheriff Flannery.
(Comox Valley Record, Aug. 09, 2002)

Information to Obtain

To secure a Search Warrant an officer must swear out an Information to
Obtain, upon which a judge will make the determination if he/she will
authorize a search and seizure. The Information will spell out the
crimes being investigated, the connection the person to be searched has
to the investigation, the list of items to be searched and seized, and
all supporting documentation.

Usually there must be fairly strong evidence to suggest the person to be
searched is connected in some way with the actual crime, and there must
be strong supporting documents and/or affidavits included, as the
Information to Obtain is the only report the judge looks at to make a
decision. In this situation there is only one document connecting me to
the events in Maine: a single newspaper article published by Blethen
Maine Newspapers on Oct. 05, 1999 after I gave an interview to reporter
Dennis Hoey.

That's all there is - one newspaper article, which quotes me as saying
basically the same things I've said hundreds of times in the past three
years in my role as ALF spokesperson. This was apparently enough to get
an authorization for a search warrant.

The Grounds for Belief in the Information to Obtain as presented by Cpl.
Ross consist of twelve paragraphs: eight lay out the minor offences
being investigated, two deal with my current address and phone numbers,
and two read as follows:

"In Sept. 1999, Dennis Hoey of the Blethen Newspapers in Brunswick,
Maine wrote a newspaper article about the attacks. Attached hereto and
marked as Exhibit "B" is a copy of Mr. Hoey's article. In that article,
Mr. Hoey writes that David Barbarash relies on Animal Liberation Front
anonymous letters and videotapes to publicize the groups activities.

"Furthermore, Mr. Hoey advised Detective Sergeant Turcotte that David
Barbarash had sent a press release claiming that Barbarash had received
some form of communication from the Animal Liberation Front activists in
Maine relating to the criminal activities that they had committed at the
Rod & Gun Clubs in Maine."

My role as spokesperson means that I will usually receive some form of
communication from ALF activists following an action or raid where a
claim of responsibility is made, which is what happened with these Maine
incidents. I then draft a press release, which would include the
Communique, and send it out to local media where the action took place.
I am then available for media interviews to discuss the tactics and
philosophy of the ALF, and the animal abuse being highlighted in the
action. And that's it, end of story.

The newspaper article submitted as Exhibit "B" states, in part:

"David Barbarash, North American spokesman (sic) for the animal rights
organization, said Monday that acts of vandalism should be expected for
groups that harm or torture animals.

"'I think they will continue their activities, but not necessarily
against sportsmen's clubs,' said Barbarash, who lives in Vancouver, B.C.
'Sportsmen's clubs are just one target of many.'

"Barbarash, who says he never communicates directly with activists,
relies on their anonymous letters and videotapes to publicize the groups

"Barbarash said the Maine activists told him they stole stuffed animals
from one of the clubs so they could be 'returned to their natural
environment to rest in peace.'

"The group targeted the sportsmen's clubs because - as Barbarash said
the group told him in its recent communique - 'they are hangouts for
killers and must be destroyed.'"

It is an outrage that the type of invasion and harassment which I've
been subjected to can take place against a spokesperson, the messenger,
who has nothing at all to do with any illegal direct actions in the role
as media liaison. I am neither aware of any action prior to its
occurrence, nor am I aware of the identities of any ALF activist. The
type of communication I receive from activists is anonymous and one-way.

It is even more of an outrage that the actions warranting this type of
harassment are nothing more than minor property destruction offences,
and it is pouring salt deeper into the wound to discover that a solitary
newspaper article can stand alone as the sole supporting document giving
a judge enough of a basis to issue a search warrant.

Indeed, the apparent crimes in Maine are of a political nature and are
more appropriately classified as economic sabotage, a political strategy
used by social justice activists for centuries. In this era of "smoking 
terrorists," economic sabotage, or non-violent property damage done for
political reasons, is now egregiously labeled "terrorism."

B.C. Civil Liberties Association spokesperson Murray Mollard commented,
"It raises the question what is terrorism? This would not be the kind of
action we consider terrorism. (The raid) appears to be using a criminal
matter to permit the United States to come into Canada. It's an
expansion of authority on what is essentially a criminal issue." (Comox
Valley Echo, Aug. 09,2002)

Search Warrant

The Search Warrant called for a shopping list of items to be seized,
- photos, negatives, videos, and cameras
- computers, computer disks, software and hardware
- paper files, address books, phone records, lists of names of ALF
- maps of past or future ALF targets and ALF members' residences
- records of disposition of funds between myself and ALF activists

The key to this list is that all items to be seized must be related to
"activities or members of the Animal Liberation Front in the State of
Maine." How then, one might ask, are the following seized items related 
to the
investigation or covered by the Warrant:
- notes from the kitchen table with instructions to friends on feeding
our cats and watering our garden while away on vacation
- an address book belonging to my housemate
- U.S. postal mail bags (received as "M Bag" mail)
- A.L.F. 2001 Direct Action Report, a publicly available document
- numerous videotapes of publicly available documentaries regarding
animalrights, environmental, and social justice issues
- videos, documents, and computer files seized by the RCMP in a previous
raid in 1997 and later returned after the conclusion of the previous 
- a report I produced for my lawyer in 2000 documenting a covert
RCMP/NSIS (National Security Investigation Section) undercover operation
used against me from 1995 - 1997 (an operation documented by personal
notes and videos, and RCMP documents and reports, which attempted to set
me up to burn down a building)

In a Briefing Note filed by INSET member Sgt. Frank Martino on July 31,
2002, he lists upfront some of the items seized, seemingly indifferent
to their apparent disassociation from the criteria listed in the Search
Warrant. In fact, the only item that might have any connection are phone
bills from 1999 showing calls made to Maine. Now the RCMP have an
extensive collection of fax and phone numbers for Maine media outlets!

In addition to stealing items they didn't even have the authority to
take by their own rules, a callous and ruthless attitude was evident in
the wake of the raid. Aside from the unnecessary smashing of my front
door, several rooms were literally upturned. Files and garbage were
strewn about my office and personal letters were removed from files and
placed open around the room. Our friends were questioned, threatened,
and harassed when they arrived to feed the cats, and our indoor cats
were let outside to fend for themselves.

The day following the raid the RCMP released my name and address to the
media even though I had not been charged with any crime, contrary to
their own policy. They did this knowing I had previously filed a
complaint when I received implied death threats (bullets left on my car)
and verbal attacks and threats from hunters in the Fall of 2000 after
hunters invaded an animal rights video night I was hosting in Courtenay.
One of my biggest fears then, and now, and which I made very clear in my
complaint, was that these hunters would discover my home address. It
seems the RCMP are not concerned with threats of violence against people
they don't like, and are apparently willing to help facilitate such

There is little doubt in my mind that the real reasons behind this raid
have very little to do with minor actions in Maine three years ago. The
RCMP, now with the overt complicity of U.S. law enforcement, are
continuing their campaign of harassment against the ALF's most vocal and
visible supporter.

The police know that I don't have any information to help identify ALF
activists; this is nothing more than a case of shooting the messenger.
Although the bullets being used are in the form of search and seizures,
the real damage is in the form of attempting to disrupt my life and my
work, and attempting to increase the stress in my life.

B.C. Supreme Court Hearing

On Sept. 24 a hearing will take place in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver
to discuss the Warrant and its execution. As well, an order will be
sought by U.S. authorities to send the seized items to Maine. Through my
lawyer I will be fighting back, and I will be seeking an order to quash
the Warrant based on flimsy and non-existent grounds for conducting the
search, and also, an order will be sought for the return of all my

In addition, I'll be making a formal complaint to the RCMP Public
Complaints Commission concerning the raid and its execution, the
needless and inappropriate damage to my residence, the seizure of items
not listed in the Warrant, the harassment of my friends, the release of
my cats into the outdoors, and the release of my name and address to the

In the meanwhile, the ALF Press Office is seeking monetary donations to
help cover our legal expenses, and to help cover the cost of replacing
computers and software.

Donations and requests for more information can be sent to P.O. Box
3673, Courtenay, BC V9N 7P1 Canada, or write us at naalfpo@tao.ca or
call 250-703-6312.

On a final note, there is one thing that we must be clear on. This raid
was not about animal rights issues or actions, this raid was about how
we all have lost a large chunk of basic civil liberties and human
rights. It's about how we really do live under the rule of a police
state where it's no longer allowable to speak your mind or express
beliefs which oppose oppression, and which challenge the
corporate/military governments. To do so risks police raids, possible
arrest and lengthy jail terms.

For many of us, we've understood and watched the erosion of our freedoms
for many years, and we've become very alarmed at how this deterioration
has increased drastically since Sept. 11, 2001. And yet, still it takes
a major police action, like this latest raid, for the concept to really
sink in. Our "western civilization" is nothing more than a glorified

This is it. The time is now. This is our life, and how events unfold in
our lifetime will be the difference between a life of freedom for all or
a life lived under the boot of fascism. The police state is here; do we
live, and fight, on our feet? Or do we die on our knees? Drastic words,
perhaps, but what kind of world do we really want to live in?


By David Barbarash

The RCMP used a post-Sept. 11 newly formed anti-terrorist team to raid
the home of Animal Liberation Front spokesperson David Barbarash on July
30, 2002. Formed in June, less than two months before the raid, four
multi-agency Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSETs)
will use the premise of "national security" to invade people's homes and
attempt to disrupt lives even when no crimes have been committed.

> From an RCMP Press Release issued June 18, 2002:

"(INSET) will help ensure early detection and prevention of any
potential threats to national security. The importance of greater
integration of resources and intelligence has been heightened by the
reality of terrorism since the tragic events of September 11th, 2001.

"Through shared federal, provincial and municipal resources - the INSET
members will be better able to track and put a stop to the criminal
activities (major or minor offences) of terrorist groups or individuals
who pose a threat to Canada's national security. This type of increased
capacity will enable INSET members to work with their partners
nationally and internationally towards the common goal of detection and
disruption of potential terrorist threats.

"The Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSETs) will apply
Canada's laws, acts and regulations, and the new anti-terrorist
legislation to assist in the early detection and disruption of any
actual or intended terrorist acts. This integrated approach between
intelligence and enforcement groups at the early stages of criminal
activity has proven to be a highly effective model for successful

INSET has field offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa, and
integrates law enforcement officers from the RCMP, provincial police in
Ontario and Quebec, and major metropolitan police forces. It will share
information with CSIS (Canadian Security and Intelligence Service),
immigration officials, and international police forces.

RCMP Superintendent Wayne Pilgrim says the new agency is also ready to
use new counter-terrorist laws, including the power to make preventive
arrests to stop terrorists from carrying out attacks.

"We basically operate on the premise of prevention, and that's either
through prosecution or disruption.... whatever means are provided to us
within the legal framework that we can operate," he said. (CBC, June 

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