Interesting things are happening in the violent AR wing of the extremist AR movement: Dr. Jerry Vlasak and Professor Steven Best are being dissed by at least some ALF operatives, and Dr. Vlasak is being dissed by Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Dr. Vlasak, of course, is infamously known for advocating the assassination of some biomedical scientists, which he views as "morally acceptable," in order to intimidate the rest into abandoning the use of animals in research. He did so in his creepy testimony before a Senate committee on Oct. 26, 2005, and before that, he did so on Australian TV (you can watch Dr. Vlasak openly advocate assassination by following the link here).
Both Dr. Best and Dr. Vlasak are presently self-appointed "Press Officers" for the ALF.
But before that and until fairly recently, Dr. Vlasak was a spokesman for the PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine), which is tied closely to PeTA: PCRM President Neal Barnard and PeTA President Ingrid Newkirk are two of three directors of the PeTA Foundation, which funnels hundreds of thousands of dollars to PCRM (op cit).
The PCRM also has close ties with SHAC — PCRM President Barnard co-signed a letter with then SHAC President Kevin Kjonsas; and Dr. Vlasak's wife, Pamelyn Ferdin is the current President of SHAC — Ferdin carries a PCRM business card listing her as a PCRM employee.
So with all that for background and context, we can consider the comments of a putative ALF cell leader, a person interviewed by Mr. Ed Bradley as background for his 60 Minutes piece last Sunday (Nov. 13, 2005).
[ . . . ]
BRADLEY: Do you know Jerry Vlasak. You know who he is? Calls himself a spokesperson for the cause, for your cause. And he says it’s time to start killing people who do research on animals?
ALF CELL LEADER: Well, we appreciate that he likes to consider himself a spokesperson, but he doesn’t operate with our endorsement or our support or our appreciation, the support of the ALF. We have a strict code of non-violence. Not a single human being in the 20 to 30 year history has ever been harmed in an ALF action…. That’s not luck, it’s a pretty good record.
[ . . . ]
Ouch! This has got to hurt — one of the guys in the trenches saying that Dr. Vlasak "doesn’t operate with our endorsement or our support or our appreciation, the support of the ALF."
Translation: "That Vlasak dude is screwing up the good name of the ALF."
I ask you — how low can a punch be?
Parenthetically, the ALF cell leader suggests that the absence of harm to a human "is not luck" parallels what Rodney Coronado said on 60 Minutes: “The fact that nobody was ever injured in any of the actions that I’ve been accused of is not a coincidence.”
Perhaps . . . but Dr. Vlasak's pronouncement that assassination is "morally acceptable" and his open advocacy of murder has lowered the bar for human injury and murder, each of which is just that much closer to becoming but one other tool in the armamentarium of those claiming to operate in behalf of ALF (and who is to deny them their claim?).
It really doesn't matter what Mr. Bradley's ALF cell leader wants to happen or thinks is justifiable in the ALF name.
The whole structure of ALF — its secrecy, its insulated cell organization and its illegal activities specifically designed to instill terror in the minds of selected targets — is an open invitation for someone to make a name for himself in underground circles, or just to satisfy some dark inner urge, by going that one logical step further and committing murder in behalf of the ALF.
Dr. Vlasak's words have made it possible for useful idiot to legitimize his murderous urge in furtherance of the AR cause.
Who will stop the murderous him (or her)? The ALF credo? I don't think so . . .
Note to ALF cell leader: this is how slippery slopes work, fella. You and those who share your vision have lost control of your own "organization." Dr. Vlasak has seen to that. And the fact that you risked being interviewed to disavow Dr. Vlasak's strategy of murder shows how worried you are.
But, back to people dissing Dr. Vlasak.
As a second example of that, we have none other than Skipper Paul Watson, he of the financially-compromised Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS). By way of background, the reader should appreciate that Dr. Vlasak was was a member of the SSCS's Board of Directors until recently. Then, CBC reporter Peter Gullage did a series of stories on Dr. Vlasak (link, link), exposing his appreciation for murder's utility to the public.
Initially, Skipper Paul stood firmly behind Dr. Vlasak, right up to the point where another of the SSCS's Board (Elizabeth May) threatened to resign if Dr. Vlasak weren't sacked — which would have drawn still greater adverse publicity to the SSCS. At first, Skipper Paul said he'd accept May's resignation before he'd sack Dr. Vlasak. But that changed, and Skipper Paul ended up first, disassociating himself and the SSCS from Dr. Vlasak, then surreptitiously removing Dr. Vlasak's name from the SSCS website one dark night, then sacking him outright the following morning.
So here's what Skipper Paul of the SSCS now has to say:
On Sunday evening, Dr. Jerry Vlasak, a former Board Member of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS), appeared on CBS 60 Minutes to promote his ideas on acceptable violent threats and tactics in animal rights issues. Earlier this year SSCS had promptly removed Dr. Vlasak as a Board member after his interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Company, in which Dr. Vlasak made statements advocating threats of violence to protect animals.
Skipper Paul is being disingenuous . . . Dr. Vlasak was dismissed only because a board member went public with her outrage, and Skipper Paul had no choice. As I argued then, Skipper Paul made a decision because he couldn't afford having the SSCS's reputation publicly savaged, with the consequent drying up of contributions.
"SSCS adamantly opposes any action that would cause injury to any human being," says Captain Paul Watson, Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a marine wildlife conservation organization founded in 1977.
A former friend and colleague of Dr. Vlasak, Captain Watson upholds the decision to remove Dr. Vlasak from the Board of Directors of SSCS as necessary and consistent with Sea Shepherd's long-standing opposition to physical violence.
How revealing . . . "A former friend and colleague . . ."
There really has been a falling out, hasn't there?
Dr. Vlasak has isolated himself from everybody . . .
I predict that the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine will disown Dr. Vlasak presently — and they may even repossess the PCRM business cards Dr. Vlasak's wife flashes around.
Dr. Vlasak has single-handedly thrown the Animal Rights community into a nightmarish tailspin —
Go you, Jerry!
[ . . . ]
"Promoting a philosophy of violence makes it difficult on all of us," Captain Watson advises. "Not only will people be more likely to engage in unnecessary violence out of fear, but it also makes it more difficult to conduct legitimate conservation activities. We cannot support philosophies or tactics that threaten what I established SSCS to do -- preserve and conserve life."
Such sanctimonious words from someone who wouldn't have acted had he not been pressured into it . . .
But enough of Skipper Paul.
There is yet another ALF communique, this one posted on the ADL-Boston listserve:
We followed Kenneth J Greiner from his home at 105 5th Ave in NYC to his weekend getaway in the Hamptons at 4 Beaver Lane W in Westhampton. While Kenneth was turned in for the night we covered his Honda sports utility and Lexus with a new paint job, and a broken back window. His house was also covered with paint and the words "drop HLS" and "sell lsri.ob".
Kenneth is the CEO to Dalton Greiner an investment advisement company who holds over 615,000 shares of HLS' stock in client portfolios. We expect Kenneth's company to join the growing list of companies who have sold HLS' stock.
This action was an ALF action, and was done in solidarity with Peter Young whose unparalleled bravery serves as an inspiration to us all. As an ALF cell we need to take action to save innocent life whenever possible, and take all precautions necessary to avoid infringing on the safety of others. We as a cell are concerned by the rhetorical muddy waters being stirred up by armchair activists like Stephen Best and Jerry Vlasic. These individuals will never understand the ALF and their attempts to represent them in public are pathetic at best. They cannot rewrite the guide lines, period.
The ALF is not a scholastic discourse in academia.
The ALF is not violent, and never will be.
The ALF is the burning feeling in your throat on that quiet car ride to the lab.
The ALF is spending your weeks pay on a rental truck instead of rent or food.
The ALF is the smell of shit and dander on a cross country ride to a sanctuary.
The ALF is an animals first look at open sky.
The ALF is the tears you get when a creature once crippled by human selfishness takes her first steps.
The ALF is all around you.
So f**k post modernist, bad blazer wearing, womanizers and hollywood heart surgeons - we're taking it back.
xo the ALF
Dr. Vlasak has succeeded in driving a wedge into the violent, terrorist wing of the AR extremists. What we're hearing here is from people who are frightened by what Dr. Vlasak has loosed, and who have utter contempt both for him and Professor Best, both of whom live privileged lives and bask in the press-glory of the violent efforts of others.
It's interesting that these guys are calling to "take back" their movment.
How, I wonder, do they plan to do so? How are they going to prevent some useful idiot motivated by the murderous philosophy of Dr. Vlasak and his principal defender and sympathizer Professor Best from identifying himself, coming forward, killing someone, and claiming the ALF did it?
If the murderer claims that he killed in behalf of ALF, who is to say he didn't?
The ALF is Frankenstein's monster — or better — the monster created by the monster. The ALF created themselves out of self-righteous religious fervor. They escalated the tactics of protest from legal ones to illegal ones, with a trend that inevitably approached a logical milestone . . . the taking of human life.
And now they don't like it when Jerry Vlasak, MD, finds it acceptable to take the next step . . . the one dictated by their own loopy ideology: if each life is of equal value, animal and human, then it is morally acceptable to kill "n" people to save "n + 1" animals.