Bristol. UK. Toby Shone speaks from the dungeons of Bristol prison, explaining his case.
Originally published by Dark Nights.
My name is Toby Shone, and I’m an imprisoned anarchist held in Bristol prison who was kidnapped at gunpoint by the anti-terrorist unit, as part of Operation Adream in the UK. The repression was aimed to target the anarchist group of critique and practice, 325 collective and the website 325.nostate.net. Operation Adream is an attack by the British State in conjunction with European partners against anarchist direct action groups, counter-information projects, prisoner solidarity initiatives and the new anarchist critique of the technological singularity and the fourth and fifth industrial revolution. Operation Adream is the first time that anti-terrorist legislation has been used against the anarchist movement in the UK.
I was taken hostage by the regime on the 18th of November 2020 by a team of tactical fire arms cops after a car chase through the remote Forest of Dean, which is on the border with South Wales, one hour north of Bristol. At the same time coordinated raids took place at five addresses in the Forest of Dean against collective living projects, hangouts and a storage unit. I was taken under armed guard to a nearby police station where I was held in incommunicado and interrogated many, many times. I refused to speak during the interrogations and I did not cooperate with the murderers in uniform.
I was charged with four counts of terrorism. One charge of Section 2, dissemination of terrorist publications as a suspected administrator 325.nostate.net. Two charges of section 58, possession of information useful for the purposes of terrorism. Those being two videos. One of which showed how to improvise an explosive shaped charge. And the other demonstrated how to burn down a mobile phone transmitter. I was charged with Section 15, funding terrorism, which was related to cryptocurrency wallets hosted on 325.nostate.net which were for the support of anarchist prisoners and publications. I denied all the charges.
I was also accused during the interrogations of membership of FAI/IRF, the Informal Anarchist Federation/International Revolutionary Front. I was accused of writing five documents and carrying out several actions in the Bristol area, which were claimed by cells of the FAI as well as those of the Earth- and Animal Liberation Fronts. These included an incendiary attack against the police station, the burning down of a mobile phone transmitter and liberation of animals.
Bristol is an area of the UK where there has been countless anarchist sabotages and direct actions taking place over the last two decades and which remain unsolved by police, despite multi-million pound investigations and joint media witch hunts against anarchists in the city.
From the collective spaces and hangouts that were raided during Operation Adream the cops seized hundreds of copies of 325 #12 magazine, dozens of anarchist pamphlets, books, stickers, posters and flyers, laptops, mobile phones, printers, hard drives, cameras, radio frequency jammers, gps units, smoke-, noise- and flash charges, replica firearms and cash. In the evidence produced against me was numerous anarchist publications including 325 #12 magazine, which is about the fourth and fifth industrial revolution, the pamphlet “Incendiary dialogues” by Gustavo Rodríguez, Gabriel Pombo da Silva and Alfredo Cospito which is published by Black International Editions. Also the text “What is anarchism” by Alfredo Bonnano, Dark Nights newsletter, the small book “Anarchy, civil or subversive?” by 325 and Dark Matter publications, a flyer in solidarity with anarchist prisoners Alfredo Cospito and Nicola Gai, a flyer against the COVID-19 lockdowns called “Face the fear, fight the future” as well as many other texts and publications in solidarity with anarchist prisoners and revolutionary organisations such as the CCF, Conspiracy of Cells of Fire.
I was remanded to Wandsworth prison in London after appearing at Westminster Magistrates Court and held under anti-terrorist conditions. I was denied to make any phone call in the prison for ten days as well as a similar embargo on my mail. I was denied to see my lawyers for six weeks. 23.5 hour solitary confinement with sometimes up to 48 hours without being able to leave the cell for anything other than to collect a meal. No yard time for the first 3 weeks and then only allowed to go outside on the yard once a fortnight for 35 minutes. No gym, no library, no education, no activities. I was held in a dungeon like cell with no natural light and subjected to deafeningly loud construction noise as I was placed by the counter-terror unit next to a new section of the prison being built. My letters, phone calls and associations all subject to routine monitoring and censorship with constant obstruction to access for my lawyers, post and books. I did not receive the full case against me for many, many months.
Operation Adream is a montage, fitting together disparate, unconnected elements, typical of repressive operations in Southern Europe which has spread across the continent. This is now being deployed by the British police. Operation Adream seeks to present the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire as a continuation of the armed Marxist-Leninist revolutionary organisation November 17th. This is an important fantasy for the purposes of repression in this operation as November 17th is a proscribed group in UK. Most importantly, Operation Adream sought to present the diverse range of anarchist groups, publishing projects and prisoner support initiatives as an array of organisational hubs for the execution and glorification of terrorism.
The case was authorised by the Director of Public Prosecutions Max Hill QC. The investigation revealed at least the participation of Dutch and German cops, the hidden hand of the security services and an international dimension to the operation based on previous waves of repression in Spain, Italy and Greece was evident. During my interrogations, I was being asked a pre-written script of questions which , for instance, not even the detectives appeared to understand why I was being asked as the entire operation was a marionnette guided by others to achieve a political purpose. About that, I can only quote the murdered anarchist Bartholomew Vanzetti who remarked, “The higher of them, the more jackass.” It is certainly appropriate as on the 6th October 2021 at Bristol Crown Court I was found Not Guilty. However, I was condemned for the possession and supply of Class A and B narcotics: the psychedelic medicines LSD, DMT, psilocybin, MDMA and marijuana, as these were all seized from the collective spaces. I was sentenced to 3 years 9 months.
I am also fighting against a Serious Organised Crime Prevention Order which is demanded by the anti-terrorist unit and the prosecutors. The order would put me under a form of house arrest for up to 5 years when I finally get released with a punishment of up to 5 years if I breach the order. The order would control and monitor my daily movements, contact with others, residence, usage of money, devices, international travel and so on. It demands precise information be given to the cops of all my friends, contacts and loved ones and is simply a means to monitor and criminalise my friendships and living environments. My trial for that is scheduled no earlier than the 15th of January and the investigation against me continues as does Operation Adream which is aimed at the 325 collective.
I want to thank all those who have supported me. My heart is open and strong and I am determined. I send to you all a huge hug and a smile.
This is a transcript from the audio.
Soon more will follow on the Serious Organised Crime Prevention Order they want to impose on Toby, and the trial now set at the 11th of February.
Time to make some noise around Toby’s case and show some solidarity!!
You can find more info on Toby’s case on: https://darknights.noblogs.org/post/tag/toby-shone/.
Please translate and distribute in your own circles and publications.
Toby Shone A7645EP
19 Cambridge Road