Day of Action in Support of John Bowden MON 11th JUNE 2012

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Day of Action in Support of John Bowden

Monday 11th June

Imprisoned since 1980, (and in fact for most of his life before that), John Bowden has been a thorn in the side of the English and Scottish prison systems for three decades. John has paid a heavy price for being a staunch defender of prisoners’ rights and a committed opponent of injustice, spending years in the most brutal conditions, and suffering numerous physical assaults and treatment that has frequently amounted to torture.

Over the past decade though, John’s captors have been using a new tactic to keep him behind bars – the lies of prison social workers and quack ‘psychologists’. First, a few years ago, Matthew Stillman alleged that the Anarchist Black Cross were a ‘terrorist organisation’ and that John was therefore a ‘terrorist’ by implication. Brendan Barnett has now made even more ludicrous allegations against John, but such is the corruption within Edinburgh ‘Criminal Justice Services’ that John’s complaints have led to his victimisation, rather than the disciplining of Brendan ‘Pinocchio’ Barnett.

You can read about the affair in these previous articles: , , , , , and

As John says in his most recent article (  “Edinburgh Criminal Justice Services, or what used to be known as the plain Social Work Department, have seriously compromised their professional integrity by defending a member of staff who deliberately told lies in a report to the Parole Boards in an attempt to sabotage my chances of release from prison. Behaving like corrupt policemen instead of traditional social workers seems now to be acceptable practice at Edinburgh Social Services.”

To rid themselves of John Bowden, so as to avoid having to deal with his complaints, Edinburgh ‘Criminal Justice Services’ are now trying to instigate John’s removal from the Scottish prison system back into the English one. Two years ago, the Parole Board recommended that John be moved to an open prison, something the Scottish Prison Service have stubbornly ignored, and it is inevitable that if John is moved into a different prison system any ‘progression’ to open conditions will be delayed even further, if indeed it ever happens at all. John has been a tireless critic of the human rights abuses frequently perpetrated by the English Prison Service, and we believe that they would like him to die in jail.

Once again, as with the Matthew Stillman campaign a few years ago, it is time for supporters of John Bowden, and opponents of injustice everywhere, to step up to defend John, and to send a message to the prison authorities, that whether they are in jail or out of jail, no comrade of ours is ever alone. Furthermore, these corrupt social workers need to know that their lies and machinations will not go unchallenged.

We are therefore calling for a Day of Action in support of John Bowden on MONDAY 11th JUNE.

Please organise what you can – banner drops, demos, phone-ins, letter writing, etc – and please help spread word of this call as widely as possible.

Some useful contacts:

Brendan ‘Pinnochio’ Barnett, Grindlay Court Social Work Centre, Criminal Justice Services, 2-4 Grindlay Court, Edinburgh, EH3 9AR. (Telephone: 0131 469 3408 Fax 0131 229 8628)

Michelle Miller, Chief Social Worker, Grindlay Court Social Work Centre, Criminal Justice Services, 2-4 Grindlay Court, Edinburgh, EH3 9AR. (Telephone: 0131 469 3408 Fax 0131 229 8628) NB Michelle Miller also works out of Waverly Court, see details for Peter Gabbitas below.

Peter Gabbitas, Director, Health and Social Care Department, Waverly Court, Level 1/8, 4 East Market Street, Edinburgh, EH8 8DG. (Telephone 0131 553 8201 Fax 0131 529 6218).  Social Work Advice and Complaints Service, Waverley Court, Level 1/7, 4 East Market Street, Edinburgh, EH8 8BG. (Telephone 0131 529 6217 Email

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, 4 Melville Street, Edinburgh, EH3 7NS. Scottish Prison Service HQ, Communications Branch, Room 338, Calton House, 5 Redheughs Rigg, Edinburgh, EH12 9HW.  (Telephone 01259 760 471 Fax 01259 762 003 E-mail

Ian Whitehead (Governor), HMP Shotts, Cantrell Road, Shotts, Scotland, ML7 4LE. (Telephone 01501 824000 Fax 01501 824 001 ).

Letters and cards of support to John at: John Bowden, 6729, HMP Shotts, Cantrell Road, Shotts, Scotland, ML7 4LE.

You can also send e-mails to John (or any other prisoner) via:

You can download John Bowden’s pamphlet ‘Tear Down The Walls!’ free of charge from the PDF section of the Leeds ABC website at