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From his jail cell, 'Tre Arrow' says he's no terrorist. (katu/ap)

This is a copy of a story found on a KGW.Com website today this afternoon.
The FBI had issued wanted posters during the manhunt for Michael Scarpitti.(KGW)
The FBI had issued wanted posters during the manhunt for Michael Scarpitti.(KGW)
From his jail cell, 'Tre Arrow' says he's no terrorist 12:33 PM PST on Saturday, April 3, 2004 By ANDREW KRAMER, Associated Press Writer VICTORIA, British Columbia -- For 19 months, Tre Arrow was one of the most wanted fugitives in North America -- accused of firebombing logging and cement trucks in Oregon and having links to a group of radical environmentalists viewed as terrorists by the FBI. The FBI had issued wanted posters during the manhunt for Michael Scarpitti. (KGW Photo) Now he's in a jail cell here, facing charges of trying to shoplift bolt cutters. He's begun a hunger strike to protest what he calls injustices in the U.S. legal system, and is eager to talk about the evils of corporate culture -- although not the FBI's case against him. "As an activist, I stand tall. I hold my head high," Arrow, the 30-year-old said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press at the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre. Arrow was born Michael Scarpitti. When asked why he changed his name, he said the trees told him to. He first gained notoriety by scaling the offices of the U.S. Forest Service in Portland in 2000 and perching on a narrow ledge for 11 days to protest logging on nearby Mount Hood. Arrow says he is not a terrorist. "They (the FBI) want to label me the 'T' word," said Arrow, a veteran of anti-logging protests in Oregon who likes to go barefoot to protect the Earth and is seen as something of a folk hero among environmental militants. Arrow said he will fight deportation to the United States, contending he wouldn't get a fair trial because of the FBI's assertion the crimes he is accused of are acts of terrorism. Arrow has been accused in Oregon on federal charges of use of fire to commit a felony, destruction of vehicles used in interstate commerce and use of incendiary devices in a crime of violence. If convicted on the charge, he could be sentenced up to 80 years in prison. The firebombings were investigated by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force in Portland. The FBI believes he's more than an activist. He is accused of firebombing logging trucks and cement trucks in two separate attacks in Oregon in 2001, and is suspected of having links with the Earth Liberation Front, a shadowy group that has claimed responsibility for scores of acts of destruction and vandalism across the country over the past dozen years. Arrow was arrested in mid March. His capture had become a top priority for the FBI, said Julie Thornton, the agent in charge of domestic terrorism investigations in Oregon. Although the FBI's top priority is preventing attacks from the likes of al-Qaida, the agency has not let up in its battles against the ELF and similar groups, Thornton said. "It's a huge part of what we do," she said. The FBI has had some successes against the ELF. Across the country, at least eight people with suspected ties to the group have been arrested over the past few years. Arrow is the latest suspect to be captured -- although it appears to have been by luck. According to Canadian officials, he took some bolt cutters from a home improvement store in Victoria and was wrestled to the ground by a security guard. When his fingerprints were run through a database, the Canadians discovered he was wanted by the FBI. Arrow is among four activists charged with setting logging trucks on fire outside Portland, Ore. on June 1, 2001, to protest a planned timber cut on the slopes of nearby Mount Hood. Three other suspects were captured after one of them, Jake Sherman, told a girlfriend about the crime, according to arrest papers. The girlfriend's father is a deputy state fire marshal. Sherman pleaded guilty and implicated Arrow as the ringleader. Sherman also confessed to a previous arson of cement trucks in Portland, and said Arrow had planned that crime as well. The investigation showed Sherman was the author of an anonymous e-mail claiming the attack for the ELF. Arrow grew up in a middle-class home in Florida. He was captain of the JV wrestling team and president of the art club at Martin County High School in Stuart, Fla., where he was well liked by peers and teachers, said former wrestling coach R. J. Costillo. He paid attention to his health, was clean-cut and popular. "He was a real hardworking kid," Costillo said. Arrow lifted weights, jogged and surfed, developing a strong physique -- something that later proved a boon during days when he would participate in anti-logging "tree sits" in Oregon and was able to elude law-enforcement officers by leaping from tree to tree. He enrolled at Florida State University, where he handed out fliers for the student branch of PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. He wrote messages with sidewalk chalk, and volunteered for beach cleanups. Arrow dropped out of college and moved west, first to Cincinnati where he played in a band and fathered a child with his backup singer, and then to Frazier, Colo., where he worked in a whole foods store. Deciding he had to "put my own body between the chain saws and the ancient forest," Arrow in 1996 moved to Oregon to join a thriving movement of environmental activists. In 2000, he made an unsuccessful run for Congress on the Pacific Green Party ticket, winning 15,763 votes. On Aug. 13, 2002, Arrow was indicted for the firebombing attacks on the lumber trucks and cement trucks that had occurred more than a year earlier. And now, he is sitting inside a jail cell in Victoria, British Columbia, where he eagerly denounces the militarization of U.S. society, corporations endangering human health, and cruelty to animals. "Corporations need to be held accountable for endangering the lives of humans and making a profit off it," he said. Arrow said he has not eaten since his arrest, drinking only water. He is rail-thin under three layers of red corrections department T-Shirts. Bags hang under his blue eyes. He has been placed under medical observation in solitary confinement. Arrow revealed few details of his time as a fugitive, but said he has many friends in British Columbia. After his arrest, police picked up several bags and Arrow's acoustic guitar at a house in Victoria. "I have lots of local support here," he said. So far, it is unclear when Arrow will be sent back to the United States to stand trial. The Canadians could drop the shoplifting charges against him, and extradite him. "I don't care about me. We're talking about ancient forest that doesn't grow back in a couple of years. We're talking about a planet that cannot be replaced," he said. "That to me is far more important than one person's individual case."

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