Posts Tagged ‘Scotland’
Tuesday, June 28th, 2016
The Scottish Prison Service has confirmed that it used IMSI catchers (aka “stingrays”) at two prisons in Scotland. This is the first confession of official stingray use by UK authorities, though they are almost certainly being used elsewhere in the country as well.
The SPS are using both mobile and static stingray devices at HMP Shotts in Lanarkshire and HMP Glenochil near Alloa. The SPS spent more than £1.2 million spying on both prisons. It appears that the SPS were trialing stingray tech at Shotts and Glenochil before potentially rolling it out to other prisons.
While stingrays can be used to snoop on conversations or otherwise gather intelligence, it appears that in this case the SPS were using IMSI catchers to stamp out mobile phone use at the prisons (it’s supposedly a crime to use a mobile phone in prison). IMSI catchers work by tricking nearby mobile devices to connect to them, rather than an official base station. The stingray can then be used to triangulate the user’s location, or to simply block the connection. (more…)
Solidarity with John Bowden in court Friday 24th June – Call-out for Solidarity Demo/Banner drops (UK)
Thursday, June 23rd, 2016
Solidarity with John Bowden – Long time prison resister and anti-authoritarian.
Show your support for John Bowden, a vocal writer and critic of the system we all live under, who is in Greenock Sheriff Court in Scotland, on Friday 24th June, after being accused of assault on a prison guard.
Throughout the 1980’s and 90’s, John Bowden was at the forefront of the British prison struggle, leading and being involved in serious acts of resistance against the prison system, and was deeply politicised by the experience. Viewed by most prison staff as a committed and dangerous “trouble-maker”, John was often brutally punished, suffering years of brutality and prolonged solitary confinement. He has been victimised, in one way or another, ever since.
In June of last year, after hearing the evidence of an independent psychologist, the Parole Board decided that after 30 years in prison, John Bowden represented no real risk or danger to the community, and like the two men originally imprisoned with him in 1982, who were released almost 20 years ago, he should now be returned to that community. (more…)
Tuesday, March 29th, 2016
“Unconditional real love for all mankind” Asad Shah
A “popular, well respected and much loved” Ahmadiyya Muslim man, Asad Shah, who ran a local shop in the Shawlands area of Glasgow was murdered 9pm, 24th March, hours after posting messages of peaceful tolerance online and giving out chocolate Easter eggs to his customers. Asad was brutally stabbed to death and had his head stamped on in front of his own brother outside his shop, by a 32 year old sectarian Islamist fanatic who had travelled 200 miles from Bradford to slay Asad. One man from the gym next to Asad’s shop, was also injured during the attack on Asad. Afterwards there was a big outpouring of grief and respect for Asad, with a gathering in the street, tribute of flowers laid and call for unity. More than £87,000 has been raised to support the family of Asad.
Asad belonged to the Ahmadiyya Muslim faith which faces sectarian bigotry from many reactionary and orthodox Muslims and has suffered violence at their hands in those countries. Asad was known to create his own Christmas cards each year for his friends and customers and was very beloved in the community.
“Asad was a humble, gentle man – he did not deserve this. He was also a very social man, always laughing. A real gentleman.” Sister of Asad Shah
'Woolf Report: 25 Years On & Nothing Has Changed' – An article by John Bowden about the prison system's latest attempt to obstruct his move to an open prison (UK)
Friday, May 1st, 2015
In April this year, the 25th anniversary of the Strangeways prison uprising, Lord Justice Woolf, who led the inquiry into the uprising, claimed that conditions in most British jails were now even worse than they had been before Strangeways erupted in 1990.
The treatment of those prisoners confined to usually overcrowded local remand and post-sentence jails (of which Strangeways was and is one), where the great bulk of the prison population are held, has always been significantly worse than the treatment of prisoners in more long-term establishments where the potential for collective unrest has always been traditionally greater.
Prison staff employed in over crowded local jails argue that the transient and difficult to control and manage population of such institutions, coupled with severe cut-backs in staffing levels, make all but the most basic functions of control and containment extremely difficult if not impossible. The operational reality of such an argument finds expression in virtual lock-down regimes and a wholesale warehousing of prisoners, as well as an overtly repressive response to any perceived potential loss or compromise of total control, all ingredients of what caused the Strangeways prison uprising in 1990.
Greenock prison near Glasgow is an archetypal local jail; antiquated Victorian architecture and conditions, and an attitude and behaviour amongst some staff that is often openly contemptuous of prisoners, underpinned by a relationship of power that renders prisoners always vulnerable to abuse. (more…)
Wednesday, February 4th, 2015
From a comrade of ABC Brighton:
The growth of what some have described as the “prison industrial complex” and the unleashing of economic free market forces upon the prison system by a government ideologically-driven to sell off or “out source” virtually every state function has created the spectre of a prison population utilised as essentially a source of cheap, forced labour for an increasingly avaricious neo-liberal capitalism. There is no starker example of organised modern slavery.
In the US, the epicentre of the prison industrial complex, the exploitation of cheap convict labour takes place on an industrial scale and in poor urban areas, especially districts with a majority poor Afro-American population, prisons are increasingly replacing factories as places where the criminalised poor are confined and exploited by multi-national security corporations.
In Britain, whose criminal justice system is becoming almost a mirror-image of it’s American counterpart, the exploitation of cheap convict labour by private companies is increasingly as is the ownership of entire chunks of the prison system. More and more prisoners are dealt with and treated not as offenders to be rehabilitated but as a source of considerable profit for an economic elite not hamstrung by wishy-washy concepts such as public service or moral conscience in the treatment of prisoners. (more…)
Friday, January 9th, 2015
325 receives and transmits:
Nihilist-anarchist solidarity freesheet 1st issue with articles highlighting an animal testing congress in Scotland in March 2015; against fracking; against anthropocentric values; about Glasgow Anarchist Black Cross.
This periodical bulletin exists to widen the current of a nihilist-anarchist critique in Scotland and whatever that may bring. It is your sole responsibility to steal back your life. However, if you are content with shitty food, mundane shopping, police surveillance, civility, boredom and a slow death from cancer and pollution, then perhaps this publication is not for you… We do not care for “recruits”
nor do we seek to seem reasonable in the eyes of anyone. – Until next time (A)
Sunday, October 19th, 2014
Congress 2015 – 17-20th March, Scotland.
“The main purpose of Congress is to introduce Animal Technologists to the latest developments in all aspects of animal based research and technology.”
In the same year that SHAC ceases to exist as a campaign, the Institute of Animal Technology have organised this 3 day event [last year it was held in Blackpool, the year before in the south of England], where people who experiment on animals, in those horrific ways we have all seen from undercover footage, will be able to walk, talk, eat and give lectures freely without any thought to opposition.
The breakdown of the most effective anti-vivisection campaign on the planet appears to have given these people a “free-for-all” mentality, this conference is quite possibly party time for the oppressor. A celebration of animal research, a way to say they have won the war against animal rights campaigners. What else could this openness of a 3 day conference be exactly? (more…)
Letter appeal on behalf of John Bowden, long-term radical social prisoner, about the criminalisation of the Anarchist Black Cross (UK)
Friday, July 11th, 2014
via a comrade of Anarchist Black Cross Brighton:
In 2007 my association with the Anarchist Black Cross was considered a compelling enough reason by the prison authorities to prevent my release, despite the subsequent exposure of the lies manufactured by a prison administration regarding the nature and activities of ABC.
In the summer of 2007 following my transfer to an open jail, Castle Huntley near Dundee, after almost three decades of imprisonment, a prison-hired social worker at the jail, Matthew Stillman, submitted a report to the Parole Board in which he claimed I was linked to what he described as a “terrorist group”, specifically naming ABC, and had received visits from “terrorists” also linked to ABC. As a consequence of Stillman’s allegation I was transferred back to a maximum-security prison. (more…)
Thursday, March 6th, 2014
Please sign the petition to the Parole Board for England and Wales and the Scottish Prison Service to release John Bowden
Imprisonment as a human experience probably has it’s closest parallel in slavery. People in prison are systematically stripped of basic human dignity and bodily integrity and reduced to the condition of caged animals. In terms of their relationship with the state and those who directly oversee and enforce their captivity prisoners are disempowered to the extent where even their most elemental of human rights are frequently treated with contempt and are in reality non-existent. By it’s very nature and intrinsic purpose imprisonment denies the imprisoned their very humanity. As a system and institution prison is incapable of being reformed and it most definitely doesn’t “rehabilitate” those held within it, and neither is it intended to; how can degrading and humiliating a human being improve the condition of their minds and characters. How can imprisoning and de-socialising someone make them more able and inclined to integrate back into “normal” society when they’ve emerged from such a brutalising and alienating experience? Prisons prime purpose is to punish and suppress and enforce social and political control – it is nothing more than a weapon of the state. (more…)
'Americanisation of the British criminal justice system' by long-term social prisoner John Bowden (UK)
Monday, February 17th, 2014
From a comrade of ABC Brighton:
A recent Government announcement that it was considering introducing U.S. style prison sentences like a hundred years custody for the most serious offences is on one level a straightforward attempt to undermine a recent European Court of Human Rights ruling that life sentence prisoners should be given some hope that their sentences will be reviewed before they die, and on another level evidence that the Americanisation of the British criminal justice system continues to increase and deepen.
Apart from the probable introduction of prison sentences that are in effect a slow form of capital punishment, an American penology has characterised the treatment of British prisoners for quite some time in the form of the treatment model with its psychology-based programmes and courses designed and inspired by Canadian and U.S. ideologies regarding “offending behaviour”, which is attributed not so much to social and environmental causes but more the individual pathology of the “offender”. So the fact that the prison population is drawn disproportionately from the poorest and most disadvantaged group in society is of absolutely no significance and instead a crude behaviourist notion prevails that providing prisoners can be re-socialised into behaving in a “normal” way then “offending behaviour” can be exorcised from their thinking before they’re released back into the same desperate economic and social circumstances. (more…)
Tuesday, August 20th, 2013
RESIST-SELF ORGANIZE-FIGHT BACK
Monday, March 4th, 2013
Fyoder Dostoevsky, the Russian novelist and sometimes political dissident, once wisely observed that a good barometer of the level and quality of a society’s civilisation is the way it treats it’s prisoners, the most dis-empowered of all social groups.
There has of course always existed a sort of socially organic and dynamic relationship between prison society and the wider ordinary society beyond it’s walls, and the treatment of prisoners is usually an accurate reflection of the relationship of power that prevails between the state and ordinary working class people in the broader society. It is how political power is shaped and negotiated between the state and the poorer social groups on the outside that essentially determines the treatment of prisoners on the inside. (more…)
Friday, February 15th, 2013
The role of teachers and educational tutors employed by local colleges and contracted to work within the prison system can be a conflicting and potentially very hazardous one. Empowering prisoners with knowledge in an environment intrinsically organised to disempower them can sometimes be a dangerous activity.
Unlike the function and role of most other types of staff working within prisons (guards, probation officers, social workers and psychologists etc.) that revolve around the containment, control and disempowerment of prisoners, teaching within jails usually involves a relationship with prisoners that is often inimical to that custody and control dimension of prisons. The uniformed guards who basically control and maintain ‘discipline’ in prisons instinctively understand the empowering influence of education on prisoners, which is essentially why they view civilian teachers working within prisons with suspicion and as an always potentially weak link in the chain of security and ‘discipline’ (control), whose loyalty is always in question. There is a very strong and all-pervading occupational culture amongst prison guards that views any attempt to empower and humanise those over whom they exact an absolute degree of power as just another step to a liberalism that undermines and weakens the basic function of the prison – punishment and absolute control. It’s an attitude and culture that teachers working within prisons are confronted by every day, as well as a balance of institutional power firmly tipped in favour of the guards, who charged with maintaining the physical security of the prison will always inevitably label teachers who question their authority and power as a ‘security risk’, which is a sure way of getting them removed from the prison and recalled to a local college usually desperate to protect and continue it’s contract with the prison system. (more…)
Friday, May 18th, 2012
Important Update: Day of Action in Support of John Bowden – 11th June 2012 (Same day as the International call-out for long-term anarchist & radical prisoners!)
Letter from John Bowden – via ABC Leeds:
Long-term prison militant John Bowden, imprisoned since 1980, is once more facing harassment at the hands of the prison authorities – and all because of another idiot social worker.
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. (more…)
Tags: ABC Leeds, Brendan Barnett, Edinburgh Criminal Justice Services, Edinburgh Social Services, Jackie Peters, John Bowden, June 11th Solidarity, Letter, Peter Gabbitas, Repression, Scotland, Sharron Di Ciacca, Sheila Ritchie, Stephen Laird, UK
Posted in Prison Struggle
Monday, March 12th, 2012
It seems that the state and its loyal agents in HMP Shotts, Scotland, are currently manufacturing reasons to present to the parole board as to why John Bowden should be kept in jail. One of the entries in the ‘Parole Intelligence Summary’ says: “Intelligence provides that Bowden either posts blogs or has them posted on his behalf on the following website: http://breakallchains.blogspot.com/. Further intelligence provides that this website is pro-prisoner and anti-establishment. So it seems that even writing anything supporting prisoners’ rights is sufficient reason to keep John in jail – he’s not being kept in because they consider him a risk to the public. (more…)