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

UPDATES:

Support Emma

Letter from anarchist prisoner, Emma Sheppard

Letter from anarchist prisoner Emma Sheppard in response to her sentencing, for causing “criminal damage recklessly endangering life” to several police cars

Saturday 28th February 2015

I just watched myself on TV, which I hope is an experience I never repeat. It cheered everyone up on the wing though! I thought I’d write to try and process some of the stuff that’s been happening. But I’m not feeling at my most eloquent (plus I’m obviously limited by my surveillance) so I thought I’d use some of the quotes that have inspired me since being in prison.

Dolly Parton said, “If you want a rainbow, you’ve got to put up with a little rain.” I feel really lucky to have so many folks in my life to weather the storm with and I am happy to have less rain that I thought I would. It saddens me that this may be due to my portrayal as a ‘good girl gone bad’. Why can’t empathy and anger co-exist? To me they are all part of solidarity. I am not special. I just do what feels right for me. I think its because of my gender (and maybe my class) that these distinctions are made.

“When you’ve been afraid of something for long enough and it comes to pass, the terrible thing is a release. For in the belly of the badness there is no more fear.” – Lionel Shriver

It wasn’t until after sentencing that I realised quite how much I had been dreading it. The media, the horrible ‘good vs. bad character’ discussion, my ‘regrets’. The whole thing disgusts me. But now I feel a weary calm.

They say I am ‘too intelligent’ to dislike the police, and that my actions stopped the police from dealing with the causes of domestic violence and child abuse. Do they not realise how many women are in here with me due to these issues being systematically ignored? The whole thing is rotten to the core!

I was unsurprised, but angry, to see that the court focused on my expressions of solidarity with folks in Jackson and Greece but ignored my very real issues with the police in this country which I listed at length: the deaths in custody and on the street, the immigration prisons and institutional racism, the stop and searches, use of tasers, I could go on and on. I also tried to highlight my own experiences of police violence (targeting myself and my comrades), repression and attempts at infiltration. But I can see why they chose to ignore all these points and divert attention elsewhere.

I regret getting caught and the impact this has had on my family and others I care about. I am determined never to come back here, and I now that as a marked woman I will have to stay on the ‘right’ side of the law. But I am already thinking of lots of ways to support people facing the prison ‘estate’. Not just because I care about other people, but because I’m angry.

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes from Dylan Thomas:

“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at the close of day,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light”

Solidarity, love, rage and tomorrows chip rappers,

Em X

Razor Wire Riddle

I am a terrorist, and a liberal
I am a man, and a misguided woman
I am considerate, and reckless
I am an anarchist, and not an anarchist
I am intelligent, and foolish
I am regretful, and defiant
I am alone, and well supported
I am queer, and discriminatory
I am sad, and unremorseful

What am I? I am me, Em (allegedly).

Since New Year I have been called all these things and I am sick of other people’s judgements. Of the crawling game of the courtroom, which suffocated me. Of other prisoners who question and threaten me. Of my ‘comrades’ who write me off. Of the media who construct an image of me. Of the police who are ‘concerned for my welfare’.

I have never disguised the contempt I have for the police. I have tried to minimise the impact of my arrest has I had on those I care about without selling myself out.

I am still an angry anarchist with a defiant heart. But I am weary. I do not want sympathy. I will keep my chin up and my head down.

Support Emma

Report from Emma Sheppard’s Sentencing (BDS)

UPDATE: Em has written her own report on the sentencing – read it here

This week saw the sentencing of Emma Sheppard, who plead guilty to causing “criminal damage recklessly endangering life” to several police cars. All in all it went much as expected. Before handing out a prison sentence of two years in order to “send a message”, the judge gave a summing up displaying all the ignorance we have come to expect of the rich and powerful. He admitted to being confused that a compassionate person might dislike the police, and listed some examples of police ‘good deeds’ to try and make his point, such as protecting the people who suffer from domestic abuse [1]. We wonder if he would apply the same reasoning to the people he sentences, and find them not guilty because they once helped an old person cross a busy road?

Police involved in “Operation Rhone” [2] also tried to claim it as a victory for themselves, despite only getting involved after the arrest, and seeming to contribute nothing significant to the trial. They made a public statement claiming that they have “a long and proud history of facilitating peaceful protest”. Needless to say this isn’t true – Bristol Defendant Solidarity regularly sees examples of people injured and fitted up by Avon and Somerset Police.

We encourage people to write to Emma and support her through her time in jail. She may be moved during her sentence, so check the Bristol ABC website before writing. At present her address is:

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 [at] riseup.net

[1] this is despite police being far more likely than average to PERPETRATE domestic violence in the first place – womenandpolicing.com/violenceFS.asp
[2] More information: https://bristolabc.wordpress.com/2015/02/20/operation-grhone-and-the-badger-hunt/

 

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