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From "Justice for Mark Barnsley" <barnsleycampaign@hotmail.com>
Date Fri, 24 Jan 2003 03:22:36 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E


It?s been a while since our last bulletin and many of you may be wondering 
what?s been happening with the campaign and Mark since his release from 
prison last June. Here?s a brief rundown of what we?ve been up to over the 
past few months.

Whilst on the legal front the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) are 
still investigating Mark?s case, we?ve been trying to build a better public 
profile for the case/campaign. In some ways this task is made easier now 
that Mark is no longer in prison. In other ways it seems more difficult to 
attract lasting support for the same reason.

Back in August last year we held our first big campaign meeting/social to 
celebrate Mark?s release from prison and to discuss the future of the 
campaign. Whether it was due to the holidays, short notice etc.. we were 
disappointed with the turnout, which could have been much better. Thanks to 
those who did attend from around the country, one of the ideas we discussed 
was a country-wide speaking tour in which Mark could talk about his case, 
the campaign, prison struggles and the need for effective prisoner support. 
Unfortunately since Mark is confined to the U.K. he won?t be able to take up 
requests to speak abroad for the time being. Since his release from prison, 
Mark has already given talks at several meetings around the country with a 
good response so far and this has resulted in the setting up of several new 
prisoner support initiatives, which is certainly encouraging. Places he?s 
spoken at so far include: The anarchist Bookfair in London, Brighton, South 
Yorkshire and several venues in Leeds. These talks have either been alone, 
accompanied by a campaign stall or as part of larger events with several 
speakers. Anyone who?s read Mark?s articles or listened to him speaking will 
know that he does it with confidence and clarity. After spending 8 years of 
unjust imprisonment it?s not surprising he knows his subject inside out.

Unfortunately, in November last year, Mark broke his leg badly, making 
travel almost impossible. We are therefore hoping that the speaking tour can 
go ahead in May/June this year. For it to be successful though we need you 
to help organise events in towns and cities around the country. It needn?t 
require too much work but at least a suitable venue, publicity (so that 
people know the talk is taking place) and possibly help with travel costs. 
If you?d like to organise such an event, then please contact the campaign or 
Mark directly as soon as possible. We will keep you all informed about any 
speaking dates coming up in due course. Mark will hopefully be speaking at 
the upcoming Campaign Against Prison Slavery conference on Saturday 1st of 
February in Leeds (see below for details).

As well as speaking at events, Mark has attended several campaign socials so 
that he can meet supporters. A free punk magazine called ?Reasons To 
Believe? also interviewed Mark just after one such social in Leeds. Anyone 
wanting a copy of the interview should contact the campaign. Whilst fund 
raising efforts have been patchy recently, the campaign provided the Workers 
Beer Company with volunteer servers at last years Glastonbury and Leeds 
festivals. We aim to continue this fund raising work in the coming year. At 
Leeds Festival, Mark had a nice surprise when he met up with a group of 
campaign supporters on holiday from Malta. Later in the year we raised funds 
by doing bar work at A-Spire; a temporary squatted social/activist centre in 
Leeds. As well as Mark?s talk at the anarchist Bookfair in London, the 
campaign ran a busy stall all day with help from supporters in London and 
around the country. At a later date, supporters in Reading held a stall in 
the town centre and handed out leaflets to passers-by.

The campaign has often shown active solidarity with other efforts against 
injustice. In September last year when we heard of 4 prisoners at Frankland 
Prison taking a dignified stand against the inhuman conditions and 
unjustified use of isolation there, we helped organise support which 
culminated in a noise demo outside the prison and the authorities backing 
down. It just goes to show that solidarity is our best defence and not just 
a nice slogan.

Saturday 1st February - Campaign Against Prison Slavery Conferance
12 noon - Carpe Diem Pub, Calverley Street, Leeds (opposite Millenium 
For more info. tel: 07944 522001
or e-mail: againstprisonslavery@mail.com

May/June - Mark Barnsley Speaking Tour - Contact the campaign to help and 
organise an event in your town/city.

And from Mark....
It?s now six months since the gates of Whitemoor Prison opened and spat me 
back out onto the streets again. Six months that in many ways have not been 
easy. Having succeeded in making me homeless even prior to my release, the 
harassment I have received from the State has been relentless. After I 
eventually found somewhere to live in Sheffield, the Police again intervened 
to make me homeless once more. At one stage I was literally living out of a 
rucksack, with the constant threat of reimprisonment hanging over my head. I 
was eventually forced to abandon my plans to live close to my children in 
South Yorkshire, and moved to Leeds. Even after I had again found somewhere 
to live, the Probation Services took nearly 2 months to ?approve? the 
address. It was only recently that I spent my first night in over eight 
years in my own bed.

My homelessness has meant that I have not been able to do any sort of work, 
on my case or otherwise. I have not had access to my legal papers or to my 
few possessions. I have not even been able to answer mail sent to me prior 
to my release, and of course it has been very stressful.

Inevitably, 8 years in high security prisons, 2 years in solitary, beatings, 
bad food, and brutalisation, has caused me health problems, and I have not 
yet managed to regain the fitness I once took for granted. Most seriously a 
pronation problem caused by 8 years of walking on hard flat prison exercise 
yards recently caused my tibia to snap in two. This meant a week in 
hospital, an operation to insert a steel rod inside my shin, and it has left 
me on crutches and housebound. For an ex-prisoner it is a cruelly ironic 
situation. I am unable to decorate my new flat, unable to get to see my 
children, and I still spend much of my time alone and locked behind my door. 
Hopefully this explains why many of you have not heard from me recently, for 
which I apologise sincerely. I?m afraid I was not even able to get out to 
buy Xmas cards.

Of course, despite the State harassment and the ongoing effects of 8 years 
wrongful imprisonment I have still had some great times in the past 6 
months. I have really enjoyed meeting some of the people who wrote to me and 
supported me while I was locked away, and many have become close personal 
friends. Countless times I have been unable to stop myself grinning like a 
Cheshire Cat at the thought of how much better than prison even the most 
?ordinary? situations are, just to be close to my friends and comrades, and 
not to have some turn-key telling me to get behind my door every hour or so 
(at best). Even the most simple things give me so much pleasure.

I had hoped to speak at more meetings around the country, in addition to 
those I?ve already spoken at. My current disability prevents a speaking 
tour, but I hope that in the Spring, supporters around the country will do 
their best to organise campaign meetings. I am also happy to speak on any 
prison-related issue.

There is still no word from the Criminal Cases Review Commission, but as 
I?ve previously said, it?s important to keep the campaign alive, to keep 
pressure on the establishment and on the media, so that what?s happened to 
me cannot simply be swept under the carpet. We still need funds to pay for 
legal reports and expenses, and we still need the sort of profile the media 
simply can?t ignore.

Unfortunately, there seems to have already been a tailing-off of interest in 
my case now that I?m no longer incarcerated. It may be the case that I?m no 
longer in prison, but I still have the threat of reimprisonment hanging over 
me, my movements are restricted, and I?m still facing harassment.
I won?t be the last person that gets fitted-up, so I hope it?s important to 
some people that the State aren?t simply allowed to get away with what 
they?ve done to me. If you want to help, there?s plenty to be done.

When I can walk again, I hope to continue meeting as many of you as 
possible, and continue to be a thorn in the side of the powerful.  Thanks to 
those who have gone out of their way to introduce themselves to me, who have 
continued to write and take an interest, and to those whose acts of kindness 
and friendship have helped to make my post-prison life easier than it might 
have been. The struggle continues!

With love and respect to you all.

Just to clarify things....
In a recent issue of the paper ?Class War?, an editorial refers to the ?1 in 
12 Club? in Bradford charging the Justice for Mark Barnsley campaign £30 for 
the use of a room at the club. This claim is completely incorrect. A Justice 
for Mark Barnsley meeting and social was held at the 1 in 12 Club, but no 
charge was made for it, and we are grateful to the club for offering us 
space at short notice, and to the bar staff who helped out on the day. We 
have been assured that a correction will be made in the next issue of Class 
War. Thank you to both the 1 in 12 and Class War for their ongoing support 
of the campaign.

Prison Survival - Prisoner Support
This is a new 32 page booklet written by a broad range of political 
activists in Britain. It has two chapters: ?Experiences of Imprisonment? and 
?Prisoner Solidarity?. Drawn from recent personal experience, the articles 
are packed full of useful practical advice from both sides of the prison 
walls. The pamphlet also contains a list of useful contacts/prisoner support 
groups. A must read for anyone involved in practical radical politics but 
also very useful to anyone else interested in supporting prisoners or facing 
imprisonment. Any ?profits? from this pamphlet go to the Justice for Mark 
Barnsley campaign. The pamphlet costs £1 ordered from JfMB (see address 
(cheques/postal orders payable to ?Justice for Mark Barnsley?).

CONTACT MARK AT: Mark Barnsley c/o JfMB, PO Box 381, Huddersfield, HD1 3XX, 
England. markbarnsley@mail.com   Tel. 07944 522001

CONTACT THE CAMPAIGN AT: Justice for Mark Barnsley - PO Box 381, 
Huddersfield, HD13XX, England.  barnsleycampaign@hotmail.com

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