[Spain] About comrade Gabriel Pombo Da Silva and maxi prisons

Translated by Act for freedom now!:

via:.lacavale.be

faltan-los-presos

A year has passed since comrade Gabriel Pombo Da Silva was transferred to the Topas penitentiary centre (Salamanca). He continues to resist the harsh experience of the deprivation of liberty (after already more than 30 years behind bars), but also various stratagems that the prison administration is continuing to come up with in the best of its interests and those commanding it.

Topas prison was created as part of the program of construction of about twenty maxi-prisons promulgated in the early 90s by the PSOE government of Felipe González.

At the same time, the left and socialist head of the AP, Antoni Asunción, introduced the internal directive governing the FIES regimes. So Topas prison has the characteristics of these new mass incarceration factories – in Spain, the number of imprisoned persons has doubled in 20 years, from roughly 35 000 – 70 000 between 1991 and 2011.

One of the criteria of this modernization consists of distancing prisons from urban centres, so Topas was built in the open countryside. This serves several purposes: to hide these wretched places as much as possible; further separate those imprisoned from their loved ones, forced to travel many kilometres for any visit – (?!) luck, unlike most other jails, Topas is located along a main road served by a bus route, a ‘luxury’ that avoids the collective punishment of expensive trips or forced marches.

The distance is also intended to reduce demonstrations of solidarity in neighbourhoods as they once existed, especially when there is movement inside the prison, and to make escapes extremely difficult.

This program of new prisons is therefore the response to the waves of struggles, riots and escapes that rocked Spanish prisons regularly from the 70s to the 90s. Bringing together different types of detention inside them (remand, central etc.), these are maximum security prisons, equipped with automatic doors, increasingly sophisticated computerized control systems and a multitude of high tech devices among other things.

The size and architecture of these prisons makes it possible to lock up over a thousand prisoners in each of them, while separating them according to the requirements and experimentation of the prison management. They are in fact divided into separate autonomous buildings each with their own exercise yard, visiting areas and canteen. Any kind of interaction between the different units is carefully avoided, and prisoners have little way of knowing what is happening in the rest of the prison, which reduces the possibilities of struggles or even riots. To prevent “dangerous combinations”, it is also very easy to move a prisoner from one building to another without the need for a transfer to another jail – even if dispersion remains an effective way to punish prisoners and their relatives. After 5 transfers since arriving in Spain, Gabriel for example has already been able to discover 5 different internal modules in Topas. This organization based both on massification and atomization contributes to continuing the dirty war by breaking bonds of solidarity or encouraging rivalries and entanglements in a context of emotional and economic misery. To add a layer to the hardship and the struggle for survival, the latest find to date in Topas has been to reduce visits to two a month, to be conducted only by family or a lawyer …

Parallel to this architectural model the modern concept of scientific treatment of prisoners is also being developed. Contemporary guinea pigs, they are classified according to a long list of regimes, degrees and phases. This cataloguing is extremely precise and is carried out by a whole range of specialists (so-called “technical teams” or “trucologues [trickalogues]” as Gabriel quips, who refuses to submit to their examinations: psychologists, sociologists, educators and other social workers … ) according to essentially behavioural and disciplinary criteria.

What carries the sweet name of “individualized treatment” amounts to scrutinizing the behaviour of each prisoner to establish their profile and the treatment to be applied to them. To put it bluntly, it is a question of hitting where it hurts – knowing that this bureaucracy is also critical for exit permits and conditional liberty. All this obviously goes towards constituting huge databases and tighter control.

Beyond the regular interrogations required by these battalions of experts, daily monitoring is ensured through various means: the system of ubiquitous cameras and incident reports distributed by the screws are unfortunately often supported by the effective control of fellow prisoners.

The so-called modules of “maximum respect” of so-called “life in common” are an extreme example of this co-management. The prisoners who enter them actually undertake to respect and ensure others’ respect not only of the prison rules, but a bonus code of conduct developed for the division itself. Under cover of assessment assemblies, they are actively involved in their own imprisonment and the reign of the equilibrium that tends to generalize, that is what rehabilitation means…

Of course, the whole system functions on the strategy of carrot and stick: rewards for those who show proof of their good will with regard to the prison administration in various ways, while the closed regimes, isolation and most FIES regimes are intended to punish “conflictual” prisoners and endorse the diagnosis or prognosis of social dangerousness.

FIES 3 awaited comrades Francisco and Mónica from the start of their incarceration. Gabriel, for his part, was put in FIES 5 while he was in A Lama, and this decision has already been renewed several times by the Topas administration. Noelia Cotelo, also considered a rebel, arrive at Topas in turn, where she was immediately put in solitary confinement. She is still in FIES 5. Among other special measures, it implies that all written and verbal communications are read, photocopied, listened to and recorded and can be censored based on criteria such as the vaguest “subversive content” or “endangering security or the proper functioning of the jail.” As it happens, for the comrade it is almost all the publications of an anarchist nature that are retained, even when they meet the mandatory selective criteria of having an ISBN number and mention of the printer. Hence her request not to send letters with this kind of post as they are totally denied. Her correspondence is also subject to the limitation of two letters to be sent per week, not counting delays or “unexplained” disappearances of letters, in order to silence and isolate her most likely.

The supervising judge of the region responded to the appeal sent by Gabriel by confirming his placement in FIES, with this sentence, that does not lack flavour: “It appears from the reports received and the content of the monitoring of calls made since he has been in this detention centre that he continues to carry out an anarchist and anti-system struggle against the regime and the institutions, encouraging his relatives and friends to fight.” This speaks volumes about what the State expects from the comrade: to renounce what he believes in and what he is; harassment and dirty games involving his release date (legal recourse is still ongoing) probably intended for this and obviously failed.

The functioning and function of prison reminds us yet again that it is a denser reflection of the society that produces and needs it. From the lowest to the highest levels, the wheels that maintain the institutions and the established order, need and demand the submission of the many. It’s about breaking individuals and eliminating possibilities of struggle. Consent can be bought with shots of good and bad points, crumbs, legal and illegal drugs or it can be snatched with the most direct violence, because all means are valid in the eyes of the powerful, democratic or not.

The “humanization” of prisons sold by power and media propaganda actually conceals the attempt at depersonalisation and total dispossession, just as their alleged “social peace” is merely a more or less covert war.

Outside as inside, it’s these gears that need to be broken, along with all the physical, technological and psychological chains. Only revolt and the struggle will finish with relations based on domination and satisfy our desires for freedom.

Down with the prison society, the State and all authority!

August 2015

anarchist solidarity

To write to the comrade:

Gabriel Pombo Da Silva
CP-Topas Salamanca
Ctra N-630, km 314
37799 Topas (Salamanca)
Spain

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Nicole and Joseph – are staying in Oakland for this one – San Diego court appearance has been waived!

From Support Nicole and Joseph:
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A motion was filed by their attorneys to have their September 9th, San Diego court appearance waived and today that motion was granted by the judge. Nicole and Josephs attorneys will be there in court, and not guilty pleas will be entered in their absence. They will not have to travel to San Diego and will be staying home in Oakland for this one.

Thank you to everyone from the bay area, LA area, and San Diego that were planning on coming to court next Wednesday to support Nicole and Joseph, and thank you to everyone in all corners of the world who have been donating to the support fund, buying items off the amazon.com wish list, and stepping up in any way you can.

Please continue to check out the support site for further updates on the case and to learn about ways to show your support.

Repression in Denver

Defend Denver:

Over the last year there has been a strong resistance to police murder and terror across the city of Denver. This is only the most recent surge in resistance to police terror in our city, going back to the loss of Paul Childs in 2003 or more recently Marvin Booker in 2010.

Denver Police have been systematically targeting and arresting those actively involved in this organizing. Denver Community Defense Committee, a group which has organized extensive support for families of people murdered by police, has five of its seven members under prosecution or known to be under investigation by the Gang Unit of DPD. Prominent independent journalists, those with an expansive reach through social media, have been targeted and arrested while filming the police in Denver.

At a rally outside the statewide conference of Chiefs of Police on July 20th it was observed that DPD had a handbook with names, photos and details on local organizers or participants in demonstrations against the police. DPD has a history of this type of behavior with the “Denver Spy Files,” (http://articles.latimes.com/2002/sep/10/nation/na-spies10) where local law enforcement had kept files on those involved in social movements for decades. While it was found to be illegal by a federal court to compile such files on community organizers and activists, and while DPD settled with the ACLU and promised to cease politically motivated surveillance, it appears that they have picked up the practice once again.

Since Friday, August 7 at least three organizers in Denver have been visited at their residences by Denver Police officers. DPD has been asking for people by name and snooping around their homes. At least two activists have found out that police officers tried to enter their residences, without a warrant, while they were away from home. Others who have pending legal cases have had more charges added, many months later with no additional evidence, by the office of Mitch Morrissey, Denver District Attorney. It doesn’t seem to be a coincidence that after demonstrations were held in front of Morrisey’s home to protest his failure to indict killer cops, his office is maliciously adding false charges against police brutality protesters. There was also a petition to recall Morrisey as DA that garnered 20,000 signatures, a petition supported by the same protester community he is now targeting.

This morning two activists who have been targets of this harassment from DPD were taken into custody. A month ago they were detained while they were walking down the street and given a request to appear with a detective for an interview. They then were notified they were to be interviewed by the Gang Unit. Last Friday 8 officers came looking for them at a previous address. Today they chose to turn themselves in and are currently being held awaiting booking and the setting of bond. Please contribute to their bond fund at: Denver Anarchist Black Cross Bail Fund

Knowing your rights does not ensure that the police honor them. They do not care. They are legally allowed to lie to you, and will lie to you. However knowing your rights and methodically going through them might help you in your interacting with the police and might help you later if you end up having to go to court.

  • Anything you say will be held against you. Do not answer questions. Do not talk to the police.
  • If police come to your door, you do not have to let them into your house if they do not have a search warrant. You do not have to answer any questions. You can exercise your right to remain silent and to speak to an attorney. Videotape them from inside your home.
  • If you are stopped on the street ask if you are being detained. If the answer is no, ask if you are free to leave. If the answer is yes that you are free to leave, leave immediately. Get as far away as you can, call friends and comrades who you trust.
  • If the police are searching your belongings or home, say out loud “I do not consent to this search.” Keep repeating “I do not consent to a search without a warrant.” It will not stop them from searching necessarily but it may impact what is admissible in court.
  • If they do have a warrant ask to see it(they can show it through the screen or glass, or slide it under the door) verify that it has been signed by a judge. Make note of the items listed on the warrant of what they are allowed to search. If they attempt to search or take any additional items say out loud that you do not consent to items being searched that are not on the warrant.

Let’s keep our heads up and hearts strong. And remember always, Mitch Morrissey’s dog is an anarchist.

If you are an organizer or activist being harassed, detained or have officers come to your home let folks know at defenddnvr@gmail.com and people can be in touch as quickly as possible! 

Repression only makes us stronger! Haters make us love harder!