The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary this weekend, and during the week's run-up, the Center for Consumer Freedom will be shining sunlight on the PCRM.
I'll give you some highlights from yesterday's post, and urge you to read the whole thing. And don't be shy about following the links.
The CCF wastes no time — the first thing they do is focus on Dr. Jerry Vlasak, former spokesman for the PCRM who justifies the ethics of assassinating scientists even as he openly advocated the practice. The CCF has caught the PCRM rewriting history, evidently to put as much distance between themselves and the good Dr. as they can.
CCF points to this original press release which contains this definitive paragraph:
[ . . . ]
Jerry Vlasak, M.D., a PCRM spokesperson, is pleased with the survey results. "Although some universities are holding onto live animal laboratories, this survey shows that most medical schools are no longer tolerating the use of live animals in the classroom. Most schools now use alternative teaching methods, and the continuing movement in this direction is strong."
[ . . . ]
The paragraph has been extirpated in the sanitized version, which you can view here.
Earlier, the CCF awarded the not-so-coveted "Tarnished Halo" award to the PCRM in (dis)honor of the PCRM having forgotten that Dr. Vlasak was once their spokesperson.
Well! No wonder they forgot! They'd misplaced a paragraph!
Of course, if the good folks at PCRM had searched their own site they might have found other evidence of Dr. Vlasak's service to them, and might have accurately refreshed their collective recollection that they did claim him to be one of their spokespersons . . .
Having linked Dr. Vlasak securely to the PCRM, the CCF then elaborates on other unsavory connections Dr. Vlasak has: for example, he is a "press officer" for the terrorist Animal Liberation Front (ALF).
One of the more interesting tidbits CCF reveals about the PCRM — one that I'd heard about before but had forgotten — was the link between PCRM's founder and president, Neal Barnard, and SHAC (Stop Huntingdon Life Sciences), the violent international Animal Rights group that attempts to inflame passions, lists "targets" (!) for "direct action" (a euphemism for vandalism, intimidation, and coercion) and advertises AR attacks by anonymous "others" while successfully dodging legal responsibility.
It turns out that Dr. Barnard co-signed a "series of letters" with Kevin Kjonaas, a former ALF spokesperson and one of the SHAC 7 presently under indictment for having violated anti-terrorism laws. (SHAC USA is itself considered to be a domestic terrorist threat.) In the words of CCF:
In SHAC's name, the letters told pharmaceutical executives in 32 states and 7 foreign countries to quit doing business with a company that uses lab animals in drug research. With its history of firebombing automobiles, smashing windows, assaulting research employees, and targeting victims with round-the clock harassment and intimidation, SHAC's advice carried all the intimidating weight of a greeting card from the Ku Klux Klan. And it came neatly typed on PCRM letterhead.
Ouch . . .
But there's more . . .
PCRM has never commented publicly about these letters, perhaps because they represent the tip of a very disquieting iceberg. Shortly after the federal government indicted Kevin Kjonaas on terrorism charges, he relinquished the presidency of SHAC — to Jerry Vlasak's wife. Her name is Pamelyn Ferdin, and she also carries a PCRM business card.
Pamelyn Ferdin, a former child actor, is co-founder of the Animal Defense League, Los Angelas, a radical group that has been investigated for terrorist activities by the LAPD. (Ferdin was recently acquitted of illegally demonstrating against the LA mayor.)
The CCF then goes on to report that the ex-wife of Houston Rockets owner, Nancy Alexander, contributed $3,500 to SHAC through the Alexander family fund (CCF provides links to the pertinent tax returns). Nancy Alexander, in turn, is to receive the PCRM's "Art of Compassion" award, whose President (Barnard) praises her contributions in these words:
[ . . . ]
“Nanci Alexander is a role model of compassion for animals and for people,” said PCRM president and founder Neal Barnard, M.D. “Her vision and dedication have brought an unprecedented level of effectiveness to efforts to end animal abuse.”
Alexander has received numerous awards, including Humanitarian of the Year in 2001 from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
I urge you to read the entire CCF post.
I guess what I see as the most important general take-home message is how incestuous the fanatical AR people are: I mean you have SHAC overlapping with PCRM overlapping with PeTA overlapping with ALF, overlapping with ADL LA . . . it just goes on and on.
The most important specific take-home message is this: if you every believed that the PCRM is not the nice, clean, suit wearing band of reasonable people they would like us to think, that option is no longer open to you.
The PCRM has established a long-standing pattern of doing business with people who openly advocate violence, up to and including assassination: the PCRM has forged formal connections with the worst of the AR fanatics.
I look forward to future installments of CCFs "PCRM story."