Solidarity with Anarchist Prisoner Emma Sheppard

Anarchist prisoner, Emma Sheppard was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment on Tuesday 24th February 2015 at Bristol Crown Court for committing criminal damage recklessly endangering life.

The charge relates to criminal damage of police cars in the Bristol area.

Please write letters of solidarity to:

Emma Sheppard
A7372DJ
HMP Eastwood Park
Church Avenue
Falfield
Wotton-under-Edge
Gloucestershire
GL12 8DB

Emma can receive cards, stamps and stationary.

For donations, news & any other solidarity efforts email: bristol_abc@riseup.net

Support Emma

Operation GRhone and the Badger hunt

Picture of three people in badger masks

from the demo at Bristol CID HQ

When Bristol anarchist Huw ‘Badger’ Norfolk legged it somewhere in late-August 2011, word spread fast across Bristol’s anarchist & radical communities. His decision to absent himself from all and any police investigations was immediately apparent to the many friends he’d had no time to say good-bye to. No doubt many suspected this escape to somewhere would be short-lived. Instead nothing, just the one shout-out from online anonymity(1) two months later, in which he stated his non-compliance bluntly.

Fast-forwards to December 2014 and Badger’s face is staring at us from every national and many local media outlets. Crimestoppers and Avon & Somerset Police’s Operation Rhone announce a £10k reward for information, whilst forcing his parents in north-west Bristol into the media spotlight too(2). Badger is wanted for two specific actions, although no evidence is cited for either. It’s made clear the Badger hunt, and the two actions, are just a part of their investigation into over 100 actions by ‘persons unknown’(3) over the last four years.

So why the sudden flurry of police & media attention? In reality the police have been active all the time, supported by their slavish media-hounds at the Bristol Post. We, at Bristol Defendant Solidarity(4), have a timeline of their activity since August 2011, when victims of an unproductive police raid on a Bristol squat contacted us for support and advice. Since then police activity has ebbed & flowed, nothing for months, then intense activity, such as the last 6 months of 2014 – triggered it seems by forces from outside the area(5), which resulted in Operation Rhone being formally set up. As well as finding and arresting suspects, the aims of this operation include gathering intelligence on “the threat from domestic extremism” and to “maintain public confidence”. (6)

It is clear the police know nothing. No leads beyond Badger’s identity and statements posted online by ‘persons unknown’. So like a man blind-drunk in a dark alley, they’ve lashed out at anyone they think could be intimidated, or entrapped. There’ve been numerous arrests leading to extended police bail, and even taggings, with at least 6 since June 2014, but no convictions; searches of homes & vehicles; visits to homes & workplaces for a ‘chat’; phonecalls to private mobile numbers; harassment of individuals current & former partners; stops at airports; endless requests that people snitch; and no doubt countless incidences of covert surveillance. All to no avail, and at huge cost. There has now been one arrest and guilty plea relating to an incident on New Years Eve, but this appears to be a stand alone case and was not the result of Op Rhone work – even if they got involved afterwards. Operation Rhone is said to involve at least 10 CID officers – in any other line of work somebody would’ve been sacked by now!

One harassed individual’s statement sums it up: “One morning a few months ago, I woke up and found my house full of police. When I say full I mean literally – it was hard to move around! They had already arrested the person they’d come for. He was released a bit later with no charges and has now had the case against him dropped completely. If they didn’t even have enough evidence to charge him, I don’t see how they can justify raiding my house in the first place – I don’t think they had anything on him at all. Anyway, as well as taking electronic stuff (like a hard drive and laptop), they seemed to be bagging anything that looked political…”

Four mugshots of police

Some of the police alleged to be involved in the investigation…

So why the wall of silence, and why the lack of police success? On the one hand they are harassing people – anarchists & radicals involved in public activity, musicians, and mere acquaintances – who clearly know nothing at all. On the other hand, the reality is that large numbers of people have a complete distrust of, and hatred for, the police. Whatever personal views people have on the validity of actions by ‘persons unknown’, they wont be co-operating with the police – they are the enemy, the heavy-handed arm of the state, and they have a long list of previous. Hence the many who supported a public ‘Statement against police harassment’(7). In addition to the timeline, Bristol Defendant Solidarity has published advice for people facing police harassment, and helped those who contacted us to get together and plan a response. Among other things, this group organised a protest at the headquarters of Bristol CID, which upset the police so much that they responded with armed officers and a dog unit. (8)

It is generally accepted the police exist to maintain the status quo – the rule of the few over the many. Their history of fit-ups, and denial of what limited rights we have, is endless. Their support for the bosses against workers struggles is continual. Their sexism & racism institutional. Their violence well documented as they kill with impunity(9). Their surveillance powers out of control. Their weaponry & equipment ever more militarised. Their undercover officers act as agent provocateurs and coerce individuals into relationships(10). Their corruption breathtaking. Complaints against them and investigations by the IPCC are rising, even the Chief Constable is suspended and the subject of an IPCC investigation(11). Why on earth would anyone, never mind the anarchists & radicals, have anything to do with them?

By Bristol Defendant Solidarity
(BDS is an independent, self funded group run by local volunteers, formed after the Stokes Croft riots in April 2011. We aim to provide effective, lasting unconditional support and solidarity to anyone arrested or imprisoned as a result of demos, riots, direct action and escalating class war. We take a clear stand against state repression and police brutality)

Notes/Resources:
1. 325.nostate.net/?p=3297
2. www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/05/h…
3. personsunknown.noblogs.org/post/2014/11…
4. bristolabc.wordpress.com/defendant-soli…
5. www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-264481…
6. www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/operatio…
7. bristolabc.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/sta…
8. bristolabc.wordpress.com/2014/11/18/act…
9. www.inquest.org.uk/statistics/deaths-in…
10. www.theguardian.com/uk/undercover-with-…
11. www.ipcc.gov.uk/investigations/chief-co…

Benefit Gig for Spanish Anarchists

A BENEFIT FOR SPANISH ANARCHISTS

** SHOT
“female fronted politically distressed/Pissed up Punk Rock n’ Roll from the pits of London, that maintain the anarchist sentiment.” and celebrating the release of their debut album on RSR.

** SPANNER – No introduction needed for these local veterans of everything that is mischievous and militant. They aren’t too bad at that ska punk thing either ;)

** ATTERKOP – Heavyweight Skacore from Bristol

** ZEALAND
nomadic acoustic punk/folk/singsong

+ 1 More to be confirmed

06//02//15
@ The Red Lion, Whitehall Road, Bristol
Door – suggested donation of £3

************ BENEFIT DETAILS ************

On the 16th December Catalan police raided 14 houses and social enters in Barcelona and Madrid, destroying or stealing everything of value. Without concrete accusations and with the greatest secrecy, 11 comrades were sent to a high court in Madrid. 4 have been released with charges and 7 have been locked up (in part for supporting the 2 anarchists who have already been in prison for the past year). So that’s now 7 people imprisoned simply for being anarchists.

The situation in Spain has taken a massive turn lately when the state passed the new ‘Gag’ laws. These laws basically mean complete control from a totalitarian and fascistic regime, here is a few examples of what is now ‘illegal’ and can face hefty fines. Google to find out the full list.

✮ Photographing or recording police – 600 to 30.000€ fine.
✮ Peaceful disobedience to authority – 600 to 30.000€ fine.
✮ Meeting or gathering in front of Congress – 600 to 30.000€ fine.
✮ It allows random identity checks, allowing for racial profiling of immigrants and minorities.
✮ Police can now carry out raids at their discretion, without the need for “order” to have been disrupted.

To show solidarity, Riot Ska Records (us) and Pumpkin Records will be donating any money made through our Bandcamp pages to the Spanish anarchists for legal costs, fines, and whatever they think it’s best used for.

www.riotskarecords.bandcamp.com
www.pumpkinrecords.bandcamp.com

First issue of the Incarcerated Worker

incarceratedworker1

Introducing a new publication from the Industrial Workers of the World, the Incarcerated Worker! Over the last year or so, some prisoners in the U.S. and outside supporters have gotten together and formed the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee to address concerns such as prison labor and conditions.

CONTENTS

  • The IWW by Sean Swain
  • Biographical Profile: Dennis S. Boatwright, Jr. by Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan
  • Understanding the Role of Prisoner Intellectuals by Dennis S. Boatwright
  • Forgotten Warrior Waits on Death Row By Isa Abdur-Rasheed
  • Lynching: Then and Now By Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan
  • Induced Failure By Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan
  • Crime and Punishment by Bomani Shakur
  • A Flicker Turns into a Flame: Alabama’s Prisoners want change by The Free Alabama movement

PDF AVAILABLE HERE

Four people arrested after solidarity actions

On January 20-21 four activists were arrested in Minsk after solidarity
actions with people previously arrested at New Year Punk Party in Minsk.
One person was captured by the police at the prison gates, when people
came to meet their comrades, who were supposed to be released after 10
days of arrest they were sentenced to after the concert.

Four people were sentenced to 15 days in prison for disobeying police
orders. Some activists connect the continuation of repressions with
solidarity actions that were carried out on January 16. That day several
autonomous anarchist groups organised protest actions in three places
simultaneously: at the Court where their comrades had been tried, at the
Prison where they had been kept and at the Police station which had been
in charge of the raid. There they made a picture with hands behind their
heads to show their protest against the police raid at the New Year Punk
Gig and the following detention of three people that were doing distro
tables during the concert.

After the concert police officers started visiting people that gave
their IDs during the gig privately as well. Anarchist Black Cross
Belarus reports at least about one person who got official warning of
unacceptable extremist activity. Several more people reported police
attempts to meet them or arrange “private” talks.

With elections in Belarus getting closer repressions against the local
anarchist movement intensify. Only in January all in all seven people
were arrested six of which got from 10 to 15 days in prison. All these
people face or will face problems at work, some of them had to change
their workplace because of the previous arrests.

Pictures of solidarity action are available here:
abc-belarus.org/?p=5509

Source:
abc-belarus.org/?p=5539&lang=en

Kevan Thakrar Urgently Needs Your Support!

Kev Shirt Small
Despite being found not guilty of attacking three prison officers, but instead that he acted in self-defence after months of racial, physical and psychological abuse (a ruling that goes against prison officers is VERY unusual in a court) Kevan Thakrar continues to be held in the prison services ‘Close Supervision Centres’ more than five years later.

The CSCs are places of extremely restrictive solitary confinement where he, and his family visiting him, have suffered constant harassment. Kevan’s solicitor recently arranged for an independent psychologist to make a report on Kevan. Kevan has suffered with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as a direct result of the way he’s been treated by prison guards, since before he was placed in the CSCs. The independent psychologist’s report concluded that as Kevan has displayed no violent behaviour since being in the CSCs, and because solitary confinement and the regime in these units only makes PTSD worse, Kevan should be moved back into the mainstream prison population.

The CSC management did not like the conclusion in this report so have instead decided they want to move him to Rampton high security psychiatric hospital to treat his PTSD. In a place like this doctors will be allowed to force mind altering and damaging drugs on him. Kevan, his family, and supporters are very worried about this proposed move, and whilst he tries to challenge this legally, he needs help to campaign against this happening.The number of people suffering from PTSD in England’s prisons is probably too high to imagine. It is extremely unusual to transfer someone that has PTSD to a high security psychiatric hospital.

For more information about Kevan’s case:
http://www.justiceforkevan.com
http://www.facebook.com/JusticeForKev

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Join the protest:

Monday 16th February, 12pm
HM Prison Service
Clive House, 70 Petty France, London, SW1H 9EX

If you can’t make it to London for the protest please try to find the time to phone/fax the following places on that day (or another day if that one is not convenient).

Please write letters of complaint to:

Rob Davis, Governor
HMP Woodhill, Tattenhoe Street, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK4 4DA
Tel: 01908 722 000
Fax: 01908 722 320

Alan Parkins (This is the main person recommending Kevan’s move to Rampton)
Head of Special Unit/CSC
HMP Woodhill, Tattenhoe Street, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK4 4DA

Claire Hodgson, CSC Operational Manager
HMP Woodhill, HMP Woodhill, Tattenhoe Street, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK4 4DA

Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons
HM Inspectorate of Prisons, Victory House, 6th floor, 30-34 Kingsway, London WC2B 6EX
Tel: 020 3681 2770

Independent Monitoring Board Secretariat
9th floor, post point 9.52, The Tower, 102 Petty France, London, SW1H 9AJ
Tel: 0203 334 3265
Fax: 0203 334 3024

Your own MP or Kevan’s (Ian Stewart MP). When writing to any MP the address to use is: House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or you can contact them on-line http://www.writetothem.com

Please write letters of support to:

Kevan Thakrar, A4907AE

Kevan was moved to HMP Full Sutton today (19/1/2015), we do not yet know if this is a temporary move or he is on his way somewhere else. Please check the links to his website and Facebook page above for his correct address.

Interview with Anarchist Black Cross Belarus on repression

In the context of the recent acute increase in repression in Belarus,
the Anarchist Radio Berlin talked to Anarchist Black Cross Belarus about
their work, the situation in the neighbouring country of Ukraine and the
situation of refugees in Belarus. For security reasons we transcribed
the original interview and re-recorded it ourselves.

You’ll find the audio (to listen online or download in different sizes)
here:

http://aradio.blogsport.de/2015/01/09/a-radio-in-english-interview-with-anarchist-black-cross-belarus-on-the-repression-ukraine-and-the-refugees/

The length is: 10:53 min.

Enjoy! And please feel free to share!
You’ll find other English language audios here:
aradio.blogsport.de/englishcastellano

A-Radio Berlin