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Camille Marino Arrested — Are Animal Rights Activists a “Hate Group”?

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  • Brennan Browne
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    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 16, 2012
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      Camille Marino Arrested — Are Animal Rights Activists a “Hate Group”?
      by Will Potter on February 14, 2012
      in Terrorism Court Cases

      Queenie was one of the dogs killed in O'Leary's experiments.

      Two activists with the animal rights group “Negotiation Is Over” (NIO) have been arrested at a protest in Florida. Group founder Camille Marino was arrested on an out of state warrant, and is awaiting extradition to Michigan.

      In Michigan, NIO is campaigning against an animal experimenter at
      Wayne State University named Donal O’Leary, who uses dogs in heart
      experiments. One of the dogs, the Dalmation pictured above named
      Queenie, was forced to run on a treadmill with a device implanted in her
      heart, catheters protruding from her body, and open wounds leaking
      fluids. Doctors have urged the federal government to investigate O’Leary’s violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

      Marino has allegedly posted personal information about O’Leary on the
      NIO website, alongside inflammatory commentary and her voicing support
      for physical violence. (Most of these posts appear to have been removed recently.) For example, on one of the NIO blog posts about O’Leary,
      a commenter wrote 800 words of gruesome details about what should be
      done to him, such as “We will then strap you into a monkey restraining
      device and use industrial pliers to crack your testicles like walnuts.”

      Marino replied:

      Is there any chance I can persuade you to videotape your
      proposed activism so that we might upload it to NIO for the entire
      community to enjoy?

      I just finished sending off an email to this motherfucker wishing him a slow painful death.

      I would be elated to actually watch it come to pass!

      In response to the violent rhetoric and posting of personal
      information, Wayne State University banned Marino from campus. Later,
      O’Leary obtained a court order that instructed Marino to remove the
      personal information from her website. She not only refused, she
      reposted it and wished him “good luck” collecting his legal fees.

      Since her arrest, there has been wildly inaccurate information about
      the case. For instance, some NIO supporters claimed she was being held
      in a maximum security prison (she’s not, she is in Alachua County Jail). Others put out press releases saying that this was the first arrest under the National Defense Authorization Act (her arrest had nothing to do with NDAA). Such exaggeration doesn’t help anyone.

      However, NIO’s opponents are spreading what could be much more dangerous misinformation.

      Americans for Medical Progress, an industry group, says NIO is an “animal rights hate group” and the Southern Poverty Law Center has included NIO in its “Hate Watch” column.

      Marino’s campaigning is controversial, but to call it a “hate group”
      is overreaching. Among the many differences between NIO and hate groups
      is that animal rights activists are opposing people because of what
      they do rather than who they are.

      An even more important difference is that hate groups engage in
      physical violence, while NIO has only sensationally talked about it on
      blogs and Facebook.

      As one commenter said on Hate Watch:

      Upon reading the story it looks like Ms. Marino is not
      guilty of any serious crime… She did have a protective order issued
      against her, I’m not sure it was really violated here and it may get
      dismissed. She has committed no specific act of violence or damage to
      property. An expired drivers license is no big deal either.

      These are important points to consider when discussing whether NIO’s
      blog is protected by the First Amendment. At the heart of the two key
      standards in First Amendment law is the question: Is the speaker using
      outrageous rhetoric to get attention, or will these threats be carried

      In this case, the answer is clear.

      While Marino and her followers may praise the tactics of anti-abortion extremist Scott Roeder and suicide bombers (Marino says:
      “If one is going to end their own suffering, it would be an admirable
      act if they took as many abusers as possible with them”) there has never
      been physical violence in the name of their cause.

      And while Marino
      may write about how she is eager for the day when animal rights
      activists cross that line and murder human beings (and other activists
      have been saying the same thing for decades), it is just that: words.

      There are limits to speech, of course, and there’s no doubt that NIO’s conduct tests those limits. But, as I wrote in Green Is the New Red:

      The history of the First Amendment is one of protecting
      the vulgar, the crass, the wayward and unhinged. It has protected
      Clarence Brandenburg, a Ku Klux Klan leader, when he called for
      “revengeance” against the courts, Congress and the president,
      while Klansmen at the rally shouted “bury the niggers.” At a very
      different kind of rally, Robert Watts told anti-war protesters that he
      would refuse service if drafted to Vietnam. “If they ever make me carry a
      rifle,” he said, “the first man I want to get in my sights is L.B.J.”

      Why have the courts upheld such a radical interpretation of the First
      Amendment? What can be the value of sensationalistic, offensive speech?

      The courts have not made exceptions to the First Amendment lightly or
      without controversy, believing that the amount of protection afforded
      to those on the fringes reflects the freedoms of those at the center.

      Protecting the rights of the Brandenburgs, the Wattses, and the
      Everses may sound outrageous to those who have been on the receiving end
      of the vitriol, such as animal experimenters.

      And it might even sound outrageous to much of the animal rights
      movement, because NIO has been such a divisive and confrontational group
      amongst other animal activists.

      But in cases like this all parties should step back and remember
      that, at its core, the First Amendment has never been about protecting
      or supporting unsavory speech; it’s about refusing to prohibit it.

      What do you think? Should this be protected speech?
      Leave a comment below.

      What Part of "Thou Shalt Not Kill" Don't You Understand?!!
      ~GODThose who make peaceful change impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.~JFK [Paraphrased]

      Trust our government to delay, bungle and kill every worthwhile social
      program they undertake; yet with incredible speed and efficiency--shred
      the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

      ~Brennan Browne

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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