Police operation against Pombo da Silva et Elisa Di Bernardo

On Tuesday, 24 January, about 60 armed policemen (members of the Civil Guard and the secret services) invaded the house where Gabriel Pombo da Silva and his companion Elisa Bernardo lived. They were violently awakened, handcuffed and separated. The police said they were looking for weapons and explosives but after eight hours of searching (with dogs and high-tech equipment), they found nothing. Gabriel was detained for 24 hours for “illegal possession and trafficking of arms and explosives and participation in an armed group”. He was released on bail but remains charged.

Gabriel Pombo da Silva

About three months ago, the couple met a self-proclaimed anarchist who told them about her substance problems and conviction for a molotov attack against a building in Vigo. Gabriel and Elisa agreed to help her by housing her for a week (at the beginning of the year), to help her in the worst phase of getting clean. After this brief period, the girl returned home … reappearing as informant in the present case. It’s true that this person had already been convicted: the police had found explosives in her house in 2013. She was sentenced to an 11-year prison sentence for terrorism, but her sentence was dramatically reduced to 2 years and then converted to parole. She had only been in prison for a few months.

Political prisoners of the FARC-EP go on indefinite hunger strike

This communiqué is to inform that all the political prisoners of the FARC-EP who are in the high and medium security prison of San Isidro, Popayán, have begun a hunger strike for an indefinite period of time until solutions are provided for the following requests:

1. We demand the improvement of health service in this prison, since it is currently very precarious, it does not have medicines or qualified specialists; added to this is the negligence of the prison guards (INPEC) when inmates are to be attended and taken to health area, as is the case of Marino Fernandez Puyo when on February 9 at 3:45 pm he was stabbed with a rod by another intern with psychiatric problems; Marino spent a whole week demanding medical attention; the systematic medical malpractice on part of the penitentiary establishment to control the infection produced by the attack lead to his death on February 17 as if it were a sentence against him.

This is a continuous and sad reality that lives among us; these types of cases have repeated themselves in the past, which is why we demand the improvement of the health system on part of the government in order to guarantee decent living conditions for human beings.

2. We request from the National Government its compliance with what has been agreed in the Peace Agreement and to speed up the completion of the camps in the Transitional Local Zones for Normalization, since to this point not even 20% of the works have been completed. Please don’t delay any longer the release of political prisoners and make the Amnesty Law a reality, let’s not play the game of the enemies of peace.

On behalf of the FARC-EP we have shown the greatest efforts to carry out the Agreement.

The comrades who participate in the hunger strike are 97 political prisoners of war.

(reblogged from farc.epeace.org)

Sunday 18th February, Smash IPP infonight!

Aipp-bristol-2017s anarchists, we often have aims that seem unachieveable. A truly peaceful and democratic society? Maybe not in my lifetime. But sometimes there are differences that we can make. So if you’re tired of fighting uphill battles, Smash IPP has an idea for you. Thousands of people are serving IPP sentences with no release dates in UK jails. The law that put them inside indefinitely has been abolished, but they’re still in there, with the uncertainty having such a devastating effect on their mental health that over 50% of them self-harm. Come to Kebele Community Centre in Easton at 7pm after dinner to find out more about these forgotten prisoners and how you can help with the 2017 year to free all IPPs! We don’t see this as incongruent with our aims of prison abolition, more as a reduction of harm to vulnerable people. Anything that reduces the power and reach of the prison-industrial complex is fine by us.

Find out more at http://smashipp.noflag.org.uk/

Call for Emergency Solidarity with Sean Swain

Those of us who are friends or comrades of Sean Swain – anarchist and prison rebel in the Ohio dungeon of Warren CI – are facing a terrible riddle.  As described in a January 12th message, Sean has been on hunger strike since the end of December, against severe restrictions that the ODRC and its director, Greg C. Mohr, have imposed on him.  Precisely for the reason of these restrictions, we have no clear picture of his current situation.  But we do know that he has continued his hunger strike well past the release of the January 12th statement, and it’s very likely he remains on hunger strike.  He lost nearly 30 pounds as of two weeks ago.

It’s vital that we break down the walls that isolate him as he slowly starves.   He is likely approaching day 35 on strike, the stage when his life – which he is wagering not only on his own behalf but as a contribution to the global anarchist combat against domination – is in direct jeopardy.  Minimally, continue calling the numbers listed below, and demand that the administrators restore his access to communication.  Beyond that, consider more ambitious and thoughtful contributions to solidarity.

Deputy Director of Operations Casey Barr (513) 932-3388 ext. 2005

Warden’s Assistant Greg Kraft (513) 932-3388 ext. 2010

January 12th call

We received word recently from a friend of Sean’s that Sean is currently on hunger strike and has been placed in a suicide cell.

Although details are still murky, we know that Sean has been without food since December 26th. He was charged with extortion of a deputy warden and had begun a disciplinary process when he began his hunger strike and was placed in a suicide cell.

We know that the prison is recognizing his hunger strike and following the associated procedures, which include taking him to the medical unit every day and weighing him and taking his vital signs. It is unclear whether they are attempting to negotiate with him in any way.

Please take a moment to write a letter of encouragement to Sean and to call the  following prison administrators and encourage them to negotiate with Sean and help him end this hunger strike as quickly as possible.

(reposted from It’s Going Down)

Monthly letter writing is back!

we r still here_small poster On the 1st Sunday of the month, starting this Sunday 5th of February, Bristol ABC will be at Kebele during dinner with prisoner lists, writing materials and advice. Come and join us in writing to established friends and making new ones!

Letter writing is an often undervalued way of building links with those struggling inside the prison walls. Let them know we haven’t forgotten them and are fighting for them outside!

UW-Seattle Shooting Victim Was Anti-Racist Organiser

SEATTLE, USA — The victim of the shooting at University of Washington’s Seattle Campus (UW-Seattle) on Friday, January 20, 2017, is a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and the IWW’s General Defense Committee (GDC), an anti-racist and anti-fascist organization. He was present at the protests against Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos on Friday night to oppose Milo’s hateful speech, which encourages violence towards minority groups, and has resulted in actual violence in the past. The victim spent the period prior to being shot de-escalating conflicts between protesters and counter-protesters.

The shooter is unknown to the public at this point. Despite using a firearm against another unarmed citizen in a place where firearms are prohibited, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) released the shooter shortly after he turned himself in. It is unclear to us that this is standard SPD practice. We do not yet know the real motivations behind the actions of the shooter at Friday’s protest. We do know that he brought a loaded weapon on the UW’s campus, into a protest situation. We understand that this is already a violation of law. We do know that he claimed self-defense against a person who was explicitly there to de-escalate violence, and that the shooter appears to have a considerable amount of confusion as to whom he shot, since he claims to have thought the victim was himself a white supremacist. The shooter displayed a serious lack of responsibility when he brought a loaded firearm onto UW’s campus in a protest situation, and even more when he used it. We do not understand the rationale for releasing this man.

The victim is a 34-year-old man from Seattle who has been a long-time anti-racist and anti-fascist activist. The shooter has apparently claimed that he shot the victim in ‘self-defense.’ The victim was unarmed and attempting to de-escalate conflict at the protest. We request that the press not identify the victim by name. The so-called ‘alt-right’ is notorious for creating virtual mobs to harass those with whom they disagree. The press should resist unintentional collaboration with these tactics. We recognize the pressure for the media to get stories out early and first. We request that the media engage with the victim directly, when he is recovered sufficiently to do so. In the meantime, please refrain from repeating the shooter’s claim that the victim was a white supremacist, without qualifying it with our statement.

The greatest needs for our member are of course personal, physical, and emotional. But the financial needs will be great. Supportive members of the public can donate to the shooting victim’s recovery fund at the internet address below.

We are deeply saddened by the attack on our friend. We are saddened but not surprised that the police released the attacker so swiftly.

To donate to the victim’s medical funds, please visit: https://www.crowdrise.com/medical-fundraiser-for-iww-and-gdc-member-shot-in-seattle

Take Action to Stop the New Mega Prison in Wellingborough

(reposted from CAPE campaign)

The situation: Wellingborough is set for a new Mega Prison which could have serious repercussions for local people, as well as those harmed by the prison system.

On this page you will find information about how to object to the planning application for Wellingborough Prison.

How to submit a planning objection

  1. Visit: http://pawebsrv.wellingborough.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=OI7VLERBJ7D00
  2. You will find the application summary. Click “Make a comment.
  3. Fill in your details and submit your comment. You have a maximum of 1000 characters.

How to Find Background Information about the Prison

You can find all the planning documentation for HMP Wellingborough here: https://www.wellingborough.gov.uk/viewplanningapplications

Use the search function and enter the reference.

The Planning Application Reference is: WP/16/00786/OUT

You can also send questions to the Planning Department:

Email: planning@wellingborough.gov.uk
Telephone: 01933 231902

Potential Points to Make

Everyone will have different reasons for why they are concerned about having a new prison in their local area. For people that do not live locally, they may feel concerned about the harm the prison system causes and not want any more to be built anywhere.

This page aims to summarise some of the key points about the prison.

Click here to read about the ethical arguments against building a new prison.

Issues concerning the disregard for the Planning Process

  • The Public Exhibition held on the 24th and 25th November at the Hind Hotel was not sufficiently advertised and was a tokenistic endeavor. There has been no adequate community consultation for a project of this scale. Only 53 people attended within a local population of approximately 49,087. The prison will also have a significant impact on the region and should involve adequate consultation with communities across the region. The planning application was validated on Fri 23 Dec 2016, over the Christmas period when people are less able to respond and object.
  • In letters sent to local residents, the prison is categorized as A-C, however, in the planning documentation it states the prison will be category C. What commitment is there from the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) about the prisons purpose when there is such clear inconsistency? How can residents be assured of its use and scale?
  • There has been no commentary on why the prison is not being re-opened in its current state, and why it is necessary to knock down and replace an existing building.
  • No alternative uses for the site have been explored by the Local Authority, nor has the community been consulted on alternative uses.
  • With the development of the prison being necessarily dependent on access to Local Authority Land for its construction and operation, it is a matter of public interest to have an adequate consultation about the use of the site.
  • It is impossible for the local Planning Authority to approve this planning application, even at outline stage, when the number of buildings, their use and layout of the prison are not fixed.
  • Nearly tripling HMP Wellingborough’s capacity to 1617 prisoners is generative of a huge uptake of local resources and impact on local services. This has not been adequately assessed in any of the planning application documentation.
  • There is inadequate information about the workshops within the prison and their relationship to local companies and the local labour force. The size, scale and purpose of the workshops have not been disclosed and are essential to the decision making on the prison.
  • The Landscape and Visual Impacts Assessment is inadequate while the placement of buildings has yet to be finalised.

Traffic and Environmental Impact

  • The local community have already been subjected to large developments, such as the Crematorium, which has significantly increased the amount of traffic. A new large prison will push highway infrastructure to capacity and endanger lives with its inadequate junction and subsequent roundabout design.
  • The public transport interventions (a new bus stop) are completely inadequate for the volume of visitors expected to the prison.
  • A project of this scale demands a full and comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment. It is not sufficient that the local planning authority deemed it unnecessary more than three years ago, when the project is significantly larger and will have a higher environmental impact.
  • Letters to residents stating the prison may include A-C category prisoners, means that the fence may need to be externally illuminated and this will impact local residents in close proximity to the prison. The prison will generate significant light pollution that is not adequately addressed in the planning documentation.
  • The demolition of the existing buildings and construction work will have a significant noise impact on local residents.
  • The development will lead to a loss of existing wildlife habitat including bats and barn owls. The planning application states that the development will lead to the loss of all existing habitats on the site. This contradicts the aims of the North Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy 2011-2031 in ‘encouraging and promoting environmental protection’.
  • No reptile surveys have been undertaken.
  • There is a risk during construction of pollution entering off-site ponds and construction dust impacting wildlife habitats.
  • There is no adequate commentary on the how the existing foul drainage system will handle triple the load of input. Or how the the current system serving the Millers Park Estate will be upgraded and separated from the prison system.

Impact on Local Services

  • The planning documentation does not adequately assess the impact of the prison on the local ambulance service. HMP Oakwood, which is a similar size to the proposed new prison had more than 358 calls to the ambulance service in 2014 alone. (1)
  • The planning documentation does not adequately assess the impact of the prison on the local police force. Data produced by North Wales Police estimates that “Based on the available data, incident and crime prediction work has been undertaken and current estimates put the police staffing costs at £147,000 per annum with £52,500 capital costs in year one and £21,000 per annum associated revenue costs thereafter.”(2)
  • The socio-economic impact assessment is completely inadequate. It does not adequately assess or analyse the impact of the prison on local services. Data must be provided on the new prison’s impact on mental health services, the NHS, local housing, social care and other welfare services.

Jobs & Economics

  • The planning documentation states there will be “workshop buildings where prisoners will carry out a variety of activities”. More information is required about these activities and their impact on local people, especially if they involve the use of prison labour.
  • There is no detail in the application on how prison labour will impact on the availability of jobs to local people in Wellingborough and how jobs undertaken by prisons may take jobs away from people in the region. This creates a net-loss of jobs and contradicts ‘Policy 22: Delivering Economic Prosperity’ of the North Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy 2011-2031.
  • Prisons do not feature once in the North Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy 2011-2031 – this is a project imposed by the Ministry of Justice that is not in the best interests of people in Wellingborough.

North Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy 2011-2031

The prison contradicts a number of the aims of the North Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy:

  • A prison will exacerbate health inequalities, decrease life expectancy, perpetuate social exclusion and divert spending from access to healthy lifestyle options to improve health and wellbeing.
  • A prison will be a high-impact project demanding large amounts of resources and materials, will strain on existing infrastructure, destroy habitat and harm local areas of important habitat, such as the Nene Valley. It will greatly increase car use and carbon emissions and impact on public transport usage locally.
  • Prisons are ineffective ways of reducing and preventing crime. Prisons divert spending from welfare provision and social support that addresses the root causes of crime. Prisons perpetuate anti-social behaviour and violence. The prison will enable local courts to sentence more people to custodial sentences and prisons do not show to reduce cycles of re-offending. The prison will decrease access to services and facilities which will be overwhelmed with demand following an increase of 1600 people into the local criminal justice system.

1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25809660

2. http://www.cape-campaign.org/wrexham-prison-will-cost-north-wales-police-extra-147000-a-year/