A website called “Conflict Gypsy” is turning into a handy little library of old newspapers from the fringes of the animal liberation/animal-rights terrorism movement. Browsing its archive, we discovered this startling fact: A number of folks now at the Humane Society of the United States contributed to a terrorist-cheerleading publication in the past.
The publication in question is No Compromise, self-described as “The Militant, Direct Action Newspaper of Grassroots Animal Liberationists & Their Supporters” that “commonly receive[d] and disseminate[d] communiques” from the terrorist group Animal Liberation Front (ALF). It is no longer in print.
We think it would be fair to describe No Compromise as coming as close to endorsing illegal actions as possible without explicitly endorsing them. The publication had the requisite disclaimers that it wasn’t trying to encourage illegal activity, but the tone of the paper gives off a “wink, wink” vibe with regard to so-called “direct action”—by selling t-shirts that displayed support for the ALF, for instance.
Here’s just one bit of cognitive dissonance. In one issue, NC published a list of recent “direct action” activities (arson, vandalism, etc.) of the terrorist Animal Liberation Front. “This list is not intended to encourage illegal activities,” said No Compromise, while saying in the next paragraph, “we would especially like to thank the heroic and compassionate activists who made this list possible.”
Excuse us if those “disclaimers” don’t exactly seem credible. It’s like saying “I support the Taliban, just not their illegal acts”—as if the Taliban (or the ALF) existed primarily to tutor kids or pick up litter.
In short, it’s clear what No Compromise was about. Think of it like you would some ragtag magazine called The Jihadist Times cheerleading al Qaeda attacks. There’s no credible way in our mind for somebody to be involved with No Compromise without at least being an ALF sympathizer.
So where do then-future HSUS employees fit into the mix?
The Fund for Animals, an organization that later merged with HSUS, was listed as a “sponsor”—that is, financial supporter—of No Compromise, and Miyun Park, who later became an HSUS vice president, was listed as a “sustainer.” (She is now with Global Animal Partnership.)
No Compromise also listed the following current HSUS employees as “contributors” at various points: Mike Markarian, now a senior executive of HSUS and head of its lobbying arm; Heidi Prescott, now an HSUS senior vice president; and Paul Shapiro, now an HSUS vice president for farm animal issues. Other contributors included Patrick Kwan, now an HSUS grassroots coordinator; Pierre Grzybowski, now an HSUS anti-fur campaigner; Peter Petersan, now an HSUS attorney; and J.P. Goodwin, now an HSUS director of animal cruelty policy. (Goodwin was also listed as a “regional correspondent” in one issue.)
Here are some highlights:
- Issue #7, which lists Mike Markarian as a contributor (it’s unclear what he contributed), includes an article advocating that protestors of a pigeon shoot form “guerilla attack groups” and use “whatever tactics they deem most appropriate.” (Side note: Markarian wrote in another publication in 1997 that “A perfect example of effective rebellion is an Animal Liberation Front raid.”)
- Issue #12, which counted Miyun Park on the Steering Committee and Paul Shapiro and J.P. Goodwin as “contributors,” included a piece on how to prepare and effectively use homemade napalm.
- Issue #13, which counted Park on the Steering Committee, had an article titled “Staying Safe While Fucking Shit Up,” which advised, “When correctly used arson can be one of the most devastating tools in an activist’s tool kit.” Another piece included instructions on how to build an incendiary device.
- Issue #17 (late 2000-early 2001) lists Paul Shapiro on the Steering Committee, along with such swell fellas as Rod Coronado and Craig Rosebraugh. Rosebraugh at that point in time was a “press officer” for the terrorist group Earth Liberation Front and had been reportedly raided by the FBI and ATF in early 2000, while Coronado had been sentenced a few years earlier to 57 months in federal prison for committing arson at Michigan State University as part of an Animal Liberation Front action. The Steering Committee’s editorial in that issue lauded illegal animal liberation activities (read: trespassing, theft) on farms.
Why would Paul Shapiro be on a Steering Committee with these guys? Why would Paul Shapiro be on the Steering Committee of a publication which, in that very issue, offered to sell readers “The Final Nail #2: Guide to Destroying the Fur Industry,” which included instructions on building an incendiary device?
Shapiro would certainly seem to have been a follower of NC since practically the publication’s ignoble beginning. Shapiro is listed as a contributor as early as Issue #2, and his group Compassion Over Killing, which he founded, had an ad in that issue—the same issue that had articles such as “Direct Action: Time Tested…And Effective” and “Participate in Animal Liberation Front Appreciation Day!”. (Apparently, the content of NC didn’t bother Shapiro enough as he kept contributing for years.) No Compromise even described Shapiro’s Compassion Over Killing as one of the “grassroots animal liberation organizations that support militant direct action.”
So let’s recap: HSUS’s Chief Program & Policy Officer, a senior vice president, a vice president, a former vice president, and several other HSUS employees all were “contributors” to a self-described “militant” animal liberation magazine that cheered on terrorists. And a group that has since merged with HSUS even funded the publication.
HSUS has a lot to answer for. It can start by publishing a full deposition of exactly what each of the above individuals “contributed” to No Compromise—in some cases, it’s unclear, while in others, now-HSUS employees apparently wrote articles. HSUS should also publish a full accounting of exactly what vice president Paul Shapiro did on this “Steering Committee” and what interaction he had with Rosebraugh and Coronado. A public disavowal from HSUS of No Compromise and the past involvement of its employees with this publication—in whatever form—would also be appropriate.
We highly doubt HSUS will do this. But there’s more than one way to get answers.