This feature on the EF! Newswire keeps you abreast on the whereabouts and status of informants and ‘snitches’ who are cooperating with, or working for, the State in effort to monitor and/or repress ecological resistance movements and allied struggles. Sadly, the names on this list are people who can never be trusted again to work in activist circles or resistance movements.
We aim to present short summaries of these individuals, so that they are consolidated in a single location. There is very likely more information, including additional photos, to be found for each individual through online search engines and resources designed to gather personal information on people (some of which cost money). We hope that this page will serve as a useful starting point for those seeking to do further research. We only post information on this page that can be verified to the greatest extent possible through public documents—in most cases, their plea agreements.
Types of Informants Listed:
Undercover Agent/Infiltrator: A law enforcement officer who uses an assumed name or fake identity to infiltrate a movement or organization to gather information or evidence. In political infiltration cases, an agent will typically pose as a sympathizer to a particular organization, gain the trust of its key members and then use this access to gather confidential information to pass on to the investigative agency. A secondary objective may be to lay the groundwork for a separate investigation. Undercover agents typically concoct a cover story as detailed as the assignment requires as well as a basic biography and plausible story covering past and present activities.
Informant: Individuals who are not employed as law enforcement agents who provide law enforcement agents with information, often in exchange for money. An informant ordinarily has previous involvement in – and more intimate knowledge of – the movement or organization that the agents are investigating.
Cooperating Witness: Similar to informants, except that cooperating witnesses usually agree to ‘flip’ or ‘snitch’ after being threatened with prosecution. Cooperating witnesses will testify in court in exchange for lesser or no charges filed against them.
Law enforcement recruits informants and cooperating witnesses from the ranks of people already active within the movements or organizations being targeted. The government often threatens these individuals with charges carrying massive jail time, offering to not file charges in exchange for a promise to inform on others in the movement. Undercover agents, on the other hand, use false pretenses from the beginning of their association with any movement or organization.
The following is organized by release date (when applicable) or date of cooperation from least to most recent. It was originally posted on 9/5/11, and last updated on 1/27/13.
Currently Walking Free:
Justin Clayton Samuel (DOB: Dec. 31, 1978) of Snohomish, Washington; Height: 6’ 0″. Weight: ~165 lbs. Hair: brown. Eyes: hazel. Race: white
Informant Status: Testified against Peter Young in charges related to cutting fences and liberating mink from a series of fur farms in October 1997.
He was sentenced to two years in federal prison plus a year supervised release and ordered to pay $364,106 in restitution in exchange for his cooperation.
Current Information: He was released on 11-28-2001. As of 2010, he had gone into the computer security field, working for Firefox, and was a PhD student at UC Berkeley. His school department profile: www.eecs.berkeley.edu/~jsamuel His twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/jstnsml
“Anna” (DOB ~1986, according to court testimony): of Miami, Florida when she started working for the Feds
Informant Status: Worked as an informant in the anarchist/environmental/animal rights movements since at least 2003 (during the FTAA protests in Miami). She attended various gatherings, meetings and protests up until January 2006 when Eric McDavid, Lauren Weiner, and Zachary Jenson were arrested in Auburn, CA and charged with conspiracy to destroy public and private property. During her time with the trio, Anna wore a wire, had a recording device in her car, possibly her bag, and the house they were living in (that the Feds paid for) was wired. She reported back to the feds about anyone and everyone she came into contact with—not just Eric, Zach and Lauren. The criminal complaint against Eric states that Anna was involved in the prosecution of at least 12 other “anarchist” cases. According to her testimony at Eric McDavid’s trial, she was recruited by the FBI after going “undercover” to write a paper for a class about the FTAA protests. During her time as an informant, she reported on people attending Crimethinc gatherings, the DNC, the RNC, BioDev in Philly, the G8, Feral Visions and more. Her work entrapping Eric McDavid landed him in prison for a term of almost 20 years.
Current Information: Anna is approximately 5’4’’ and of average build. During her time working for the feds, she dyed her hair frequently—sometimes blond, sometimes red, sometimes brown. She told people she was a medic, wore a medic’s garb and carried a medic’s bag, although no one ever actually saw her perform any of the functions of a medic. She boasted of previous actions, was bold in her speech, and was incredibly pushy. She always had seemingly bottomless pockets and even paid for Weiner to fly across the country. According to FOIA documents, Anna was residing in Philadelphia at some point after Eric’s arrest. Before Eric was arrested, Anna had used the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. She used this phone number prior to the arrests: 954-821-2477. She also sometimes told people that Anna was an alias and that “Grai Damiani” was her real name.
For more insight into Anna, you can read court transcripts of her testimony at Eric’s trial at: supporteric.org
Zachary Jensen (DOB: ~1986) of Monroe, Washington
Informant Status: Arrested on January 13, 2006, along with Eric McDavid and Lauren Weiner and charged with a single count of conspiracy to destroy by arson or explosives public and private property. His arrest was the direct result of a paid FBI informant, known as “Anna,” who spent over a year and half befriending and entrapping the trio. Zach plead guilty to a lesser charge on July 18, 2006 and was released on bail later that month. The terms of his plea agreement required full cooperation with the government against Eric McDavid at trial, as well as in any and all other investigations in which the government deemed him useful. Zach received time served (which amounted to about 6 months) at his sentencing on December 4, 2008. His supervised release expired in December 2011.
Current Information: Zach has a medium build, with brown hair and brown eyes. He stands at about 5’5’’. His last known place of residence was Seattle, Washington. He fancies himself a writer and claimed to have been working on a book about his experiences (and warning others against following a similar path) during the time of his sentencing hearing. He has also claimed an interest in Buddhism, yoga and other “spiritual” pursuits. He is normally withdrawn and quiet and eager to please whatever company he might be keeping.
Lauren Weiner (DOB: ~1986) of Pound Ridge, New York
Informant Status: Arrested on January 13, 2006, along with Eric McDavid and Zachary Jenson. She was charged with a single count of conspiracy to destroy by arson or explosives public and private property. Her arrest was the direct result of a paid FBI informant, known as “Anna,” who spent over a year and half befriending and entrapping the trio. Lauren was released on bond in early February 2006 and later plead guilty to a lesser charge on May 30, 2006. However, there is evidence that Lauren was cooperating with the government months before the plea agreement was signed. The terms of her plea agreement required full cooperation with the government against Eric McDavid at trial, as well as in any and all other investigations in which the government deemed her useful. Lauren received time served (which amounted to about 3 weeks) at her sentencing on December 11, 2008. Her supervised release expired in December 2011.
Current Information: Lauren has a heavy build, with brown hair and brown eyes. She stands at about 5’1’’. Her last known place of residence was Pound Ridge, New York (Westchester County). Lauren attended art school and is quite skilled in pottery and various other art forms. She is outspoken and often lies or engages in hyperbolic speech to impress those around her. Stories have surfaced about her attempting to attend fundraisers for Green Scare defendants after her release on bond.
Angela “Angie” Marie Cesario (DOB ~1979)
Informant Status: Took a cooperating plea deal for a 2001 firebombing of logging and cement trucks in Oregon, pointing the finger at Tre Arrow to reduce her sentence. This was a departure from earlier testimonies, when both Cesario and Rosenbloom did not name Arrow as the instigator, but Jake Sherman. All three named Arrow in exchange for sentences of 41 months. She was released on 12-22-2006.
Current Information: None at this time.
Jeremy David Rosenbloom (DOB ~1977)
Informant Status: took a cooperating plea deal, pointing the finger at Tre Arrow to reduce the sentence. This was a departure from earlier testimonies, when both Cesario and Rosenbloom did not name Arrow as the instigator, but Jake Sherman. All three named Arrow in exchange for sentences of 41 months. He was released on 12-22-2006.
Current Information: None at this time.
Jacob “Jake” David Bardwell Sherman (DOB ~1982) of Portland, Oregon
Informant Status: Convicted of arson of logging trucks and a front-end loader near Eagle Creek in 2001. Sherman “immediately began to cooperate” with investigators after his arrest, according to court documents, naming three others who had participated in the arsons: Tre Arrow, Angela Marie Cesario and Jeremy David Rosenbloom and pegging Arrow as the ringleader in exchange for a sentence of 41 months.
Sherman was boastful and told several girlfriends (two of whom also provided information to the government), in detail, his version of the events that took place that night. Sherman had also not been an especially careful saboteur. His mother’s vehicle smelled of gasoline and he dumped his clothes in the trash bin when he returned that night at 2:00 am, asking his brother to tell his parents that he had returned home at 10:30 pm. Sherman’s father contacted the FBI telling them he believed his son was involved in the arson.
Current Information: None at this time.
Darren Todd Thurston aka “Goat,” (DOB: ~1970) of Canada
Informant Status: Took a cooperating plea agreement, charged with conspiracy to commit arson and destruction of an energy facility east of Bend, OR in 1999. Thurston was given a sentence of 37 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy and arson in the 2001 fire at the Litchfield, Calif., U.S. Bureau of Land Management wild horse corrals.
Current Information: He was released on 8-14-2008. As of summer 2010, he was running his own computer security firm (http://www.hard-mac.com/blog/) out of Canada. He goes by “rad_boy” and “hard_mac”.
Stephanie Lynne Fultz (DOB ~1980)
Informant Status: Cooperated with the authorities and testified against Marie Mason and Jesse Waters after being charged with participating in one ELF action with Mason and Ambrose. In 2009, Fultz was placed on probation for two years and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.
Current Information: None at this time.
Aren Bernard Burthwick (DOB ~1980)
Informant Status: Cooperated with the authorities and testified against Marie Mason after being charged with participating in one action with Mason and Ambrose. Burthwick was sentenced to 14 months in 2009.
Current Information: none at this time.
Trapper James Zuehlke (DOB: April 14, 1975), of Council Bluffs, Iowa
Informant Status: To evade his own legal issues, he provided information in 2010 on his brother Walter Bond’s whereabouts and criminal activity, including going out of his way to trick his Walter into a location where he was arrested. While this is not a case of someone in the movement informing, it does illustrate another example of how one may become an informant to be aware of.
Current Information: He lives with wife Rhonda and three children in Council Bluffs. He is employed at Jim Hawk Truck Trailers.
Lacey Phillabaum (DOB: ~1975) of Spokane, Washington
Informant Status: Phillabaum took a cooperating plea agreement, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, arson, and use of a destructive device at the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture in 2001. The university spent $7.2 million to rebuild the center. She is very intelligent, calculated and manipulative. Phillabaum is a former Earth First! Journal editor, known for her role as the narrator of the underground documentary film Breaking the Spell, which advocates property damage and examines the 1999 Seattle WTO riots from the perspective of anarchists in Eugene, OR. In 2005 she moved to Charlottesville, VA, to take reporting position at C-Ville Weekly. She turned herself in to federal agents sometime around early 2006. In 2008, Phillabaum was sentenced to three years in federal prison and three years’ probation.
Current Information: She was released on 4-21-2010 and is currently out after transitioning via a halfway house in Spokane, WA. She is thought to be living at her parents’ house in Phoenix, AZ and reportedly seeking work as a paralegal.
Sarah “Kendall” Harvey Tankersley (DOB: ~1977) of Ohio
Informant Status: Arrested while living in Flagstaff, AZ, charged with arson and attempted arson of US Forest Industries in Medford. Kendall received a 3-year, 10-month sentence. Judge Ann Aiken sentenced Tankersley to five months less than she agreed to when she took a cooperating plea agreement to arson at the US Forest Industry’s office in Medford in 1998 because she cooperated with the state.
Current Information: She was preparing for medical school when she pled, and attended Humboldt State and graduated with molecular biology degree in 2004 so may be working in either field. She was released on 9-17-2010.
Suzanne Nicole Savoie aka “India,” (DOB: ~1977) of Applegate, Oregon
Informant Status: Charged with arson at Superior Lumber Co., in Glendale, OR. She was sentenced to more than 51 months in prison for her role in two arsons. She turned self in to FBI agents in mid-January 2006. Savoie made statements against Nathan Block and Joyanna Zacher and was given a sentence only 8 months less than expected because of her cooperation with investigators.
Current Information: Released in March 2011, living with her husband, Luke, in the Applegate Valley of southern Oregon. She attended the April 2011 screening of “If a Tree Falls” in Ashland and was heckled and harassed during and after the showing. She claims her “innocence” as a reluctant federal informant, and Luke has attempted to rejoin the activist community.
William “Billy” Jensen Cottrell (DOB: 1980) of Gainesville, Florida
Informant Status: A former Ph.D. candidate at the California Institute of Technology who was convicted in April 2005 of conspiracy and arson, associated with the 2003 destruction of 8 sport utility vehicles and a Hummer dealership in the name of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). He named Tyler Johnson as the ‘mastermind’ behind the arsons. He was sentenced to eight years in federal prison on arson charges and ordered to pay $3.5 million in restitution. His lawyers appealed the verdict and sentence on account that he has Asperger’s syndrome and it was upheld 2/3 of the way through his sentence.
Current Information: He was released August 16, 2011, and is now living in Florida.
Informant Status: Signed a cooperating plea agreement on September 5, 2008 resulting in a sentence of three years in prison, beginning June 1, 2009, for his role in placing two failed firebombs at US Forest Service buildings where GE tree research was being conducted on the campus of Michigan Tech University in 2001. Wallace and another traveled from Minneapolis to upper Michigan for the action, according to the pleas agreement. He faced a maximum of 10 years in prison.
Wallace also admitted involvement in three other acts in the plea agreement: two in Saint Paul—sabotage of a building and vehicles at a US Forest Service research station in 2000 (loss $25,186) and arson of the construction site of what is today the Cargill Building for Microbial and Plant Genomics on the University of Minnesota campus (loss $630,000). He also admitted to involvement and named three other activists responsible for the destruction of 500 research GE trees in Rhinelander, Wisconsin: Bryan Lefey (who took a non-cooperating agreement) and was sentenced to 3 years in prison for the Rhinelander action, Katherine Christianson (who took a cooperating agreement) was sentenced to 2 years, and Daniel McGowan, serving a 7 year sentence currently. Aaron Ellringer, who drove the activists to the Rhinelander site, cooperated with the government and was sentenced to four days in jail. Please contact us with any further information on Christianson or Ellringer. See Source
Current Information: He was released on 01-12-2012.
Daniel Kruk (DOB ~1980): of Baltimore, MD; Height: 6’5”. Weight: ~250 lbs. Race: White
Informant Status: Daniel Kruk appeared in federal court in Indianapolis on July 19 2012, to offer a guilty plea and for sentencing for charges relating to an arson at the Republican National Headquarters in Bloomington, IN in 2000. At this hearing, it was disclosed that Kruk has been cooperating with the feds since 2009. Kruk was facing a sentence of up to 5 years and a fine of up to $150,000 in restitution. Because of his cooperation, he received 4 years of probation (no jail time), 2 years of community service (one 8-hour day a month), and a $5000 fine.
Current Information: Kruk is currently on probation. He lives in Baltimore and works at a FedEx store.
Informant Status: Agreed to become a government informant as part of a plea agreement related to Earth Liberation Front crimes in Bloomington, Indiana, more than 10 years ago. According to the prosecution at Kruk’s sentencing hearing, Agranoff began, “negotiating with the state on various issues” in 2009. In January, 2012, Agranoff was sentenced to 1 year and 1 day for misprision of a felony (knowing about the commission of a felony and failing to report it to the police). The court recommended he serve his time in a low-security prison camp. He also received 1 year probation.
Current Information: He was transferred to a halfway house in Seattle on 10-15-2012 and was released on 01-03-2013.
Currently Serving Time:
Briana Waters (DOB: ~1975), formerly of Oakland, California
Informant status: Sadly, this former non-cooperating ELF prisoner, took a cooperating plea deal in the prosecution of two 2001 ELF acts of arson. She had been released earlier this year after a mistrial and is expected to testify against former boyfriend Justin Solondz, who was captured as a fugitive in China, is now in US custody for alleged ELF activity.
Current Information: She has a young daughter and was working as a violin teacher prior to arrest. As of December 2012, she is in a halfway house in Sacramento, CA scheduled for release on 06-27-2013.
Informant Status: Took a cooperating agreement pleading guilty to charges in connection with the firebombing at the University of Washington.
Current Information: Kolar has worked for a variety of animal rights and environmental causes throughout the years, including an effort to prevent the re-establishment of native whaling practices in Washington State. She was often the ‘computer security expert’ for the groups she worked with. For the years prior to arrest, she spent much of her time sailing and racing a yacht, Manta Ray, an Olson 911 SE sail number 45, she co-owns. She was a chair of the Corinthian Yacht Club (CYC) of Seattle Large Boat Racing Fleet. She pursued doctorate degree at the University of Colorado, but turned self in to federal agents in Washington sometime around early 2006. She is currently held in USP Hazelton and scheduled to be released on 2-02-2013.
Jacob “Jake” Todd Ferguson (DOB: ~1972), of Eugene, Oregon
Informant Status: Court records indicate that by spring 2004, Ferguson was wearing a hidden recording device in an effort to bait others, into incriminating themselves. He admitted in a cooperating agreement in 2007 that he set fire to the US Forest Service Ranger Station in Detroit, OR and a government pickup in 1996. He admitted to being granted immunity plus $50,000 for his cooperation, and received 5 years probation. Ferguson, searched out others and had them recount experiences while he was wearing a recording device. The recordings provided investigators the evidence that they needed to convict Daniel McGowan, Jonathan Paul, Joyanna Zacher and Nathan Block (who all received sentences of 5-7 years). Ferguson wore the hidden recorder to the 2005 annual Earth First! gathering, to the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference at the University of Oregon, and to meetings with six of his former partners, by then scattered across the country. FBI and Forest service special agents were possibly tracking him since 1996, when an accomplice at the Detriot Ranger station fire left a Slingshot organizer phone book in a local phone booth. Ferguson was under surveillance for nearly 5 years when a roommate assumed he had stolen her truck after an argument, reported it stolen and filed a restraining order against him, putting him further on the police radar. He was using heroin heavily by 2003, when feds contacted Ferguson and lied to him about people within the community linking him to the Romania fire and other arsons. That, ostensibly, is when Ferguson agreed to cooperate. He was never indicted for the over 15 acts of sabotage he admitted and he may have been financially compensated for his cooperation. He has a pentagram tattoo on his forehead.
Current information: Was residing in Eugene, OR, until being incarcerated for violating probation in 2011. On 7/14/11, Ferguson was charged in state court with manufacture, delivery, possession of heroin, cocaine, methadone, and others; child neglect and child endangerment. His probation report indicates Ferguson tested positive for opiates on 3/29/11. For this violation, Ferguson received 22 months in prison (the bottom end of range). Judge Ann Aiken made his sentence concurrent (meaning he will serve both sentences at the same time). He is at Estill FCI. His projected release date is 3/21/13. Prior to his arrest he is believed to have resided in an Edgewood Center condo (paid for in full by the FBI) located on 40th and Donald in Eugene, Oregon.
Chelsea Dawn Gerlach (DOB: 1977) of Sweet Home, and later Eugene, Oregon
Informant Status: charged with arson at Childers Meat Co. in Eugene; arson at a Boise Cascade office in Monmouth, OR; toppling of a Bonneville Power Administration tower; arson at the Eugene Police Department West University Public Safety Station; attempted arson at Jefferson Poplar Farms in Clatskanie. Gerlach pleaded guilty in a cooperating agreement to conspiracy and arson charges in a string of 20 fires that did $40 million worth of damage in five states, including a 1998 fire at the Vail ski resort in Colorado. After the group disbanded in 2001, Gerlach went underground and became a DJ in Portland, OR. At the time of her arrest, she was selling drugs in Portland with her boyfriend Darren Todd Thurston. Thus far, drug charges are not pending with either Gerlach or Thurston. Gerlach was extremely helpful to the prosecution, although she defends herself against being vilified as a snitch and says she cooperated ‘for the movement.’ Gerlach made statements against Nathan Block and Joyanna Zacher. She convinced Thurston to turn informant, unsuccessfully attempting to get Zacher, Block and McGowan to turn as well. She led the prosecution on several field trips to previous arsons and a buried cache of guns, ammunition and fake passports allegedly belonging to William “Avalon” Rodgers.
Current Information: She attended Evergreen University for a year prior to arrest. She identified herself as good with words and computers in an interview she did from prison with Outside Magazine in 2007. She developed an interest in Buddhism while incarcerated. She was sentenced to nine years in prison, is currently held in a halfway house and scheduled to be released on 10-10-2013. She may return to Eugene at that point.
Frank Brian Ambrose (DOB: ~1975), formerly of Bloomington, Indiana
Informant Status: Ambrose pleaded guilty in a cooperating agreement to conspiring to set a fire and explosion that caused more than $1 million in damage to the offices of Michigan State University’s Agriculture Biotechnology Support Project on New Year’s Eve 1999. Ambrose became a paid FBI informant after his arrest (for disposing of evidence of actions in a dumpster that were found and law enforcement notified). Ambrose has provided information on 15 other people allegedly involved in ELF/ALF actions, including ex-wife Marie Mason. Court documents reveal that Ambrose was being used by the FBI not only to gather information on ELF/ALF activities but general movement organizing as well (specifically organizing against I-69 and Cincinnati Earth First! organizing). He “traveled outside of Michigan seven times at the FBI’s direction, often working extremely late hours; he made repeated trips from Detroit to Grand Rapids; he made 178 consensual recordings of telephone conversations and in-person meetings with investigative targets; and he participated in lengthy interviews with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit and otherwise assisted the FBI’s efforts to improve its intelligence-gathering protocols related to, and its understanding of, underground environmental and animal-rights extremist groups and movements.”
In sum, his cooperation with investigators after his arrest has been substantial and rather extraordinary. He was sentenced to 9 years in prison in 2008. He also received a lifetime of supervisory release after prison and was ordered to pay $3.7 million in restitution to the University and for other sabotaged sites. There is speculation of an additional informant in Ambrose’s case (listed as another confidential source in official documents). Confirmation and details on the identity of this person are currently pending.
Current Information: He is currently being held at Rochester FMC and has a projected release date of 12-23-2013.
Stanislas “Stan” Gregory Meyerhoff, also went by “Jack” (DOB: ~1977) of Charlottesville, Virginia
Informant Status: Meyerhoff was the first of the group called “The Family” to be sentenced, and the first to snitch once arrested. Charged with May 1999 arson at Childers Meat Co. in Eugene; 1999 arson at Boise Cascade office in Monmouth, OR; toppling of a Bonneville Power Administration tower; arson at the Eugene Police Department West University Public Safety Station; arson at Superior Lumber Co., in Glendale, OR; arson of sport utility vehicles at a Eugene car dealership; arson of Jefferson Poplar Farms in Clatskanie. He admitted guilt in his first hearing in front of an arraignment judge. Meyerhoff eventually pleaded guilty in a cooperating agreement to conspiracy and arson charges in a string of 20 fires that did $40 million worth of damage in five states, including a 1998 fire at the Vail ski resort in Colorado. Meyerhoff, who admitted to fashioning the devices to start the fires, was sentenced to 13 years in prison. After the group disbanded in 2001, Meyerhoff enrolled in college in Virginia, where he studied engineering.
Current Information: He is currently held at USP Terre Haute and is scheduled to be released on 7-08-2015.
Kevin Tubbs (DOB: ~1969), originally from Nebraska, but had been living in Springfield, Oregon
Informant status: Tubbs attended Humboldt State University and was once editor of the Earth First! Journal. Despite his status as an informant, he still has an active support page at: www.supportkevintubbs.com. Tubbs cooperated three weeks after his arrest. His cooperation was substantial, after he learned of three snitches against him: Ferguson, Meyerhoff and Kolar—in that order. Tubbs’ testimony was sufficient enough to get Jonathan Paul indicted. Tubbs was an animal rights activist charged with arson of Oakridge Ranger Station; arson of Cavel West horse slaughterhouse in Redmond, OR, on July 21, 1997; attempted arson at US Forest Industries in Medford, OR, in December 1998; arson at Childers Meat Co., in Eugene; Sept. 6, 2000, arson at the Eugene Police Department West University Public Safety Station; Jan. 2, 2001, arson at Superior Lumber Co., in Glendale, OR; using a destructive device to set fire to sport utility vehicles at a Eugene, OR, car dealership in March 2001; arson at Jefferson Poplar Farms in Clatskanie, OR, in May 2001. In 2007, he was sentenced to nearly 12 years and 7 months in prison with 3 years supervised release.
Current Information: Tubbs is currently held in USP Lompoc and has a projected release date of 11-23-2016.
Robert Steven Gilchrist (DOB: 25 October 1968), New Zealand/Aotearoa.
Informant Status: In September 1996 Rob Gilchrist was fired from his job selling door hardware. He was charged with attempting to defraud the company he worked for, but in June 1997 he was found not guilty “by the skin of his teeth” according to the Judge. A year later, as Christchurch activists were preparing for protests against an Asia Pacific Economic Development (APEC) free trade conference, Gilchrist appeared on the scene and started joining local groups. It is likely that he was recruited by the Police around the time of his fraud case, well before he approached any activist groups. The anti-APEC groups, led by experienced activists, were suspicious of him but he moved on to other scenes, eventually befriending local unemployed rights and anarchist activists. By early 2000 he was involved in animal rights activists and travelling up and down the country as part of a network of anti-capitalist groups. Over the next eight years he was a police informant active in animal rights, environmental and anarchist groups.
Through these connections he was able to spy on many other activists in NZ for the police. He also provided the police information on the whereabouts of many Maori, anarchist and environmental activists who were raided and imprisoned during Operation 8. Rob is also known to have perpetrated sexual abuse on a number of occasions.
Additional detailed information on who he was spying on, what information he was gathering and how he was caught:
Current Information: Rob is known to be currently living in the Waltham area of Christchurch. He is suing the police for mental pain caused during his employ with them.
Other News on Informants:
Terrorists for the FBI:” How the FBI Uses Informants to Surveil and Entrap Americans — (video interview from the Democracy Now show based on the recent story in Mother Jones magazine, “The Informants,” by Trever Aaronson.) In collaboration with the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California, Berkeley, reporter Trevor Aaronson examined more than 500 terrorism-related cases and found that nearly half the prosecutions involved the use of informants, many of them incentivized by cash rewards up to $100,000 per assignment… the FBI has recruited a network of informants that today numbers 15,000… What we found in our investigation was that of the 500 terrorism prosecutions since 9/11, half of those involved the use of an informant.
Profiles of Provocateurs— Kristian Williams, the author of Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America Recent published a collection of short case studies on Portland IMC regarding the use of agents provocateurs, including warning signs and practical advice. Click here for the full article.
Turncoat— A show from This American Life about informant Brandon Darby, from the 2008 RNC cases of David McKay and Bradley Crowder. Following this show, Darby has started an informant advocacy group Citizen Patriot Response, which he encourages people to snitch on activists to the FBI. He has also admitted in recent speeches to right-wing neo-fascist Tea Party conference goers that he is traveling to Occupy camps around the country and attending assemblies to collect information and share it with the government.
Better This World— A PBS special, from the Point Of View (POV) series, on the use of Informant Brandon Darby in the arrests of two activists, David McKay and Bradley Crowder, during the 2008 Republican National Convention. Check it out here.
SnitchWire— Another source for occasional updates on informants. From their site: “SnitchWire exists solely for the purpose of investigating and objectively reporting on the existence and actions of known informants, infiltrators, rats, snitches, and provocateurs. This blog is to be used as a tool for people wishing not to associate with such unsavory, treacherous scum.”
From Green is the New Red (also a great resource on informants): “This [below] is Laura Jane Grace (formerly Tom Gabel) of Against Me! playing at the Nimbus Dam, the site Eric McDavid was allegedly plotting to blow up with Zachary Jenson and Lauren Weiner. An FBI informant named “Anna” provided the group with bomb-making recipes; at times financed their transportation, food and housing; strung along McDavid, who had the hopes of a romantic relationship; and poked and prodded the group into action.
Mark Reichel, McDavid’s attorney, said: “There has never been a case in America that has involved this much entrapment, this much pushing by an informant, by the U.S. government and by the FBI behind it.”
If you value us keeping these informant bios available and up-to-date, help keep us around by subscribing or donating to the Earth First! Journal. Please get in touch with possible updates or corrections at ef_pris[at]riseup[dot]net with “Informant Information” in the subject line.