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"The University's got Masons, it's got you."
June 8, 2007 2:51 PM   Subscribe

Last July, activists from the SPEAK animal rights group were arrested while holding a protest outside Oxford University's Encaenia ceremony. Almost a year later, they have all walked free after audiotapes emerged which appear to record Thames Valley Police declaring their intent to conspire with the university and frame the protesters.
posted by stammer (18 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
There's a lively debate in the comments section of the last link.
posted by stammer at 2:54 PM on June 8, 2007


I remember those assholes from when I was there. Fuck them and fuck their attempts at disrupting university functions; I wish the police the best of luck smashing them.
posted by Spacelegoman at 3:05 PM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


So...you’re a Mason then?

Seriously, I find it interesting some of the comments - e.g. nice that they caught the cops framing people and such, but what’s really needed is an open debate on vivisection.

Man, I keep thinking I have a better handle on some things than when I was a kid and it just gets more and more surreal.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:12 PM on June 8, 2007


Well, as long as cops AND Spacelegoman don't like them, i guess framing the innocent and taking their freedoms away without benefit of justice is okay.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 3:12 PM on June 8, 2007


The prescribed professionalism will be when the officers refrain from saying what they all believe.
posted by nervousfritz at 3:27 PM on June 8, 2007


i guess framing the innocent and taking their freedoms away without benefit of justice is okay.

Well, there's enough precedent for that. After all, all you need do is just call them terrorists.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:27 PM on June 8, 2007


Well, the wording is a bit strong, the cop (one) on the Dictaphone talked about getting someone to claim (falsely) their path was blocked. We don't know if that happened. This is hardly Mark Fuhrman territory here.
posted by delmoi at 3:28 PM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Smedleyman: there is an open debate. What SPEAK seems to hate is the fact that despite an open debate animal research has enough support to continue.

There's a distinct difference between controlling and moderating protest and outlawing debate.
posted by edd at 4:31 PM on June 8, 2007


what’s really needed is an open debate on vivisection.

Statements without obvious truth usually need evidence to support their assertions.
posted by docgonzo at 12:21 AM on June 9, 2007


Where is the conspiracy?
posted by kaemaril at 3:05 AM on June 9, 2007


Speak are the Sinn Fein of the campaign against the Oxford animal centre - the mouthpieces for the balaclava wearing thugs who threaten suppliers and investors. They should have a right to protest - but often their protests are dangerously close to harassment - which is of course their intent. There are some who won't take their nonsense lying down.
posted by prentiz at 4:47 AM on June 9, 2007


What SPEAK seems to hate is the fact that despite an open debate animal research has enough support to continue.

I don't know what SPEAK hates, specifically, but I hate that this so called "open debate" invariably ends up with those who have a financial stake in the continued use of animals in biomedical and behavioural research pleading "But without the freedom to perform tests on animals, your babies will die in horrible horrible ways!!" because they know that blind emotion is the only reason people still believe in animal research.

Animal researchers hate practicing good science (or at least they just don't know how). They have to resort to nonsense like modelling menopause in rhesus macaques by giving them ovariectomies (ignoring the fundamental issue that macaques, very much unlike humans, can have children until the day they die - don't take my word for it, the NIH said the model was horseshit, too), they've killed countless numbers of animals over the last 30 years just looking for a proper animal model for cystic fibrosis. The animal model they had for multiple sclerosis turned out to be completely wrong, wasting who knows how many billions of dollars in research funds that, had they not been so hot in pursuit of animal research, might have kept my mom from ending up in a wheelchair. Studies of scoliosis are done by artificially inducing it in animals, even though the fact that humans walk upright makes the results completely useless. The list goes on, but governments still plug money into worthless research centres that will only perpetuate the cycle of well intentioned people who are taught pseudoscience at the expense of real science.

It's not that animal rights activists hate an open debate; on the contrary, they love it and are often asking for the opportunity to debate the validity of animal research on scientific grounds. However, animal researchers can't justify their work without emotional clap-trap, bad science, and outright lies that tug at the heart strings. That's not an open debate, it's nothing more than a PR campaign with billions of dollars of vested interest behind it.
posted by cmonkey at 9:33 AM on June 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


>>We don't know if that happened. This is hardly Mark Fuhrman territory here.

But OJ killed those people. Fuhrman's stupidity achieved the opposite of what he desired. Similar situation here- a doubt was introduced, and that's all it took.
posted by SaintCynr at 10:45 AM on June 9, 2007


Unfortunately the ability of the animal rights crowd to shoot themselves in the foot in PR terms appears to know no bounds, at least in the UK. One bunch thought it would be a great idea to dig up someone's dead grandmother and hide the body, an action which probably did more to set back the campaign to convince the general UK population that vivisection is unethical than any other (to date).

Spending inordinate amounts of time obsessing over fox hunting didn't help much either.

You can be completely in the right, but if you act like complete jackasses, then people won't hear a single thing you say.
posted by pharm at 11:09 AM on June 9, 2007


"There's a distinct difference between controlling and moderating protest and outlawing debate." - posted by edd

Humor.
Bit ironic to me that someone's who's right to protest has been outlawed and in fact deliberately subverted by the law enforcement authorities is focused on the subject of said protest, not the initial conditions which are required for free speech of any kind, much less the matter in question.

But y'know, I'm hung up on decorum like the cops not breaking laws and legal protections they're supposedly sworn to uphold, n'such, rather than who's actually right or wrong.

Seems to me without the former, the latter is mandated by whomever holds power. But y'know, I did a lot of acid.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:19 PM on June 9, 2007


Smedleyman: I'm not going to argue that the police did the wrong thing here. However, you can't argue that their right to free speech has been outlawed. For goodness sake, the whole point of this thread is that they got acquitted!

There certainly is a difference between outlawing free speech and debate and controlling protests. They have been able to debate it, publish their literature, get plenty of media attention (certainly one of the people in question was part of a major televised debate on the whole issue), and just look at their website's front page to see how often they protest.

The arrest shouldn't have happened, but there's nothing sinister about, for example, an injunction to protect workers and their families from violence and intimidation by preventing protest within a certain range of their homes and workplace.
posted by edd at 8:28 AM on June 11, 2007


“However, you can't argue that their right to free speech has been outlawed.”

I’m not. I simply find it funny that some posters (from the orignal post) were more upset about the subject of animal rights, etc. than they were about the police conspiring to break the law.

I have no opinion on an injunction to protect people from protest within a certain range of their homes. I can see the merits, but I have issues with denying protest under nearly any conditions. Still, I’m not informed enough to have a real opinon.
Indeed, not much opinion on this whole matter other than the initial denial of protest.
Seems pretty egregious to me, we both agree it shouldn’t have happened. End of story.
(Other than, y’know, I find a couple people pretty funny for getting more bent out of shape over one thing than another).
posted by Smedleyman at 3:24 PM on June 11, 2007


(to clarify - ‘outlawed’ in the sense of acted upon by law enforcement authorities, not outlawed in the sense of barred by actual statute)
posted by Smedleyman at 3:26 PM on June 11, 2007


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