Shadow Activist
from No Compromise Issue 6

How Does One Join the A.L.F.?

One joins the A.L.F. simply by doing A.L.F. actions. There is no official membership. Just abide by simple guidelines listed in No Compromise and don't hurt anyone.

Do not ask the ALFSG to join the A.L.F. or any other group. This will only alert law enforcement who may be tapping phone lines or opening mail. The SG only becomes aware of A.L.F. activists' identities if and when they are arrested for committing an A.L.F. action and no longer deny their association.

Begin by yourself or with one or two people you have known for years or who have proven beyond a doubt to be selflessly committed to animal liberation. Avoid working with anyone who cannot keep quiet when the A.L.F. is discussed and blabber on about how they know who A.L.F. members are. Most likely, those who claim to know, know nothing. If you are considering approaching someone you haven't known for years, spend time alone with him or her, discussing issues not related to animal liberation and look for indications of honesty, sincerity, soft-spokenness and, most of all, a sign that he or she is not afraid of such personal consequences of strong-held beliefs as imprisonment.

When you do discuss doing A.L.F. actions, primarily discuss security. Ask if he or she would consider no longer attending demonstrations or other events where police videotape attendants. Discuss any and all plans for A.L.F. actions only in person and never on the phone or computer or even in your own homes or cars. Go for a walk and avoid the cloak-and-dagger suspicious behavior you see in movies.

Make a pledge to each other, ceremonially if necessary, to prove your willingness to go to prison rather than inform on other A.L.F. members. Such words will reassure you when you or another are sitting in a cell wondering if your fellow A.L.F. cell members are talking.

With careful planning, meticulous reconnaissance and security precautions, you will reduce, to an absolute minimum, your risk of getting caught. Trust your intuition, avoid developing a pattern (like only striking on weekends), show respect to your fellow warriors on your path to empowerment, and remember that whatever you go through in a jail cell is nothing compared to the pain inflicted on animals.

Should I Do A.L.F. Actions Close to Home?

Avoid operating in any areas where you will already be a suspect simply because you are a known animal activist. Cross county lines or state lines, preferably. The first suspects in A.L.F. activity are always local animal rights activists with arrest records. If you live in the city, operate in another city or in the country. Do not visit people in your target area the same night you plan to strike there. Gas up well away from your target area and inspect your vehicle for broken lights or expired registration tags and remove any identifying stickers or decals. Although, D.A.R.E. stickers or "Support Your Local Sheriff" decals can't hurt. Also avoid the hours when bars or nightclubs are letting out as police will be looking for drunk drivers. If you must operate close to home, prepare an unsinkable alibi because, more than likely, you will be questioned if you are a known activist.

Dear Shadow Activist,

Is it true that criminal forensics investigators can identify you simply by finding a strand of hair, drop of blood or saliva?

Paranoid in Pennsylvania

Dear Paranoid,

Just because you got away from your last action doesn't mean they're not out to get you. Yes, the FBI and ATF can identify you through DNA testing-that is, if they can obtain a DNA sample through a subpoena or court order. Let's say you throw bricks through your local fur shop's window and paint slogans on its walls. On your way home, you throw your ski-mask out the window as you drive to drop off a press release to the local media. If you've cut yourself on glass at the store and dripped one drop of blood, you will have left enough DNA evidence for the FBI and ATF to identify you. If your ski-mask is found, the saliva or hair on it is even more evidence. If you licked the envelope in which you dropped off the press release or the stamp you mailed it with, then you had better get a lawyer. In an investigation with known suspects (possibly any or all local animal rights activists), police will use comparative studies to try to identify the culprit. From 1991 to 1993, activists were subpoenaed for hair, blood, saliva, fingerprint, and handwriting samples. So try not to slobber, bleed, or brush your hair when out on an action.

Dear Shadow Activist:

I've been experimenting with different types of paint bombs on billboards in my area, but I have yet to discover the perfect projectile. Christmas bulbs are fragile and hard to find out of season, bell peppers leak, and bottles are too hard to break. Can you help me?

A Paint Panther

Dear Panther,

Try light bulbs. Not only are they lightweight and inexpensive, but you can even recycle your old bulbs this way. Here's how you do it. First, take your burnt-out bulb and with a fine-toothed hacksaw, cut the aluminum base about 3/4 of an inch from the end, but leave it slightly connected. Next, bend open the cap at a 90 degree angle. Then, with a screwdriver, gently tap into the bulb to break off the filament from the body of the bulb. Be careful not to let the screwdriver fall through and break the bulb! Now empty out any loose fragments and pour in some oil-based red paint with a little paint thinner to make it nice and runny. Wipe off any excess paint and/or thinner from the rim of the bulb and fold back the cap. While holding the bulb end up, liberally affix duct tape around the cap until you are confident the bulb won't leak. Despite this, you should avoid carrying the bulb cap-side down. A cardboard six pack holder works for transport. So save those burnt-out bulbs and recycle!

The Shadow Activist is available to answer your questions about illegal direct action and other forms of psychological and guerrilla animal warfare. Send questions to No Compromise and don't sign your real name or lick the stamp or envelope! The Shadow Activist is really a mainstream animal welfare activist who would never want anyone to break the law or do any of the ineffective tactics mentioned. This is for your entertainment only. Continue writing letters to opposition-funded politicians and corporate non-recyclable wastepaper baskets.