When the Earth Liberation Front, the ELF, claimed arson at Michigan State University last New Year's Eve, Rosebraugh said he had received an anonymous communication from the ELF. The group said it set the fire - he claimed - because the university had taken a grant from Monsanto to study gene-altered food.
"In the case of the Earth Liberation Front and certain people there, they don't want any genetic engineering. They are making it quite clear," Rosebraugh says. "They are doing this so Americans do not have to eat genetically modified organisms and have all the health problems and health effects they may bring."
Does Rosebraugh think that arson helps to win over public debate in this country? "That's not the immediate goal," he replies. "The immediate goal is to cause economic damage."
Rosebraugh insists he doesn't know who sets the fires, and doesn't know anyone specifically in the ELF. But he makes no secret he agrees with the group's goals and tactics.
Rosebraugh sees the Michigan State fire as a legitimate act of protest, saying the use of arson against that program was justified. "I see an increase in the number of actions committed by the Earth Liberation Front, not only in the number of actions, but in the intensity of the actions," he says.
That kind of talk has put Rosebraugh in the middle of a federal grand jury investigation. In February the ATF and FBI seized Rosebraugh's files and computer records, looking for a link to the actual terrorists.
"We're hoping to find evidence of the crimes themselves," says Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Peifer. "His objective is the support of these organizations. He supports the terror."
Rosebraugh has refused to answer grand jury questions about the ELFHe has said many times he doesn't really know any of their members or anything about their crimes. So why would he risk going to jail for people he doesn't know? "I'm protecting an ideology which I believe in," he says.
At the same time, university research labs and federal agents nationwide are on alert for this new kind of domestic terrorism. As for Rosebraugh, he's now been offered immunity for his testimony, so any further defiance of the grand jury could bring jail.
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