Rebecca Rubin: American Girl and Eco-Terrorist

Newly marketed Jewish doll has same name as fugitive on FBI wanted posters.

June 2, 2009— -- Rebecca Rubin -- an alleged domestic terrorist on the lam since 2006 -- appears to have devoted her life's work to bringing down the capitalist system.

But Rebecca Rubin is also an 18-inch doll, the newest in the American Girl collection, which brings in a whopping $463 million each year for the toy giant Mattel -- 7 percent of their total sales, according to company financial reports.

Rubin, 36 years old, is also known as "Little Missy." She is listed as "armed and dangerous" by the FBI for her alleged involvement in groups that led two of the biggest eco-crimes in U.S. history -- the 1998 bombing of a Vail, Colo., ski resort and a 2001 explosion at an Oregon power plant.

What's in a name? A lot, apparently.

Just this week, as American Girl launched the sale of the historically-themed doll, Rebecca Rubin, those searching for online purchases will likely find an FBI wanted poster.

"It's a strange coincidence," said Beth Anne Steele, spokesman for the Portland field office of the FBI.

The only thing wanted more than Rubin, the fugitive, is Rubin, the 9-year-old Russian-Jewish immigrant girl who arrived in the New York City of 1914. The doll comes with unique accessories, furniture bedecked with challah (bread) and candles for the Sabbath, and even a thematic books series.

Rubin, the alleged outlaw, had a different batch of relatives called "The Family" who law enforcement officials claim met in so-called "book clubs" to organize arson attacks against threats to the environment.

Rubin and the Earth Liberation Front

The FBI lists her profession as "activist and wildlife care," and she has been indicted on arson charges connected to the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front.

Now, the FBI is hoping that publicity surrounding the launch in stores last week of the new American Girl line will help them nab the other Rubin, who they believe has fled to Canada.

"Nobody was killed, but there was certainly the potential for harm for the firefighters and others," said Steele. "It's certainly in the public good to track her down. Any national publicity could help."

The connection between the doll and the fugitive was revealed on blogs last week when Heeb magazine noted the name coincidence.

American Girl had no idea there was an eco-terrorist by the same name and that there was "no connection" to its doll, according to spokesman Julie Parks.

The company had applied to register the doll's name with the U.S. Trademark Office in 2004, several years before the FBI obtained an arrest warrant for the other Rubin.

"We are confident people will see this as nothing more than a coincidence," Parks "We chose Rebecca Rubin for this particular character for a myriad of solid, informed reasons and we proudly stand by them."

The persona of Rebecca Rubin, who lives in a fictional row house in New York's Lower East Side, was chosen by American Girl because its a name that was "popular and common" during the turn of the 20th century and "easy to pronounce."

The other Rubin is associated with Operation Backfire, the FBI's code name for a series of 20 federal arson crimes committed by the groups -- based largely in the Pacific Northwest -- between 1996 and 2001.

Some of the targets besides government facilities included energy plants, car dealerships, lumber mills, genetic research facilities and wild horse corrals.

Domestic Terrorism Charged

Civil Liberties Defense Center, which defends activist in both groups, refused to comment for

The Vail attack caused $26 million in damages and drew national attention to eco-terrorists -- those break the law in the name of environmental and animal rights.

ELF claimed responsibility in the name of the Canada lynx, an endangered bobcat-like animal that once roamed the Rocky Mountain region.

The fires, which destroyed a mountain-top restaurant and several chairlifts, sent shocked the resort community, according to local press reports marking the 10th anniversary of the attack last year.

In 2006, arrest warrants were issued for 14 suspected eco-terrorists, including Rubin, after a wired FBI informant infiltrated the groups.

One suspect, William Rodgers, committed suicide in prison before his trial, according to Steele. Four others fled: Rubin and another woman, both Canadian citizens, as well as two men, one from Seattle and another from New Jersey.

Those who were charged faced 37 to 156 months in federal prison, said Steele.

Rubin is charged with two conspiracy violations related to 17 incidents and two counts of arson dating back to 1997, according to the FBI, which is offering a $50,000 award for her capture.

One charge was conspiracy to commit arson of government property at the Bonneville Power Administration facility in Oregon.

As for its marketing blunder, American girl said, "We are certainly aware that there are numerous people living today who share Rebecca's name, just like there are hundreds of girls who share names with [other dolls in its collection] Josefina Montoya, Molly McIntire, or Kirsten Larson to name just a few."

Or, as in the case of the other Rebecca Rubin, a few aliases.

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