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Animal rights activist denies ties to violence

A Florida man described by the Times of London Sunday as the "mastermind" behind a campaign to incite violent attacks on officials at England's Oxford University called the story "pretty ridiculous."

But Nicolas Atwood, who lives in West Palm Beach, acknowledged that the Web site he helps maintain has been posting "communiques" from the radical Animal Liberation Front, which opposes Oxford's plan to build an animal research laboratory.

The Times of London reported that the site's postings last week included the names and home addresses of 40 Oxford faculty and staff members, describing them as "legitimate targets."

Atwood said it's true that the Web site, www.directaction.info, officially administered in Malaysia, is essentially a message forum filled with postings that threaten specific targets and brag about successful arsons, burglaries and vandalisms..

"We're sort of a news outlet for the radical animal-rights movement," said Atwood, 33, who also helps publish a magazine called Bite Back.

"Most of this stuff is hot air," he said.

- WIRE REPORTS

FALLEN DEPUTY MOURNED: A Broward County Sheriff's Office honor guard member stands beside the casket of Deputy Ryan Seguin during a memorial service Tuesday at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale. Seguin, 23, who was struck and killed by a passing car during a traffic stop on Interstate 595 Feb. 15, was honored by law officers from across the state.

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