Here's another Guardian article, this one focussing on Keith Mann, an especially vocal proponent of violence and Animal Liberation Front leader who is completing a 6 month sentence. I commented on Mr. Mann and the circumstances surrounding his most recent sentencing here and here.
We are reminded yet again in Guardian's chilling interview what we're up against.
"If attracting attention is part of the intent of an action ... then how better than in flames?" Keith Mann recently said.
Attracting attention to instill terror is what it's all about. There's this from the Independent:
[ . . . ]
Michael Kendall has been described as a family man with no personal links to animal testing whatsoever. He is, however, finance director for the small Canadian stockbrokers Canaccord Capital, which has provided services to Phytopharm, a British biotechnology group. Phytopharm has, in the past, been a customer of Huntingdon Life Sciences, the research laboratory based in Cambridgeshire that has received a great deal of threatening attention from animal rights extremists.
When Bite Back suggested that this tenuous link had made Mr Kendall a personal target, his company responded by ending its relationship with Phytopharm. Soon afterwards, the Phytopharm share price tumbled.
That was exactly what the ALF wanted. It claimed responsibility for the fire with an internet posting that announced "a new era" of attacks had dawned. "If you support or raise funds for any company connected with Huntingdon Life Sciences we will track you down, come for you, and destroy your property with fire."
The tactic is called tertiary targeting. Barbara Davies of the Research Defence Society (RDS), which promotes understanding of the use of animals in research, says: "The targets of extremists are getting more and more tenuous because the primary targets are so careful to protect their staff. The militants have taken to intimidating the people who supply services to animal researchers. Their objective is to force organisations to close down by targeting individuals."
A spokesman for the National Extremism Tactical Co-Ordination Unit (Netcu), the police task force dedicated to fighting animal rights terrorism, explains. "They will even take it to the fourth degree of separation and target a supplier to a supplier to a supplier. It is extremely serious, very distressing and alarmingly effective."
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Back to the Guardian:
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Speaking by phone to the Guardian from Winchester Prison, he defended the use of such tactics, saying draconian new laws that prevented legitimate protest were leaving people with no alternative.
"I would prefer that we could change things using legitimate methods that are there for changing the world," he said. "But the government have taken away their right to protest and driven people to the kind of tactics that are more productive. It is more useful to sabotage property.
"We have got Asbos being used against us, we have injunctions to stop us protesting. All that is left now is to turn to extremism."
His call to flames appeared in a recent special edition of Bite Back, the magazine for ALF activists, which was dedicated to "burning it down".
Notice how Mr. Mann casts himself and his fellow travelers as victims, not perpetrators.
What's a noble guy with a throbbing social conscience to do when faced with the brutal repression of an unresponsive government, if not lash out with indiscriminate arson attacks against someone who once knew someone who might have had something to do with someone that once parked next to an employee of Huntingdon Life Sciences?
Make no mistake about it — this is beyond ideology, this is violence for the sake of violence. These people are really getting off on terrorizing other folks. They've got a real appetite for it . . .
In an extensive interview, he urged activists to use arson as the best form of attack. "Does it really send enough of a message to a slaughterhouse or university that you broke their windows, contaminated their fuel tanks and flattened the tyres? I wouldn't think so."
He encouraged supporters to perfect bomb-making techniques and pass on their knowledge.
"Having the 'know how' from one-to-one coaching or those bulletins that come through the door has been imperative to keep the flame burning."
A spate of fire bombing seems to have begun in the months after the article was published.
Mann has been jailed again for apparently threatening the director of Wickham Laboratories in Hampshire.
Apparently?? Not hardly. Here's how Portsmouth Today characterized Mr. Mann's demeanor after he was sentenced to community service, minutes before he shocked the judge into sentencing him to 6 months:
A FANATICAL animal rights activist has been jailed for threatening to continue his terror tactics minutes after being allowed to walk free from court.
Gloating Keith Mann threatened a laboratory director as he left the dock for plotting a raid on Wickham Laboratories.
Just seconds after being handed community service for the break-in, Mann fronted up to police boasting 'I've won'. [My emphasis — ed.]
He them smugly leaned towards the lab's technical director Chris Bishop and whispered: 'Your trouble is only just beginning. You will need to look under your bed.'
His threatening behaviour meant he was quickly hauled back before the court and jailed for six months for contempt of court.
Judge Richard Price at Portsmouth Crown Court said: 'I will not have people leaving my court saying that sort of thing. This was a serious threat and a serious contempt of court.
[ . . . ]
Apparently . . . indeed . . .
Back to the Guardian article:
Mann, who had admitted breaking into the lab in December 2003 and removing 700 mice, was given a community service order last April.
But as he left the court he allegedly leaned over Chris Bishop, Wickham's technical director, and said: "Your trouble has only just started, you will need to look under your bed." He was jailed for contempt of court.
"Allegedly" got him six months in the slammer, when he could have walked, plus a very harsh rebuke from Judge Richard Price. That's quite an "allege" . . .
Celebrated by followers for his escape from Manchester police station, where he was held, in 1991, Mann is also notorious for threatening that someone within the animal testing industry would die.
"We are capable of dealing with anyone; no one has died yet, but that will come," he said in 1998. He continues to justify those words, saying activists Barry Horne, Jill Phipps and Michael Hill died trying to make the world a better place.
And this is the person Judge Price was willing to let off after his burglary conviction with community service, right up until he opened his mouth and insulted the judge's sense of his own dignity . . .
"Earth to Judge Price! Earth to Judge Price. Come in, please!"
Due to be released at the end of July, Mann says the most important campaign remains that to close down Huntingdon Life Sciences, the research lab in Cambridge which has been attacked many times over the years.
Huntingdon and its suppliers and clients have a temporary injunction preventing named activists from protesting at their property. "Huntingdon is the big one," he said. "When Huntingdon falls, there are all these pharmaceutical companies saying they will pull out and operate abroad ... the industry will start to crumble."
Mann believes no one wants to listen to the truth of animal testing.
Right — everyone's out of step except him . . .
He told the court that his raid on Wickham Laboratories was to highlight its alleged use of animal testing for Botox for cosmetics, which is illegal in Britain.
But, in court, Wickham said the animals were being used for tests on botulinum toxin (used in Botox) for a product called Dysport, used in the UK for therapeutic purposes to prevent muscle spasms - which was within the licence.
With a few weeks to go before his release, Mann says his priority at the moment is his partner, who is unwell.
But the activist, whom police consider to be at the top of the ALF pyramid, will never stop his campaign.
"They can change the law further, bring on more injunctions and say we can't protest lawfully. But all they are doing is driving more and more people underground and it's underground tactics that are the most effective."
Well, there is always the peaceful alternative — simply do whatever's necessary to appease Mr. Mann, and our own Dr. Jerry Vlasak and Professor Steven Best (link, link) both of whom are self-appointed Press Officers for the US contingent of the terrorist ALF.
Thanks again to David S. for the Guardian link.