Portland -- Carrying signs that said "Stop Government Terrorism," demonstrators gathered outside a federal courthouse yesterday to protest a grand jury investigating a string of eco-terrorism arson attacks across the country.
Nearly 50 people gathered in support of Craig Rosebraugh, who was told he must make a sixth appearance before the grand jury in June, when he faces contempt charges if he refuses to answer questions about the Earth Liberation Front.
"It's another round of ridiculous drama that seems to be going nowhere," said Rosebraugh, whose subpoena to appear was canceled late Tuesday afternoon.
"It's obvious to me, since they confiscated my belongings, that if they really had evidence they would already have done something," he said.
Rosebraugh has acted as spokesman for the Earth Liberation Front, or ELF, which has claimed responsibility for a Christmas Day arson that caused $1 million in damage to a Boise Cascade office in Monmouth, just south of the state capital.
ELF also has claimed responsibility for an October 1998 arson that caused $12 million in damage to a ski area in Vail, Colo., and other fires in Michigan, Indiana and Oregon.
Federal prosecutors previously have called on Rosebraugh, hoping he would lead them to the underground eco-terrorism group.
Although prosecutors have offered Rosebraugh immunity, which compels his testimony and blocks his Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer questions, he has not cooperated.
A judge could cite him for contempt and hold him in custody indefinitely for refusing.
The FBI raided Rosebraugh's home in February and seized computers, papers and other items. He repeatedly has told investigators he knows nothing about the fires and has acted simply as a messenger for ELF.
Another witness subpoenaed to appear yesterday did not appear.
Josh Harper, a member of Ocean Defense International, a group against whaling off the Olympic Peninsula, said in a statement that, "as an anarchist," he would "never willingly cooperate with the grand jury system."
"My life is my own, my thoughts are my own, and what I decide to do will not be dictated to me by judges, attorneys, and their lackeys with guns," said the statement, which Rosebraugh read out loud. "They can drag me into the grand jury room, but they can never make me speak," the statement said.
The demonstration was among several nationwide expected to draw hundreds of protesters against the grand jury system.
Other demonstrations were planned in Los Angeles, San Diego, Bloomington, Ind., Chicago and Minneapolis.