Feb. 14, 2012 Leeds ABC
Leeds ABC are pleased to be able to announce that antifascist prisoners
Austen Jackson and Phil de Souza have been released. Austen has completed
his full sentence and Phil has been released on electronic ‘tag’. Thank
you to the many people who have supported them while they were inside.
Ravi remains prisoner. Down with the walls.
More info about the case here.
All Nine Antifascists Acquitted In Second Welling Trial! (UK)
From Leeds Anarchist Black Cross:
When confronted by a swaggering neo-Nazi at Welling train station in March
2009, Sean Cregan did what any good antifascist would, he put the Nazi on
his arse! While twice Sean’s size, one punch was enough for the scumbag
fascist, who dropped to the ground as if pole-axed. His neo-Nazi companion
quickly fled down the station platform, with Sean in hot pursuit.
The two scumbags had been on their way to a so-called “Blood and Honour”
gig, which are regularly held at the nearby Duchess of Edinburgh pub (with
the active participation of the fascist landlord with whom the two were to
stay). When questioned by police later, the first fascist gave his name as
Patrick O’Donovan (this may be a false name since he is German and came
over specifically for the gig, which are illegal in Germany). His brave
companion gave his name as Michael Heihl.
There had been several unrelated incidents at Welling Station that
evening, and the police arrived quickly, arresting several antifascists
who were also at the station (or in the vicinity). Some months later, dawn
raids took place around the country, with large numbers of cops smashing
in doors and arresting other antifascists. Draconian bail conditions were
imposed. In total, 23 people were now under arrest in relation to the
punching of ‘O’Donovan’.
Since there was no available ‘complainant’ in the case, the cops – the
British Transport Police led by Detective Inspector Sam Blackburn – were
unable to charge Sean, or any of the other antifascists, with assault.
Instead they were charged with ‘Conspiracy to Commit Violent Disorder’. In
legal terms, ‘Violent Disorder’ occurs when a person’s behaviour is deemed
to be of such a nature that it would cause alarm or distress to someone
witnessing it, though in this case nobody had complained and it was ruled
that there was not sufficient evidence to additionally charge any of the
antifascists with ‘Violent Disorder’ itself.
Charges were dropped against one of the antifascists, a young woman, in
the early stages, but because of the sheer number of defendants the Crown
Prosecution Service (CPS) argued that, for logistical reasons, it was
necessary to split the defendants between two trials. Of course this also
put the Prosecution at a considerable advantage, particularly as they
would be prosecuted by the same individual – Mark Trafford. Both trials
would be held at Blackfriars Crown Court before Judge H.O.Blacksell.
The CPS chose to first prosecute not so much those with the most evidence
against them, since they have presented no evidence of a conspiracy
throughout, but those whom they judged would be most easily convicted.
Many of the defendants had been convicted of political activities in the
past, and because of these ‘prior convictions’ could not present character
evidence in their defence for example. The CPS knew that they could rely
on the prejudice and ignorance of the jury (one of whom sported a shirt
emblazoned with a large St George’s cross) for some convictions, and sure
enough seven antifascists were convicted as charged, with six of them
being sent immediately to jail.
As our comrades were sent to prison, the architects of the fit-up were
busy congratulating each other. Blacksell, the judge who presided over the
charade, said he would be recommending Detective Inspector Blackburn for a
commendation – For what, making travel safer for Nazis?! Perhaps Blackburn
will get the ‘Iron Cross’! This whole case revolves around one neo-Nazi,
who was not a complainant in the case, being put on his arse. For that 23
people were arrested, hundreds of cops were involved in dawn raids, and
two show trials were held costing Millions, what a great service to the
‘public’! But of course, this case is about far more than one pathetic
Immediately before the second trial, charges were dropped against two more
of those previously accused of being involved in the ‘conspiracy’, leaving
nine more to face trial. The trial began on Monday 12th September, and
once again the Prosecution presented absolutely no evidence of a
‘conspiracy’. The jury seemed nonplussed as to why they were there. Once
again, the trial dragged on for more than three weeks.
One of the things that came out in the second trial was that a racist
Immigration Officer, who acted as a prosecution witness, and who in his
police statement described Ravi Gill as having a “typical big Asian head”
and “speaking Indian”, lied through his teeth in the first trial. He could
not have witnessed the incident as he claimed because when it happened he
was not actually there, but outside buying his ticket!
As his attempts to fit up the second group of antifascists began to
unravel, Trafford became quite desperate, and at times appeared close to
tears. He had pursued the case with personal malice and with a messianic
gleam in his eye throughout, and his arrogance led to some verbal fencing
with defendants of twice his intelligence which simply left him looking
foolish. Bereft of evidence, he simply relied on being able to mislead and
prejudice the jury as he had done in the first trial. To this end,
Trafford tried to present the neo-Nazis of ‘Blood & Honour’ and the
Anarchists and antifascists in the dock as two sides of the same coin, as
if the Nazis and partisans of World War Two had some sort of moral
equivalence. This morally repugnant position was rounded on by the Defence
in the closing speeches with Trafford pilloried to an unusual extent.
Putting the incident firmly in its political and historical context, one
of the Defence barristers even went so far as to say that the jury should
not only be acquitting the defendants, but thanking them for being
prepared to confront organised fascism.
It should be clear that this prosecution was brought to try and smash
antifascist resistance (something Trafford has privately made explicitly
clear) and to intimidate antifascists from engaging in any form of
antifascist activity. The case however, and the way that the ‘conspiracy’
law has been used in it, has huge implications for activists in general,
it is an attempt to outlaw any form of protest. Leeds ABC regard it as
highly regrettable that the case did not have the massive publicity it
warranted from the very beginning.
The jury retired to consider the verdict at 3.00pm today – They were back
again less than an hour later to acquit all nine antifascists, treating
the prosecution case with the contempt it deserves. The courtroom erupted
into cheers and cries of jubilation, with only the judge and prosecutor
left looking sour-faced. Tonight as the acquitted and supporters retired
to the pub there was every reason to celebrate. Tomorrow [5.10.2011] is
the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street. We hope that Indymedia
readers will join us in raising a glass – to our comrades who triumphed
over this judicial fit-up, to the antifascists down the ages who have been
prepared to go out onto the streets to confront fascism, and to our six
comrades who were fitted-up earlier this year and who deserve our fullest
The six antifascists imprisoned in the first trial were originally held in
Wormwood Scrubs prison in London, but five have now been moved to other
jails in southern and central England. Please send them letters of support
at the addresses given below. We expect Thomas Blak to be moved this week
and his new address will be published on the Leeds ABC website when that
happens. Thomas, who is Danish and has lived and worked in England for 15
years, is also under threat of deportation.
The prisoners may each receive postage stamps and Postal Orders (made
payable to ‘The Governor’ and with the prisoner’s name and prison number
written on the back). For advice on writing to prisoners please see the
Leeds ABC website.
A solidarity fund has been set up to support the prisoners in jail and
upon release. All donations, big and small, are very welcome. The fund is
administered by Leeds Anarchist Black Cross, a long-standing and reputable
prisoner support organisation, and the fund will ONLY be used to support
the prisoners directly. If you would like to contribute to the fund please
send a cheque (made payable to ‘The Cable Street Society’) to Leeds ABC,
145-149 Cardigan Road, Leeds, LS6 1LJ. Details for bank transfers are:
The Cable Street Society
Sort Code 070093
Account number 33333334
We would like to thank the groups and individuals who have already
contributed to the solidarity fund, including Antifa England, Brighton &
Hove TUC Unemployed Workers Centre, Bristol ABC, Kate Sharpley Library ,
and Rebel Soul (Shambala Festival).
The Anarchist print co-op Sabcat have also produced two benefit T-shirts
in support of the prisoners. They are printed on organic cotton, fair
wear, carbon neutral, Earth Positive T-shirts and cost £14.95 including UK
postage. Sabcat are donating their labour for free, so apart from the cost
of the unprinted garment itself and the postage, all money raised goes to
the antifascist prisoners support fund. To order a T-shirt check out the
Sabcat website at www.sabcat.com. They will also be available to buy at
this year’s London Anarchist Bookfair.
Leeds ABC have produced a solidarity poster (see above) in several sizes,
which is being displayed in laminated form in numerous community centres,
social centres, pubs, cafes, bookshops, etc. Please contact us with regard
to displaying one. You can also download the graphic to display on your
website, Facebook page, etc.
Last, but by no means least, a number of revolutionary solidarity actions
have been claimed in the names of the prisoners, and we both appreciate
and applaud these acts. We should remember that the very best act of
solidarity we can offer is to continue to fight against fascism and not to
be intimidated or cowed by these latest attempts to stop us resisting.
Solidarity to the antifascist prisoners.
Thomas is Danish and would appreciate European/International stamps to
keep in touch with his family and with comrades abroad.
Sean can receive books (they must be new or in very good condition).
Phil De Souza
Ravi can receive posters, so if you hold a support event consider sending
him one in.
Leeds Anarchist Black Cross
A few thank yous and fuck yous
Letter from a defendant in the second wave trial:
Having just been acquitted in the Antifa trial I would like to make some
Respect and solidarity to my comrades in jail serving time for this
bullshit. To us you are heroes. Great anti-fascists one and all. No
Respect and solidarity to my co-defendants who conducted themselves with
dignity and aplomb in the face of a slanderous and offensive onslaught
from the prosecution.
Congratulations to everyone who was at Welling train station on the 28th
of March 2009 and managed to get away without having their collar felt.
You know who you are which is more than the cops ever will.
Thank you to the jury. I suspect it took them more time to elect a
foreperson than it did to discuss any merits in the prosecution case. That
said I believe that their decision was not just an acceptance of our
innocence but an endorsement of our politics (of which they heard alot),
that more than anything gives me hope and encouragement.
Thanks to our legal team, great job well done with integrity and style, we
are eternally grateful.
Thanks to everyone who supported us throughout this trial your solidarity
will not be forgotten.
Finally, fuck the Nazi’s, nationalists, reactionaries and rulers and fuck
the police and the state that protect them.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Feb. 14, 2012 Leeds ABC