biographical data

Joseph Mahmoud Dibee biography: 13 things about Seattle, Washington man


Joseph Mahmoud Dibee is a Pacific Northwest environmental extremist, an arsonist and a former fugitive born in Seattle, Washington, United States. Originally from the Middle East, his father Khalil Dibee dealt with racial slurs and was denied educational opportunities but went on to become an economics professor in Seattle University in Seattle.

As a child, Joseph spoke only Arabic so language barrier landed him in special education classes in schools in Seattle. By the fourth grade, his father was teaching him algebra.

While attending James A. Garfield High School in Seattle, Joseph was taking college math courses at Seattle University. He earned his bachelor’s degrees in environmental engineering and biology from the same university. 

Joseph is 6’3″ tall. Here are 13 more things about him:


  1. In the early 1970s, he and his family moved from the U.S. to Syria. In 1976, the family permanently moved back from Syria to the U.S.
  2. In the 1990s, he was in a relationship with Jennifer Kolar.
  3. Between 1995 and 2001, he and 12 co-conspirators, collectively known as The Family, were linked to more than 40 criminal acts ranging from vandalism to arson, which caused more than $45 million in damages.
  4. From October 1996 to December 2005, he and at least 15 other individuals affiliated with the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front knowingly conspired with one another to damage or destroy various commercial and government-owned properties.
  5. On July 21, 1997, he and others used incendiary devices to destroy the Cavel West Meat Packing Plant, a commercial slaughterhouse and meatpacking facility in Redmond, Oregon, USA.
  6. In the mid-2000s, he worked at a software security job for Microsoft in Seattle. In October 2001, he and others attempted to destroy the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse Corrals, a government-owned facility used to remove wild horses from public lands located near Litchfield, California, USA. 
  7. On December 7, 2005, two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents served him at his home in Kenmore, Washington with a subpoena for a grand jury. After fleeing the U.S. on December 9, 2005, he taught computer security, computer science, renewable energy and engineering at the University of Kalamoon in Deir Atiyah, Syria, and tried to build environment saving technologies in Syria and South America.
  8. In 2006, a federal grand jury in Oregon indicted him and 11 co-conspirators as part of Operation BACKFIRE, a long-running FBI domestic terrorism investigation.
  9. He lived in Russia with his wife and raised a stepson, who was born in 2010. He also took Russian language classes and tried to launch biodiesel business ventures in Moscow, Russia and near Sochi, Russia but both failed due to corrupt partners.
  10. In August 2018, Cuban authorities arrested him on an Interpol Red Notice. The U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security including the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba assisted in returning him to the U.S. On August 9, 2018, he was flown to Portland, Oregon and taken into federal detention.
  11. During the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which started in 2020, he was one of the first people in the Multnomah County Justice Center in Portland to contract the virus.
  12. He was 53 years old when he was released from the Multnomah County Justice Center on January 12, 2021. He stayed in his father’s home in Seattle.
  13. On April 21, 2022, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson and arson in Oregon and conspiracy to commit arson in California. As part of his plea agreement, he agreed to pay restitution to his victims as determined by the government and ordered by the court. On July 27, 2022, U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken will sentence him in Oregon.

(This is a developing story. More details will be added.)


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