Brand of violence may not be ALF
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1999:
LONDON––Channel 4 TV
reporter Graham Hall, 43, claimed on
November 6 that elements of the Animal
Liberation Front had abducted him at
gunpoint on the night of October 25 and
branded the letters “ALF” on his back.
The claim helped build support
for a new British anti-terrorism bill,
unveiled on November 17 by Home
Secretary Jack Straw. The bill would
permit the government to bring civil
suits against alleged terrorists, much as
the Racketeering-Influenced and Corrupt
Organizations statute does in the U.S.
Hall said he was attacked in
retaliation for his 1998 broadcast I n s i d e
The ALF, which included footage of
activist Gaynor Ford describing how she
allegedly vandalized a laboratory.
Ford, however, told Jonathan
Leake and James Clark of the London
Sunday Times that, “He gave me free
cannabis” to get her to make self-incriminating
statements. Scotland Yard
reportedly investigated her remarks, but
did not find cause to charge her.
Hall, meanwhile, did not
report the purported kidnapping and
branding to police until November 9,
two weeks after it allegedly occurred.
Hall had issued “earlier claims
to have been kidnapped,” wrote Leake
and Clark. “On one occasion he told
newspapers he was shot in the leg, and
on another said he had been tarred and
feathered. No arrests were made.”
Leake and Clark said Hall had
served eight years in prison for offences
including burglary and car theft. His luck
changed when in 1988 he sold film of a
dogfight to the tabloid News Of The
W o r l d. The Royal SPCA won convictions
of three men who were in the film.
But one of them, Paul Butler, then 25,
testified that Hall stole the film from
him, along with £500, in a burglary.
The League Against Cruel
Sports then hired Hall to probe badgerbaiting.
More convictions resulted.
However, Leake and Clark
wrote, “After a second dogfighting prosecution,
investigators say there were
suggestions that Hall had become too
involved in setting up the fights. In May
1992, a case against four alleged cockfighters
collapsed over suggestions that
Hall might have altered the date on a
video. Again there were suggestions that
he had been too involved in setting up
the fight. Soon afterward Hall came up
with film of an unemployed ferret fancier,
Ivor Smith, allegedly setting a ferret
on a cat. In court, Smith told how Hall
plied him with lager and helped him capture
a cat. Smith’s six-month sentence
was shortened on appeal due to the
Hall had also run into trouble
at C4 for an expose of an allegedly dishonest
antique dealer who was actually
working undercover for police.
“The Broadcasting Standards
Council condemned the film for unfairness
and infringement of privacy,”
Leake and Clark said.
The date Hall claimed to have
been kidnapped coincided with an
October 25 announcement by the
Washington D.C.-based Foundation for
Biomedical Research that as many as 80
scientists––mostly associated with federally
funded primate research centers––
had reported receiving razor-blade-filled
letters purportedly sent by “The Justice
Department,” a name used by ALF factions
in both Britain and Canada.
The focus on primate researchers
seemed calculated to undo sympathy
won by the summer-long Primate
Freedom Tour, organized by the Coalition
Against Primate Experimentation.
Canadian activists David
Barbarash, 35, and Darren Thurston,
29, were in March 1998 jointly charged
by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
with 27 counts of mailing razor-bladefilled
letters and pipe bombs with intent
to do bodily harm. Many of the letters
were reportedly sent in the name of “The
Justice Department” during 1995-1997.
The case is apparently still pending.
Barbarash was suspected of
ALF vandalism as early as January 1986,
and was first convicted of vandalism in
1987. Thurston, first convicted of ALF
activity in 1992, was reportedly suspected
of a pipe-bombing as early as 1987.
Barbarash on November 21
faxed to media an announcement of an
alleged ALF vandalism at the Washington
State University poultry research
center in Puyallup. The vandalism came
15 days after burglars purporting to be
ALF took 37 white rats and four rabbits
from Western Washington University in
Other WSU facilities were
among thoseallegedly hit in 1991 by
convicted ALF arsonist Rod Coronado.
Coronado, a former FBI “most wanted”
fugitive, was recently released after
serving five years in federal prison.