400RE: [SFVeg] Re: Top Chiron lawyer's home is vandalized -- Protesters clothed in black linked to animal-rights group
- Aug 18, 2004All,
Anyone disagreeing with direct action by those who have strong feelings
about the injustices faced in the U.S., whether those injustices are
against people, or animals, should refresh their memories about the
ability of such direct action to mobilize the public. The first such
direct action that in itself was considered an enormous patriotic act in
this country was against big business and for small tea farmers, and was
known as the "Boston Tea Party". Those of you familiar with the reasons
of this direct action, I will not bore: for those others I suggest you
refresh your memories. It was the "kickoff" of the Revolutionary War.
I disagree that direct action does not work. While I laud Gandhi and
King's work, and agree it was effective, any student of history knows
that BOTH violence and nonviolence have their place in any effective
campaign against injustice. Further, a careful study and endless
conversation about which is ore appropriate in any given campaingn
against injustice was never performed prior to taking action.
More succinctly said: People may or may not agree with you, but
sometimes you have to make your voice heard!!!
Just my $0.02!!
From: Matthew G Liebman [mailto:mliebman@...]
Sent: Monday, August 16, 2004 11:30 PM
Cc: South Bay Veggies; Veggie Jews; SFVeg; Freedom For Animals; BAARN;
Subject: [SFVeg] Re: Top Chiron lawyer's home is vandalized --
Protesters clothed in black linked to animal-rights group
[I've added the sfbaveg list to the recipients, because I think this
deserves serious attention. Those new to this thread can read from the
bottom up. This thread began this morning on most other bay area AR
and is in regards to the recent property destruction at the Orinda home
William Green, a lawyer for Chiron and a major supporter of Huntingdon
Sciences. Pete Cohon has criticized such tactics, while I disagree with
First and foremost, I want to say I appreciate the nuance and
constructiveness of your latest email. I think that the more we actually
empirically discuss and evaluate our tactics, the more effective we'll
That requires everyone to avoid pigeonholing people as either sell-outs
(mainstream) or terrorists (direct action). There are not two opposing
camps, but rather a spectrum of tactics, most of which will be needed
animal liberation. As a future animal rights lawyer myself (I'm
student at Stanford Law School), I've chosen to pursue more mainstream
avenues, as you have Pete, but I understand that the battle will not be
with law alone.
Second, I really think you should disavow your earlier statement about
finking on those who advocate direct action. Your suggestion can only
a sense of paranoia and fear among those who work for animal liberation.
The only kind of rats we need more of in this movement are the kind that
save from HLS.
THE MORAL ISSUE:
Regardless of what your dictionary says, violence carries an extremely
strong connotation, especially in the context of animal rights activism
the Bush/Ashcroft regime. Words mean what they convey, nothing more and
nothing less. When the animal exploitation industries use the word, they
intend to convey an image of animal rights activists as violent towards
humans. It is very important for us to make people realize that in 30
(I mistakenly said 20 in my last email), ALF actions have caused
of millions of dollars in damage, and liberated thousands of animals,
not one single person has been injured or killed. When you partner up
William Green (who whined about "animal rights terrorists" in front of
US Senate Judiciary Committee three months ago, also the man whose house
was trashed yesterday) or Teresa Platt (the executive director of the
Commission) to decry violence, you tacitly accept the connotations that
enemies ascribe to the term "violence." AR advocates should tease out
multiple meanings of words like "terror" and "violence" to point out
crucial differences between what we do and what they do. When you lump
activists in with violent people, you're doing the oppositions work for
As for the Golden Rule, I think it makes for some pretty ineffective
activism. Should we only use tactics that our opponents are HAPPY with?
That seems nonsensical to me. Even mainstream campaigns are not
with the golden rule. I would not want someone to put me out of work (as
all wish to do with slaughterhouse employees); I would not want someone
pass a law against my livelihood (as many of us are lobbying for in
California against foie gras); I would not want someone to disturb me
nightmarish pictures of death (as mainstream pamphlets do), and so on.
they ENJOY our tactics? Would we enjoy them if they were done to us? No,
course not. But that doesn't make these tactics immoral.
If property becomes an object of moral consideration, the rich will
continue to hold precedence over the rest of us who own less property.
since property is only that which the law recognizes as belonging to
someone (as a lawyer, I'm sure you're familiar with legal positivism),
animal liberation is by definition a property crime, since animals are
nothing more than property in the eyes of the US legal system. Was the
breaking the Golden Rule when they broke into the Penn Head Injury Lab
liberate tortured primates? Was that not a form of property theft?
And while we're quoting our "chosen people," how about this one, from
"The ALF and Holocaust resistance represent a method of bringing about
understanding that challenges these mental habits [of objectification,
fragmentation, and consumption]. The actions of these militants blaze
paths of meaning far beyond the direct action they participate in. The
meaning of active militant resistance can pervade the popular
of entire societies, and in the case of the ALF and of the Holocaust
resistance, their actions work to make mindlessness more difficult."
The world might be a very different place had these Holocaust resistance
fighters treated the Nazis as they would have wanted to be treated.
If we could win liberation for animals through sanctuaries and
alone, not a single person would participate in militant direct action.
Everyone wishes it were that simple. It's not.
THE EFFECTIVENESS ISSUE:
As I said in my last email, this is the issue I'm less comfortable with.
Pete, you say that these tactics will not win over the hearts and minds
the average American. I think you're right. Sabotage cannot "help our AR
movement grow into the mass movement we must achieve in order to reach
goals." But I don't think that's the goal of direct action.
Our struggle is a multi-layered one. On the one hand, we seek to create
cultural shift towards ethical respect for non-human animals. On the
hand, we seek to alleviate the suffering experienced RIGHT NOW by living
We work towards the first, long-term goal through education,
lawsuits, documentaries, and other mainstream tactics, including Pete's
The second, short-term goal demands less patience and demands DIRECT
action. Sabotage, vandalism, and property destruction will not make
Green more compassionate. But they just might encourage him and others
stop supporting HLS. The past 5 years have shown how effective these
strategies can be at crippling animal abusers.
Of course, we have to be sure that we don't compromise the first goal in
pursuing the second. If sabotage and property destruction give us a bad
image, then we should strongly reconsider those tactics. But it's not
that the coverage is always bad press. And it's not clear that bad press
can't be helpful. PETA got terrible press in the 80s for supporting the
rescues, and today it is the dominant voice in popular culture for
mainstream animal rights. The civil rights movement and the Montgomery
Boycott got terrible press, but we know now that they were right, and
succeeded to some degree. Karen Dawn of Dawnwatch.com keeps a close eye
the way these issues play out in the popular media, and her webpage is a
helpful tool to think about AR media images.
I don't believe that sabotage and property destruction are always good
and of themselves. They're good to the degree they're effective. This
the movement should be very thoughtful about when we use these tactics:
activists can't simply smash stuff when the rage hits them. Thoughtless
destruction can be counter-productive and these activists end up acting
selfishly: they satiate their own feelings while animals suffer as a
result. But this also means that we shouldn't condemn thoughtful
destruction. Destruction that is calculated at strategic targets, as the
SHAC campaign is, can be effective. Quoting Shakespeare: "There is
either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
Of course some tactics are more effective than others. For me, I think
rescues are generally better than lab raids. I think home demos that
for 2 hours are generally better than home sabotages that last for 8
minutes. I think arguing against animal abusers is generally better than
intimidating them. I think good press is generally better than bad
But these are my preferences, and I'll save my venom for the exploiters,
not for those allies who disagree with my preferences.
Quoting Pete <plcohon@...>:
> Thanks for your thoughtful response to my post, Matthew. You wrote:
> question is not one of morality, since direct action causes no
> suffering, only economic suffering." I respectfully dissent.
> The cornerstone of all morality is, of course, the Golden Rule. Since
> moderate the Veggie Jews' Yahoo group, perhaps I should phrase it in
> negative as Rabbi Hillel did: Do not do unto others that which you
> want them to do unto you. I understand that it's stated in the
> some cultures but the meaning is the same. I don't think any one of
> would consider it anything less than unacceptable if we were
> victimized in a way that caused us only economic but not physical
> especially in an effort intended to intimidate.
> I've got a real problem with the "new" definition of violence as
> that "can only truly be perpetuated against sentient beings,"
> Matthew. I'm afraid that not only I but the dictionary as well
> with you. According to my admittedly not "new" Funk & Wangles,
> involves the use of force to achieve ends. It has nothing to do with
> object of the force or whether it is sentient.
> But I agree that, at least on one level, as you said, "The question IS
> of effectiveness." And by that measure alone, violence should be
> If you think that violence will help our AR movement grow into the
> movement we must achieve in order to reach our goals, just ask some of
> 95% of Americans who eat a standard American diet what they think of
> rights "terrorism," as the media calls it. I think you'll find that
> few of them are sympathetic to our cause. The fact is that mainstream
> Americans, the very people we have to reach with our message, do not
> of violent tactics to achieve social change, (at least here in the
> homeland), and they become more estranged from rather than sympathetic
> our cause with every new act that they perceive to be "terror." The
> which represents financial interests tied to animal exploitation, will
> miss a chance to portray any small act of isolated violence as typical
> the AR movement as a whole. They understand the value of making our
> movement look extreme by focusing on violence. So should we, and we
> learn to avoid that very extremism in order to most quickly defeat the
> forces of cruelty arrayed against us.
> I regret that my self-righteousness offends you, Matthew. I freely
> having that fault, but as faults go, it's not so bad. It's inspired
> during my career to provide free legal representation to about 30
> rights and peace activists charged with demonstration related crimes
> one of whom ever served one minute in jail); I've written the three
> of the California Green Party platform dealing with animal issues, and
> proud to say it's the most progressive AR platform of any political
> earth as far as I know; I've organized Greens for the Ethical
> Animals within the California Green Party to get the AR platform
> passed; I organized the University Alumni Campaign Against Vivisection
> In Defense of Animals to decrease alumni contributions to universities
> involved in animal experimentation (and that's just about all of
> most recently, I've organized Veggie Jews to try to spread the veggie
> message into the Jewish community, whose support is needed to end some
> slaughterhouse abuses. Now, I know that's not much compared to what
> professional animal activists have done and do every day, but it's the
> that I could squeeze in while earning a living, and it's a lot better
> nothing. So, if I am a bit self-righteous at times, at least I do try
> put it to good and nonviolent use. (Thank goodness you didn't point
> egotistical I am. Now that would be a lot harder to defend.) ;-)
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Matthew G Liebman" <mliebman@...>
> To: "Pete" <plcohon@...>
> Cc: "South Bay Veggies" <email@example.com>; "Veggie
> <VeggieJews@yahoogroups.com>; "SFVeg" <SFVeg@yahoogroups.com>;
> Animals" <firstname.lastname@example.org>; "BAARN"
> Sent: Monday, August 16, 2004 1:11 PM
> Subject: Re: Top Chiron lawyer's home is vandalized -- Protesters
> black linked to animal-rights group
> > Pete,
> > Anger and destruction may make you uncomfortable, and that is fine.
> > choose to be activist in other ways. But don't get self-righteous
> > activists that have been successful in bringing HLS attrocities to
> > and in bringing HLS to its knees.
> > Your inability to distinguish between property destruction and true
> > violence demonstrates the degreee to which you've been duped by the
> > that attempt to discredit our movement. Breaking windows that were
> > for with blood money is not violence. Neither is embarassing an
> > abuser in front of his/her neighbors by "outting" them. Violence is
> > punching a beagle puppy in the face. Violence is dissecting a monkey
> > she's still alive. Violence is killing 500 animals every day.
> > "Violence" can only truly be perpetuated against sentient beings.
> > do not participate in property destruction, I understand the motives
> > those who do. Sabotage has been a driving force behind every freedom
> > movement, from the Boston Tea Party to the suffragettes to the
> > resistance fighters. Please reconsider the way you use the term
> > I do not support violence in this movement, and I would be
> > dissappointed if a living being were hurt or killed as a result of
> > actions. But in 20 years of operation, not a single human being has
> > harmed by the actions of the Animal Liberation Front. Again, these
> > are not for me; but I understand those who are comfortable with
> > The question is not one of morality, since direct action causes no
> > suffering, only economic suffering. The question IS one of
> > It's undeniable that the SHAC campaign has struck hard against HLS's
> > economic interests. The media image question is a bit more
> > Whether or not these types of actions give animal rights a good
> > bad image is an empirical question, and not a simple one. Clearly
> > things turn some people off. But on the other hand these actions
> > issue into the public realm where they can be discussed. If you
> > the rightness of our cause, you should be comfortable with that.
> > Anyone who watched ABC7 news last night saw that for, I believe,
> > second time, footage of HLS attrocities were showed on prime time
> > an audience of thousands. This would not have happened but for a few
> > windows.
> > These actions also help make groups like PETA seem more moderate in
> > comparison. They let people know that this is a serious issue that
> > feel extremely passionate about. Sure Tribe of Heart does the same
> > and that's great. The more strategies we use, the more effective
> > I think the strategies we use should be discussed thouroughly, with
> > on whether or not they WORK. This is a tactical discussion that we
> > ignore. However, holier-than-though assertions of "childishness" and
> > "terrorism" are not responsible ways of strategic planning.
> > For anyone interested in a nuanced and thoughtful discussion of
> > issues, I highly recommend Steven Best's new book "Terrorists or
> > Fighters?" Also, Satya magazine recently did a very balanced 2 issue
> > on activism, violence, and sabotage.
> > Finally, for those of you not on the veggiejews list, I thought you
> > be interested in seeing what Pete said in a secondary posting:
> > "When groups known to use violent tactics advertise a demonstration,
> > speak and write to warn folks of the dangers of such tactics. The
> > who engage in such tactics should never be allowed to give the
> > that they speak for our movement.We can avoid all AR actions and
> > fundraisers by groups that encourage or use violence. In my opinion,
> > should even go so far as to inform the authorities about any past or
> > planned terror acts in the name of our movement, so as to protect
> > movement and the animals from the violent backlash that terror
> > cause."
> > With friends like this, who needs COINTELPRO?
> > -Matthew
> "G-d said, 'See, I give you every seed-bearing plant that is upon all
> earth, and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit; they shall be yourssky,
> for food. And to all the animals on land, to all the birds of the
> and to everything that creeps on earth, in which there is the breathof
> life, [I give] all the green plants for food.' And it was so. AndG-d
> saw all that He had made, and found it very good." [Genesis, 1:29-31]vegetarians
> Veggie Jews is an on-line and real world organization with events in
> local communities dedicated to supporting Jewish vegans and
> of all ages and spreading vegan, vegetarian and animal rights valuesinto
> the Jewish community. Our non-Jewish friends are always welcome.Please
> tell a friend about us.Pete <plcohon@...> wrote:
> And remember: It's only kosher if it's cruelty-free.
The following article from today's Chronicle tells the story of an
by supposed animal rights protesters on the home of a lawyer employed by
one of Huntingdon Life Sciences corporate clients. Huntingdon, as you
probably know, engages in horribly cruel and unnecessary animal
for it's clients. It's conduct is totally inexcusable.
But so is the conduct of those who attack a home in the name of the AR
movement. Such violent conduct only plays into the hands of those who
our movement "terrorist" by taking attention away from the serious work
stopping Huntingdon's cruelty and placing it on the tactics of a few
extremists. It is noteworthy that, during the Viet Nam war, U.S.
agents infiltrated to anti-war movement (Project Cointelpro) and turned
to violent tactics in a successful effort to damage the anti-war
And it raises serious questions about the motives who would use such
tactics now in the name of our AR movement.
Sadly, those same extremists will continue their inexcusably foolish and
harmful tactics as long as there are those who will support them. In my
opinion, those who support such tactics by going to violent
even if they do not participate in the violence, condone terror tactics
all the harm that such tactics are doing to the AR movement.
For an example of just how one can use one's energy and creativity to
develop the AR movement into a mass movement that will finally end
of the kind practiced against animal victims by Huntingdon, just
the fine work of the folks at Farm Sanctuary or IDA's Project Hope, who
dedicate their lives to saving animals and using them to publicize the
plight of so many others who could not be saved. Consider the work of
of Heart, whose new documentary, Peaceable Kingdom, about Farm
may well turn the hearts of millions toward a more compassionate
Then ask yourself: Whose work will really make a difference by turning
public sentiment against animal cruelty, those who work in a
intelligent and realistic way to save animal lives and build a movement
those who throw childish temper tantrums and commit crimes in the name
Whether we win this struggle for compassion sooner or later will depend
the tactics we choose. I, for one, choose to win sooner by rejecting the
violent and childish tactics that can only serve to defeat or slow us
For the sake of our movement's success, for the sake of the billions or
trillions of animals who will suffer more every day that our victory is
delayed by extreme and counterproductive tactics, won't you please join
San Francisco Chronicle
Monday, August 16, 2004
Top Chiron lawyer's home is vandalized
Protesters clothed in black linked to animal-rights group
Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer
Orinda police are investigating the vandalism of the East Bay home of
Chiron Corp.'s top attorney on Sunday, in which a group of people broke
windows and tried to flood his home with water during a noisy protest.
Neighbors said the people were animal-rights protesters wearing black
clothing and masks, and carrying signs. The demonstrators converged on
home of Chiron's general counsel William Green on Sunnyside Court in
t 10:15 a.m. while he was away on vacation, neighbors said.
s broke about a dozen windows and turned on his garden hose in his
rd deck, and left after 20 minutes. No arrests were made, but neighbors
provided license plate numbers to Orinda police.
"I feel a bit violated
by this," Green said Sunday evening, minutes after retur
ing home to survey the damage. "I think it's beyond the pale of what
be permissible in civilized society."
The protest comes six months aft
er Chiron filed a lawsuit against Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty USA. Th
e group's name refers to Huntingdon Life Sciences, a New Jersey company
hat performs animal testing for clients, including Chiron.
It was n
ot immediately clear Sunday whether the protesters were connected to the
p Huntingdon group.
Green, 60, has previously been the target of protest
ers over at least the past two years, with flyers stuck on telephone
and gravestones placed nearby representing dead ani
als. Other employees have also been awakened by late-night visits by
ers with megaphones.
Neighbor Jim Abrams, 60, said the Orinda protest b
egan with marching and chanting. But tensions grew when Abrams
tried to block the side gate to Green's home, and some protesters charge
d past him.
"They ran toward one of the gates that goes into the ba
rams said. "They broke some windows, and the hose was running on the
-- I don't know if they intended to throw the hose into the broken
There were some people obviously bent on doing some damage."
lawsuit said that the names, addresses and phone numbers of Chiron empl
oyees have been posted on a Web site and that the group has worked
with a fugitive suspected of planting bombs at the firm and another
ess last year.
The suspect, Daniel Andreas San Diego, 25, of Sonoma is ac
cused of planting a pipe bomb on Aug. 28 at Chiron and another on S
ept. 26 at Shaklee Corp., a
leasanton firm that makes health, beauty and household products.
Diego remains at large, Special Agent LaRae Quy, FBI spokeswoman in
San Francisco, said Sunday. A $50,000 reward is being offered for tips
In a June ruling, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Steven Bric
k said Chiron had a chance
of prevailing in the lawsuit and denied a request by the animal-rights g
roup to throw out the complaint as a SLAPP suit, or one that restricte
d its free-speech rights.
Brick said Chiron's lawsuit had more to do with
"acts of unlawful harassment and threats" rather than the animal-rights
oup's right to free speech. "Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty USA's) free
peech rights under the First Amendment do not protect its conduct in
situation," Brick wrote.
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