Here's an important article, not only for what it says, but for where it appears: the New York Times, no less. So . . . to defer to the passive . . . exposure is happening, and exposure of this sort can't be doing PeTA any good:
WHEN it comes to aggrieved critters, the animal rights group known as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has never shied from standing up or suiting down.
This month alone, PETA campaigned against those who would eat pigs, called on the Denny's restaurant chain to "reduce the pain and suffering" of chickens and protested an Indiana pet store that glued helmets to the shells of hermit crabs to celebrate the football season.
A few years back, women working for PETA sat topless inside cages placed on city streets to protest the treatment of circus animals. And just last week, similarly unclothed women pranced about downtown Santa Fe, N.M., and in Harvard Square near Boston.
But are these the kind of activities that deserve F.B.I. scrutiny?
Well, something about PETA intrigued investigators, according to documents recently made public through Freedom of Information Act lawsuits by the American Civil Liberties Union. They showed that since 2001 the F.B.I. has been monitoring a large number of social and protest groups, including PETA.
"It's harassment and very disturbing," said Jeffrey Kerr, the group's general counsel. "If people thought that Hoover and Nixonian tactics were a thing of the past, that's sadly not the case."
But hold on, said David Martosko, director of research for the Center for Consumer Freedom, a group supported by food and restaurant companies that is one of a number of persistent PETA critics.
This is something of a coup for the CCF . . . to have the NYT cite them is important indeed. It's not just a question of establishing the CCF's credentials as a serious player opposed to Animal Rights, though that is important. But Mr. Martosko touches on enough of PeTA's shady history to prompt questions about PeTA — which, of course, I'm sure Mr. Martosko would be more than willing to elaborate on were anyone unable to figure out how to access the CCF's website . . .
Mr. Martosko pointed to contributions by PETA to people linked to groups that the F.B.I. describes as domestic terrorist organizations. He said they include $1,500 to a press officer for the Earth Liberation Front, which has been linked to fires at construction sites, and $2,000 to a spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front, which authorities say has been behind attacks against animal research labs, as well as $70,000 to an A.L.F. member who was later convicted of arson.
PeTA contributed $70,000 to help Mr. Rodney Coronado: $45,200 went to the Rodney Coronado Support Committee to pay for Mr. Coronado's defense against the arson charges, and PeTA reportedly "loaned" Mr. Coronado's father an additional $25,000, which has yet to be repaid (as far as anyone knows).
When you consider how closely PeTA was associated with Mr. Coronado at the time of the Michigan State University arson, the one (of several) for which he served time, it's reasonable to wonder if that money was "hush money", a point I've argued before. (It seems to me that the last thing PeTA would want would be for Mr. Coronado's testimony to tie them more closely to the arson or other illegal acts than they already were . . . but you make your own call.)
Then there was that national gathering of activists in 2001, when Bruce Friedrich, a PETA official, said "blowing stuff up and smashing windows" was an effective way to liberate laboratory animals.
Such goings on are, of course, the merest tip of the proverbial iceberg: Mr. Friedrich isn't the only PeTA luminary who admires violence and law-breaking in behalf of the AR cause — nor is this present statement merely a one-time slip of the tongue for Mr. Friedrich.
One need only look at a few of the things PeTA officials (including Ms Newkirk herself) are quoted as having said, and you get chilled. I've found the NAIA's list to be quite good.
Mr. Kerr acknowledged that the donations were made, but argued that they were meant to support free speech and help people defend themselves for exercising what he called "constitutionally protected activities," not for any illegal acts.
As for Mr. Friedrich's comments, Mr. Kerr said, "He was reprimanded by PETA, and he apologized."
Note the dissembling: a private reprimand from PeTA, consisting of . . .? The remarks never retracted. PeTA never disassociating themselves from the remarks . . .
What astonishing contempt Mr. Kerr and PeTA have for the citizenry!
But Mr. Martosko insisted the surveillance of PETA is justified.
"These are certainly dangerous people," he said. "I'm not saying PETA people are bomb throwers, but they certainly encourage people who do."
PeTA's Mr. Kerr is clearly on the defensive, and trying to define away PeTA's Problem, a problem that isn't going to go away, a problem which PeTA opponents are becoming increasingly familiar with, a problem that PeTA is being bludgeoned with at every opportunity.
Mr. Kerr can argue until he's blue in the face that when PeTA contributes funds to arsonists, anarchists and terrorist organizations, they are doing nothing wrong.
And in a legal sense, he's on solid ground, though you have to wonder at how embarrassingly flaccid a response it is for him to nit-pick his way through legal technicalities in order to construct PeTA's defense.
But you have to wonder what will happen to PeTA's contributions as the public at large, and animal lovers in particular, become more and more aware of PeTA's sordid history and their current activities. ("You're doing what with my contribution? I gave you money to help animals, not arsonists!")
PeTA's connections to terrorists and terrorist supporters is too great to ignore (here's my own latest post on PeTA's terrorist connections op cit).
They, PeTA, have created endless dots, and it would be irresponsible for the feds not to surveil them: indeed, if PeTA's dots don't cry out for surveilance, what dots would?