There seems to have been a shake up of the North American Animal Liberation Press Office (NAALPO), an organization which serves to advertise and promote the activities of animal rights extremists who act under the banner of the Animal Liberation Front and other associated direct action groups. In 2009 the NAALPO Press Officers (according to their 2009 Q&A) were:
- Jerry Vlasak – Extremist who has condoned the murder of scientists, see our previous posts on him
- Camile Hankins (Win Animal Rights) – Extremist who has worked in campaigns against HLS. See more.
- Lin Bingham – Writer and graphic designer, little information available
- Jason Miller (Thomas Paine Corner) – Pro-violence extremist, see more here and here.
In 2011 the NAALPO website shows (Warning: AR Website):
- Jerry Vlasak – Still there, see above.
- Walter Bond – In prison since February 2011 for arson (5 years)
- Will Hazlitt – Filmaker, little information available
- Gary Yourofsky – Extremist who has stated he would support anyone who burned down a lab
- Nicoal Sheen – New activist, see below for more information
I have no idea why such radical changes have taken place, however fractures in the animal rights movement have been common over the previous few years. Disagreements over tactics (violence vs non-violence) have been particularly pronounced in the last few years. The main subject of this post will be to investigate more about the activities and beliefs of newly promoted NAALPO press officer Nicoal Sheen.
Nicoal Renée Sheen, Press Officer at NAALPO
Nicoal Sheen (note the spelling), age 23 (approx), was a student at California State University Long Beach when she founded the student organization Cease Animal Torture (CAT) which advocates “the liberation and ethical treatment of all animals” by promoting “veganism and direct action”. In 2009, after meeting her current partner and animal rights activist Greg Kelly, the pair co-founded Band of Mercy. From the website:
Band of Mercy is an abolitionist, animal advocacy organization. We are above-ground activists fighting to end all forms of speciesism and dedicated to total animal liberation
The name Band of Mercy was previously made infamous in the UK as the name for Ronnie Lee and Cliff Goodman’s extremist anti-vivisection group (both were arrested and charged with arson 1974). Prior to Band of Mercy, Greg Kelly had co-founded Win Animal Rights with high profile extremist Camille Hankins. In late 2010 Sheen became a press officer for the North American Animal Liberation Press Office.
Recently Nicoal Sheen was interviewed by Jon Hoch in a piece which appeared on the online portal, The Scavenger. This piece allows us to better understand some of the beliefs of Nicoal. Let’s start with the issue of extremism.
JH: Is there a line in the sand where you say, “OK, I’ll support these kinds of actions, but I won’t support those?” And if so, what is that line?
NS: Well, I believe in liberation “by any means necessary.”
I wonder whether she would support her colleague Jerry Vlasak’s support for the assassination of animal researchers?
“[I]f an individual felt it was necessary for the oppressor to be assassinated, then sure, I would say they’re right in feeling that it would be practical and pragmatic to stop [the oppression]”.
I had to read this a number of times to decipher the clever use of language. Rather than flat out agree that it would be right to assassinate researchers, Sheen has said it is right to feel that it is right to assassinate researchers. Is there a difference? I leave that to the reader to decide. However Sheen becomes a little clearer in her later statements (below). Interestingly, sheen also claims to campaign for reproductive rights, one has to wonder what her attitude is towards tha tactics used by anti-abortion extremists – tactics almost identical to those she endorses against scientists – to reduce access to legal abortion services.
Maybe if something they care about—their property, their car—maybe if that is threatened—or their lives, they care about their lives—if that’s threatened, then maybe they’ll start to think about what they’re really doing and go towards a different avenue. […] I don’t even like to say that it’s violence. I like to say it’s justice, or extensional self-defense for these animals who can’t defend themselves.
Same extremist fearmongering, different name at the bottom of the page – the next generation of extremists are born.