“By observing the force of the rainfall, one can know the size of the dragon, and by observing the flourishing of the blossoms, one can know the depths of the pond.” Traditional saying
News has reached me of the isolation torture inflicted on Alfredo Cospito who has been hit with the 41bis regime of the Italian State and placed into the hell of the White Cells. My heart aches to hear of the conditions he is suffering and I am in solidarity with his indefinite hunger strike.
After listening to the advice of my comrades due to my health status, I will refuse to eat every Wednesday and Sunday as my participation in the campaign. If I choose to extend my strike I will do so. Also since the G4S corporation is attempting to force me to provide slave labour for the workshops of despicable capitalists who contract such exploitative services at the expense of their workers, I refuse to comply. I dedicate these efforts, however small, to our dear Alfredo. An embrace to everyone, inside and outside… With the deer, the boar, the owl, and the jaguar… A BLACK DECEMBER APPROACHES
Toby Shone G4S Parc, UK 9 November 2022 PS A little greeting to the comrades who lit up Parc with their fireworks on 20/10. Likewise to all those who attended the demo in Bristol for my case on 30/10.
On Friday 11th November two more defendants were sentenced for the uprising that happened in March 2021. We know that supporting people through cards and emails in the early stages of peoples sentences is particularly important, so lets flood them with messages that they are not alone and that we’re proud they stood against the police last year!
We will make sure to support them financially through out their sentence by sending £50 a month, but we can’t do this without your support so please donate and spread the word about our crowdfunder: www.gofundme.com/f/ktb-prisoner-support-fund
Tyler: Tyler has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for violent disorder following the Kill The Bill demo in Bristol in March 2021. Tyler was one of many who took to the streets to protest the oppressive bill. He welcomes letters of support. He enjoys jungle music. Show Tyler he is not alone!
Address: Tyler Overall A9546EW, HMP Bristol, 19 Cambridge rd, Bristol BS7 8PS, or use emailaprisoner.com
Toph: Toph has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for violent disorder following the Kill The Bill demo in Bristol in March 2021. Tyler was one of many who took to the streets to protest the oppressive bill. Send him letters of support to show him he isn’t alone. He’s a brilliant musician and loves hardcore punk, jungle and rave music.
Address: Christopher Hind A9543EW, HMP Bristol, 19 Cambridge rd, Bristol BS7 8PS, or use emailaprisoner.com
On the 20th of October 2022, the anarchist Alfredo Cospito, during a trial at the Sassari Probation Court, made an attempt to read an articulate statement in which he announced his decision to begin a hunger strike against the 41 bis prison regime to which he is subjected and against the hostile life sentence imposed on him. A battle that Alfredo does not intend to stop until death. The comrade, who has been subjected to 41 bis since last May 5th following a decision signed by the Chied Justice Marta Cartabia, is now being held in the Bancali prison in Sardinia.
Alfredo Cospito is an anarchist who has always been at the frontline of struggle, unwilling to ever compromise or give up. He is a comrade who has been fighting since the late 1980s, a period in which he was imprisoned as a “conscience objector” (I. e.for refusing to serve in the compulsory military service) and who, after his arrest in 2012, during the trial that followed, claimed the kneecapping of Ansaldo Nucleare CEO, Roberto Adinolfi, carried out by the Olga Nucleus/Informal Anarchist Federation-International Revolutionary Front (May 7 of that year in Genoa).
Alfredo has always been active in the defense of comrades hit by repression, in every corner of the world. His struggle objectively concerns all convicts, amongst whom we particularly remember the three militants of the Red Brigades (for the Construction of the Combatant Communist Party) locked up for more than 17 years in 41 bis (Nadia Lioce, Roberto Morandi. Marco Mezzasalma). In 2009, comrade Diana Blefari, from the same organization, committed suicide after the period spent in this harsh prison regime.
Alfredo has been in prison uninterruptedly for 10 years, which he spent in High Security sections until his transfer to 41 bis. In 2016 he was involved in “Operation Scripta Manent”, accused of subversive association for the purpose of terrorism and multiple explosive attacks. Following a Supreme Court verdict in July this year, the sentence for Alfredo and Anna Beniamino was re-formulated to “political massacre”, which carries life in prison as penalty. The Italian state that has always been protecting fascist mass murderers now wants to condemn two anarchists for an attack that caused neither victims or injuries.
For many years, Alfredo has been contributing articles, editorial projects and proposals to the international anarchist debate. For this reason, he has been censored several times and banned from communicating with the outside world, being condemned for the publication of the revolutionary anarchist folio “KNO3” and the latest edition of “Anarchist Black Cross”. He is currently under investigation for the publication of the anarchist newspaper “Vetriolo.” After this, the 41 bis regime was imposed on Alfredo this last May and subsequently he has been transferred from Terni prison to Bancali prison in Sassari. This prevents him from any contact with the outside world.
The 41 bis prison regime is used to completely isolate the prisoner from the outside world. This-measure is imposed for four years, but in fact the only way to escape from it is to repent and co-operate with the repressive forces. In other words, 41 bis is torture, as it is designed to induce suffering for the purpose of extorting confessions or statements.
This prison regime implies one hour of visit per month (with glass partitions, under electronic surveillance, and with audio/video recording). If family members do not have the opportunity to visit the prisoner, a monthly 10-minute phone call is allowed as an alternative to the prison visit, but in order to do so, the family member of the detainee must show up to a Carabinieri station or a prison. In addition, there is only one hour of yard time and social time within the section, which take place in groups consisting of a minimum of two to a maximum of four prisoners: the division into groups is decided directly by the bureaucrats’ offices in Rome and in applies for several months.
The 41 bis is a prison regime of annihilation, is designed to cause physical and mental harm through the technique of sensory deprivation; it is a political and social death sentence designed to break all forms of contact with the outside world. Alfredo’s treatment reminds us of the words attributed to Benito Mussolini on Gramsci: “This brain must be prevented from functioning for at least twenty years”.
Exemplary of the black hole into which one ends up once one enters 41 bis is precisely what happened on October 20th during the hearing at the Sassari probation court. At the hearing, the sympathizers were prevented from entering the courtroom, the comrade was connected via video conference from prison (as prescribed by 41 bis rules), and when he attempted to read his statement, he was silenced simply by pressing a button. The statement has been secreted by the judge; should his lawyers release it, they would risk a heavy criminal sentence.
The story of comrade Alfredo Cospito is entangled with the increasingly dark repressive climate in the country. Outside the anarchist movement, we are also witnessing a sharp increase in re-pression against workers, students, and social movements. Let’s cite the most striking case: this summer, the prosecutor’s office in Piacenza opened an investigation against trade unionists ac-cusing them of “extortion” (they were demanding, through a “radical” struggle of pickets and roadblocks, pay rises from the boss).
Let us be clear: the repressive penchant that the Italian state is taking, affects everyone person-ally; a precedent of this magnitude in the heart of Europe could be a harbinger of further repressive rushes in other latitudes as well. All this is happening while the social and international military crisis are getting worse by the day. We know that these are the ideal contexts for governments to implement authoritarian turns. We have a few weeks to save Alfredo Cospito’s life, to prevent his assassination, but most importantly to give a signal of counterattack to what is happening. The state is responsible for the life and health of our comrade. Let us mobilize around the world, let us pressure the Italian state so that Alfredo can be released from 41 bis.
Matt is one of the Kill the Bill prisoners who would love more support. He loves pop punk (amongst other kinds of music) and is also vegan. Please write to him at: Matthew O’Neill A1596CT, HMP Guys Marsh, Shaftesbury, Dorset, SP7 0AH
You can also use emailaprisoner.com or websites like moonpig.com
Join Bristol IWW and comrades for a Halloween Monster March!!! Meet at 6pm, Sunday 30th October at the Harbourside Fountains, Bristol city centre. Wear a mask and spooky outfit! We are marching in solidarity with imprisoned anarchist Toby Shone!
Latest Update On Toby’s Situation
IMPRISONED ANARCHIST TOBY SHONE FIGHTS NEW BATTLE AGAINST FASCIST UK STATE
Imprisoned anarchist Toby Shone is fighting a new battle as he counts down the weeks to his halfway release on December 28th 2022.
As the UK collapses into something resembling a tin-pot dictatorship and a Victorian poorhouse, Toby continues to be targeted by the Probation Service and their colleagues in the Counter-Terror National Security Division and MAPPA (Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements) for his ‘thought crimes ‘, ‘anarchism’ and ‘alternative lifestyle’.
In September, Toby was informed that Cardiff-based probation officer Paul Smith had booked a series of interviews for him (without communicating these to his lawyers as instructed) with forensic psychologist Dr Harriet Chapman from the Centre for Forensic and Criminological Psychology, University of Birmingham. Dr Chapman’s intention was to interrogate Toby under the Extremism Risk Guidelines formulation tool, ERG22+. This assessment which is “intended for use with people who have been convicted of any extremist or extremist-related offence” (which he hasn’t been) considers at least 22 factors by which an individual can be regarded as an extremist and thus be subject to de-radicalisation measures. We could find no public paper detailing these 22 factors or the format of the interview.
These largely experimental and deeply authoritarian de-radicalisation measures, which appear to be rolled out on a one-to-one basis, include the Healthy Identity Intervention, Desist and Disengagement Programme, Motivational and Engagement Intervention and Developing Dialogues. All of these are highly invasive, intensive programmes designed to investigate and dismantle a targeted individual’s personal narrative, childhood and influences, to attempt to undermine their critique of the existent, to isolate them from their relationships and affinities and to re-mould them into the perfect citizen under conditions of duress. Think re-education camps and political indoctrination. In effect they are seeking to “pathologise” the holding of anarchist beliefs: anarchism as a psychological illness. This tactic of “punitive psychiatry” has been used by other authoritarian states, most notably Soviet Russia, China and the USA.
Naturally, Toby refused to co-operate, at which point he received a letter from his probation officer Mr Smith threatening that “Whilst you have every right not to engage with this piece of work, the assessment will be undertaken whether or not you take an active role in it. For your own sake though, I would suggest that it would be preferable for it to include your voice rather than being a paper-based assessment.”
Despite being found Not Guilty of any terrorist offence in October 2021 and the subsequent rejection by a High Court judge of the prosecution’s application for a Serious Organised Crime Prevention Order against Toby on the grounds of “No Necessity”, the cops have found willing partners in the probation service. Although at this stage, there appears to be no legal basis for their demands, the cops and probation are continuing to bring the same accusations and evidence to bear that failed to even make it to a trial in October 2021, but this time to a different judge.
The licensing restrictions under consideration by Probation, Counter-Terror and MAPPA are even more extreme and extensive than those applied for under the Serious Organised Crime Prevention Order that Toby defeated in May 2022. He has been re-categorised by Paul Smith, whom he has met a total of 15 minutes, as High Risk in a new OASIS report (his previous probation officer stated that Toby was Low Risk) and has been placed on MAPPA 4, Level 3 – the highest risk category under this joint agency. All without a trial or a conviction.
It is clear that the UK police state is trying to set the groundwork for LASIT (Left, Anarchist and Single Issue Terrorism). Toby is a test case.
Draft conditions include:
No contact with extremists or anyone arrested for extremism;
No discussions (sharing opinions will be regarded as ‘grooming’ ‘radicalisation’ and ‘preaching’);
No attending any meeting or gathering except for the purpose of worship;
Only one phone, which must be handed over to the police whenever they ask for it – nothing must ever be deleted from this phone; and,
Toby must live in an Approved Hostel for one year.
The first two conditions (contact and discussions) cannot hold water without defining who and what is an extremist and begs the question whether they will be subjecting all of Toby’s associates to ERG22+ too in order to come up with a workable plan. Equally it will interesting and enlightening to find out exactly what topics of conversation and what opinions are now forbidden in modern-day Britain: in recent weeks, we have already seen that silently and peacefully holding an anti-monarchy placard is an arrestable offence.
Furthermore, a year in an Approved Hostel is unprecedented and unnecessary. AP’s are for those who will find it difficult to ‘integrate back into society’: people without social support, sex offenders, addicts and violent offenders.
There are more political prisoners in UK now than in living memory. Toby Shone’s case – more than any other – is of paramount importance as this is an almost extra-legal attempt to criminalise and destroy not only a perceived opponent, but also the entirety of anarchist and libertarian ideals and ideas at a time when crushing and barefaced attacks on the poor give those ideas more leverage and potentiality than ever before.
It is time to dismantle any lines people may still be drawing between each other in the hopes of appearing to be more legitimate to the State. Particularly, in these times, when civilisation as we knew it is in collapse and the infrastructures of the fourth and fifth industrial revolutions are being established, any one of us who has an ounce of free thinking in them is a threat and a target. This attack on Toby Shone is not isolated. All over the world, anarchists and activists are being rounded up and thrown in jail. We are responsible for keeping these ideas alive and we need to pay attention, stand together, support those trapped in the judicial system and attack where we can.
Toby is currently in segregation as a punishment for a demonstration that took palce at HMP Parc last Thursday (20th) and all indications are that he could well be held in segregation until his release due date in December. More information will follow when we get it.