In the sights: employees of companies SHAC wanted to scare away from doing business with Huntington. Activists would gather personal information on workers and then post on the Internet not only the employees' names but also their home addresses, phone and license-plate numbers, spouses' names, children's names and the schools the children attended.
Once, activists discovered that a Chiron toxicology worker belonged to an orienteering club. Then, according to the indictment, activists e-mailed club members seeking "personal or embarrassing information." When the information wasn't forthcoming, SHAC posted data on other club members.
Chiron spokesman John Gallagher told me that while the indictment cites two of the employee victims, several others experienced "home visits," vandalism and credit-card fraud.
"I would actually argue that tertiary targeting has not been successful," said Alastair Newton of the British Consulate in New York. "It was SHAC's stated aim in 1999 that they would put Huntingdon Life Sciences out of business in three years. Patently they have failed."
But in the process, I'm sure he would agree, innocent people are being terrorized in their own homes. Their children are being frightened, their spouses are being threatened, and SHAC has celebrated each cruel act against people as a victory. SHAC boasted on its Web site that activists haunted a Huntingdon employee who "had car windows broken, tires slashed, house spray painted with slogans. His wife is reportedly on the brink of a nervous breakdown and divorce."
"They're the No. 1 domestic-terror threat," Chiron's Gallagher said. "It's not Aryan Nation. It's not the Klan." It is groups like SHAC.
One midnight, as they left a bullhorn session in front of a worker's home, the zealots shouted, "Did you tuck your family into bed and explain why we were out there, or were you too cowardly to be home? Either way, we win. Because we always win."
But if they win, they beat up on more than innocent people. They'll also beat up on medical advancement.