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Darren Thurston: FBI informant in Vancouver?

Movement Lawyer explains the importance of non-cooperation with law enforcement

by stimulator Environment

» Download file 'regan_on_thurston.mp3' (12.7MB)

Darren Thurston
Darren Thurston
Lauren Regan
Lauren Regan

There has been some controversy in Vancouver, regarding the presence of animal rights advocate Darren Thurston in the activist community. The VMC caught up with Lauren Regan of the Civil Liberties Defence Centre in Eugene Oregon. Lauren has defended several environmental activists arrested during the FBI's operation backfire. Darren Thurston was one of those arrested in sting.

Addendum - May 2, 2011

In light of Peter Edlemann's response to this audio interview and to the concerns of activists in the community I offer several responses and clarifications.

After publishing this piece, I gave Peter Edlemann the opportunity to respond to the interview I did with Lauren Regan and he chose to respond by placing a PDF in a temporary online repository.

In Edlemann's response he uses Dan Feiner (Thurston's Lawyer) and US Attorney Stephen Peifer as his main sources in discrediting Regan's claim that cooperating witnesses have a lifelong commitment to US law enforcement. As a radical activist I do not trust the state to be a credible source. Feiner claims that "I can confidently say, however, that I have not participated in or heard of a single case where a defendant was compelled to work for law enforcement after the completion of his sentence."

For those that have followed Eric McDavid case, Lauren Weiner's (one his "comrades" that snitched on him) plea agreement (link) offers no time limits to the term of co-operation. This is not to say that Thurston's plea agreement reads like it, but since Thurston refuses to make it public, the doubt lingers.

Edlemann also claims that "I find it rather surprising that many extensive pieces have been distributed to the activist community in Vancouver without providing a single link the long piece Darren wrote while he was in prison" I looked for this PDF with a fine toothed comb while researching Thurston's case and all the links were dead. The link that Edleman provides goes back to the same temporary repository where his response lives. You can read Thurston's "Fired Back" here.

Finally, Edlemann's asserts I did not inform Regan "…that the interview would be publicly posted and had left her with the impression the recording was only for his notes." This is only part of the truth and Edleman's wording makes it seem as if I pulled a "fast one" on Regan. When I went to interview Regan, she assumed that I wanted to do video interview, since I had interviewed her for my TV show in the past. I informed her that I intended to write a piece about Thurston's case and that I would record the interview so that I could quote her accurately. Once I heard the interview, I felt that the answers were good and the the audio quality decent enough to run as an audio piece. I assumed that this would be ok, but my assumption was wrong. I have since had a conversation with Regan, apologized for my mistake and as far as I'm concerned we're cool. But what Edlemann omits is that Regan stands by everything she said.

In conclusion, the object of this piece was not to discredit Edlemann or the important work he does for the community. But a movement lawyer hiring a snitch raised many eyebrows in the activist community, including mine. It just doesn't make sense. Darren Thurston betrayed his comrades and helped the state put them away for many years, while reducing his own sentence. Today Daniel McGowan, one of Thurston's former comrades, spent his 37th birthday at a Control Management Unit in n Terre Haute, Indiana one of the most brutal maximum security prisons in the US while Thurston gets to walk free on the streets of Vancouver.

If Thurston indeed has no further commitments to US law enforcement, and in the interest of moving this issue to a close, it's imperative for him to release his full un-redacted plea agreement, along with the information he provided to prosecutors.

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we look forward to working

we look forward to working with darren in the future



the fbi

Divided we fall.

Darren is working in Peter Edelmann's law office in Vancouver encrypting data.

If he ratted out people he knew and worked closely with, what's to stop him from informing on Vancouver activists he doesn't know who seek legal counsel?

The FBI arrested him in 2006 for actions that took place 5-10 years before, what if they decide next year that they'll bring up charges from a different action and threaten him with extradition and prison time unless he informs on activists that are receiving legal counsel at the office he works at?

Many activists in Vancouver have known about this issue for over a year and have confronted Peter about it or met with him in his office. Maybe the words from another lawyer will help give our concerns weight.

Capitalism oppresses us by making it difficult to stand for what we believe in against those who control our resources. A lawyer who defends activists is a very needed resource, sadly if some activists decide to keep using Peter anyways (for advice, info etc.) that feeds a divide that says what's going on is ok. Social pressure that makes it clear that snitching can't be tolerated is all we've got to keep communities from falling apart with distrust when the cops come knocking, if snitching is tolerated what stops people from snitching?

Together we stand, divided we fall.

Nothing is so black and white

"You're either with us or against us" ... didn't work out so well for George Bush, and it doesn't work well for you/us either. Persecuting Darren Thurston at this point may increase fear and mob violence but it will not make individuals braver. Any revolution that does not include compassion is bound for failure.



"Any revolution that does not include compassion is bound for failure." Agreed, that's how we can trust each other not to snitch on one another. Darren's compassion did not extend past himself when it came to making the choice he did.

In this case there are some

In this case there are some things that are black and white. Thurston snitched on his comrades, and aided the state in putting his comrades in prison for years. He has a duty to report information to the FBI if requested, for the rest of his life. He now works for Peter Edelmann, a lawyer who represents many radical activists in Vancouver. You don't have to be a genius to do the math on this one.

Let's not get overly dramatic now

"He has a duty to report information to the FBI if requested, for the rest of his life"

How do you figure? He got arrested and did time for the charges, he can't be charged again. His involvement in testifying on behalf of the prosecution is well known so that can't be used as leverage against him. There would have to be totally new charges brought against him and a successful extradition process executed by the US government for them to have any sort of ability to coerce him into informing again. That's a lot of maybes and variables there.

That said, way to sell out your cause Darren.

Fired Back - Some words in response to Opertation BackFire

Seems that most copies of this have dissapeared from the interweb:

this is bullshit

This letter from the attorney Peter Edellman discredits accusations that Darren is an informant.


The fact our movement is assaulting and intimidating this man, I think says far worse things about activism in Vancouver than the fact that a co-operator is working among us.

"Our" movement???

I don't see any unity here at all.  What I do see are two groups of people.  One group who thinks that it's acceptable for someone to cooperate with the FBI and provide testimony against people who are still at large, and one group who doesn't. 

There are numerous flaws with Peter Edelmann's repsonse to Megan Craig's letter, where he uses misdirection to get away from the fact that a part of Daren's Plea Agreement is still sealed, and that he provided testimony that could be used against others.  Saying that everyone cooperated is false, since not everyone has been arrested, let alone taken to court.

I don't expect this issue to ever be resolved any time soon, especially when people check what Edelmann stated against the facts.

Why don't you state what

Why don't you state what "numerous flaws" you've found in Edelmann's letter?


"I don't expect this issue to ever be resolved any time soon, especially when people check what Edelmann stated against the facts."


Ya, what are those "facts" that he got wrong? Are any of them pertinent? Saying "everyone cooperated" is a fact that, even if he got it wrong, is totally irrelevant to the issue at hand.


The fact that his agreement is sealed is immaterial for the purposes of activism. The bottom line is that he is no threat to anyone. Even if you hate his guts, he's harmless. We need to stop wasting time on this bullshit tribal mentality. We're basically scapegoating against someone, even if he is a piece of shit. In no way will doing this advance our movement.




"Our" movement??

The fundamental flaw is the fact that not everyone cooperated.  There are still two people still at large, and Darren Thurston provided testamony against them.  I consider that very relevant, since it means that his actions DID hurt people causing them in once case to flee the country to Syria!  Darren being exiled from the US forever is one thing, but someone not able to leave Syria due to the extreme influence of the United States is insane!

There are other flaws, such as the change between the first and second versions of this letter, how Edelman talks about his personal life, then removes it, how he decides to talk about the use of Gmail even though the other option of using a account doesn't exist due to their past support of Darren Thurston.  Not to mention the fact that he chose to attack Frank when he couldn't defend himself or Thurston.  It's clear that people shouldn't trust Edelmann and should seek other counsel if they need legal assistance.

Also, you keep saying "Our Movement" like there is a movement that exists.  The fact is that there isn't a unified movement of any sort, and there won't be as long as people don't acknowledge that Darren Thurston is not to be trusted.  While most people won't work with him because he's a snitch, some people still will associate with him, and it's important that the facts about his case are never forgotten and that the people who choose to work with him and still support him now are not to be trusted with anything.  And when I say now, I mean today and not when the statement by Resist was written.  In my opinion, if Darren is involved in anything, it needs to be abandoned, because things that seem harmless never are.



Btw, Lauren Regan is totally full of shit, and is an alarmist who uses inuendo against Darren, and no substantial arguments.


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