Three SHAC UK Animal Rights Extremists Jailed

Three UK animal rights extremists received jail sentences ranging from 15 months to four years their part in an illegal campaign against companies that had business relationships with Huntingdon Life Sciences.

Mark Taylor, 39; wife Suzanne, 35; and Teresa Portwine, 48, were the first to be charged under new UK laws designed to make it easier to crack down on animal rights extremists who skirted the law in their efforts to harass and intimidate animal research firms and nonprofits.

All three plead guilty to conspiracy to interfere with a contractual relationship. Portwine was sentenced to just 15 months, Suzanne Taylor received 2 1/2 years, and Mark Taylor was sentenced to four years in jail.

The judge in the case apparently took into account testimony from witnesses that Taylor had been a ring leader of the group’s activities in handing out the sentence. Taylor participated in numerous protests and drove others to said protests where groups of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty activists wearing masks would storm into the offices of the targeted companies.

Sources:

3 animal rights extremists
sentenced
. D’arcy Doran, Associated Press, March 6, 2007.

Animal rights activists are jailed for ‘intimidation’. New Scotsman, March 6, 2007.

Animal rights activist jailed. Press Association, March 6, 2007.

New Yorker Profile of “24” Co-Creator

Jane Mayer has written an excellent profile of “24” co-creator and executive producer Joel Surnow. Much of the article focuses on the television show’s depiction of torture and other tactics. Mayer writes,

The show’s appeal, however, lies less in its violence than in its giddily literal rendering of a classic thriller trope: the “ticking time bomb” plot. Each hour-long episode represents an hour in the life of the characters, and every minute that passes onscreen brings the United States a minute closer to doomsday. (Surnow came up with this concept, which he calls the show’s “trick.”) As many as half a dozen interlocking stories unfold simultaneously—frequently on a split screen—and a digital clock appears before and after every commercial break, marking each second with an ominous clang. The result is a riveting sensation of narrative velocity.

. . .

For all its fictional liberties, “24” depicts the fight against Islamist extremism much as the Bush Administration has defined it: as an all-consuming struggle for America’s survival that demands the toughest of tactics. Not long after September 11th, Vice-President Dick Cheney alluded vaguely to the fact that America must begin working through the “dark side” in countering terrorism. On “24,” the dark side is on full view. Surnow, who has jokingly called himself a “right-wing nut job,” shares his show’s hard-line perspective. Speaking of torture, he said, “Isn’t it obvious that if there was a nuke in New York City that was about to blow—or any other city in this country—that, even if you were going to go to jail, it would be the right thing to do?”

The article contains a lot of good material about torture in the real world vs. torture depicted on “24”, but the one frustration with “24” is that it doesn’t ever really go the full mile with Islamist extremism.

In the real world, Islamic terrorists crash planes into buildings or set off suicide bombs as a means to advancing any number of political agendas from creating a world-wide Islamic state to punishing nations that are friendly to Israel.

On “24”, Islamic terrorists carry out terrorist activities almost exclusively when they are manipulated into doing so by rogue elements of the U.S. government or American business.

If “24” ever confronted a plot by far right anti-abortion terrorists like Eric Rudolph, halfway through the series there’d be an episode where it was revealed that behind Rudolph was a rogue element from Planned Parenthood.

“24” confronts terrorism through an Oliver Stone lens where conspiracy layered upon conspiracy effectively diminishes the culpability of the terrorists themselves. This also has the effect of making Jack Bauer’s use of torture even more morally problematic.

Which is not to say that “24” is not highly entertaining, but to the extent that Surnow sees the series as pushing a conservative agenda in the War on Terror, the show is clearly a failure unless all conservatives have left is their devotion to water boarding, extraordinary rendition and other measures which, as experts in the New Yorker article note, are rarely effective in producing reliable information.

Source:

Whatever It Takes. Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, February 12, 2007.

Morrissey: Meat Is Murder, But Violence Against Animal Researchers Is Just Fine

Former Smiths frontman Morrissey believes meat is murder, but in an interview with True-to-you.net, Morrissey explains that he believes violence against scientists and fur farmers is completley justifiable.

Responding to a question from a reader asking, “What would be your message to the world to make life better for animals on our planet?”, Morrissey replied,

With people in the world such as Jamie Oliver and Clarissa Dickson Wright there isn’t much hope for animals. I support the efforts of the Animal Rights Militia in England and I understand why fur-farmers and so-called laboratory scientists are repaid with violence – it is because they deal in violence themselves and it’s the only language they understand – the same principals that apply to war. You reach a point where you cannot reason with people. This is why the Animal Rights Militia and the Hunt Saboteurs exist. They are usually very intelligent people who are forced to act because the law is shameful or amoral.

In England, animals are hunted to the point of extinction, and then a great effort is made to save and reintroduce animals, and once they are re-established, they are then hunted back to the point of extinction. Everybody needs to hate something, it seems.

The Animal Rights Militia is a violent group of animal rights extremists that has regularly threatened “violent retribution” against scientists, fur farmers and others in animal industries unless they abandon their work.

In 1998, the ARM issued a list of 10 people it would murder if imprisoned animal rights terrorist Barry Horne died while on a hunger strike. Horne survived that hunger strike but died ina subsequent hunger strike in 2001.

Source:

Questions Answered. True-to-you.net, January 4, 2006.

Animal Rights Extremists Release Animals, Set Fires at Hunt Kennels in UK

In the early morning hours of November 20, animal rights extremists broke into the kennels at the Essex and Suffolk hunt, releasing dozens of animals and setting a couple of fires.

When police arrived shortly after 1 a.m., they found 82 dogs and 5 horses and been released, and the gates to the kennel, which opens into the road, left wide open. Additionally, the extremists set a couple of fires and spray painted “hunt scum” on the road.

Gary Thorpe, huntsman for the Essex and Suffolk hunt, told the East Anglian Times,

We are appalled. They let all the hounds and horses out of their stables and left the gates wide open so they could get on the road. Thankfully this did not happen, but that was more by luck than anything else or they could have caused a serious accident. These people call themselves animal lovers, but what kind of animal lover does this. We are hunting completely within the law and they still persist in coming out and disrupting what we are doing. It is very worrying when they are prepared to set fire to something and release your animals in the middle of the night.

A spokesman from the UK’s Hunt Saboteurs Association said that no one from that organization was involved in the action,

I can say categorically no member of the HSA would take any action that would endanger the life of hunting hounds and horses. We care for their welfare.

There’s no evidence that anyone from the HSA was involved, but unless the HSA actually knows the identity of the attacker, this categorical denial is a bit silly (hint, next time just say your organization does not condone such irresponsible actions and leave it at that).

Source:

Saboteurs blamed for hunt attack. The BBC, November 20, 2005.

Fury as hunt kennels attacked. Helen Skene, East Anglian Daily Times, November 21, 2005.

Arson attack on hunt kennels. Anna Tyzack, Horse and Hound, November 21, 2005.

ELF Extremists Claim Responsibility for Weekend Arson at Maryland Development Site

The Herald-Mail in Hagerstown, Maryland, reported that it had received an e-mail claiming to be from Earth Liberation Front extremists claiming responsibility for a fire Sunday that destroyed recently built, unoccupied townhouses. The fire caused an estimated $225,000 in damages.

According to the Associated press, the e-mail sent to the newspaper read,

Last night we, the Earth Liberation Front, put the torch to a development of Ryan Homes in Hagerstown, Maryland (off of Route 40, behind the Wal-Mart). We did so to strike at the bottom line of this country’s most notorious serial land rapist. We warn all developers that the people of the Earth are prepared to defend what remains of the wild and the green. We encourage all who watch with sadness while developers sell out the future of us and our children to join us in resisting them in any and every possible way. The Ents are going to war.

The ELF claim has brought the FBI into the investigation of the arson.

This is apparently the first arson in Maryland claimed by the Earth Liberation Front.

Sources:

FBI Probes Claim That ELF Set Western Md. Fires. Associated Press, November 21, 2005.

Arson eyed in town house fires. Karen Hanna, The Herald-Mail (Hagerstown), November 21, 2005.

ALF Sends Threatening Letters to Dozens of British Construction and Decorating Firms

In October, police in Great Britain reported that Animal Liberation Front extremists mailed anonymous letters to dozens of construction and decorating companies warning them of dire consequences if they participated in Oxford University’s planned construction of a new research facility.

The letter warned companies that they would participate in the construction and design of the building “at your own peril.”

Animal Liberation Front spokesman Robin Webb approved of the letters, telling The Telegraph,

If they are supplying Oxford University in any way and through that helping the progress of the proposed facility then they can be considered a target.

Police had a different view. A police spokesman told The Press Association,

It is believed the letters are part of a campaign by animal rights extremists who are trying to prevent work by Oxford University to build new laboratories. Although everyone is entitled to an opinion about this very emotive issue, it is just not acceptable to act in a way which intimidates other people and threatens their livelihood.

Sources:

Animal rights group threatens builders over new Oxford labs. Rosie Murray-West, Telegraph, October 12, 2005.

Threats posted to Oxford lab contractors. Press Association, October 11, 2005.