Animal rights activist Camille Marino has conducted an extensive campaign against cardiac researcher Donal O'Leary, publishing his personal information and reportedly even "wishing him a slow painful death." Now she's been arrested, and she faces trial later this year. But she says everything she's done is totally legal. Let's take a closer look at Marino and some of her scarier statements.
Marino was arrested in Florida in February and extradited to Michigan, where O'Leary lives and works, to face trial. She's now been released, but she has to return to court on May 2 for a hearing to determine whether her words are protected by the First Amendment. So what exactly are those words? Well, Marino apparently learned about O'Leary in 2011 when the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine accused him of abusing animals in his research. A federal investigation determined there was "no evidence of noncompliance in Dr. O'Leary's lab with the federal policy on humane care and use of laboratory animals." But Marino allegedly posted O'Leary's contact info on her website Negotiation Is Over anyway. According to Green Is The New Red, a commenter on the site then issued this threat against him: "We will then strap you into a monkey restraining device and use industrial pliers to crack your testicles like walnuts." Marino allegedly responded,
Is there any chance I can persuade you to videotape your proposed activism so that we might upload it to NIO for the entire community to enjoy?
I just finished sending off an email to this motherfucker wishing him a slow painful death.
I would be elated to actually watch it come to pass!
The comments have now been removed, and Marino's lawyer says no one can prove she wrote them. But there's pretty compelling evidence elsewhere that she considers threats an acceptable form of activism. An article from the blog Security Management, republished on Marino's own site, quotes her thus:
Aspiring scientists envision curing cancer at the Mayo Clinic. We need to impart a new vision: car bombs, 24/7 security cameras, embarrassing home demonstrations, threats, injuries, and fear. And, of course, these students need to realize that any personal risk they are willing to assume will also be visited upon their parents, children, and nearest & dearest loved ones. The time to reconsider is now.
On January 31, Negotiation Is Over posted the name, phone number, home address, email address, and business address of the owner of a trucking company that was allegedly transporting monkeys for research. The title of the post was "URGENT! Stop Troy James Boudreaux from driving monkeys from O'Hare to SNBL." Presumably Marino would argue that she was urging her followers to "stop" Boudreaux by showing up at his office and calmly reasoning with him, but if he spent any time on NIO, he'd have plenty of reason to think otherwise. In its "Resources" section, the site includes links like "An ELF Guide to Setting Fires With Electrical Timers" and "Special Ingredients" for any occasion" — the latter points to a site selling a pepper-spray-like powder, as well as a fluid designed to induce projectile vomiting and one designed to destroy car paint. Also still available on the site is a 2011 poem by Marino, titled "A Christmas Wish for Abusers." Here's the second stanza:
[A]t this special time of year
It's nice to share our innermost thoughts with those who occupy space in our heads
So to every vivisector, farmer, breeder
Every genre of animal-abusing scum and their apologists
For your holiday, may your god exact justice for your crimes
May your tree or menorah burn your blood-money home down with you in it
This video is a gift from me to you
Merry christmas, die motherfucker die!
If Marino wants to maintain that she's merely a nonviolent protester, she might think about removing phrases like "die motherfucker die." But she appears to be on a personal crusade, which she considers unstoppable but which, interestingly, began fairly recently. In a 2011 interview with Let Them Eat Meat, she says,
I was a necrovore until the age of 43. I was looking for information on adopting a vegetarian diet to lose weight when I found an undercover video of a dairy farm. I immediately went vegan. That was January 2008. I never made a conscious decision one way or another to analyze or theorize about direct action. Those things are irrelevant to me. I saw atrocities that demand a response. I am still learning how to respond effectively and, when we're talking about a literal and bloody war, the schools of thought that reject direct action are ludicrous.
Interviewer Rhys Southan also asked if she supported "the killing of animal abusers." Marino's response was unequivocal: "Yes, I do."
Animal rights activist can return to Florida until hearing on graphic blog posts, judge rules [Detroit Free Press]
Animal rights advocate told to scrub website of threats against WSU prof [Detroit News]
Animal activist faces jail time over blog posts aimed at researchers [Bellingham Herald]