In the early 1980s, the underground Animal Liberation Front raided the Head Injury Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, removing 60 hours of videotape recordings of severe brain damage experiments being performed on live baboons and videotaped by the experimenters themselves.
A copy of the videos ended up in Alex’s possession, and from them he made the 30-minute documentary “Unnecessary Fuss,” showing university doctors committing violations of federal law while violently scrambling the brains of live baboons.
A grand jury was convened to investigate the theft of federal property (the videotapes), and while Alex was holding a news conference to call attention to violations at the university, he was subpoenaed by undercover agents.
In return, Alex led over 100 activists in an orchestrated occupation and surprise takeover of 15 federal offices at the headquarters of the National Institutes of Health, the federal agency funding the university experiments.
The occupation lasted four days, generating national media and substantial involvement by members of Congress.
On the fourth day of the occupation, Alex met in secret in a stairwell of the occupied offices with the Chief of Staff for the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Margaret Heckler, to broker a deal in which Secretary Heckler publicly announced the termination of the $14 million Head Injury Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania.
Angered leaders of the biomedical community pressured President Reagan, who removed Secretary Heckler from her position as head of HHS (an agency with the third-largest budget on earth), demoting and appointing her as the new U.S. Ambassador to Ireland.
More at 600milliondogs.org/alex-pacheco
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