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Monday, January 26 2015 @ 02:22 AM CST

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this is the second snitching in the last month
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 11 2005 @ 04:00 PM CST
this happened recently as well. :(

Joint ELP/FBSN statement on the conviction and trial of Billy Cottrell

On the 19th of November 2004, William "Billy" Cottrell, was convicted on eight of the nine counts he was originally charged with: one count of conspiracy to commit arson and seven counts of arson. He escaped the most series charge, relating to the use of a destructive device during a "violent" crime. That charge, if convicted, would have carried a mandatory sentence of 30 years to life in prison. Sentencing is expected on the 5th of March, 2005.

His support network did not send out updates or alerts prior to trial because of warnings we received that Billy might decide to testify against and/or expose others in court. We could not ask anyone to support him until we were certain this would not be the case. Unfortunately, on the 18th of November, Billy took the stand. During his testimony he extensively detailed the alleged actions of others, identified pictures and placed the blame for the arsons solely on other individuals.

The other individuals who Billy identified in court, Tyler Johnson and Michie Oe, are now sought by authorities. Due to his testimony in court, the Support Network has been dissolved. Further explanation for this course of action is below. However, we urge people to do as much research as they can and come to their own decision. Those of us previously involved with Billy's support network, while condemning him, are not among those calling for blood. There are many factors that shift full responsibility for this away from Billy, among them his diagnosis with Asperger's syndrome and no prior history as an activist. With that said, we do not believe that Billy deserves any support or resources from an already strained movement.

Undoubtedly, federal agencies will hold this conviction up as a victory in their war against "radical environmentalism" and the ELF, but ultimately their conviction is against one individual who engaged in an ELF action, and no more. Billy was simply a kid who didn't like SUVs. That is where is involvement with the underground Earth Liberation movement began and ended. While, technically, any individual who engages in actions in accordance with ELF guidelines may claim those actions as "ELF," Billy Cottrell was (and is) anything but an ELF activist. The FBI knows this and movement history shows that veteran cells of the underground don't send emails to reporters from a college email account, they don't talk to friends at school about it, they don't bumper-sticker SUVs. May their "victory" be short-lived...

The following is a joint statement written by the former "Free Billy Support Network" and the Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network addressing this situation. Please write freebillycottrell@yahoo.com for clarification or questions. As stated below, WE EXTEND OUR SINCEREST APOLOGIES to those who dedicated their time, money and energy to his support campaign. Your efforts did not go unnoticed.


As everyone reading this will be aware, a couple of weeks ago William "Billy" Cottrell went on trial accused of involvement in a series of ELF arsons which targeted SUV dealers in the Los Angeles area.

What is less well known is that a week before the trial began, his support network learned that Cottrell's defence lawyers intended to run a defence argument which involved blaming two other named individuals for the arsons. We have confirmed that these additional people were identified without any cooperation from Cottrell. It is believed that the information was obtained through Grand Jury testimony and various forms of electronic surveillance. It should be mentioned that Cottrell's attorneys filed a motion to exclude these additional names from court and the media, but Judge Klausner denied the motion.

Before activists were involved with the legal side of his case, non-movement attorneys were hired and a direction for court strategy was developed. Neither Cottrell, his attorneys, or his community received any support from local activists throughout the Grand Jury and investigation process. It should also be noted that Cottrell was never part of any movement or activist community. As a result, serious mistakes were made both in testimony before the Grand Jury and the handling of alleged evidence.

As it turned out, the defence strategy which subsequently developed was to admit that Cottrell was at the scene of the actions and spray painted ELF slogans, but did not participate in the planning or execution of the arsons. His defence would argue that Cottrell had Asperger's syndrome and so did not have the mental state required to engage in conspiracy; instead, they would claim he was the innocent dupe of the two other named individuals. However the trial Judge rejected a defence plea of Asperger's syndrome and ruled to exclude any mention of the syndrome from the trial.

As soon as the full defence strat egy was known, FBSN was shocked to learn that the defence lawyers intended to name other people as being responsible for the arsons; FBSN had received assurances throughout Cottrell's imprisonment that this would not be the case. The FBSN strongly advised Cottrell, his family and his lawyers against this defence strategy. FBSN also informed ELP about what was happening and ELP likewise raised concerns, with Cottrell et al, about the implications of such a strategy.

It was decided, at that time, by FBSN & ELP, not to publicise Cottrell's defence strategy in order to allow Cottrell and his defence team time to alter their course. However despite the advice of both FBSN and ELP, this was not the case.

In court, Cottrell's lawyers alleged that Tyler Johnson and Michie Oe were responsible for the arsons Cottrell was charged with. Due to various factors, including his diagnosis with Asperger's and imprisonment at MDC, FBSN believe that this decision w as made largely without the input of Cottrell himself.

However, on Wednesday the 17th of November 2004, William "Billy" Cottrell was called to testify. Cottrell's testimony was witnessed by members of his support network. In his testimony Cottrell stuck to his lawyers defence argument and blamed Tyler & Michie for the arsons. To make matters worse he also extensively detailed their conversations and actions, providing information that could not be obtained by authorities in any other manner. Cottrell even confirmed their images when shown pictures of Tyler & Michie.

In the interests of protecting all individuals currently under investigation for the ELF actions of August 2nd, 2003, FBSN & ELP cannot condone any court strategy which implicates or exposes others. This is particularly important considering the brutality and wrongful prosecutions which characterise previous investigations by the FBI and associated agencies.

Because of Cott rell's actions in naming and implicating two other people for the arsons, Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network has been forced to withdraw all their support for Cottrell and instead have named him as a police informant. Likewise FBSN cannot approve of Cottrell's actions and as such, the Free Billy Support Network has been dissolved.

As for Cottrell himself, despite his testimony, on the 19th of November 2004 he was found guilty on seven counts of arson and one count of conspiracy to commit arson. The Jury did, however, clear him of the most serious charge, that of using a destructive device during a violent crime. Sentencing is not expected until March 5th, 2005.

A full Court Report about Cottrell's trial will appear in the next issue of Spirit of Freedom (due out in January 2005). In the meantime both ELP and FBSN would like to apologize to all those people who have supported Cottrell due to our efforts. Throughout his imprisonment, Cottrell received amazing support from liberationists across the globe. We sincerely apologize to everyone who contributed; we had no idea, until the very end, that Cottrell intended to testify against others and we did everything we could to dissuade him from his testimony.

Despite the fact that Cottrell has testified, both ELP and the former FBSN would like to remind everyone that although Cottrell has turned traitor there are many other good prisoners who need our support and we hope this will not put people off supporting them.

Free Jeff Luers http://www.freefreenow.org
Donate to Jeff's legal defense: http://tinyurl.com/2uykh
Jeff's listserve: http://lists.riseup.net/www/info/freejef