No Compromise recently ran a telling interview with Animal Liberation Front press officer Robin web about the roll of terrorism in the animal rights movement. Webb told the magazine (emphasis added),
The Animal Liberation Front, together with more radical groups such as the Animal Rights Militia and Justice Department, is the hard cutting edge of the war against abuse and exploitation of the weak and innocent, irrespective of gender, race or species.
. . .
The third policy is to take every reasonable precaution not to harm or endanger life, either human or non-human.
Anyone, so long as they follow at least a vegetarianÂ—but preferably veganÂ—lifestyle, can go out and undertake an action that falls within those policies and claim it as the Animal Liberation Front. There is no hierarchy; there are no leaders. There is just a compulsion to follow your heart in pursuit of justice. That is why the A.L.F. cannot be smashed, it cannot be effectively infiltrated, it cannot be stopped. You, each and every one of you: you are the A.L.F.
And if someone wishes to act as the Animal Rights Militia or the Justice Department? Simply put, the third policy of the A.L.F. no longer applies.
As this web site has repeatedly said, it is incorrect to think of the ALF, ARM and Justice Department as groups. Instead they are little more than brand names for specific actions that are likely taken by overlapping group of activists.
Burn down a laboratory and nobody is injured? Claim it in the name of the ALF. Want to send razor blades to the homes of medical researchers? Fine, just make sure you label it as a Justice Department action.
Instead of thinking of these groups out there organizing to carry out activities, animal rights terrorism and extremism is better conceived as, in general, small groups of extremists who pick and choose a la carte from these brands depending on the outcome of their activities. There is no ALF dedicated to not harming people as opposed to an ARM that has no problem composing assassination lists. Instead there is simply a hardcore of animal rights extremism that picks and chooses these names for their own purposes.
In fact Webb and activist David Hammond were arrested in 1994 and charged with possession of a sawed-off shotgun. Later Hammond and Webb had a falling out, and The Observer reported in 1998 that,
Earlier, ALF defector David Hammond claimed Webb was the secret force behind the pro-killing group, the Justice Department. He said the outwardly respectable ALF spokesman had even offered him a sawn-off shotgun in a Sussex lay-by and asked if he knew Colin Blakemore – an Oxford professor who is at the top of the Justice Department’s hit-list.
Staying on target and going the distance: an interview with UK ALF Press Officer Robin Webb. No Compromise, Issue 22, Fall 2003.
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