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Michigan ELF Informant Recorded Conversations with Activists

The North American Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network has posted new information on Frank Ambrose's cooperation with the federal government in a series of cases pertaining to Earth Liberation Front (ELF) actions in Michigan. As part of his guilty plea, Ambrose agreed to provide information on actions of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). Disturbingly, at various points in affidavits in the case Ambrose is singled out by the government for involvement in legal activities.
The Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network is reporting that Ambrose has produced countless hours of recordings with other activists in the year before his indictment:

"There are countless tapes of audio recordings of Frank wearing a wire with innocent individuals since April 2007. If you have spoken or associated with Frank during ANY time since April 2007, you should assume that your entire conversation was recorded. It appears that a substantial portion of the EF! Organizers Conference in Florida was also recorded, as those conversations can be found on the audio tapes. Frank is obviously the worst type of informant; if you have ever had any association with him, you should assume that any knowledge he has about you and your activities was given to the Feds. He was directed to pay particular attention to the I-69 EF! campaign (a completely legal activist effort). If you have been visited by law enforcement in relation to these investigations, please get a hold of the NLG as soon as possible by calling 888-NLG-ECOLAW. There are activists and lawyers who are more than willing to help you. You should also send an email to Midwest Green Scare at fightthegreenscare (a) riseup.net. Remember to NEVER speak to law enforcement. You are only endangering yourself and others. Always consult with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney."

The group has also published a search warrant for Ambrose's home from April 2007. After the execution of the warrant, Ambrose began cooperating with federal investigators.

The search warrant was for written materials pertaining to the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and Animal Liberation Front (ALF), computers, maps, receipts, and other materials that could tie him and activist Marie Mason to a failed ELF arson at an Ice Mountain pumping station in Mecosta County, Michigan in 2003.

In an affidavit attached to the search warrant, the FBI outlines why it sought the warrant. According to the affidavit, the FBI was contacted shortly after the incendiary devices were found and began an investigation. The FBI investigated two groups organizing against Ice Mountain--Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation and Sweetwater Alliance. The investigation focused more on Sweetwater Alliance, as it focused advocates "direct action," which the affidavit says is a term used by the Earth Liberation Front "to refer to criminal acts directed against targets of interest by these groups." The FBI also notes that a representative of the Sweetwater Alliance was quoted in a Big Rapids, Michigan newspaper stating that the Alliance will stop Ice Mountain "one way or another."

The affidavit goes onto state that Ambrose and Mason were both known by the FBI for their involvement in Earth First! and possibly the ELF in Indiana. It explains that Ambrose was believed to be behind a tree-spiking action claimed by the ELF in 2000 but that surveillance camera footage of Ambrose purchasing the spikes was not sufficient to identify him conclusively. The affidavit states that the couple moved to Michigan from Indiana in 2000 and that since that time ELF actions ceased in the state while they increased in Michigan. Internet surveillance was conducted in 2004 and it was found that Ambrose "visited several web sites that were consistent with involvement in the Earth Liberation Front" including EarthLiberationFront.com.

However, the FBI's major break through in the case seems to have from a mistake on Ambrose's part (see: security culture)--he dumped possible evidence of the arsons in a random dumpster. According to the affidavit, Ambrose threw several boxes in the dumpster of R.W. Hydraulics, Inc. in Redford, Michigan. In the boxes were possible evidence of Ambrose's involvement including Earth First! magazines, gas masks, photographs of arsons, a map of Mecosta County with the area near the Ice Mountain pumping station highlighted, various components that could possibly be used to make an explosive device, and printed email correspondence between Ambrose, Mason, and others.

The affidavit concludes that because of this information--and their involvement in 2007 with the Sweetwater Alliance--that the two were involved in attempted arson at Ice Mountain.

It is being reported that shortly after this warrant was executed, Ambrose began cooperating with the FBI--eventually leading to the arrest of three other individuals in connection with a 1999 ELF arson at Michigan State University. Moreover, Ambrose has been said to be cooperating in over a dozen cases, has engaged in surveillance at an Earth First! gathering, and reportedly is being used as a source of information against those organizing to stop I-69.