imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Man Claims Role in SUV Firebombings, Says Josh Connole is Innocent

by LA Times Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 3:02 PM

Man Claims Role in SUV Firebombings A self-described member of the Earth Liberation Front says he took part in Hummer vandalism



September 18, 2003

By Jessica Garrison, Jia-Rui Chong and Greg Krikorian, Times Staff Writers



A man claiming membership in the Earth Liberation Front has told The Times that he helped firebomb a San Gabriel Valley car dealership and vandalize three others last month and said the Pomona man arrested by the FBI last week had nothing to do with the crimes.

Communicating via three e-mails and in two telephone interviews over the last three days, the man provided details of the attack that authorities said were known only by investigators and those involved in the incidents. He refused to give his name, say where he lives or agree to be interviewed in person.













The caller said that he and others vandalized and set fire to Hummers and other SUVs Aug. 22 to draw attention to pollution caused by the vehicles. The ELF is a loose association of militant environmentalists that has taken responsibility for vandalism across the country costing millions of dollars.

"Even if this does turn many people off, it gets many people talking and debating the issues. This is all we really want," he wrote in an e-mail Tuesday. He described himself as a high school dropout with a passion for math as well as Greek and Roman history. He gave his age as between 20 and 25.

The caller said he contacted The Times on Monday by e-mail to make sure that Josh Connole was "not unfairly convicted." Connole, 25, an employee at a solar panel firm and an active antiwar protester, was released later Monday after authorities said they did not have enough evidence to charge him with last month's vandalism and arson fires that caused more than million in damage.

Connole, who has denied any involvement or knowledge of the attacks, remains a suspect, according to West Covina police.

The FBI's Los Angeles office, which is leading a federal and local task force in the case, had no comment about the caller's claim of responsibility. "We are not going to discuss evidence in the case," said spokeswoman Cheryl Mimura. "But if this individual believes he has information about these incidents, we would ask that he come forward and contact the FBI."

Law enforcement sources, however, said details of the attacks match previously unreported evidence. Details obtained from the man in the telephone interviews include:

• A math formula — Euler's Theorem — was spray painted on one of the SUVs as a way of distinguishing the participants' work. "We thought it would be nice to have something a little kooky just in case this happened," he said, adding that he finds the formula "beautiful."

• Corona beer bottles were used for most of the Molotov cocktails, he said.

• Only the side windows of the Hummers were smashed because the windshields are shatter resistant. He and the others "tried to break through the front window," he said. "It turned out to be too difficult."

• Red, white and blue spray paint was used to vandalize the vehicles. "Patriotic colors," he said. "The cheapest possible brand." The nozzle broke off the white spray paint, he said, so mostly red and blue were used.

The caller also said he misspelled the word American — accidentally writing "Ae, and then the 'e' was crossed out and I wrote the 'm' over the 'e' " — when spray painting "Fat Lazy American Pigs" on one of the SUVs.

Authorities are skeptical of the caller's claim that he does not know Connole and speculated that the man may be trying to shield Connole and throw investigators off the track, according to one source close to the investigation.

"I did it," the caller said Tuesday night. He claimed he was calling from a pay phone in Los Angeles County and identified himself as Tony Marsden, but said that is not his real name.

His words were interrupted during the roughly half-hour conversation by whistles and clanks of passing trains. The caller said he had never heard of Connole before reading about his arrest in the newspaper.

The man said he contacted The Times after consulting with accomplices because "we all agreed that it was necessary.... Initially for the sake of rescuing Josh, although he's out now, but more importantly to try and get some of the message across, and hopefully also to bring more people to our cause."

The caller said he was willing to provide details of the overnight attack to support his claim, at times seeming to taunt the FBI for its failure to find him.

"I'm not particularly worried," he said in a telephone call Tuesday. "It seems like they really don't know what they're doing at all."

He said in a telephone call Wednesday that they picked the night of Aug. 22 for "no particular reason, except for the fact that everyone was available that night." The attacks began around midnight, and finished around 5 a.m., he said. He did not say how many people had participated, who they were or provide any description of them.

The San Gabriel Valley dealerships were chosen for convenience, he said. "There wasn't an actual plan," he said. "We were just driving."

The first car lot hit was the Rusnak Mercedes-Benz dealership in Arcadia, where police said nine SUVs were vandalized.

"That was just to try things out and see how long it would take to do how many cars," he said. After leaving, they passed an SUV in the neighborhood and broke its windows to "see how easy it would be to smash."

Next, he said, "We tried smashing and throwing a Molotov cocktail later into one of the SUVs down the road."

From there, he said, they arrived at two adjacent dealerships in Duarte. "That was just spray painting, and that's where the surveillance footage was from."

The caller said he was not alarmed when he later learned that he had been videotaped. "You wouldn't recognize me," he said, adding that he has since cut his hair.

Authorities reported that 30 SUVs were vandalized at a Mitsubishi dealership and 20 others were hit across the street at the Advantage Ford Lincoln Mercury, where authorities recovered a surveillance video. Spray painted on the cars were the words "polluter," "I {heart}pollution" and "elf," an acronym for the Earth Liberation Front.

After leaving Duarte, he said, the vandals found Clippinger Chevrolet, a Hummer dealership in West Covina. Authorities said they inflicted an estimated million in damage.

The caller said the dealership had "very low security," with "a nice wall guarding the view from anyone." The vandals scaled a wall and began spray painting Hummer H2s, vehicles that dwarf most SUVs and have a base price of ,000. They also prepared and set out 10 or 15 Molotov cocktails along their planned exit route, he said.

Then they began smashing windows, he said, and tossing Molotov cocktails into the vehicles at the dealership.

As they prepared to leave, he said, they threw the remaining Molotov cocktails as well as a canister of fuel intended for refilling camping stoves. They spent about 15 minutes there, he said, adding that bottles of gasoline "did a lot more damage than I thought it would have done."

"I'd have to say it's a bit of a rush," he said of the destruction they caused. In a phone conversation Wednesday, the caller said, "It's kind of funny, reading some of the papers, which talk about a well-funded terrorist organization. We bought worth of gasoline. That's it."

As the fire raged, he said, they drove away. The caller expressed no remorse for the arson.

"We support destruction of property as a means of bringing attention to important issues, and to directly hurt the profits of those who gain wealth at the expense of all others living on this planet," he wrote in an e-mail Tuesday. "The ELF is opposed to harming any form of life, much less human life.

But the caller said he felt "incredibly bad" when he heard that Connole had been arrested. "We left plenty of clues, none of them pointing at Josh," he wrote in his first e-mail to the Times on Monday.

If Connole had been wrongly convicted, he later said in a telephone interview, he would have found another SUV dealership and "tried to repeat the action, just to make it obvious that it was not him."

As a last resort, the caller added, he would have confessed to authorities. Federal convictions could result in five to 20 years in prison for every count of arson. He acknowledged the sentence he faces is severe. "Yeah," he said, making a sound that was part laugh, part sigh.

Authorities would not say why they initially suspected Connole. They first focused on the house he shares with five friends that operates as a co-op for environmental activists. Within 48 hours after the arson fires, one source said, FBI agents had the two-story bungalow under surveillance.

Later, the source said, analysis of a videotape from a security camera at the Ford Lincoln Mercury dealership in Duarte, as well as other undisclosed evidence, led authorities to Connole.

Agents arrested Connole early Friday. Twenty hours later, search warrants were issued at his residence and other locations, including the home of his mother. More than 50 local and federal agents scoured two properties owned by the co-op where Connole has lived since June. They left with two SUVs filled with clothing, computers, books, bedsheets, a Utne Reader, a stuffed animal, pamphlets, a pair of women's underwear and lamp oil. While in custody, Connole surrendered a paint-stained pair of slacks that are now being analyzed by FBI forensics experts in Quantico, Va.

Connole said the FBI questioning began with agents telling him he was suspected in the Hummer case. "A tremendous wave [of relief] came over me. Whoo," Connole said. " 'That wasn't me. Thank God. It's all some sort of mistake.' So I didn't care if I was talking to the FBI then."

Agents focused on four issues, he said: a cigarette lighter found at the Hummer dealership, possible paint speckles on his pants and shoes, an alleged accomplice whom agents claimed they were close to finding and digitally enhanced photographs from the surveillance video.

On Monday afternoon, West Covina police released Connole after the U.S. attorney's office and the L.A. County district attorney's office declined to file charges.

The government's handling of the case drew criticism after Connole's release. FBI officials in Los Angeles and in Washington, D.C., said the case has been handled properly.

"This is not a closed book by any means," said a Justice Department official in Washington, who asked not to be identified because of the nature of the investigation. The official also dismissed the notion that the arson fires are insignificant in the context of international terrorism.

"Some people say this is minor, that you shouldn't be spending your time on these kinds of cases," said the official. "Our view is that we have seen increased rhetoric, we have seen increased activity, and while we haven't seen any deaths or injuries so far, we think it is inevitable we will.... So we are attacking the problem now."

ELF has claimed responsibility for at least 36 attacks in the last few years, including a -million fire at a San Diego apartment complex that was under construction and the burning of four ski lifts and three buildings at a Vail, Colo., ski resort.

The caller defended the attacks on the car dealerships and other attacks he would not specify. "No one got hurt," he said. "It's one of the reasons why explosives weren't used. They're dangerous."

On Wednesday afternoon, three FBI agents used a dog to search a red Oldsmobile convertible belonging to Connole's friend, Katie McMillan. McMillan said agents did not take anything.

Times staff writer Steve Hymon contributed to this report.

Report this post as:

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 25 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Simple scam. @ Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 4:27 PM
^ hehe Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 4:29 PM
Re-reading. @ Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 4:34 PM
RE: hehe @ Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 4:36 PM
I smell bacon too. hehe Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 5:09 PM
The Feds' real agenda? Sisyphus Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 5:24 PM
OneEyedMan KPC Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 5:28 PM
hehe's fake line of reasoning. @ Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 5:33 PM
COINTELPRO coin Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 5:38 PM
@ hehe Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 5:42 PM
Anyone found working for COINTELPRO should be executed. @ Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 5:49 PM
Uhhh... @ Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 5:53 PM
RE: Uhhh... @ Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 5:58 PM
Since you're quiet, ... @ Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 6:07 PM
@ 7/12/40 Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 6:14 PM
Another interesting find. @ Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 6:15 PM
By the way... @ Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 6:17 PM
I have decoded your whole operation. FBI Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 6:18 PM
Another clear link. @ Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 6:21 PM
Llewelyn @ Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 6:32 PM
It's all coming together. twilight zone Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 6:43 PM
No paranoia. @ Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 7:05 PM
Enough time on this thread! @ Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 7:10 PM
@ OK Friday, Sep. 19, 2003 at 8:01 PM
FBI and BUSH FASCISM threatens civil liberties doug Thursday, Sep. 25, 2003 at 3:38 AM

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A13 12:39AM

lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Creative Destruction Hack Diamonds Windows/iOS/Android - Creative Destruction Generator S19 12:51AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Creative Destruction Hack Mod Generator S15 3:49AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Propagande de virus, virus de propagande S10 7:34AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

Sweatshop Lodge Ceremony Continues in US Fed Prisons Led by Inmates S08 6:17PM

Paraphysique de l'origami S08 7:11AM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Du réussissement putréfié S06 10:55AM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Log S06 4:25AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

Ex-voto de réification S03 10:24AM

Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh A31 10:45PM

Paraphysique d'exploitation occultation A31 10:24PM

Ryan Zinke Is Charging Taxpayers For A Trophy Hunters' Council A31 2:10PM

Is the Financial Crash 2.0 Coming? A31 10:07AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy