By Camille Marino
Sumter County Jail, May 30, 2013
(received in the mail on June 5)
On November 19, 2012, I pleaded guilty to misdemeanor trespass and “posting a message” – an obscure felony that I am the only person to have ever been charged with or convicted of in the state of Michigan. I served six months in the Wayne County Jail system and am on probation until December 5, 2015. Judge Bryan Levy added a handwritten caveat to my paperwork which states that any probation violation will result in a prison term of 18 months to 5 years.
Irrespective of the fact that these charges represent the entirety of my lifelong criminal history, my records of Dickerson Detention Facility reflected that I was being held for the “assaultive” offense of aggravated stalking. (I was allowed sporadic access to their computers by supporters within the jail and saw exactly what was in their system.)
Since my actual charges were non-violent, and I was a model prisoner, this was the only manner in which they could deny me “program time,” which, under Michigan law, would have forced them to release me in 6 – 8 weeks. I was made to serve every last hour of my sentence. While I am told that my records have been altered since my release on March 9 to simply reflect “trespass,” Chief Jeriel Heard has never replied to any of our demands for an explanation or accountability.
Before I took my plea in November, in an astounding display of cowardice and treason, my former colleague, Dr. Steve Best, not only refused to testify at my trial, but then turned to the state and swore under oath that I was a “terrorist” as he defended the vivisectors who were prosecuting me. Simultaneously, he sent out a bunch of rabid internet chuckleheads to slander me for being a “fraud” online.
Up until today, I have stayed above this spectacle and never asked a single person to choose sides. But now that Best and associates held the door wide open for COINTELPRO to walk through, these people need to be identified openly and negated by every activist who remains loyal to the animals.
About 3 weeks ago, as a condition of my probation, which was transferred to Florida (my state of domicile), it was determined that I have no substance abuse issues, and therefore, require no intervention or treatment. On that paperwork, it reflected my conviction for “posting a message” in Michigan was translated to “fraud by wire” in Florida.
While I learned of this bit of information inadvertently, it is no coincidence that pockets of online detractors have spread malignant lies about me being a “fraud” and now the vivisection-state complex has picked up on it and is accidentally-on-purpose also crying “fraud” on public interstate records and in their media.
If it is not now clear that Dr. Steve Best and his minions are the best friend of the state and the sworn enemy of the animals and the movement, then it never will be. Gossip is a disease and those carrying it must be shunned to avoid any other activist being contaminated by this plague. Now I will join every other political prisoner – past and present – with whom I am associated and simply blot this hypocrite out of history. His name is no longer recognized by those of us on the front lines.
In October of 2010, the University of Florida refused to honor my open records request and disclose their veterinary records documenting decades of barbaric and gratuitous experiments on monkeys. This business, funded by taxpayers, as well as egregious violations of the Animal Welfare Act, incompetence, and neglect, came to light when I won my first lawsuit on December 30, 2011 and began publishing their records. Until this point, UF withheld this information and remained in active noncompliance with Florida law for 14 months.
Over the next 5 weeks, UF put the repression apparatus in motion to neutralize my victory, silence me, shut down my campaign and maintain their lucrative vivisection industry. In January 2012, UF vivisector Raymond Joseph Bergeron swore to a complaint in Alachua County that I personally contacted him and threatened to burn down his house with him and his wife, Kathy, inside.
Separately, on February 4, 2012, at an anti-viv demo for one of their victims, UF orchestrated my arrest and extradition to Michigan to face charges for another anti-viv campaign at Wayne State University. It is for that campaign that I ultimately served six months and am currently on probation.
Based upon Bergeron’s fraudulent complaint, the FDLE raided my home last June 19 and seized all of my computers, laptops, disks, drives, cds, ipods, cell phones and personal papers.
After 11 months, Officer Jeffrey Vash, who led the raid, informed me that investigators found absolutely nothing for which they could prosecute me in Florida. Of course they couldn’t. Bergeron lied! And, even though UF had the state legislature amend the stalking laws in Florida effective October 1, 2012, to criminalize parts of my campaign (i.e. “The NIO Laws”), I’ve steered clear of this obstacle thus far. Officer Vash said he was releasing that which was seized.
When I went to pick up my property from Vash last Wednesday, May 22, he informed me that he has nothing to prosecute me with yet. But he told me that because of certain info I had on my hard drive, in conjunction with the fact that I wrote a fictional story, “The Animal Warfare Act,” in which I named a character “Richard Bergero,” who drove a BMW, he planned to have me indicted on terrorism charges eventually. Then he told me that if I recorded his little diatribe, he would charge me with some other contrived offense. I only wish I had thought to record it.
Then, as I was about to leave the Sheriff’s office, he placed me under arrest for a violation of my probation.
I am now once again in jail in Florida awaiting extradition to Michigan. My lawyer and I have been trying to find out what my alleged probation violation is since I learned of it last month. My probation officer in Florida doesn’t even have any idea what’s going on. All we know for sure is that a UFPD detective – I believe Jeff Moran – sent an email to my Detroit probation officer to violate me and revoke my probation, and it was done. They’ve refused to provide my lawyer with proof of anything for 5 weeks now.
In fact, my Detroit probation officer told my lawyer, Matt Savich, that she has not even seen the evidence. She simply took UF’s word for it and here we are.
While I have complied in good faith with every restriction placed upon me by both Florida and Michigan, this is apparently irrelevant and inconsequential. The University of Florida is determined to neutralize me and the vivisection-state complex is hell-bent on breaking me – in conjunction with insidious elements in our own movement – and making an example out of me.
But only I have the power to demonstrate the example I choose to be! I am proud of every action I have ever taken to defend victimized animals and expose their abusers. I openly broke unjust laws and I served my time with dignity.
At this point, it appears likely that, with an entire system in place to crush me, I will be sent to prison despite the fact that I have made every effort to comply with their rules. I will never say, “It’s not fair.” The only condition that is unfair is that the animals are entombed in a manmade hell, being blinded, injected, drugged, tormented, driven insane and maimed.
I’ll live through this — they won’t.
The only relevance my situation holds for the animals is how we as a movement interpret it and use it to push forward. The repression apparatus is bearing down on me for no other reason than that I, along with the radicalized factions of our community, represent a significant threat. We represent an imminent end to industrial abusers’ ability to continue to torture and dispatch their commodified victims in peace and anonymity.
In terms of going forward, all I want to say right now is that a series of contingencies have been put in place to ensure that the NIO community continues to grow in size, strength and single-minded fanaticism to achieve Animal Liberation at all costs.
We don’t acquiesce.
And we don’t negotiate with scum!
Camille Marino is the Founder and Director of NIO Florida. FDLE arrested her on May 22, 2013 and placed her in the Sumter County Detention Center to await extradition to Detroit on charges that she violated probation. Sometime on the night of June 3, 2013, the extradition began, so it is currently not known where she is as of this posting. Transporting prisoners can take many days, weeks and months. It is expected she is being taken to either the Wayne County Jail or Dickerson Detention Center.