An article from Do or Die Issue 8. In the paper edition, this article appears on page(s) 295-298.
We believe that all prisoners are political prisoners. Sadly, however, we could not hope to cover everybody inside, so below we have listed only a small selection of long term direct action prisoners. It is vital that we support these people. Life inside can be hard, but most of all it is just extremely boring and isolating. By writing to a prisoner you can help to alleviate both. Writing to someone you don't know may seem daunting at first, but it does get easier. You could start by sending them a short note on a postcard to brighten up their cell wall. Always remember that all mail is read by screws so don't say anything that could incriminate you or others. For details of more ways you can help to support prisoners, and for listings of short term or remand prisoners, contact the London Anarchist Black Cross (ABC) or get a copy of Spirit of Freedom newsletter (see Prison Support Organisations at the end of this article for their contact details.)
Barry Horne VC 2141, HMP Full Sutton, Moor Lane, York, YO4 1PS, UK. Animal liberationist sentenced to a total of 18 years for arson at several premises on the Isle of Wight and attempted arson in Bristol. Currently recovering following a 68 day hunger strike protesting against vivisection.
Tony Humphries AP 7965, HMP Swaleside, Brabazon Road, Eastchurch, Sheerness, Kent, ME12 4DZ, UK. Tony is an animal liberation activist who was sentenced in March 1999 to 7 years imprisonment for conspiracy to cause explosions and 2 years (to run concurrently) for possession of explosives.
Ellen Moxley, Ulla Roder and Angie Zelter are all at: HM Institution Corton Vale, Corton Road, Stirling, FK9 5NU, Scotland after they broke into a floating laboratory complex on Loch Goil in Scotland where the sonar signals for Trident nuclear submarines are tested. They threw computers, printers, fax machines, telephones into the water and destroyed a test room, an aerial antenna and an outside winch. They are currently all on remand awaiting trial in September 1999. For details of the outcome of this trial contact: Trident Ploughshares 2000, The Greenhouse, 42-46 Bethel Street, Norwich, NR2 1NR, UK Tel: 01603 611953 E-mail: email@example.com
Simon 'Badger' Richards BH 4011, HMP Blundestone, D Wing, Lowestoft, Suffolk, UK. Was at Guildford anti-road camp (see page 2 in Do or Die No. 7). Sentenced to four years for animal liberation actions.
Hillgrove Farm in Oxfordshire is the last breeder of cats for vivisection in the UK. It has been the target of continuous direct action and demonstrations for the last three years. There have been a number of people sent to prison for various connected offences. For more details on the campaign against Hillgrove Farm, and recent prisoner updates, contact: Save the Hillgrove Cats, Box CB, 111 Magadalen Road, Oxford, OX4 1RQ, UK Tel: 0121 632 6460.
On 5th March 1998 Italian police arrested 3 anarchists on serious charges of subversive association for the purpose of constituting an armed gang. They were accused of various cases of direct action linked to the popular struggle against the construction of the high speed railway through the Val Di Susa in Piemonte. Now only one of the 3 arrested anarchists remains alive. Edoardo Massari, a 38 year old anarchist from Ivrea, died in the Vallette prison in Turin on 28th March 1998. The authorities said he had hanged himself with a bed sheet. Maria Soledad Rosas, 22 years old and from Argentina, hanged herself on 11 July - choosing the same day and time to die as her companion Eduardo. The anarchist and grassroots oppositional movements have reacted to the deaths angrily and forcefully. On 4th April, in Turin following Edoardo's death, there was a several thousand strong national demonstration, and the day after Maria's death there was a street blockade there as well. The surviving prisoner, Silvano Pelissero, undertook a month long hungerstrike until on 22nd July he was finally transferred from the maximum security prison of Novara to house arrest.
Also in Italy the four anarchists below, already serving 3 years and 4 months each for a bank robbery in 1994, received an additional 6 years and 6 months sentence (apart from Carlo who got 7 years) for another bank robbery. Antonio Budini, Via Prati Nuovi 7, 27058 Voghera, Pavia, Italy. Jean Weir, Via Bartolo Longo 92, 00156, Rome, Italy. Carlo Tesseri, Via Leopardi 2, 61034 Fossombrone, Pesaro, Italy. Christos Stratigopulos, Via Sforzesca 49, 28100 Novara, Italy.
Orlando Campo, Via Delle Macchie 9, 57100 Livorno, Italy. Despite a complete lack of evidence Orlando was sentenced to 22 years imprisonment for allegedly participating in the kidnapping and eventual murder of a wealthy Italian businessmans wife in 1990. Orlando has always maintained his innocence of these charges. His sentence has been seen as the opening blow in the series of frame-ups of Italian anarchists in recent years.
For more details on the repression and frame-ups experienced by anarchists in Italy over the last few years get a copy of Uncontrollables - for a copy send an A4 SAE and a donation for copying to: BM Ignition, London, WC1N 3XX, UK.
Albert Cinque Woodfox 72148, CCR Upper F Isolation, LA State Prison, Angola, LA 70712, USA and Herman Wallace 76759, CCR3, LA State Prison, Angola, LA 70712, USA. Albert Woodfox and Herman Hooks Wallace are two former Black Panthers charged with the 1972 stabbing and death of Brent Miller, a Louisiana prison guard. Hooks has received continual harassment for his prison activism. In February 1999, after a sham re-trial for the original 1972 conviction, Albert was sentenced to natural life with no possibility of release.
Harold Thompson 93992, Turney Industrial Prison, Route 1, Only, Tennessee 37140-9709, USA. Harold is an anarchist who in 1979 was sentenced to life and 50 years for the robbery of a jewellers, killing a police informer who had murdered his partner and a shooting incident in Ohio. He was also later given an extra 32 years for a failed escape attempt. An active jailhouse lawyer that helps other inmates Harold has recently been brutally attacked, robbed and placed in segregation for his own safety due to inmates from the racist White Ayran Brotherhood working hand-in-hand with prison officials. Please write civil letters on Harold's behalf to: Warden Jack Morgan, Turney Centre Industrial Prison, Route 1, Only, Tennessee, 37140-9709, USA. Harold also needs around £100 to file a lawsuit so, if you can, please send donations to: Friends of Harold Thompson, PO Box 375, Knaphill, Woking, Surrey, GU21 2XL, UK. A collection of Harold's writings and poetry entitled They Will Never Get Us All! is available for £2.00 (including postage) from: Plain Wordz, PO Box 381, Huddersfield, HD1 3XX, UK.
Leonard Peltier 89637-132, PO Box 1000, Leavenworth, KS 66048, USA. Leonard, an American Indian Movement activist, was targeted as a subversive by the secret Counter Intelligence Programme (COINTELPRO) operations and was framed for the murder of two FBI agents in 1976 for which he is serving two consecutive life sentences. Currently seriously ill he is being refused proper medical attention. For more information contact: Leonard Peltier Defence Committee, PO Box 583, Lawerence, KS 66044, USA.
Linn (Lenny) Chavez is a 36 year old American Indian Movement (AIM) activist and Kiowa man. He was cutting wood at home when he was attacked by a racist gang member. The man grabbed Lenny's chainsaw and was threatening him and others with it. Fearing for himself and his family, Lenny drew his penknife and inflicted minor injuries to the attacker. Whilst the racist went free Lenny was charged with attempted murder. Letters of support and donations can be sent to: Lenny Chavez, c/o South and Meso Indian Rights Center, PO Box 28703, Oakland, CA 94694, USA E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The eco-revolutionary group MOVE first surfaced in Philadelphia during the early 1970s. They had an uncompromising belief in revolution. Living communally they ate raw food, eschewed drugs and alcohol, helped homeless people, staged demonstrations and attacked the government and system which they saw as the root of all problems. As a result of their actions MOVE experienced intense state harassment and repression. Members were savagely beaten - with some of the women suffering miscarriages as a result - and during one attack by the police a 3 week old baby had its skull crushed and died. All this culminated in the 1985 siege and bombing of their commune by the police. During the shootings and explosions that ensued six adults and five children were killed. The survivors, known as the MOVE 9, were framed for the murder of a cop and sentenced to a sentence of 100 years each. In 1998 one of the 9, Merle Africa, died in very suspicious circumstances in prison. The others still imprisoned are:
For more information read 25 Years on the MOVE published by Friends of MOVE at: PO Box 14129, London, WC12 8GR, UK or contact MOVE directly at: PO Box 19709, Philadelphia, PA 19143, USA E-mail: email@example.com
Mumia Abu Jamal AM8335, SCI Greene, 1040 East Roy Furman Highway, Waynesburg, PA 15370-8090, USA. Ex-Black Panther, radical journalist and MOVE supporter, Mumia was framed for the murder of a cop and is currently on Death Row where his execution is imminent. For more information and details on solidarity actions contact Mumia Must Live! at: 27 Old Gloucester Street, London, WC1N 3XX, UK or look at the website at: http://www.mumia.org/
Robert H. Wilson 640289, Pack Unit One, 2400 Wallace Pack Road, Navasota, TX 77869, USA. Robert Standing Deer Wilson is a Native American prison activist now in his late 70s. In 1978 he exposed a government plot to assassinate Leonard Peltier. He has been on hunger strikes to protest the inhumane conditions of super-maximum prisons.
Silvia Barladini 05125-054, FCI Danbury, CT 06811, USA. A veteran left activist who fought against the Vietnam war and in support of the Black Liberation and Puerto Rican independence movements, Silvia is currently serving 43 years after being convicted of liberating Black Liberation Army prisoner Assata Shakur and conspiracy against the US Government. She is in bad health due to cancer and there is a campaign to get her paroled or transferred to her native Italy. For details of this contact: Release Silvia, 3543 18th Street, Box 30, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
Ted Kaczynski 04475-046, US Pen-Admin Max Facility, PO Box 8500, Florence, CO 81226, USA. Serving life, with no chance of parole, for a 17 year long bombing campaign against industrial society.
For updates and news on all 'political' prisoners in the USA get a copy of Raze The Walls! a quarterly magazine with a balance of writings by and about prisoners and prison resistance in North America. It also has articles on broader revolutionary theory and activity from a class struggle anarchist perspective. For a copy send $3.00 to: Raze The Walls! 2351 College Station Road, Box 523, Athens, GA 30605, USA
Dennis Bruce Walker MIN245312, PO Box 656, Grafton 2460, NSW, Australia. Dennis is an Aboriginal activist who has been sentenced to 5 years for an incident that occurred whilst trying to protect an aboriginal sacred site. Is currently waiting for an appeal and seeking a retrial.
In January 1996, as a result of a massive joint police and security services operation, four editors of Green Anarchist (GA) newspaper and two people from the Animal Liberation Front Supporters Group (ALFSG) magazine were arrested for conspiracy to incite persons unknown to commit criminal damage. Over the next three years one person was found not guilty, but three editors of GA were found guilty and sentenced to three years imprisonment. They were eventually released on appeal and the remaining two cases were dropped. The trial has enormous implications for anyone involved in, or giving favourable coverage to, illegal direct action. (For more details of this case see the letters on page 230 of this issue, page 129 in Do or Die No. 7, or write to Green Anarchist at: BM 1715, London, WC1N 3XX, UK.)
Rod is a Native American who was imprisoned in 1995 for a number of direct action activities. He's an inspiring person who has a long history of taking militant direct action with Sea Shepherd, Earth First! and the Animal Liberation Front. Here are some of Rod's thoughts on prison and what it feels like to have been recently released:
"In March 1999 I left the Federal Correction Institution where I was captive for nearly four years. I left prison, but I have not arrived in freedom. Everyday I was imprisoned was a day of remembrance for me. Time to reflect on the reality of being an indigenous guerrilla fighting neo-colonial forces in the late 20th Century, and the cost such resistance required of all those indigenous warriors the world over who have died defending the worldview that recognises the Earth as our Mother. Only a hundred years ago my ancestors were fighting a guerrilla war against Mexican soldiers and American colonialists. Our babies heads were smashed against trees. Our women (those not actively up in arms) were raped. Our warriors were hung with barbed wire. Just one hundred years ago. I am fighting for what they died for. And I will never be free until all the Earth's children are allowed to peacefully pursue an existence in harmony with Her powers. If that means more prison, I am ready. If that means death I am prepared. But the Invader will not take me or my resistance peacefully. Of that I am certain.
We owe that much to our ancestors. To all who have been murdered, not died, fighting for what we now also believe in. Earth First! and the Animal and Earth Liberation Fronts are just contemporary manifestations of an ancient spirit and economic globalisation is just the modern equivalent of Western European Colonialism. The timeless continuum of the struggle between good and evil.
But I'll fight, not because I have to (many of us in the 'First World' don't have to) but because I want to. I can think of no more honourable or noble purpose to utilise this life for than to carry this torch of resistance a little further. Realizing always that we can win simply by never surrendering. Freedom to me may be something I personally never fully experience but, like my ancestors, it's something I'm most willing to die for."
Rod also produces an excellent zine called Strong Hearts. For the latest copy send $3.00 to: Black and Green, POB 11703, Eugene, OR 97440, USA
The following groups are the major prisoner support organisations. For a more comprehensive list see Do or Die No. 7, page 136. If writing to any of them enclose an SAE, or a donation if you can afford it, as they all run on peoples wages or giros and so are usually broke.
Animal Liberation Front Supporters Group, BCM 1160, London, WC1N 3XX, UK. Support group for animal liberation prisoners which also produces an excellent magazine covering all aspects of animal liberation.
Earth Liberation Prisoners, c/o Cornerstone Resource Centre, 16 Sholebroke Avenue, Chapeltown, Leeds, LS7 3HB, UK. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Support for all ecological direct action prisoners. Publishes the invaluable Spirit of Freedom newsletter with up-to-date prisoner listings.
Haven Distribution, 27 Old Gloucester Street, London, WC1N 3XX, UK. A free books and magazines to prisoners scheme. Donations of books, magazines and money are always welcome.
London Anarchist Black Cross, 27 Old Gloucester Street, London, WC1N 3XX, UK. E-mail: email@example.com International support network for anarchist, revolutionary and class struggle prisoners. Contact London ABC for details of your local group. Also produces Taking Liberties magazine.
Vegan Prisoners Support Group, PO Box 194, Enfield, Middlesex, EN1 3HD, UK. Does excellent work on getting the vegan needs of prisoners met in police cells and prisons.