SHAC 7 – Kevin Kjonaas Released
The SHAC7 are 6 activists and a corporation, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty USA Inc., that were found guilty of multiple federal felonies for their alleged role in campaigning to close down the notorious animal testing lab, Huntingdon Life Sciences. They were never accused of actually smashing windows, liberating animals or even attending demonstrations, but rather reporting on and encouraging others to engage in legal demonstrations and supporting the ideology of direct action.
It has been almost 4 years and 9 months since Kevin went into prison. And after this many years I still have a hard time explaining what exactly he did, to get himself there. When I tell people my boyfriend is in prison, I get some interesting looks at times. I, usually, then, just say it was basically protest related, in a sound
bite, the government said they were part of a campaign to close an animal testing facility, and although they were never accused of doing anything illegal themselves, the prosecution’s case said that they inspired others, by their website, newsletters, and speeches, to engage in illegal action.
Why a lengthy letter? Since it defies common sense that speech expressing encouragement and approval of actions that are nonviolent and, ordinarily, not necessarily even regarded as crimes in this society can not only be labeled “terrorism”, but prosecuted as such, or how within days of an FBI deputy director stating that animal rights activists, particularly SHAC, were following the law – not breaking it, 7 SHAC members could be arrested, some background is necessary. The point of this letter is to convey some of that background. The areas covered will include:
- the legal history protecting speech now criminalized by dubious legislation
- the documented nature of the abusive and inhumane activities which the SHAC protesters sought to halt
- the pernicious, scientifically dubious and often legally unnecessary intended purposes for which those activities were carried-out
- the economic and political clout of the customers of the enterprise conducting those activities
- how this economic and political clout conspired to successfully target environmental and animal-related activities under the umbrella “terrorism” in monumentally sweeping legislation
- how this legislation was passed in a most egregious abuse of the legislative process using a “back door” (i.e. under “suspended rules” when only 5 congressmen were on the House floor voting)
- the disproportionate and extraordinary law-enforcement resources that have been brought to bear to investigate non-violent activists to the detriment of the investigation of many other urgent concerns which have devastated our economy and society
- the single-mindedness with which non-violent animal-rights and ecology-related activists have been labeled terrorists while violent acts by extremist groups (e.g.white supremacists, neo-nazis, “Christian” militias, anti-abortion activists) have not been labeled as terrorism
So, here goes…
On January 6, 2009, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia heard arguments in the case. U.S. attorney Glenn J. Moramarco spoke candidly about the government’s motivations, acknowledging that “this case was never fought on the basis of what actually happened, by and large….This case was fought on the
battleground of ‘should we be held responsible for what other people are doing.'” As an example, he discussed a radio interview in which Lauren Gazzola said SHAC supports home demonstrations and property destruction. Moramarco said that such a statement of her political beliefs and her personal views was “tantamount to a confession.” Jude Fisher, a justice appointed by GW Bush, verbatim response was, “so what.” He was the only justice to argue in partial, for the defendants. [Potter, P. 230]
When the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals made their ruling, the court ruled that it did not matter that the defendants did not break the law; they were part of a conspiracy through their speech. In the case of Josh Harper (one of the defendants in Kevin’s and the SHAC 7 case), the court said his two public speeches were constitutionally protected: “Harper’s personal conduct does not cross the line of illegality; to punish him simply on the basis of his political speeches would run afoul of the constitution.” However, the court ruled that he was guilty of conspiring to violate the Animal Enterprise Protection Act because of his public support of direct action, combined with his involvement in researching Huntingdon and organizing protests. [Potter, P. 230-231]
Historically, conspiracy charges have been used against political activists when the government cannot make anything else stick. The Chicago Seven, for instance, were on trial for conspiracy to riot and disrupt the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. In 1968 Dr. Benjamin Spock, the baby doctor, was convicted of conspiracy to “counsel, aid, and abet resistance” to the draft because he spoke out against the war. Evidence used against him included public speeches and news footage. The alleged SHAC conspiracy was even more amorphous, conflating not just words and actions, but a national organization and an entire underground movement.
For two of the defendants, Darius Fullmer and Andy Stepanian, their only charge is conspiracy to violate the Animal Enterprise Protection Act. Fullmer sent emails about protests and helped research corporate targets online. Stepanian took part in protests, and one witness testified that he instructed protesters where to stand in order to comply with police. [Potter, P. 98]
The ruling by the 3rd court of appeals in the SHAC case, departed from a long and unusually winding road concerning the first amendment in the Unites States. The courts ruling is reminiscent of the Schenck V. US (“you cant yell fire in a crowded theatre,” ) which had nothing to with yelling fire in a crowded theatre, and dealt with political dissent, giving the first amendment its first real test. Charles Schenck was a leader of the socialist party and was protesting against the draft. Schenck was arrested while handing out pamphlets against the draft. He felt it was against his right of not being sent to forced labor.
He was arrested because he broke the Espionage Act of 1917. This allowed no talking badly or giving away information about our military. Schenck was convicted and thrown in jail. He appealed to the Supreme Court. He felt he was protected by the 1st Amendment and therefore the Espionage Act would be unconstitutional.
On March 3rd, 1919, the case was decided. It was the first time the rights of the 1st amendment were limited. In writing for the court Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., held the conviction of espionage. He stated that the first amendment did not protect speech encouraging insubordination, since, “when a nation is at war many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight, and that no court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right.” In other words, the court held, the circumstances of wartime permit greater restrictions on free speech than would be allowable during peace time. In the opinion’s most famous passage Justice Holmes sets out the “Clear and Present Danger” test:
In 1919, it really was a crime to hand out anti war pamphlets. The court ruled that you would be arrested and charged under the espionage act. It was ruled by the court that during times of war we as citizens can not be insubordinate to the
war effort. Shencks insubordinations, in the court’s mind, created a clear and present danger, equivalent to that of shouting fire in a crowed theatre.
Radical and heated political rhetoric, would be banned under clear and present danger until it was challenged in 1969. Charles Brandenburg, a KKK member, held a public speech, to which he invited the media. Brandenburg was charged with
making a speech in which many klan members spoke and one of the speeches called for “revengeance [SIC],” against niggers, jews, and those who supported them. The Supreme Court made their decision on June 9th, 1969, and adopted the “incitement to imminent lawless action” standard – a test even more speech protective than, “clear and present danger.” The case held that the government cannot punish inflammatory speech unless it is directed to inciting and likely to incite imminent lawless action.
The Brandenburg standard holds that even the most controversial and inflammatory speech is protected as long as it [is] not likely to incite “imminent and lawless action.” According to attorneys, this is the first time a court has ruled that the written word–disseminated to a wide audience and focused on past conduct–has been construed as promoting, or resulting in, imminent and lawless action. [potter, p ?]
In 1966 in segregated Mississippi, an NAACP field organizer named Charles Evers helped organize a boycott of white-owned businesses. “Store-watchers” monitored who shopped there. They printed their names in the newspaper and read them aloud at churches. Violating the boycott had serious repercussions: people had been beaten, others had bullets fired through their windows. It was in this climate that Evers warned, “If we catch any of you going in any of them racist stores, we’re gonna break your damn neck.” NAACP v. Clairborne Hardware Co. was strikingly similar to the SHAC case in that it involved political hyperbole, personalized targeting, and a campaign with both legal and illegal elements. In 1982, the Supreme Court ruled that Evers’s speech was protected by the Constitution. [Potter, P. 106]
On August 27th, 1966 while attending a protest and discussing police brutality, eighteen-year-old Robert Watts stated, “I have already received my draft classification as 1-A and I have got to report for my physical this Monday coming. I am not going. If they ever make me carry a rifle the first man I want to get in my sights is [the president of the United States] L.B.J.” A federal statute makes it a crime to “knowingly and willfully” threaten the life of the President. Watts was arrested, tried, and convicted in federal court for violating this statute. Watts argued the statement “did not constitute a ‘threat’ within the language of the statute.” The Supreme Court took the case without hearing arguments, and ruled in a 7-2 decision in his favor. In their ruling, they ruled that, “the language of the political arena…is often vituperative, abusive, and inexact.” His speech according to the court was tantamount to political hyperbole.
The irony of it all is that the SHAC defendants’ speech was relatively tame comparatively. They did not call for:
- the breaking of ones neck if they crossed a picket line (constitutionally protected by the supreme court)
- “revengeance”[SIC] of a political minority (constitutionally protected by the supreme court)
- or if they had a rifle, to set their sights on the president (constitutionally protected by the supreme court)
On September 12th, 2007, the Minneapolis City Council was having a hearing as to whether or not they would ban circuses in the city (in part because of the welfare of the animals). City Council member Ralph Remington addressed an employee from Ringling Brothers Circus, Tom Albert. Remington was holding a bull hook (a large sharp object very similar to a pix axe, used to hit elephants in order to make them learn tricks). Remington stated to Albert, “this is a bull hook…If I slung that instrument into your side, would that be okay? Would you like to feel that?”
Vanik Thapar, India’s top tiger naturalist appeared on CBS’ 60 minutes in November 2006, to discuss the issue of tiger poaching. The poaching problem had become so great that he told viewers that they needed to be defended by force. “In some cases you have to give shoot on sight orders. Well you have poachers who carry guns. If you see them, you have to shoot at them. You can shoot and say arrest them. It’s like a war. Because people are out there to loot and plunder. They will kill if you don’t kill.”
Another CBS 60 Minutes program featured, yet again, controversial, over-the-top, statements in the name of animal rights. Jerry Vlasak, retired vivisector, and current heart trauma surgeon, talked about his transition from using dogs in research himself, to actively working to stop those that do. Vlasak justified his most noted quote, “And I don’t think you you’d have to kill—assassinate—too many vivisectors before you would see a marked decrease in the amount of vivisection going on. And I think for 5 lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, 2 million, 10 million non-human animals.”
Vlasak, described what would be done to vivisectors, and Karl Buechner, of the hardcore (think heavy metal meets punk rock) band Earth Crisis basically described how it would be done. In Deliverance, Buechner sings: “When education and peaceful protest can’t bring their [animal] liberation the strategy for their rescue changes into militant intervention. Every action has an impact. Every life saved is a victory. The truth known by the caring few who wage guerilla warfare to end this atrocity. Severed locks, doors wrenched from hinges, the animals deliverance from torment and captivity. Vivisectors dragged into the street and shot as flames engulf the laboratory.”
In Wrath of Sanity: “The quest for their [animal] freedom won’t cease until it’s won. Reconcile your sins or your blood will have to run. You have no respect for life. Violence you can understand. Your turn to feel the pain. Retribution, from my hand!…A bullet for every demon. Only your blood can cleanse you of your sin. Your actions proved that you value profit over others lives. Images of your mutilated victims as I line you in my sight. The wrath of sanity unleashed. Justice on Judgement Night.”
In The Order That Shall Be: “…A future for species once pushed towards extinction. Animal murderers, violators of the innocent must die for their crimes.
Driven by avarice, this world is a fucking nightmare. Blackened skies, deforestation, poisoned seas. This civilization’s price isn’t worth the fee. Perpetrators of this madness, your right to live is gone. Your burning bodies shall light the path to a glorious new dawn. If warnings go unheeded and pleas for mercy are ignored, our alternative to militant resistance is a half life in a dead
In addition to one of the defendants stating on a Seattle radio station, that she supported individuals going into Huntingdon Life Sciences (the contract testing lab, at the center of the campaign) and taking out animals (that got a ‘so what’ from one of the judges hearing the case) the government also presented the individuals with count 29 of the indictment. In the indictment against the SHAC 7, count 29 read, “On or about October 21, 2002, the SHAC Website posted an announcement relating to signs that were posted in and around the Princeton, New Jersey area, which referred to CA [Carol Auletta, an HLS employee] as “deluded and deranged”
and listed her home address and telephone number.”
What the prosecution failed to mention, was this article was a repost from a local Princeton online News Station. This article was not written by animal rights activists. So what the prosecution says here is it is illegal for SHAC to FURTHER post the information of an HLS employee. It is important because this is public information being posted, not private information being posted.
An op-ed in July on 2007 from an individual who had their home address put on an animal rights website, stated that the FBI confirmed that this was already public information posted on another website–this information wasn’t secret — however according to the indictment, it was one of the offensives they committed. Regardless of whether that information was public or not, Jane Mayer from the New York Post wrote a scathing article on the Koch brothers in August of 2010. In that article she included one of their home addresses. So you have the prosecution system here saying that it is not okay for animal rights activists to repost home addresses, but it is okay for others to do the same thing when it is not animal rights
politics here. Here is the major point, you cannot treat anyone differently in the judicial system because of their political beliefs. In 1992 the supreme court ruled in RAV v. City of St. Paul, that,” the government can not regulate the first amendment based on the governments disagreement with the message.” One can easily argue, that the government, particularly the prosecution, has treated the messengers differently, because of their message.
One might argue that this different or special treatment by ‘special’ agents (as the FBI are often referred), is in part because of the money connected to all of this. Animal Rights activists here were going after the worlds second largest Contract Research Organization (CRO). A CRO is where pesticide/fungicide companies, agriculture companies, industrial chemical companies, and whoever wants something tested on animals, but do not have the ability to do it themselves, go to get their products tested on animals. These products are NOT required to be tested on animals. The FDA require that food and drugs be tested on animals* Roughly 80 percent of the testing done at HLS is not required to be tested on animals.
HLS has done tests for some of the worlds largest pharmaceutical companies. And tests there are a complete sham. With animals sharing 1.16 percent of human disease, you can always find an animal that will safely pass any test. Even anthrax in small amounts will not effect chimpanzees. *(with some petition, objection, and argument, Tom’s of Maine successfully bypassed this law)
Some of those who have used HLS are: GSK, Novartis, Bayer, Pfizer & Roche, and some of the drugs they have released onto the market has had disastrous results. Just because the FDA requires new pharmaceutical drugs to be tested on animals does not mean that they will give accurate results to humans. Listed below are known HLS customers who’s ‘safely passed’ animal tests failed to predict they would have disastrous results in humans. Some of these drugs could have possibly been tested at HLS.
Accutane – (or Roaccutane) – 240 suicides – (Hoffman-La Roche) Approved by FDA in 1982.
Information on Accutane shows that a 1998 FDA memo recommended “active consideration of removal of Accutane from the market” and the FDA felt the company had not used good faith in making sure women had the information on Accutane regarding birth defects. The drug agency has counted over 160 Accutane birth defects. Many believe the number of Accutane birth defects counted by the FDA is extremely low, especially considering doctors are not required to report Accutane linked pregnancies. At a recent FDA advisory committee meeting, Public Citizen director described Accutane birth defects, saying about 25 percent of babies born to mothers taking Accutane have serious birth defects and 50 percent are mentally disabled.
Baycol – (cerivastatin, or Lipobay) – at least 100 deaths – (Bayer)
Bayer AG, Germany’s third-largest drug maker, disclosed that as many as 100 deaths have been linked to Baycol. Baycol was first approved by the FDA in 1997. Bayer Pharmaceutical Division is voluntarily withdrawing Baycol (cerivastatin) from the U.S. market because of reports of sometimes fatal rhabdomyolysis, a severe muscle adverse reaction from this cholesterol-lowering (lipid-lowering) product. The FDA agrees with and supports this decision. Bayer AG has agreed to pay $1.08 billion to settle 2,825 Baycol lawsuits out of court.
Chioquinol – 30,000 blinded – many deaths – (Ciba-Geigy [who merged with Sandoz to become part of Novartis])
Isoprenalinebeta 2 inhalers (isoproterenol inhalers, Marked in different names, first sold by Allen & Hanburys as Salbutamol under the brand Ventolin )- varying reports, some set the number as high as 3,500 deaths from patients taking this
inhaler during the 1960s in England and Wales.
Opren – 61 deaths, 3,000 seriously injured – (Eli Lilly)
Introduced by Eli Lilly in 1980 and withdrawn in August 1982
Posicor – 143 deaths in (Roche)
On June 8, 1998, Roche Labs announced they were withdrawing Posicor from the market. At least 143 deaths as a result of patients taking Posicor with the majority of deaths due to heart arrhythmias
Prozac – 1,100 suicide attempts – (Eli Lilly) In a two-year period following the first lawsuit in mid 1990, more than 100 lawsuits were filed against Eli Lilly, seeking almost $ 1, 000,000,000 in damages by families of people who had committed suicide while on Prozac.
Redux (dexfenfluramine, commonly known as ‘Fen Phen’) and Pondimin (fenfluramine)- 123 deaths in America (American Home Products owned by Wyeth and then bought out by Pfizer) On January 3, 2002, a national settlement, valued at $3.75 billion, of the thousands of lawsuits brought against American Home Products to recover for injuries from taking the now-banned prescription drugs Pondimin (fenfluramine) or Redux (dexfenfluramine), both of which were manufactured by American Home Products, received final judicial approval. To date, the FDA has received reports of 123 deaths related to Fen Phen use. (http://www.primary-pulmonary-hypertension.com/) A major trial lawyer went to seek damages from American Home Products, for the distributor of fenfluramine (Pondimin) and dexfenfluramine (Redux). Estimates of total liability ran as high as $14 billion. As of February 2005, Wyeth was still in negotiations with injured parties, offering settlements of $5,000 to $200,000 to some of those who had sued, and stating they might offer more to those who were most seriously injured. The FDA first approved Redux in 1996; it is no longer on the market.
Duract – 68 deaths (Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories)
Approved in July 1997; removed from the market in June 1998
Propulsid – 429 deaths (Janssen Pharmaceutica) -Janssen faced over 5,500 liability suits in the United States over its heartburn medicine. Propulsid had been approved by the FDA in tablet form in 1993; on March 23, 2000, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that Janssen Pharmaceutica would halt its marketing of Propulsid in the United States by July 14, 2000.In September, 2001, a Claiborne County Circuit Court jury awarded $10 million to several plaintiffs, sueing as a result of the drug.
Rezulin (troglitazone) – 63 deaths attributed to the drug (Parke-Davis produced by Warner Lambert) The diabetes drug was manufactured by Warner-Lambert to treat type-2 diabetes, which led to at least 90 cases of Rezulin liver failures, including 63 deaths. Approved in 1997; pulled from the market in March 2000
Tanderil & Tandacote (contained compound oxyphenbutazone) 1182 deaths (Ciba-Geigy, a subsidiary of Novartis) Ciba-Geigy withdrew Tanderil from market worldwide in 1985
It is not surprising. In 1997 when Michelle Rokke worked at HLS, she witnessed glaring scientific failures. The scientific background of one of her fellow workers, was that they worked at McDonalds. While observing a scientists perform a shody scientific procedure, Michelle asked if he was suppose to perform it that way and his response was, “No, not suppose to, never saw it, never did it, cant prove it. (Page 67 of Michelle Rokke’s diary found on www.shac.net) During another test, another scientists acknowledged the poor results of animal based testing. While standing over a primate, after administering a chemical substance to the animals neck, the scientist states to Michelle’s hidden camera (unknown to him at the time)
“and I quote, you might as well wipe your ass with that data.” (video found on shac.net and transcripts on Michelle Rokke’s diary at shac.net)
Another HLS employee admits to Michelle, “All of the studies are so screwed up all the time because no one cares. No one cares if stuff gets done right and there’s always problems. I feel so sorry for all of the animals. How would you like to be locked in a cage all of the time with nothing to do?” (p.58 of Michelle Rokke’s diary
found on www.shac.net) An article by Ken Serrano in the Home New Tribune Online in Nov 2007 revealed more problems for HLS. He reported that a worker was fired for refusing to falsify data, and was now suing the company.
Huntingdon Life Science director Dr. Ralph Heywood, stated to Animal Toxicity Studies, quote, “the best guess for the correlation of adverse reactions in man and animal toxicity data is somewhere between five and twenty-five percent,” (Vivisection Absurd, 2006, WWW). Translation, animal research when applied to humans has up to a 95% failure rate.
Former FDA head Commissioner Lester M. Crawford, acknowledged this high failure rate of animal research in his own words with a slight variation of the failure percentage. “8% of pharmaceutical drugs that pass through animal research methods, make it to Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials,” he told a pharmaceutical conference in Italy in 2004 (PeTA, 2006, WWW). Or another way to put it, animal research, as cited the head of the federal agency that requires it, has a 92 percent failure rate. I’m sure that we would never pass a student in a high school science class who is getting what would be an F- – -, not to mention, would we pass them onto college, with honors, and give them thousands of dollars in grant money. Every year the National Institute of Health, gives millions of dollars in research to these so called scientists.
Science has been about predictability. Always has, always will be. Take this for example. On anti-cancer drugs, here is the dismal record of vivisection: Despite screening over half a million compounds as anticancer agents on laboratory animals between 1970-1985, only 80 compounds (EIGHTY OUT OF HALF A MILLION) moved into clinical trials on humans. Of these, a mere 24 had any anti-cancer activity and only 12 appeared to have a “substantial clinical role” (Fadali, 1996, page 25). Let’s look at this again. Half a million compounds known as anti-cancer agents in animals are then tried as clinical trials on humans, 24 work. This study shows animal research to have a 99.99 percent failure rate when applied to humans. Animal research is not about solid predictability, and therefore should not be considered a solid scientific procedure.
Here are more examples of how different substances work differently, on different species. Morphine sedates humans, but stimulates cats; aspirin causes birth defects in rats and mice but not in people; thalidomide works the other way around; penicillin is highly toxic to guinea pigs and hamsters; the common industrial chemical benzene causes leukemia in man but not mice; insulin produces deformities in laboratory animals but not in people; nitrophenol causes cataracts in humans, ducks and chicks but not other laboratory animals; serotonin, a naturally occurring chemical in the body, raises the blood pressure in dogs but reduces it in cats; and doses of aspirin used in human therapeutics actually poison cats whilst having no effect on the treatment of fever in horses (Sharp, 1988, page72).
Dr. Richard Klausner (a National Institutes of Health director) stated to the LA Times quote: “The history of cancer research has been a history of curing cancer in the mouse. We have cured mice of cancer for decades, and it simply did not work
in humans.” (Los Angeles Times, 2006, WWW). What can work for animals, doesn’t work for humans. In 1965, Ciba Geigy, estimated that of every 20 chemical compounds found safe therapeutically effective in animal tests, only one ever becomes a prescription drug (Vivisection Absurd, 2006, WWW).
This makes sense. Our bodies are different. This is basic. A dog could drink from a puddle on the street and not get sick—if you or I did that we would get violently ill. Just as I wouldn’t study feline leukemia in elephants, or ovarian cysts by artificially creating them in men—we shouldn’t be looking at uniquely human ailments, crudely reproduced in non-human models—that generally if ever at all—suffer from such conditions.
Modern science has evolved so much that we now understand—and should be treating disease on a molecular level. These molecular differences between species, between human and animals, can lead to a huge variation in what diseases we are pre-disposed to, and how to treat them. Trying to extrapolate treatments from those genetically different, can, has, does, and will continue to lead to lethal consequences.
The animal model paradigm may have been useful a couple hundred years ago (perhaps not even then). Galen, considered to be the prince of vivisection extrapolated his findings—from monkey, pig and goat—to humans and concluded that blood flows from the right side of our heart to the left side through an opening in the wall that separates them. Wrong, false, not true. The septum (intervening wall) in the human heart is intact. Blood must journey to our lungs to be aerated first before returning to the left side of the heart which then pumps it to every station: brain, liver, limb, bowels, everywhere, not missing tongue or heart. His erroneous conclusions misled the Western world for 11 centuries. Imagine that: 11 centuries wandering on the wrong road (Fadali, 1996, page 11-12). Galen was also believed that the formation of pus, post surgical operations, was an essential part of the healing process; wrong, an error that greatly retarded the progress of surgery (Sharpe, 1988, page 145).
Crazy, it sure is. But what is more crazy is how animal researchers test for serious mental illnesses. Animal models of anxiety are created by subjecting animals to unpleasant conditions such as electric shocks or by dosing them with chemicals known to produce anxiety in people and presumed to do so in animals. Development of new major tranquillizers, to treat serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, mania, dementia and personality and behavior disorders, does not depend on animal models of the actual disease because these do not exist. Instead, drug development depends on animal models of the side-effects of already known drugs! The idea is based on the assumption that specific side-effects often parallel a drug’s useful effects. So if the test drug produces the same side-effects as already established medicines, it is presumed to have the same beneficial effects (Sharpe, 1988, page 211).
support animal experimentation; the truth is more complicated. The most important advance in the development of a polio vaccine came in 1949 when Enders, Weller and Robbins showed that the polio virus could be grown in human tissue. They were awarded the Nobel Prize for this discovery. Despite this breakthrough, Salk and Sabin – who are usually credited with the polio vaccines – continued their reliance on traditional animal models and the use of monkey tissues. [American Anti-Vivisection Society]
Sabin himself made an impressive argument against vivisection when he testified to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs in 1984 saying, “…work on prevention [of polio] was delayed by an erroneous conception of the nature of the human disease, based on misleading experimental models [of polio] in monkeys.” By the experimenter’s admission, using monkeys in his experiment was an impediment to finding a cure. [American Anti-Vivisection Society]
In the book, “Targeted: the anatomy of an animal rights attack” two pro animal researchers tell other researchers how to deal with an animal rights attack at a University. The researchers Lorenz Otto Lutherer (a researcher at the department of physiology at Texas Tech University) and Margaret Sheffield Simon, tell other researchers how to deal with a debate, when debating animal research and the science behind it. “rehearse three to five main points that can be made and repeated; and take the high moral ground, understanding that the debate will hinge upon emotional issues and not upon science.” [Lutherer & Simon, P. 94]
Read again, understand that the debate will hinge upon emotional issues and not upon science.
Dr. Charles Mayo, one of the founders of the world renowned Mayo Clinic, one of America’s most skilled and highly respected surgeons, a surgeon’s surgeon, stated, quote, “I abhor vivisection. It should at least be curbed. Better it should be
abolished. I know of no achievement through vivisection no scientific discovery that could not have been obtained without such barbarism and cruelty. The whole thing is EVIL,” (Fadali, 1996, preface).
To me this is why I feel strongly about this subject. As Dr. Charles Mayo stated, it is evil. It causes pain, suffering, distress, and torture on sentient animal beings. It is important to stress that animals are sentient beings. The justification for using African Americans in gruesome experiments was because they were thought of (or lied about) as being non-sentient beings. Racist Dr. Mosely wrote in his book, Treatise on Tropical Disease quote: “Negroes…are void of sensibility to a surprising degree. They are not subject to nervous disease. They sleep sound in every disease, nor does any mental disturbance ever keep them awake. They bear chirurgical operations much better than white peole, and what would be the cause of unsupportable pain to a white man, a Negro would almost disregard.” Unquote (Spiegel, 1996, page 65).
Any pet guardian (owner) will know that animals are sentient beings. They live in a give-love need-love relationship. Animal researchers try to explain to the public that animals are devoid of pain to justify their experiments.
It took years for abolitionists to convince society that black people were sentient beings, they could suffer from both emotional and physical pain, and therefore was
unjust to perpetuate that pain and violence on them, and was unethical to use them for our benefit.
The same applies to animals. Elephants will weep when a loved one dies. They will bury their dead and visit the grave site for years. In the wild, sport hunters randomly shoot the mates of waterfowl, some of whom pair for life. Often the surviving mate dies of starvation while mourning. Rats will sing to their partner after making love; and mourn the loss of their partner, sometimes being so emotionally weak that they will die. They will also laugh if you tickle them. Prairie Dogs utter different warning noises showing that they can count the number of predators entering a field, proof of a language in which we can distinguish 300 different calls. Jeffrey Masson cites the case of a parrot that unquestionably disproves the accepted belief that these birds can only repeat, devoid of context, remembered phrases. Left by his trainer at a veterinarian’s office the parrot pleaded, “Come here. I love you. I’m sorry. I want to go back,” (PeTA, 2006, WWW) (Spiegel, 1996, page 27).
A common justification given for the continued use of animals in research is they are so like us. Yet at the same time, researchers claim we are able to test on animals because they are not like us (Rosebraugh, 1998, page 28).
Regardless of whether HLS produced the best scientific results, the manner in which they did it was unfathomably cruel.
Even industry insiders agreed that what they saw inside of HLS was disturbing. I remember I was able to walk into a talk at a pharmaceutical conference in Washington DC. Another anti-HLS activist walked in and disrupted the talk by shouting anti-HLS slogans. As a result of that the speaker at the time (Mary Hanley head of the Society of Quality Assurance) stated that what she saw at HLS was
disturbing. This was a Society of Quality Assurance Conference. That says a lot. And who wouldn’t be disturbed by what went on inside of HLS.
Michelle Rockke, a PeTA employee, who got a job at the lab documented some of the most horrific events inside of a lab. She wore a hidden camera in the lining of her glasses and recorded and documented egregious acts of animal cruelty at HLS
An HLS employee clothling a dog (P.11)
An HLS employees at a primate (with his thumbs over the monkeys throat), stop it before I bite your face. (p. 67, and because this is HLS, it did not just happen once, different incident reported as well on page 98)
Many HLS employees joked about monkeys dying of lung-shots (if a naso-gastric tube is improperly placed in the animals trachea and lung instead of their esophagus and stomach, the animal receives the test material in the lung and dies within minutes). If you kill an animal this way at HLS, your in the platinum club (a club that had a list of names of all employees that were in it). An HLS employee tells Michelle he had the most kills (on primates). He had also killed a dog this way. Has had also broke a primates arm and the primate had to be euthanized. (P. 67)
Someone broke a primates tail from improperly handling it, so the primates tail had to be amputated. They had to do a total of four different tail operations (because of their technical failures) and it wasn’t healing properly and the stitches kept coming out. (p 75) An HLS employee complained that she had seen injuries on every single primate in one room, from broken tails, to nearly-severed fingers, all caused from people handling them improperly during tests and procedures. (p. 75)
Employee talks about how she broke a primates leg (when trying to catch the primate for testing). She had seen tails (YES MULTIPLE) lying on the ground from people puling out primates tails (p. 75) Four primates went without water for a week. (P. 75) HLS employee operates on a primate with a dull razor. He began hacking away at the arm, but his razor was so dull he took several swipes to remove a chunk of flesh, the size of a lemon. The primate was still very much alive during the procedure. Meanwhile another HLS employee spells out his initials on the table with the primates blood. (P 85)
HLS employee told Michelle that, A true scientist really has no need for GLP [Good Laboratory Practices] because they’re interested in science and dont need documentation. (p. 89) HLS employee told Michelle Huntingdon is using outdated practices that have been around since the 60s and its time to move forward and
progress (p. 89) Michelle saw an HLS employee lift up a sick dog by the back skin and shake her. (p. 91)
HLS gives no post surgical analgesics even to animals in pain. (p. 101)
HLS employee slaps a monkey and says, he is a bad monkey. He needs to be spanked. (p. 102)
HLS employee grabs a pig by legs and swings the pig out of the cage. He has also grabbed pigs by hind legs and dragged them across the floor on their face. (p. 102)
Rats are bleed by inserting a glass pipelette deep into their eyes, hitting a vein and then they are held upside down to collect blood. (p. 102)
This was one of several undercover investigations into HLS. Happening at the same time on in England, Zoe Broughton was doing an undercover investigation at HLS’ main facility in Huntingdon England. What she recorded was young beagle dogs being hit in the face and violently shaken. Workers mocking sex acts with these young dogs. Dogs lying in pools of their own fecal matter and pools of their own blood, waiting to die. When these images hit the airways in her documentary, “It’s
a Dog’s Life,” HLS’ share price hit as low as the workers blow to the dog they hit in the face.
HLS and their pharmaceutical conglomerate counterparts are literally, not figuratively getting away with murder. Whether it be animals or humans. When your have enough power to get away with murder, you’re going to have enough power to get away with a lot of other things that you want. Your wallets have to be pretty fat to pull this off.
According to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, pharmaceutical companies spent $900 million on lobbying between 1998 and 2005, more than any other industry. This would equate to $128 million a year. During the same period, they donated $89.9 million to federal candidates and political parties, giving approximately three times as much to Republicans as to Democrats. According to the Center for Public Integrity, the top twenty pharmaceutical companies and their two trade groups, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and Biotechnology Industry Organization, lobbied on at least 1,600 pieces of legislation between 1998 and 2004. According, the pharmaceutical industry they spent approximately $182 million on Federal lobbying. The industry has 1,274 registered lobbyists in Washington D.C, or just basically 3 lobbyists for every congressional representative. In 2006, PACs representing the agribusiness industry gave $20 million to members of Congress, and the pharmaceutical industry gave $11.5 million. By comparison, the Humane Society’s Humane USA PAC gave $123,000, and all environmental PACs combined gave about $514,000. Lobbyists from these industries have lengthy legislative agendas of which the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act is but one small part, but their political influence is clear. In 2006, the Humane Society spent about $90,000, and Pfizer alone spent $11.8 million [Potter, P.165-166]
Compare these numbers to other large industries and their political wallets. In the 2006 election cycle, oil and gas companies contributed over $19 million to political campaigns. 82% of that money went to Republican candidates, while the remaining 18% went to Democrats.
It is estimated that the United States tobacco lobby spends an average of $106,415 each day legislature meets. In 2010 this would equate to $20,325,265.
The ten largest defense contractors in the nation spent more than $27 million lobbying the federal government in the last quarter of 2009, according to a review of recently-filed lobbying records. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/21/top-defense-contractors-s_n_431542.html) Top Contributors during 2009-2010 were National Rifle Association $1,333,660, Safari Club International $364,624, Gun Owners of America $143,955, Ohio Gun Collectors Association $18,000, National Shooting Sports Foundation $7,900, and National Association for Gun Rights $6,000 ( http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?ind=Q13 )
Looking at the numbers further you have the pharmaceutical industry spending roughly $128 million a year on lobbying efforts. The tobacco industry spent $20 million. The oil & gas industry spent $19 million. Defense contractors spent $27 million. In other words, the pharmaceutical lobby spent almost double the amount of the tobacco industry, oil & gas industry, & defense contractors combined.
One of the powerful players in terms of passing new laws is The American Legislative Exchange Council that was founded in 1973 by Paul Weyrich—a conservative activist who famously coined the term “moral Majority” for Jerry Falwell—in order to take his culture war to statehouses. Over time the mission of the organization changed. The focus shifted from winning cultural hot-button issues like abortion to advancing a legislative agenda palatable to corporate benefactors. ALEC evolved into an efficient, well-funded and little-known conservative powerhouse. According to an expose by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Defenders of Wildlife, ALEC became a Trojan horse used to roll a corporate agenda through statehouse gates undetected.
This is the heart of the Trojan horse. Power in ALEC does not come from political acumen, it comes from brute financial force. Corporations buy their way onto one of ALEC’s specialized task forces. There, “legislators welcome their private-sector counterparts to the table as equals,” according to one ALEC publication. Actually, the corporate counterparts are more than equal. They have veto power. No bill is released from a task force without their approval. The result of such an arrangement are predictable. The task force on criminal justice, for example, has been con-chaired by a representative of Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest operator of private prisons. In 1996, ALEC issued model legislation to deregulate utility markets: the legislation was pushed by Koch Industries and Enron. [Potter, P.125-126]
Of the 1,600 pieces of legislation that the pharmaceutical industry lobbied on during 1998 and 2004, one was particularly important for the industry to stop radical protest campaigns against them—the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. But to get what they wanted in 2006 took many years to get to.
In 1989, Representative Vin Weber (R-MN) started the animal caucus (‘dubbed the ‘Animal Welfare Caucus’) to support the legitimate use of animals. Bills specifically directed against persons committing break-ins in research and agricultural facilities were introduced in 1989. The Animal Research Facilities Protection Act sponsored by Senator Howell Heflin (D-Ala.) passed in the Senate, but the companion legislation in the House, the Farm Animals and Research Facilities Protection Act introduced by Representative Charles Stenholm (D-Tex.), failed to get out of committee prior to adjournment. [Lutherer & Simon, P. 149-150.]
During this same time in 1989 a coordinated campaign dubbed “Animal Research Action Plan,” was starting to be waged by the American Medical Association. It’s
campaign focused on ideology, claiming that animal rights activists must be shown to be “anti-science” and “a threat to the public’s freedom of choice.” The association said the public must be aware of the threats activists pose to human advancement, and advocated labeling them militants and terrorists. [Potter, P. 244]
In 1990, Congress held a hearing in which law enforcement and industry groups called for a new federal law to target animal rights attacks. The bill should have slipped through, greased by the spate of arsons and the sympathetic White House of George H.W. Bush. Instead, the proposal was challenged by an unlikely source: Bush’s own Justice Department. It may be difficult, post-9/11, to fathom the government declining new terrorism powers. For the U.S. deputy assistant attorney general at the time, though, it was a traditional, conservative defense of limited government. “Despite our sympathy to the aims of some of these bills,” Paul L. Maloney said, “the [Justice] Department cannot endorse the creation of new federal criminal legislation, which, in our view, could add nothing to the prosecution of these types of offenses.” [Potter, P. 121]
Both bills, The Animal Research Facilities Protection Act in the senate (?), and the Farm Animals and Research Facilities Protection Act in the house(?) were reintroduced and passed, and the conference committee version was signed into law as the Animal Enterprise Protection Act in August 1992. [Lutherer & Simon, P. 149-150.]
In 2000, a mink raider pled guilty to violations of the animal enterprise protection act. It would not be until 2005 until another mink raider would plead guilty to violating the animal enterprise protection act. The pair committed their crimes in 1997.
It is interesting that, during this time period, even after the pair’s crimes, the animal rights movement was not a pressing issue to the FBI. FBI Director Louis Freeh told European newspapers in 1998 that crimes by the ALF, ELF, and Earth First were not even on his radar screen. [Potter, P. 56]
With the rate of two convictions between 1992 and 2005, its hard to say that passage of the Animal Enterprise Protection Act was a pressing issue. As many animal rights activists would argue, it was more about an industry front passed law designed to scare activists away from legitimate protest and freedom of expression, and have a chilling effect on the movement. It would not be out of historical texts to argue that the industry tried to kill off a movement.
For decades, the cultural threat of communism was perceived to be so perilous that it had to be confronted anywhere it surfaced. In a 1947 FBI memo, the government
warned that this might include the classic Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The film’s archetypal villain was old man Potter, a banker. Its director, Frank Capra, was reported by the FBI to have “associated with left-wing groups and, on one other occasion to have made a picture which was decidedly socialist in nature—‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.’” [Potter, P. 242]
In 1948, twelve board members of the Communist Party were indicted not for attempting to overthrow the government, but—much as with the SHAC defendants—for conspiring to advocate those ideas. [Potter, P. 134]
To create a chilling effect on the communist movement a law was introduced and passed that required anyone receiving “communist political propaganda” through the post office to authorize the delivery of each piece of mail. This legislation did not only say it was illegal to send or receive communist literature. It just said you had to sign for it. But that has the same effect, does it not? Only the truly fearless or clueless would voluntarily add their name to a list of people who received communist propaganda during the Cold War. So people didn’t do it. The Supreme Court struck down the law. Justice William O. Douglas wrote in Lamont v. Postmaster General: “The regime of this Act is at war with the ‘uninhibited, robust, and wide-open’ debate and discussion that are contemplated by the First Amendment.’” Douglas called this a “deterrent effect,” and it would later become the legal concept known as a “chilling effect.” The law was unconstitutional not because it banned subversive speech but because it chilled it, turning the free flow of ideas into a crystallized mass, silent and cold. [Potter, P. 135]
During this time period laws like this did create a chilling effect on those sympathetic to communism and the communist movement. The House Un-American Activities Committee released a report in 1950 that labeled the [National Lawyers] [G]uild “The Legal Bulwark of the Communist Party.” These government attacks took a heavy tool, and by the 1950s the organization had lost about four-fifths of its membership. [Potter, P. 172]
Much as communism was a cultural threat in the 1950s, the concept of animal rights is a cultural threat to todays lawmakers and industry representatives. In his influential position paper on the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, animal experimenter Edward J. Walsh advocated the law’s expansion to respond not solely to threats of violence, but to threats to a way of life. He argued that even simple acts such as choosing to not wear fur, eat meat or attend rodeos “quietly, but effectively, promote the dissolution of our culture.” [Potter, P. 246]
In the late 1990s and early 2000s animal activists in the UK were targeting animal testing in ways new and different than in the past. They were targeting the breeders of animals to be used for vivisection. They not only protested against the sites themselves, and engaged in illegal tactics like breaking into these places, but they engaged in new tactics that included tertiary targeting. Going after anyone connected to the breeding facilities. They went to the marketplaces where the owners shopped and got them banned from grocery stores. Executives not only had protests outside of their businesses, but their neighbors were also informed of what they did, in order to use them as leverage to convince them to stop doing what they were doing.
These new developments in tactics proved to be very effective. Several breeders closed up shop: Consort Beagle Breeders, Hillgrove Cat Farm, Shamrock Monkeys, and Regal Rabbits.
Organizers from these campaigns set their sights on HLS in November of 1999. Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) was formed.
This latest development of diversity of tactics, primarily focusing on tertiary targeting shook up Washington. The AEPA dealt with how to handle animal rights activists that went beyond traditional protest at facilities, but did not include dealing with legitimate protest against tertiary targets. Even though considered legal in the eyes of most in the general public, including the Massachusetts supreme court, tertiary targeting to those in Washington was something they wanted to get done with. According to a 2000 FBI memorandum, FBI officials met and talked about what they would do if the SHAC problem came to the United States, and came to conclusions as to what they would do to put an end to it all.
Industry insiders were well aware of the treat, and looked at their chalk boards as to what to do next. It would almost be like the American Medical Association, “Animal Research Action Plan,” campaign on 1989, where they wanted to sway public opinion into believing that animal activists, by nature, were militants and terrorists. It would be hard as two years previously the FBI director had told newspapers animal activists were not even on his radar.
Industry insiders took advantage of September 11th, hysteria, by using this as a means to label animal activists as terrorists, and create a further chilling effect on the movement. On the day the Twin Towers fell, Don Young, a U.S. Representative from Alaska, told the Anchorage Daily News the attacks might have been the work of the ALF [Animal Liberation Front] or ELF [Earth Liberation Front]. “I’m not sure they’re that dedicated, but eco-terrorists–which are really based in Seattle—there’s a strong possibility that could be one of the groups,” he said. [Potter, P. 124]
In October 2001, U.S. Representative Scott McInnis and other Republicans sent a letter to the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, National Wildlife Federation, Earth justice, World Wildlife Fund, League of Conservation Voters and Natural Resources Defense Council. “As our Nation begins the recovery and healing process following the tragedy of Sept. 11, we believe it is critical for Americans of every background and political stripe to disavow terrorism in all its forms and manifestations,” the letter said. The organizations were told that they must publicly denounce the ALF, ELF and similar groups, which have committed sabotage “no less deplorable” than the World Trade Center attacks. They were given a deadline, and it was implied in press statements that if they declined they would be investigated. The leaders of the national environmental movement all pledged their loyalty oaths. [Potter, P. 191.]
In 2003, Ron Arnold who claims to have pioneered the use of the term“eco-terrorism,” was hired as an expert consultant by the University of Arkansas Terrorism Research Center. The project was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the Justice Department. Arnold—who has told the New York Times, “we want to destroy environmentalists by taking away their money and their members”—was paid by the government to advise law enforcement on the terrorist threat he helped fabricate. [Potter, P. 61]
In 2003, the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General audited the FBI and provided recommendations for improving its terrorism investigations. The audit raised multiple concerns with the bureau’s treatment of animal rights and environmental activists as terrorists. Foremost among them were communications problems within the FBI, and the quality of terrorism intelligence sent by the bureau to state and local law enforcement. The audit revealed that the FBI’s weekly Intelligence Bulletins and Quarterly Terrorist Threat Assessments often focused on political activists. The inspector general recommended that the FBI’s intelligence updates focus on “domestic terrorist activities aimed at creating mass casualties or destroying critical infrastructure, rather than information on social protests and domestic radicals’ criminal activities.”
There have been some indications that federal law enforcement’s focus on political activists has had consequences. An investigation by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, relying on former FBI officials, revealed that the bureau knew of pervasive fraud in the mortgage industry and its potential for national and international economic crises. However, the bureau did not have the resources to investigate. After September 11th, about 2,400 FBI agents were reassigned and highly skilled white collar crime investigators were shifted to domestic terrorism investigations.
Juxtapose this with the fact that of these 2,400 agents investigating white collar crimes (which could have possibly lead to the prevention of the 2008 financial meltdown), several of these agents went on to investigate this ‘more important’ lead instead. In a 2006 bulletin to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, the Department of Homeland Security warned about eco-terrorism like “flyer [sic] distribution” and “tying up company phone lines.” [Potter, P. 240] (flyer drop in Oakland)
“We knew we had a broader problem, but you’ve got a Justice Department and the administration saying you need to concentrate on domestic intelligence and counterterrorism,” a retired high ranking FBI official told the paper. “It wasn’t very popular to ask for resources for anything. It was dead on arrival.”
Homeland security operations have been similarly criticized within Washington. In 2005, U.S. Representative Bennie G. Thompson, who is the ranking member on the House Committee on Homeland Security, issued a report with six other committee members criticizing the department for focusing on “eco-terrorism” while not addressing the threat of right-wing terrorists. “If DHS’ long-term planning documents do not consider these and other risks posed by right-wing domestic terrorists,” the report said, “then lower-level agents working to fight these groups may not be receiving enough budgetary, policy or administrative support from their superiors. This means possible threats to our homeland could go undetected.” [Potter, P. 236-238]
The pharmaceutical band still played on, an they still marched on, touting animal rights activists as the number one domestic threat in this country.
The pharmaceutical industry had their first big break at passing a new law on May 18, 2004. This would be one of several hearings into weather or not congress should pass new laws making legitimate protest campaigns illegal. John E. Lewis, assistant deputy director for the FBI was called by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary to speak on a hearing dubbed, “Animal Rights: Activism vs. Criminality”
His statement would seem quite contrary to what those would wanted this new law pass hear. He stated, “While some ALF activities have involved direct actions covered by this statute, such as animal releases at mink farms, the activities of SHAC generally fall outside the scope of the AET statute. In fact, SHAC members are typically quite conversant in the elements of the federal statute and appear to engage in conduct that, while criminal (such as trespassing, vandalism or other property damage), would not result in a significant, particularly federal, prosecution. “
It may not have been what the pharmaceutical representatives wanted to hear. A deputy director for the FBI stating that animal rights activists, particularly SHAC, were following the law – not breaking it.
Ironically within days of this statement, 7 SHAC activists were arrested in this country and charged with breaking the law that the FBI deputy director said days beforehand, they were not breaking.
At one of the first hearings of the SHAC 7 case, the defense immediately brought up this fact, that even a deputy director of the FBI said the individuals charged with the crime were not breaking the law. Charles McKenna, the prosecutor, stood dumb faced, and stumbled over his words, “Well I tried to call Washington, but they never returned my calls.”
The next time congress would meet would be almost a year later, on May 18th, 2005. The Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works would specifically examine the Earth Liberation Front “ELF” and the Animal Liberation Front “ALF”.
After this, it would be yet another year until congress would meet on the AETA, this time meeting on May 23, 2006. The House Judiciary subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security would hear about the AETA.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) expressed concerns about the hearing. Refusing to attend, he submitted a statement in which he first expressed approval that the hearing’s original title, “The Threat of Animal and Eco-Terrorism,” had been abandoned. Leahy wrote: “Most Americans would not consider the harassment of animal testing facilities to be terrorism, any more than they would consider anti-globalization protestors or anti-war protestors or women’s health activist to be terrorists…I think that most Americans would rather that we address more urgent concerns that really do pose a serious threat to this country and to the world.” Senator Leahy also noted that although he had suggested to Chairman Hatch to include an additional witness at the hearing who would balance out the proceedings with a different perspective on the issue, Chairman Hatch declined to do so. Some senators submitted statements that countered the testimony of those seeking increased restrictions on animal activism.
Senator James Jeffords (I-VT) similary attempted to put the accusations of terrorism into proper perspective: “ELF and ALF may threaten dozens of people each year, but an incident at a chemical, nuclear or wastewater facility would threaten tens of thousands.”
Perhaps the most vocal opponent of animal enterprise terrorism laws at the hearing was Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ): “The Oklahoma City bombing killed 168 people. The attacks of 9/11 killed 3,000. Since 1993, there have been at least five fatal attacks on doctors who performed legal abortions [now there have been 6]. Eric Ruldolph recently pleaded quietly to placing a bomb in a public area during the Olympic Games in 1996, as well as bombing a Birmingham women’s clinic and a gay nightclub. All of these cases involved the loss of human life. To date, not a single incident of so-called environmental terrorism has killed anyone….Let us not allow ourselves to be blinded to the more serious threats posed by those who have taken innocent lives.” Lautenberg also warned against assuming guilt by association; the act of one individual should not lead to accusations of terrorism for an entire organization. Timothy McVeigh, he said, belonged to the National Rifle Association: “that doesn’t make the NRA a terrorist group.” Lumping legitimate activists with terrorists is dangerous, he argued, in that it “minimize[s] the very real threats against our society.” In a written statement, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) expressed concerns echoing those set forth by the lone AETA-opposing witness, Potter: namely, that the AETA would criminalize acts protected by the Constitution.
[Bobby] Scott—a prominent figure in the Congressional Black Caucus, a go-to guy in the House on civil rights and civil liberties issues—acknowledges that this “terrorism” law could target nonviolent civil disobedience. “There are some who conscientiously believe that it is their duty to peacefully protest the operation of animal enterprises to the extent of engaging in civil disobedience,” he says. “If a group’s intention were to stage a sit-in or lie-down or to block traffic to a targeted facility, they certainly run the risk of arrest for whatever traffic, trespass or other laws they may be breaking. But they should not be held more accountable for business losses due to causes such as delivery trucks being delayed any more than a boycott or protest against any other business.
“To violate the provision of the bill, one must travel or otherwise engage in interstate activity with the intent to cause damage or loss to an animal enterprise. While the losses of profits, lab experiments or other intangible losses are included, it must be proved that such losses were specifically intended for the law to be applied.” In other words, those who conscientiously believe that it is their duty to peacefully protest through civil disobedience could be labeled terrorists, but only if they intend to hurt corporate profits. [Potter, P.166-167]
At the last hearing on the AETA on May 23, 2006, Bill Delahunt, a Democrat from Massachusetts, asks to make a final comment. All of the crimes that were mentioned by the witnesses today, are already crimes under state law. Redundant statutes burden the federal government and shift power from the states, Delahunt says. Federal resources are limited. He says industry groups should instead lobby state officials, because they could address these crimes more efficiently and quickly than their federal counterparts. […]
One letter of support [for the AETA bill] is from Mark Bibi, general counsel for Huntingdon. He say SHAC’s campaign has been “enormously successful,” and new legislation is needed because the group’s model poses a continued threat to other corporate interests. “The risks posed by SHAC and its ilk should not be underestimated,” Bibi says. “Imagine the impact if SHAC tactics were used by those opposed to various other industries from defense, to mining, to oil, to timber, to who knows what else.” [Potter, P. 139]
One of the co-sponsors of the AETA bill, Randall “Duke” Cunningham, resigned from the House a year earlier after pleading guilty to accepting at least $2.4 million in corporate bribes. [Potter, P. 160]
The National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR) purchased a full-page ad in Roll Call. The paper covers Capitol Hill and is read daily by Congressional staff. The ad featured a black-and-white photograph of a vandalized office. On the wall, in bright red spray-paint-style lettering, it said “Your home is next.” At the bottom of the page, it said “SUPPORT THE ANIMAL ENTERPROSE TERRORISM ACT.”[…] The coalition created to pass the AETA into law had a lot of money. On of the things they were a little skimpy on was security, and an anonymous source has leaked many of the group’s internal documents, which reveal a carefully orchestrated campaign to label activists as terrorists by spreading disinformation. […]
NABR’s bio medical coalition internal talking points are written with startling candor. They reveal these groups’ description of what they see as the true threat of the animal rights movement. Activists are dangerous not because of violence, or the potential for violence. “These tactics have been very successful,” the talking points say, in “damaging the financial footing of corporations involved in animal enterprise.”
The argument about labeling non-violent activists is still there. The state department and the UN would challenge this rhetoric in 2004. Both the State Department’s and the UN Security Council Resolution 1566 (2004), which helps codify international law concerning acts of terrorism, do not include violence against property. To say that activists that break into labs, steal animals, destroy the equipment used in the experiments, are terrorists, now goes against what these governmental agencies is a real terrorist. (P. 12)( Punishing Protest–Government Tactics That Suppress Free Speech, by Heidi Boghosia and the National Lawyers Guild. 2007 National Lawyers Guild)
Even with this coordinated campaign by multinational corporations and industry leaders, the Animal Enterprise Protection Coalition knows it still does not have the votes it needs in order to pass the AETA. Two of the coalition’s internal lobbying documents are political scorecards. They have rows for every member of Congress, and columns for support of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act: “Yes,” “Leaning Yes,” “Leaning No” and “No.” According to the scorecards, only four of one hundred senators support the legislation. That explains why the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act was rushed through the Senate, on the last business day before Congressional recess for the elections, with no discussion or debate. As a result, it passed by “unanimous consent.”
On the House side, support is equally scarce. According to the scorecard, only 27 of the 435 members of the House—6 percent—support the legislation. One should treat that tally conservatively. Most of the rows and columns on the scorecard are blank, and only solid “yes” votes are marked. Lobbyists were clearly erring on the side of caution, which is normal, and only tabulating the most solid votes. That being said, even if the number of supporters is eight times higher than the coalition has recorded, the legislation will fail on the House floor. [Potter, P. 162]
It does seem that those who were a yes for this law were more of a yes for financial reasons. Representative Stenholm has tirelessly pushed for the Farm Animals and Research Facilities Protection Act and then its amended version, the AEPA. Throughout his congressional career, the US agricultural industry–which includes animal agriculture–gave Stenholm more than $2.5 million in donations. Of this amount, from 1998 on, the agricultural services/products industry contributed $666,795; the crop production and basic processing industry contributed $786,460; and the following industries contributed a total of $1,106,008: food and beverage, food processing and sales, egg, dairy, poultry, and live stock. Stenholm’s top two contributors were the American Farm Bureau and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. The Dairy Farmers of America and the United Egg Association also were among Stenholm’s top ten contributors. Restriction pressure from animal protection groups is just what these donors wanted.
Other sponsors of the AEPA had financial ties with animal industries. Representative Thomas Ewing (R-IL) enjoyed campaign contributions from political action committees such as the American Meat Institute, Dairy Farmers of America, Inc., Milk Industry Foundation, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; the late Representative Herbert Bateman (R-VA) had over $100,000 in personal investments in Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest producer and processor of pork; and Representative Dave Camp (R-MI) owned more than $750,000 worth of stock in pharmaceutical companies that profited from animal vivisection, namely, Abbot Laboratories, Dow Chemical, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., and Wyeth. The Houses Committee on the Judiciary held hearings on the AETA on 2006. The chairman was Representative James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) who had deep financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. In 2006, Sensenbrenner owned significant stocks and bonds in various pharmaceutical giants, such as Abbot Laboratories, Inc., (over $500,000), Pfizer (over $600,000), and Merck & Co. ($1.3 million). Altogether $2.4 million in one time Huntingdon Life Sciences customers.
It is 2:46 p.m. on November 13th, 2006, and lawmakers who spent the morning grandstanding about causing trouble are back in their offices, or at events related to Dr. King’s memorial. Only five lawmakers have gathered here on the House floor. They are barreling through a string of bills, assembly-line style, as part of an obscure procedure called “suspension of the rules.” Members of Congress have busy schedules, and this procedure lets them, as the Congressional Research Service says, “act expeditiously on relatively non-controversial legislation.” Each bill gets forty minutes of debate, then an up-or-down vote, then a push out the door.
[R]epresentative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio speak[s] against the legislation.[…]
They [(Sensenbrenner & Kucinich)] go back and forth briefly about the purpose of the bill, and Sensenbrenner says it is needed to combat tertiary targeting. Kucinich says lawmakers could more effectively fight extremists by addressing the extreme cruelty that motivates activists. “I just think that you have got to be very careful about painting everyone with the broad brush of terrorism who might have a legitimate objection to a type of research or treatment of animals that is not humane,” Kucinich says. “this bill is written in such a way as to have a chilling effect on the exercise of people’s First Amendment rights.” [Potter, P. 169]
After 40 minutes of debate the bill effecting thousands of animal rights activists goes to vote with 5 congressional representatives. The bill passes.
Two days later November 15th, 2006, legislation honoring the St. Louis Cardinals for winning the World Series comes to the House floor under the suspension of the rules. More members of Congress attend and make comments about baseball than were in the room for the terrorism legislation at the start of the week. To record where members of Congress stand on this issue, Representative Virginia Foxx wants a tally of the vote, a move not made for the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. “Mr. Speaker,” she says, “on that I demand the yeas and nays.” There were 395 yeas, no nays, and only 37 members not voting. Representative Charlie Norwood, a Republican from Georgia—Dr. King’s home state—could not make it to the terrorism vote or the baseball vote. To let the American people know he was not shirking his democratic responsibilities, he submits a “personal explanation” to the congressional record on December 5th. “Mr. Speaker, on roll call No. 523, H. Res. 1078, congratulating the St. Louis Cardinals on winning the 2006 World Series, had I been present, I would have voted ‘yes’”. [Potter, P. 173-174]
On November 27th (?), 2006, then president Bush signs into law the Animal Enterprise Terrorsim Act.
Later, student activists in Massachusetts protested the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act outside the office of their U.S. Representative, James McGovern. They demanded answers, and they got some; the headline in the local paper summed it up: “Animal protesters get results.” After meeting with McGovern’s staff in his office that afternoon, protesters were given a statement from the congressman stating that he does not support the law, he would have voted against it if he had known about a vote, and he would advocate for repeal. Outside McGovern’s office, a young woman held a cardboard sign that read, “you can’t scare the green out of me.” [Potter, P. 178]
After being wrongfully convicted in their case in the SHAC 7 trial, Kevin Kjonaas, Jake Conroy, & Lauren Gazzola looked at 23 & ½ years if the judge sentenced them to the max. [I]n comparison, the average sentence is about twenty-one years for murder, eight and a half years for sex offenses and six and a half years for arson. [Potter, P. 151] With the signing of the AETA occurring 11 days after the Kevin, Jake, Lauren, Josh, & Darius turned themselves in, they were so closely associated with the implications of the new law, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and the dreaded word that went along with it, ‘Terrorism.’ Imagine this, animal rights activists being charged with terrorism, for not harming anyone, yet the government did not seek the terrorism enhancement in the case of Zacarias Moussaoui, convicted of conspiracy in connection to the September 11th attacks.
In the pacific Northwest, a self-avowed white supremacist named Jacob Albert Laskey threw swastika-etched rocks through the windows of a Eugene synagogue while members were inside. Among the many charges against him, Laskey also solicited help in murdering a potential witness and called in a bomb threat to a federal courthouse in order to disrupt a grand jury. While he awaited sentencing, Laskey sent a letter to Resistance Magazine advocating for execution cells to break into homes and kill their targets in front of wives and children. He advocated using “shoot and scoot” tactics to kill political officials as they returned home from work, because the televised funerals would amplify the message. Soliciting a bomb threat against the federal courthouse is listed as a federal crime of terrorism, and Laskey admittedly intended to influence the government, but prosecutors never sought the terrorism enhancement. [Potter, P. 186]
Eric Rudolph, whose string of fatal bombings included abortion providers and a gay nightclub, did not face terrorism charges. Environmental activists charged with property crimes, however, are being given “terrorism enhancements” in increasing numbers. (P. 21)( Punishing Protest–Government Tactics That Supress Free Speech, by Heidi Boghosia and the National Lawyers Guild. 2007 National Lawyers Guild
Joseph Stack flew a plane into an IRS building, killing himself and an IRS manager. Members of the self-proclaimed Christian militia Hutaree were arrested for allegedly plotting to assassinate federal, state and local police officers in hopes of sparking an antigovernment revolution. An anti-abortion activist murdered Dr. George Tiller. A white supremacist opened fire at the Holocaust museum, killing one person before killing himself. In government statements, legal proceedings and press reports, the word terrorism has been conspicuously absent from any discussion of these crimes. [Potter, P. 236-238]
Demetrius “Van” Crocker, a former member of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement, was found quilty in 2006 of attempting to purchase sarin nerve gas and C-4 explosives as part of a plan to blow up government buildings with a “dirty bomb.” Crocker had also made a version of Zyklon B, the gas used in Nazi concentration camps.
A hero of anti-abortion extremists, Clayton Waagner, proclaimed he was on a mission from God to murder clinic employees. He stole cars, stockpiled weapons, gathered home addresses, broke out of prison when he was arrested and, when recaptured, admitted mailing more than 550 letters in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks that contained white powder and notes that read, “You have been exposed to anthrax. We are going to kill all of you.” Waagner was associated with the Army of God, and in 2003 he was found guilty of more than fifty federal charges including threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction.
William J. Krar, a white supremacist from Texas, pleaded guilty in 2003 to possessing a weapon of mass destruction. Police found a sodium-cyanide bomb powerful enough to kill everyone in a 30,000-square foot building—thousands of people—along with nine machine guns, more than sixty pipe bombs, remote-control explosive devices and some 100,000 rounds of ammunition.
Its not just ‘terrorism’ or non-terrorism that is different in the legal world for different political parties.
Take for example what others have said and done, and gotten away with, that an animal rights activist saying or doing would not get away with.
An activist, David “Gypsy” Chain was killed by a threatening logger. On September 17, 1998, a video of the scene showed A.E. Ammons, saying if the activists did not move he would “make sure I got a tree coming this way.” Then he did just that. The local district attorney refused to press charges against the logger. [Potter, P.84, A Good Forest for Dying by Patrick Beach, Doubleday 2004,
Former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin posted Gabrielle Giffords name on her website under cross hairs. Representative Giffords was eventually shot in the face.
As Judy Gumbo Albert, a founding member of the Yippies, said of the 1971 Weather Underground bombing of the Capitol building, “We didn’t do it, but we dug it.” SHAC posted disclaimers on the website saying the group did not engage in illegal activity, but supported those who did. [Potter, P. 96]
Greg Schumacher [owner of Schumacher Fur’s in Portland, with 112 years of business] put signs in his window threatening violence. One read: “ALL PROTESTERS SHOULD BE! *BEATEN* STRANGLED*SKINNED ALIVE*ANALLY ELECTROCUTED,” the fate suffered by the animals that became his coats. [Potter, P. 179]
Al Gore, one of the most respected and mainstream faces of the environmental movement, has called for lawbreaking, saying, “I can’t understand why there aren’t rings of young people blocking bulldozers.” [Potter, P. 192]
After wall street brought on the financial meltdown of 2008, and the public learned that bankers bonuses were being paid with taxpayer money, many were very upset, and very vocal about how they felt. A March 9th (?) 2009 NYT brings to issue, what anti-bankers could get away with that animal rights activists would be arrested on federal terrorism charges if they tried the same thing. “Populist rage over 168 million in bonuses being paid to employees of A.I.G. – many of whom were responsible for insuring the credit default swaps and overvaluing derivatives. U.S. Senators and Congressional reps. Are demanding to name and shame these exec’s. In testimony before congress A.I.G. CEO Edward Libby said he would give them the names but requested Congress keep them under seal because death threats have been pouring in and the employees are afraid for their lives. With the same indignant rage as fomented during the French Revolution, A.I.G. employees are being threatened to being strung up with piano wire and violence is even being directed towards their families and children. Some groups are even organizing protest bus tours to the homes of key exec’s. Rep Barney Frank, made cognizant of these threats, offered little sympathy and pursued this “name and shame” pandering policy and stated to the effect, ‘tough luck.’”
–Book, “Too Big to Fail”, by Andrew Ross Sarkin, Page 532
Its more than just protecting one industry and not protecting another. Take for example the disproportionate sentenced an NON-activist got for a crime of property destruction towards an animal enterprise. The owner of a pet shop burned down a pet shop (an animal enterprise) and spray painted “No more exploitation of animals” in black spray paint outside the front door. He was not an activist and his motivations here were not to put the entity out of business (which an activist may have that motivation for doing the same crime), but his motivations were not activism-related and were for financial reasons( he wanted to get money by insurance fraud). He got a 2 year, 9 month sentence, one of the accomplice got 2 years 5 months, and the other got 30 days (to be fair he was a minor at the time and usually smaller sentences are given to minors).
Now compare that to sentences of animal rights and environmental rights activists who ALSO attacked an animal enterprise or planned to engage in property destruction. Consider the past couple of cases. Eric McDavid 20 years, who planned to attack a dam; Marie Mason, who destroyed a gmo research center got a 22 year sentence. Nathan Block and Joyanna L. Zacher were indicted, arrested, and were originally looking at facing life plus 1,115 years in prison for their roles in two separate actions of property destruction. . Daniel McGowan was looking at life plus 335 years, for two separate actions of non violent property destruction for targeting an office of a lumber company, and a tree farm that was believed to be testing genetically engineered trees.
Tamara Meridith of Canyonville was arrested on 35 counts of first degree arson. The motivation was “overtime.” Meredith was only convicted on two counts; the evidence was “circumstantial”, which apparently doesn’t carry the weight in Roseburg that it does in Circuit Court in Eugene. After putting 600 firefighters at risk of injury and death, and costing tax payers a few hundred thousand dollars a day (not including the damages to the forest), Ms. Meredith was sentenced to three years (http://www.topix.com/forum/city/hutchinson-ks/T0NLS068BBUAR2I7R )
Since the SHAC 7 conviction there has been some challenges to the AETA and similar like it. On February 19 and 20, 2009, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested four California animal rights activists, the first arrests under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. There had been a wide range of both legal and illegal tactics against animal experimentation at University of California campuses, including the destruction of university vans. Nathan Pope, Adriana Stumpo, Joseph Buddenberg and Maryam Khajavi were not arrested in relation to these crimes, however. Much like the SHAC defendants, they were not accused of any property destruction or violence. According to the indictment, the defendants allegedly chanted loudly at home demonstrations (including “murderer leave town, terrorist leave town”), and used the Internet to research public information about animal experimenters. They also allegedly wore bandannas at protests, which is an increasingly common response to FBI harassment and photography, and wrote slogans on the public sidewalk using children’s sidewalk chalk.
In July 2010, a U.S. District Court threw out the indictment because the government did not clearly explain what, exactly, the protesters had done. The Center for Constitutional Rights and attorney Matthew Strugar had argued that the charges should be dropped because they seemed to involve First Amendment-protected activity, and that in order to make that argument the defendants’ speech must be clearly identified. Judge Ronald M. Whyte agreed, saying that the government had not answered basic questions about the defendants’ alleged conduct and the activists had the right to know specifically what they did that could be considered a crime. “This is particularly important,” he said, “where the species of behavior in question spans a wide spectrum from criminal conduct to constitutionally protected political protest.” [Potter, P. 232-233]
In Minneapolis, two animal rights
activists were arrest, charged, and convicted for holding signs,
chanting, and making comments about animal abuse at a fur store
(Ribnick’s Fur). The activists directed their comments at
individuals, consisting of shrieking and yelling through a closed
window and stating that they knew where Ribnick and his mother lived
and they knew his license plate number, the court ruled this did not
constitute fighting words. The court overturned their conviction and
ruled, “No reasonable jury could have found that any of appellants’
statements constituted fighting words as that phrase has been
defined.” (http://www.mncourts.gov/opinions/coa/current/opa101263-0503.pdf )
As Kevin will be getting out, it looks like Congressman Dennis Kucinich might be introducing a bill asking for the repeal of the AETA. From the Equal Justice Alliance: “
Just a quick update on what’s happening with a bill to repeal AETA. We’re working closely with Congressman Kucinich’s staff who are reviewing the repeal bill we’ve drafted and our position paper. Unfortunately, Kucinich will be losing his district in Nov. 2012 because of the census. I expect that he will be introducing the bill in the Fall. Once he does, we will need to have in place a network to communicate quickly with everyone and when to contact Congress to co-sponsor the bill.
To be successful in repealing AETA, we need a large and efficient network; therefore, we just set up a Facebook page. It would be great if you would go on the Equal Justice Alliance Facebook page and “like” us and get your friends and family to “like” us, too. Also, we are now on Twitter — our handle is: @The_EJA.
The following books are worth checking out.
Beyond Bullets: The Suppression of Dissent in the United States by Jules Boykoff
Greeen is the New Red: An Insider’s Account of a Social Movement Under Siege by Will Potter
In the mean time, join me in welcoming Kevin home. He will be at Volunteers of America (aka a half way house), until he is released to go home. You can write to him there if you want:
2825 E. Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN 55406
There will be an unofficial release party on September 24th, and his official release party on October 31st. All are invited to come.
Also watch the following trailer for a documentary coming out soon about the case:
August 30th, 1963
“We must mark him now…as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this nation from the standpoint of national security.”–FBI Assistant Director William Sullivan on M.L. King
September 28th, 2004
“There’s been no other movement that has brought as much violence and destruction and vandalism.”–FBI Deputy Assistant Director John E. Lewis on Animal Rights.