Animal Protection > ALF Foes

link to More SHAC Arrests

Subj:   FW: KINSHIP CIRCLE / SHAC's Arrest 
Date:   6/4/2004 3:15:29 PM Pacific Standard Time  
From: Kinship Circle
info@kinshipcircle.org

If you have not yet heard the news, I personally would like everyone in Kinship Circle to know that our friends and leaders in the fight to shutdown Huntingdon Life Sciences--Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC)--have been arrested on two serious charges.

Specifically:
1.) The group and the seven were all charged with conspiracy to terrorize Huntingdon, which has labs in New Jersey. The charge carries up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

2.) The group and three of the suspects are also charged with conspiracy to engage in interstate stalking and three counts of interstate stalking. Each of those charges carries up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Among those arrested are: Kevin Kjonaas, (aka Kevin Jonas), Lauren Gazzola, Jacob Conroy, Darius Fullmer, John McGee, Andrew Stepanian, and Joshua Harper.

Anyone who traveled to the December 1, 2002 New Jersey demo against HLS, in conjunction with the notorious lab's 50th anniversary, knows that no other campaign within the AR movement has been more focused and relentless. In NJ, I spoke to activists about the emotional toll of viewing and hearing the cries of tortured animals inside HLS.

What you WON'T read about in the new stories currently circulating around the country are the regular yelping and coughing of conscious dogs during fatal procedures. The techs slamming monkeys in cages. Punching beagles in the face. Dangling animals while pumping toxic materials into their stomachs. Or the cavalier lab techs slicing into the flesh of live animals during presumably
post-mortem dissection.

You WON'T learn that HLS has accumulated 32 affirmed violations of the U.S. Animal Welfare Act, 16 violations of Good Laboratory Practice in England, and the arrest of employees on animal cruelty charges...or that the lab has been cited for research fraud and over 600 violations of animal laws.

You'll need to reference videotaped evidence from 5 undercover investigations and turn to watchdog groups from PETA to SHAC to learn the other side of the story.

The first time I saw undercover investigator Michele Rokke's footage from her seven-month stint as an HLS employee, I wanted to scream. I felt sick, but could not turn my eyes from the screen. I saw a man grab a little beagle by the loose skin over his neck. The puppy's legs frantically peddled over faraway ground. His eyes turned into saucers of terror as the technician drew back his fist and punched the dog over and over. The dog's cries are logged inside my head.

Michele's daily journal is a portal to another world--one filled with unimaginable horror where needles are carelessly plunged into 3-month-old dogs. Where chemical-filled tubes shoved down throats (oral gavage) mistakenly reach the lungs, causing an animal to drop dead on the dosing table. Where animals seize, convulse, vomit, defecate and collapse--dangling from suspension slings or cowering in dingy cages.

Christopher J. Christie, the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, tells us "In its drug testing, Huntingdon Life Sciences, a British firm, mainly uses dogs, primates and rats... All tests were required and approved by the Food and Drug Administration...  Their business [SHAC], quite frankly, is thuggery and intimidation. Our goal is to remove uncivilized people from civilized society.''

I leave it to you to decide who the UNCIVILIZED are in this story.

We do not yet know how the arrests will effect the group's mobility or what their legal recourse is. We will update you when new information becomes available.

While some do not agree with SHAC's hard-hitting tactics, it is difficult to disagree with the goal: Closing Huntingdon Life Sciences for good. Kinship Circle does not endorse violence or vandalism and will never encourage its subscribers to engage in any form of verbal or physical intimidation. We will however, continue to post researched and polite letter campaigns targeting HLS costumers, suppliers and financiers.

For more information about Huntingdon Life Sciences and activist campaigns:

SHAC-USA website:
http://www.shacamerica.net/

Undercover video footage:
http://www.shac.net/MERCHANDISE/videos.html

INSIDE/OUT: Diary of Madness (full booklet with photos)
http://www.kinshipcircle.org/fact_sheets/default.html

Who is Huntingdon Life Sciences?
http://www.kinshipcircle.org/fact_sheets/default.html

BEAR WITNESS.  SPEAK.  DEMAND.  ACT.
Kinship Circle--Letter Campaigns, Literature, Action For Animals
Brenda Shoss, president
Janet Enoch, director
info@kinshipcircle.org
http://www.KinshipCircle.org


EXCELLENT SYNOPSIS OF NY TIMES ARTICLE, FROM KAREN DAWN OF DAWNWATCH:

Date: Fri, 28 May 2004 14:10:36 -0700
Subject: DawnWatch: Seven SHAC associated activists arrested -- New York

Seven animal rights activists associated with the Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty campaign have been arrested. The New York Times story (Thursday, May 27, pg B9) tells us, "Seven animal rights advocates were arrested on Wednesday on charges of trying to disrupt the work of a New Jersey pharmaceutical testing company and threatening its employees and those of six companies doing business with it, the authorities said.

"Those arrested were identified by the authorities as two officials of an animal rights group, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, and five associates.. From October 2001 to February of this year, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, recruited sympathizers online to vandalize property at the homes of employees of the pharmaceutical company, Huntingdon Life Sciences of East Millstone, near Princeton, and of the other companies, said Christopher J. Christie, the United States attorney for New Jersey.

"In its drug testing, Huntingdon Life Sciences, a British firm, mainly uses dogs, primates and rats, Mr. Christie said. He said all tests were required and approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

"He said the group posted, as part of the campaign, what it called the 'top 20 terror tactics'' to be used against companies and individuals, including invading offices, chaining gates shut, writing graffiti on cars and houses, flooding houses with garden hoses, smashing windows and sending defective e-mail messages in attempts to disrupt computers.

"In addition, he said, the group often posted on its Web site the names and ages of employees' spouses and children and the names of the children's schools and various athletic fields where they were scheduled to play.

"Mr. Christie denounced that tactic as among the group's most reprehensible."

Christie is quoted, "Their business, quite frankly, is thuggery and intimidation. Our goal is to remove uncivilized people from civilized society.''

Those arrested are named:  Kevin Kjonaas, (aka Kevin Jonas), Lauren Gazzola, Jacob Conroy, Darius Fullmer, John McGee, Andrew Stepanian, and Joshua Harper.

We learn, "The indictment accuses all seven suspects of engaging in a conspiracy to violate a federal law that bans terrorism against animal enterprises, Mr. Christie said. The charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine."

You can read the 'full story' on line at:
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/27/nyregion/27animal.html. I put 'full story' in quotes because the article does not tell the full story. Unfortunately, as is often the case when activists use harsh tactics, the media stories concentrate on the activities of the activists and not of the laboratory.

You will learn more about what the activists are protesting by visiting: http://www.shacamerica.net/

That website tells us, "HLS has been the subject of five undercover investigations exposing the horrendous animal cruelty and incompetence that goes on inside HLS. HLS employees have been exposed violently punching and shaking four-month-old beagle puppies, performing a necropsy (dissection) of a live monkey, transplanting a frozen pig's heart into a baboon, being drunk and taking drugs at work, falsifying scientific data, and breaking animal welfare laws. These investigations have resulted in HLS employees being convicted of animal
cruelty, fined by the USDA and almost shut down by the UK government."

The site provides information about undercover campaigns and has a distressing photo gallery.

Video of the abuses referred to above can be viewed at:
http://www.shac.net/MERCHANDISE/videos.html

No matter how we feel about SHAC tactics, animal rights activists share the group's disgust at the laboratory that the group is trying to close down.  With letters to the editor can redress the lack of attention the paper gives to the issue. Letters appear in one of the most read sections of the paper. The story is in many papers across the country and presents an opportunity to spread the word about the horrors of the Huntingdon Life Sciences laboratory in particular, or vivisection in general. The New York Times takes letters at: letters@nytimes.com

If your local paper has carried the story and you have any trouble finding the address for a letter to the editor, don't hesitate to ask me for help.

Always include your full name, address, and daytime phone number when sending a letter to the editor. Shorter letters are more likely to be published.

Yours and the animals',
Karen Dawn
www.DawnWatch.com 

(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets..

http://www.wnbc.com/health/3348456/detail.html

11:24 am EDT May 26, 2004

NEWARK, N.J. -- Seven animal-rights activists were arrested and charged with organizing a crusade of intimidation and harassment against a British company that tests pharmaceuticals on animals.

The multiyear conspiracy to terrorize Huntingdon Life Sciences included vandalizing the homes and cars of employees, according to the federal indictment unsealed Wednesday with the arrests.

Other actions included "telephone and e-mail blitzes, fax blitzes and computer blockades against HLS in order to divert HLS employees from their regular work," the indictment charged.

Authorities said the suspects were part of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty USA, a nonprofit group that was also charged in the indictment.

The investigation into SHAC is continuing, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie said.

"My view of these people is that they are violent fanatics and that any type of fanaticism that leads to violent acts is wrong, and that the people who engage in that must be brought to justice," Christie said.

The indictment cites inflammatory Web postings by SHAC, which Christie said crossed the line from free speech to criminality.

"We believe that the conduct they've engaged in is not a lawful exercise of their First Amendment rights," he said. "People were frightened by what was being done to them. It's no question that it created an atmosphere of fear."

SHAC spokeswoman Andrea Lindsay denied the charges and said the organization's members simply reported the crimes they were charged with on Web sites after hearing about them from others.

The group and the seven were all charged with conspiracy to terrorize Huntingdon, which has labs in New Jersey. The charge carries up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The group and three of the suspects are also charged with conspiracy to engage in interstate stalking and three counts of interstate stalking. Each of those charges carries up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The stalking charges accuse the activists of placing three people, and their families, in fear of death or injury.

Huntingdon Life Sciences issued a statement from its U.S. base in East Millstone, praising the indictment. "So many people have been victimized by this lawless campaign," the company said.

The indictment charged that SHAC targeted Huntingdon workers and shareholders, as well as companies that provide services to Huntingdon, by posting personal information about targets on its Web sites and encouraging followers to "operate outside the confines of the legal system."

Protesters have appeared at the homes of at least three Huntingdon employees after such postings, overturning a car at one house and slashing tires and spray-painting slogans at another, the indictment said.

In December, computer hackers disabled the Huntingdon Web site. The SHAC Web site attributed the attack to Russian computer hackers, the indictment said.

Three putting greens at the Meadow Brook Club in Jericho, N.Y., were damaged on the eve of a Senior PGA golf tournament in July 2002 after the SHAC Web site announced that a director with Huntingdon's insurance broker would be attending, the indictment said.

The Web site later posted a message in which the Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility for the vandalism. Less than two months later, the director's home was spray-painted after a demonstration.

Other attacks described in the indictment included a barrage of more than 2 million e-mails sent in a few hours on July 11, 2001, to a Jersey City brokerage that handled Huntingdon stock, damaging its operations.

The brokerage got a letter Sept. 10, 2002, from one of the suspects, asserting that if the brokerage stopped handling Huntingdon "this should bring a prompt end to the phone calls and faxes and e-mails your company is receiving."

Although the indictment did not give the names of any targets, it mentioned a smoke bomb attack in Seattle on July 10, 2002, that caused evacuations at two high-rise buildings.

Police there have said two smoke bombs were set off on the 20th floor of one building, and the 23rd of another, by offices for two subsidiaries of Marsh. The worldwide risk and insurance firm has come under attack elsewhere by SHAC.

The indictment cited that attack as among those that were part of the conspiracy by SHAC and the seven individuals. It did not identify who placed the smoke bombs.

The arrests came just over a year after the members of the FBI's domestic terrorism squad raided SHAC's headquarters in Franklin Township as well as a house near the University of Washington in Seattle, seizing computers and printed materials.

Among those arrested Wednesday in Seattle was a resident of that house, Joshua Harper, 29, a self-proclaimed anarchist and longtime animal-rights activists.

Arrested in California were former New Jersey residents Kevin Kjonas, 26, identified as president of SHAC; Lauran Gazzola, 25, SHAC campaign coordinator; and Jacob Conroy, 28. They now live in Pinole, Calif., authorities said.

Agents in New Jersey arrested Darius Fullmer, 27, of Hamilton, and John McGee, 25, of Edison, while Andrew Stepanian, 25, of Huntington, N.Y., was arrested on Long Island, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark said.

A lawyer for Stepanian, John C. Whipple, said his client maintains his innocence and will plead not guilty when arraigned at federal court in Trenton on June 15. He said he had just been retained and so could not discuss specifics of the case.