Westside Action

a motley crew of anarchists and activists from Bristol, Bath and South Wales

Archive for prisoners

Letter From COP15 Accused, 19th March

Dear All,

First of all, Noah and I wanted to say a massive thank you for all the solidarity, the actions, articles, petitions and messages of care that have been organized in solidarity with our trial. Although we know that political repression of this sort targets all activists, it does feel very isolating being the people picked out and charged.  Every single action of solidarity has made this process easier for us and reminded us that we are not alone. So thank you!

We have had several victories, some beautiful court moments, and a very stressful week in court. Our case was extended for three more days- which will not happen until August. Noah and I are both sad that the trial is not over but relieved to have not been judged yesterday. I have included english versions of some of the danish press coverage on the case below to give you a better idea of what has been going on in our trial.

We were originally given two days in court for our trial (the tuesday and friday just passed). We had been charged with organizing violence against the police, gross public disorder, systematic destruction of property and gross disturbance of public infrastructure. Two of these are charges associated with danish terror laws. The police said that we did this from the period of october to december 2009 but that these things were mostly to be carried out in copenhagen during the period of the 11th to the 18th of December. They said that the alleged actions we are accused of mostly failed because the police managed to stop them- in part by arresting Noah on the 11th and me on the 13th of December and keeping us in prison for the rest of the COP (and three more weeks- just to be sure!).

On the morning of the first day in court our lawyers argued for the case to be dropped. They explained that charges in Denmark usually have to include some description of what people are accused of doing, including things like how they were doing it, where, when…anything really. They successfully removed one of the terror charges (gross disturbance of public infrastructure) and got the police prosecutor to admit that none of the things we were accused of had any relation to what happened on the streets in Copenhagen during the COP 15. So now we are just accused of attempting actions, not actually carrying anything out!

It was at this point that the police prosecutor introduced the crystal ball defense. No more details than “something bad was supposed to happen at some point somewhere in Copenhagen” could be supplied by the police because they couldn’t look into their crystal ball when they charged us! In a spectacular display of confidence in the charges she then asked the court to note that she had not actually written them herself!

The court decided to continue with the rest of the charges regardless, but after two days in court I am wondering if they regret that decision. The ‘evidence’ for the non-specific things we are accused of organizing is spurious at best and in the worst cases produced bursts of laughter from both judges and spectators in court. They have trucked out tiny bits of conversations from tapped phones between other people and asked us to interpret them,  radically reinterpreted what we and others have said on the phone (from over three months of our private conversations that they recorded) to the point where even the judge objected. They used notes from brainstorms, scribbled notes from media report backs, and outlandish conjecture to try to demonize us.

My personal favorite is a note i made about big bolt cutters. Instead of asking to interview her during her three weeks in prison (although they said one of the reasons i was kept was for further investigation), they chose to leave until court to ask what was meant by this note in my confiscated personal note book. I explained that it was prop for a demonstration that was a huge two meter tall paper mache bolt cutter. It was to be used on the day of the climate no-borders day of action as both a humorous and serious way to say it is illegitimate to cage human beings. The prosecutor tried to throw doubt on the honesty of my reply until two of the audience in court went to pick them up from a local social center and brought them in for the court to see. Everyone but the prosecutor laughed.

The state of the evidence would really be hilarious if the case didn’t carry such serious consequences both for us personally and for Democracy in Denmark. We are the first of a series of cases against people accused of organizing. It seems that the Danish state is using us as a test case for new anti-activist laws they have passed, the extension of terror legislation to cover any form of political protest and to establish the ability to try people for things that never actually occurred.

Noah and I were both picked up and arrested on the side of the road while riding our bikes by ourselves, threatened, isolated and kept in prison for over three weeks of ‘preventative detention’. The personal impacts of this have been huge. Even scarier though is the potential effect this has on everyone’s ability to speak up about things they care about in Denmark. If they manage to criminalize protest to the extent that going to meetings, organizing speakers for a demonstration, or being a media spokes person can land you in jail, then what sort of world will we be living in? If they manage to say intense surveillance and monitoring of activists and their lovers and friends is legitimate, and arrests should be made on crystal ball suspicions of potential actions- then we have moved from even the sham of liberal democracy to a society more reminiscent of 1984 than any of us would like to admit.

It is clear also that this is not just happening in Denmark. Since our arrests we have heard of countless political prisoners facing the hard end of political repression. After our experience of injustice and repression in Denmark we feel very personally that it is so important that all of us speak out and not let this repression continue.

Free all political prisoners, drop the charges for the Cop 15 defendants and all people arrested during the COP15, and end political repression NOW!!!

Love, solidarity and actions for a better world
tash and noah xo

Statement From COP15 Prisoners- and how to support them

Further below is an edited version of the statement collectively released by the 11 remaining Cop15 Prisoners. Meanwhile, a website has just appeared solely concerned with repression in Copenhagen:

This Includes:
* How to support people in jail: http://www.cop-enhagen.net/index.php/Main/Support
* Map and list of past anti-repression actions (a lot already happened!): http://www.cop-enhagen.net/index.php/Main/ProtestMap
* List of ‘what you can do’ (existing petitions, future protests, etc.): http://www.cop-enhagen.net/index.php/Main/Protest
* Contact points in your country if you want to get involved with anti-repression work: http://www.cop-enhagen.net/index.php/Main/Network (write to me if you want to become a contact point in a country where there’s none).

If youd like to write a letter to any of these prisoners (or any others for that matter) maybe you good pop along to the next letter writing session at your local Anarchist Black Cross group: ABC Bristol regular monthly letter writing and discussion meeting.2nd Wednesday of every month7 to 9pm, at Kebele Social centre, 14 Robertson Rd, Bristol BS5 6JY.

http://bristolabc.wordpress.com/
http://www.kebelecoop.org
Bring snacks to share, hot drinks available.

Statement from those still Imprisoned:

“Something is rotten  (but not just) in the State of Denmark. As a matter of fact, thousands of people have been considered, without any evidence, a threat to  society. Hundreds have been arrested and some are still under detention, waiting for judgement or under investigation. Among them, us, the undersigned…We want to tell the story from the peculiar viewpoint of those that still see the sky from behind the bars.”


Climate change is an extreme and ultimate expression of the violence of the capitalistic growth paradigm. People globally are increasingly showing the willingness of taking the power to rebel against that violence. We have seen that in Copenhagen, as well as we have seen that same violence. Hundreds of people have been arrested without any reason or clear evidence… even mild examples of civil disobedience have been considered as a serious threat to the social order”.

In response we ask – Whose order do we threaten? Is it that order in which we do not own our bodies? The order well beyond the terms of any reasonable “social contract” that we would ever sign, where our bodies can be taken, managed, constrained and imprisoned without any serious evidence of crime. Is it that order in which the decision are more and more shielded from any social conflicts? Where the governance less and less belongs to people, not even through the parliament? As a matter of fact, non-democratic organisms like the WTO, the NB, the G-whatever rule beyond any control.

We are forced to notice that the theatre of democracy is a  broken one as soon as, one approaches the core of the power. That is why we reclaim the power to the people. We reclaim the power over our own lives. Above all, we reclaim the power to  counter-pose the rationale of life and of the commons to the rationale of profit. It may have been declared illegal, but still we consider it fully legitimate.

Since no real space is left in the broken theatre, we reclaimed our collective power – Actually we expected it – to speak about the climate and energy issues. Issues that, for us, involve critical nodes of global justice, survival of the human and energy independence.

How the COP15 has ended proves that we were right. Many of us are paying what is mandatory for an obsessive, pervasive and total repression…We are detained with evidently absurd accusations about either violence that actually did not take place or conspiracies and organizing of law-breaking actions.

We do not feel guilty for having shown, together with thousands, the reclamation of the independence of our lives from profit’s rule. If the laws oppose this, it was legitimate to peacefully – but still conflictually – break them.

We are just temporarily docked, ready to sail again with a wind stronger than ever. It’s a matter of love, justice and dignity.”

Luca Tornatore – from the Italien social centres network “see you in Copenhagen”.
Natasha Verco – Climate Justice Action
Stine Gry Jonassen – Climate Justice Action
Tannie Nyboe – Climate Justice Action
Johannes Paul Schul Meyer
Arvip Peschel
Christian Becker
Kharlanchuck Dzmitry
Cristoph Lang
Anthony Arrabal

In addition there are 4 Greenpeace Campaigners who are not signatories to the above statement but could still do with your support: Juan Lopez de Uralde from Spain, Joris Thijssen from the Netherlands, Nora Christensen from Norway, and Christian Schmutz from Switzerland.

Support the EDO Prisoners!

Prisoner Addresses at foot of report

Three people (two of whom are from Bristol) were remanded in custody by Brighton Magistrate’s court on Monday as they faced charges in relation to the break in and decommissioning of ITT-EDO MBM late Friday night in protest at the company’s supply of components used by the Israeli military in Gaza.

7 men have so far been charged with Burglary and Criminal Damage and those who entered a plea said they were not guilty. The CPS said they expected to charge another arrested woman as soon as she was released from hospital after being injured during the action.

One man from Brighton who was arrested outside the factory premises and states he had no knowledge of the intentions of the decommissioners was remanded till a committal hearing in the Crown Court next week, another man from Brighton was bailed not to return to the city and given curfew conditions.

In the afternoon two men who had admitted intending to smash up the factory in a video made before the action and posted on the internet were remanded, while three others were bailed not to return to the city with other conditions including not to protest against ITT EDO MBM.

The CPS said the company estimated the cost of material damage at £250,000 before any loss of business was taken into account. The threshold of £10,000 is required to justify a Crown Court jury trial.

Three of the arrested were remanded into custody at Brighton Magistrates court on Monday, They are:

Christopher Osmond VT7548 HMP Lewes 1 Brighton Road Lewes East Sussex BN7 1EA

Elijah Smith VP77551 HMP Lewes 1 Brighton Road Lewes East Sussex BN7 1EA

Robert Alford VP7552 HMP Lewes 1 Brighton Road Lewes East Sussex BN7 1EA

Please now start sending letters of support to keep their spirits up. We will try and find out what can be sent in to this prison, but envelopes, stamps, paper, postal orders and newsletters are usually ok

Advice on what you can do to help:

e- mail smashedo@riseup.net

ideas on prisoner support: http://bristolabc.wordpress.com/