UK State Repression of Anarchists. Solidarity with Toby Shone
Today we're going to be talking about state-repression of anarchists, in particular.
It's something I've mentioned a couple of times recently, trying to find the right way to talk about it, because of course the point is to make it hard to talk about.
We will also get round to things that have happened to us recently and our belief that we appear to be being targeted by central police in some fashion. What happened was a bit crazy, but what Is more insane, more egregious, and causing more harm now is what's happening to some of our comrades that are already at their mercy in their custody.
There's been some updates on the situation, a man called Toby Shone is facing that sets a seriously concerning precedent. Just wildly insane that anybody who cares about diversity of opinion and all that **** should be concerned about.
Contributions from comrades are particularly of need right now because of what the cops did when they just stole our shit. But what's happening to Toby is worse, and that's why we're going to talk about him first.
We'll take you a little bit further back and introduce Toby Shone to you.
He was a arrested at gunpoint for four terror charges, none of which stuck none. Instead, they decided to charge him with possession for a series of drugs he had that were for treatment. They were hallucinogenics. They weren't terribly dangerous and they were his own god damn business. They pushed for the heaviest sentences as a proxy for not being able to imprison him for his political beliefs because they failed to make the case in the terror charges against him.
So that is the facts of the man he is in for possession of some drugs for personal use.
I can get up to you what one of the first really awful things that they did to him that we learned about and you know pricked our interest in all of this. And that was connected to the fact that he is suffering with cancer and having to receive treatment while being imprisoned. Frankly, spuriously. You know what I said about the drugs being for treatment? Yeah, for the fucking cancer. And frankly, when it comes to cancer, I think the way people want to deal with that is. Their fucking business.
A Hospital Visit
Let's have a look at what happened when he went to receive some treatment. Actually, you know it was a check up. For an MRI scan, so MRI magnetic resonance imaging. And the police police officers. Initially what sorry prison officers who had accompanied him originally, insisted upon having him Shacka. With metal handcuffs, which they decided to to really not seem to understand they couldn't use. I don't believe that. I believe that they knew and they really hoped that they would just break his fucking wrist if nobody questioned it. Nobody noticed that they left him on. That's exactly what I think it was.
But when the medical staff told them they would have to remove those metal handcuffs before he went underwent the procedure. And they then insisted instead on useing plastic zip ties. Even though Toby showing is in a room on his own, which is guarded, so to speak, by a door that the prisoner officers behind the point is, he does not need to be restrained. They unnecessarily restrain his wrists so hard that they're cutting into his skin. At one point they have to stop and restart the procedure. Because the restraints are too tight. This is the kind of treatment he's faced and it's only got worse.
And this happens from all sides, from the individuals in the system to the institutional choices. And wielding of systemic power.
The Prison Guards
So, to get to the more recent revelations we have from the individual in that system who's gone after him, a man, and we have his name. Yeah, so Stephen Solers so double Lars and named Sonovabitch who has decided to take it upon himself to make Toby. Shearn's life hell. He is known a amongst the Esso means that he runs the wing by the way, and. He is understood to be a politically motivated bigot and bully. He's made racist attacks against people verbally before. I haven't come across stories of physical violence yet, but I won't be surprised when. Due Toby Sharon has refused to run attend any of the workshops that are run by this senior officer Stephen Solers at HMP Bristol, due to constant provocations, insults, denigration and threats. And following that refusal, he was confined to his cell for 23 hours a day. For two weeks. So who is Esso solers? He's ex military screw at Bristol Presle, Bristol. Bristol Prison for the last 11 years. Esso Solers is well known amongst prisoners as a politically motivated bully and bigot. He's boasted to prisoners that he was part of a counter protest that protected the cenotaph. On June 2020 during the Black Lives Matter protests in Bristol. He gloated about the long sentences given to kill the bill. Protesters, particularly Ryan Roberts, that is an egregious case. The man's got 14 years again, not a single terror offence was found to be sound against him, so let's get down to yeah, how bad is this? Bye, right? Oh Oh well, another little detail. He's publicly fantasized about reintroducing chain gangs, saying he would shoot prisoners in the face with a shotgun if they. Rebelled nice, soldiers threatened to kill Toby and blame it on another prisoner. He made derogatory remarks about Irish rebels in the run up to the Bloody Sunday remembrance on January 30th. 30th Toby is of Irish descent, and he's made racist comments. As I mentioned to Muslim prisoners. And having done a cursory search of the Internet for Toby's case, he's decided to just make his life hell from now on.
So let's talk about what has happened. Also with this Solis guy, because this is all very connected to the systemic state repression that they're tacking on to the end of his sentence. Even though will get to the fact that he is already meant to be. Eligible for. In a release right now, months ago, but we'll get to that. Solis, has you know, bullied and taunted to be shown around his cancer? And while he's been waiting for results, which is obviously an incredibly stressful and worrying time has been subject to, you know, this. People poking and prodding by this ******* over something that as sensitive as you know your survival and following Toby's refusal to attend any more workshops with him in early February, SO SOLAS has as he previously threatened to do, made a false Intelligence Report stating that Toby threatened to assault him, which will go on Toby's record and where there is no fair process he is insured through his colleagues in the correspondence department that Toby is not receiving his books or mail, including legal correspondence in an effort to isolate and demoralize him and interfere with his legal process. Solas was also threatened to make sure Toby got an unfavourable transfer to an even worse prison. And to make sure that his application for early release HDC electronic tag, which he was due to apply for in June, will be refused.
The address for Toby shown should you want to contact him. Which would be nice for him anyway, but also as a tactic to harass the prison, to alert other people who are working in the prison to this conduct of the SO by chance that they can intervene and protect Shone, I think it's a good idea. So Toby shown, this is prisoner #A7645 EP. HMP Bristol. 19 Cambridge Road, Bishops Bishopston Bristol BS7 8PS, UK.
Total Surveillance Order
That is the kind of **** he's having to put up with by people that work in the system. The individuals, how about what the system itself is now doing with him after this absurd sleight of hand that they conducted. You know, upon failing to convict him on any of the four terrorist charges they tried to bring against him. And instead going after him for possession for some Percy, you know drugs just for himself. And despite the fact that as I just explained, the charges that he was convicted on, that he is in prison for have nothing to do with his political affiliation but drugs. You know you could have terrible politics and be into great drugs. I mean, we all know this, so his political affiliation. The concerns around it, which obviously they have. And they don't get to have any bearing on him. Surely do they well apparently so because they're not even, I guess, pretending that this conviction for the drugs is about the drugs. And what do I mean by this?
There is a total surveillance order facing anarchist comrade Toby. Shown you Kate, this is from enough 14 so a serious crime prevention order would legally sanction the criminalization and total surveillance of Toby, shown a serious crime prevention order, would legally sanction the criminalization and total. Valence of Toby shown and everyone around him for years to come after his release.
In November 2020, a series of co-ordinated raids against one of the alleged administrators of the website 325.nostate.net was executed by counter-terrorism cops in the UK as part of “Operation Adream”.
Oh sorry, the police will try and book an arrest me for a bit Percy now as well. Seeing as they couldn't find anything with that tech forensics.
Several properties in the southwest of England were searched and one person, Toby Shone, was arrested at gunpoint in the Forest of Dean and charged under the Terrorism Act. This was the first time the British State attempted to prosecute an anarchist under modern terrorism legislation and the first time that somebody was prosecuted for being suspected of running an anarchist website.
So the thing that he was suspected for was running a website. Let's just remind ourselves of that, and the only way it was linked to terrorist activity. Arguably, was information useful to terrorists, but there's a lot of information that's pretty useful to a lot of people, including terrorists. I think that is a pretty vague bar, which I think clearly hasn't been challenged properly before. If this is the first time they've tried to charge an anarchist under this legislation, and I think they're going to have a problem doing so, but only if we make it difficult for them. So that means writing to him, it means talking about his case and the case of others who have got punitive sentences for ******** charges because they state could not bring a sound case against them on terror legislation. So:
Toby was originally charged with providing a service enabling others to access terrorist publications, with fundraising for terrorist purposes, and with two counts of possession of information likely to be useful to a terrorist. He pleaded not guilty, the cops weren’t able to produce any evidence, and the prosecution was forced to drop these charges on October 1st 2021.
In the end, Toby Shone was sentenced to 3 years 9 months in prison for 8 drug offenses on October 13, 2021. The ‘drugs’ were psychedelics and medicinal plants found at two of the four properties raided in November 2020, all collective spaces. He served 8 months of this sentence on remand at HMP Wandsworth and is currently held in HMP Bristol. He is due for release sometime between August and December 2022.
However, Detective Chief Inspector Sion Margrie and posh-boy prosecutors Dan Porson-Pounds and Thomas Coke-Smythe continue their persecution of Toby by applying for an Order which would control and monitor his daily movements, his contact with others, residence, finances, devices, and so on. It also demands precise information be given to the cops of all his friends, contacts, loved ones, acquaintances, and any business clients. His bank account and access to phone, internet and storage devices would be monitored, and he cannot use those from anyone else. He would not be able to use encryption technology and is only allowed 50 pounds in cash, forcing him to be cashless to be able to track his financial footprint. If he stays somewhere overnight he needs to tell the cops where, when, with who and why. If someone comes to visit he must also register who, when and why. Any work opportunities, how much he earns and who he meets must also be reported. Basically, this order would put him under a form of house arrest and force him to be an accomplice in his own surveillance and that of his friends.
Remind ourselves what was he charged for drugs. This is not the kind of you know post sentence measure you put in for somebody who's in for drugs, certainly not for possession of their own ******* drugs, not ****. They're going to sell.
Serious Crime Prevention Orders are often used as ‘stealth sentencing’ when cops don’t get their way the first time. The Order would last at least five years after his release from prison, and can be renewed after that time. Toby could face another five years in prison if he breaches it, which of course the cops are desperately hoping will be the case. The order is designed to be breached, as the conditions and restrictions are so insane and so many, it would be impossible not to breach them at some point. If his friends refuse to collaborate they could also face criminal persecution and a prison term of 12 months for obstruction.
The cops argue that this control order is needed because of Toby’s alternative lifestyle and beliefs. Criminalising a lifestyle to justify a SCPO is not only outrageous but a very dangerous precedent. Another dangerous precedent is having a SCPO used against activists.
Wildly dangerous and it has been phrased elsewhere as the these alternative lifestyle. The beliefs as his anarchist beliefs being an anarchist. That is the. That's the thing that legitimises this measure. That is the actual argument they are putting forward. They're not even pretending. To believe in anything like an open political discourse or. Facing any actual challenge, they're. Just the state is a pussy. So any challenge, however small and however disempowered, it's got to be shut down and we'll talk to our experience of what we believe to be more front end state repression tactics that could easily be used to fit people up. Though currently we feel that what the police are doing to us is merely a measure to frustrate our activities confiscation, much like fines is class war because you can. If you confiscate something from a rich person, they can just replace it. You can confiscate from people who don't have the money knowing they can't afford to replace it, and you can predict the kind of results that your action will have. They predict that they will cripple the channel. They kind of, sort of. Have and we're going to have to be reliant on anybody who is prepared to support us to build that back up. And anybody who is prepared to support us in raising the profile of this apparent targeting of us. Is the only other way we have any chance of getting our shit back. Is if people notice that this case is not normal. I mean the local cops themselves describe it as normal procedure not being followed. It's weak as fuck, which is why I don't think they're gonna try and fit us up because it wouldn't work. The evidence chain everything's broken. As I was saying, and it's some, but nicely here:
It is obvious that this Order has nothing to do with the drug charges that Toby has been convicted for, and for which he is doing more than enough time now. Instead, the Order has everything to do with the terrorism charges the cops couldn’t find any proof of. It has everything to do with him being involved in the anarchist movement.
As is obvious from the new policing legislation being hurried through by the authoritarian British regime,
And it is obvious from the new policing legislation being pushed through the Commons that the British regime. Intends on what I think it was. Liberty, called Wholesale regime change, that's the way they describe the Lost Queen's speech. In which they outlined the police crime, sentencing courts bill, the police state bill as we like to call it, and it was clear that this was a more naked authoritarianism that was going to pretend that it didn't. Seek to maintain an unfair footing with the competition. Because they can't compete with actual idealism, and believing in something better. No, keep your ******* head down and be glad for what you've got. You're all right. Jack's a **** everyone else that will never really compete with. Hope if we had the platform and the vehicle for the voice and the feeling that it is in so many of us. Which is why they have to maintain the unfair footing to undermine the activity, to ensure that that argument never is offered as an alternative because. How does their system compare? And would we not take a chance? Now is the long shot not ******* worth it at this stage? This system is unjustifiable and the way in which it seeks to sustain itself. That is the true mark of the enemy, and I think one of the more galvanizing things because while I believe that the state is a coward and it will use these measures, I also think that it is likely that you know. Extreme powers, authoritarian powers. You want to not use those insofar as possible because you don't really want to draw attention to the fact you have them, and so if they are taking, they actually perceive a threat. And their right to the discontent is ******* high, but we're disorganized. And for all the straw manning of you know, basic like half decent principles as the hard left, the hard left need to step up and say you know what? If you're going to bring us into the conversation. Thank you because we do have a proposal for you all. How about not this? How about we don't require such repression to maintain a system, because surely any system that requires that is not worth keeping.
I'm getting pretty tired at this point, which is for the record, the main thing that has limited the output of our work, not the interference of the police and or whether the material impact or the mental impact of that. It is just. Bad ******* health, you know? This that's been the primary reason, so I'm getting a bit tired, so I will summarize.
We do believe that we're being targeted. We don't see another explanation for police turning up. You know, in the morning they spend a team with tech forensic van and. They check all the devices they tell us they don't find anything on anything, so these ones, we didn't find anything on so you know you can keep those. But hang on these ones. We didn't find anything on those, so we're going to take those away and look for some more we're going to look some more. So I think the reason I don't think they're gonna try and fit us up is because it's not gonna work considering anything that they claim to find now they will have suddenly appeared by their own word after they found nothing the last time we touched those machines.
So no, it just seems like a way of frustrating our work because we don't have the ******* money to replace that kind of **** and. Why would they target us? We're a small channel. I get that. I don't necessarily think it's because I am an effective threat in any way on my own at all. I think it it was partly partnership with somebody who has been a radical anarchist. Probably on one of their lists for a hell of a lot longer than I've been politically active has got something to do with it. But I think it's. If not, in what? We're able to generate right now it is in. The way that I fully intended to make myself a target. Am I being targeted well that would only be my plan working because I have always intended to make myself a ******* martyr, I won't pretend otherwise. It's something useful I can do. I suffer a lot to live in this world and I can't stand the suffering I see around me. And if I feel like I can do something towards that. That justifies me putting up with my own agony, physical mental just all the ******* time that's the. Truth of it. So yeah. The thing is, is whatever I am or I'm not capable of. Anybody listening to him knows they'd have to ******* kill me to make me stop.
Is that why I was targeted rather than anything I've done, but rather what I'm clearly prepared to do. I don't know, but our preparedness hasn't changed. And I'm happy to argue our case because their case makes no *** **** sense. What they come claiming at our door? What they come looking for? It makes no sense and they're decision making on evidence. Yeah, so I don't know what they exactly planned on doing after stealing all our **** and basically just detaching themselves from any route of finding out what the Hell's happening considering no local cop was even present.
Not sure what their plan is, but if they want to try and fit us up with information. By their own word, will have only appeared after the last time we touched those fucking machines. Yeah, good luck to them, but remind yourself, the state doesn't actually value your life and it is only by defending one another. By raising the profile of the struggles and the. I am. Attempted suppression by the state that we can really counter it. So we've tried to do that for Toby today. You know solidarity and love to him and all the others in prison and ask for your help. Also in calling out whatever the ****. They think they're doing at odor, and it's also a warning for other people to decide if you're actually serious about revolutionary work, because it looks like this is a state that's serious about coming after you if you. Bar now we're not backing down and I'm not saying that people who are currently in this stance would, but you know, we've always said that we would never lie to anybody about the risks of. Deciding revolution was the answer. Yeah, this is a real risk. You got to consider and we should all be tightening up use of encrypted services for if you want to talk to your comrades on your discord server about anything that just might not be great to have on there, just have another channel on the signal that you can do that.
We have also had some harder weird cyber activity to explain because it's not entirely clear that it is connected to the official state. You know police turning up at our door, taking all our ****, but it is hard to see how it wouldn't be. It would be strange coincidence to have been targeted by some cyber means by some other group at the same time as the state. Also we got hacked by location in Saint Petersburg, Russia. One time, one time. But I don't know what that's about either, on that note. That's about it.