"I'm sure the system was hopeful that I would not survive my term of life imprisonment, and indeed inflicted such treatment on me over the years that survival was unlikely. I'm sure too that it's intention now is to prevent my release for as long as possible; Few lifers are released unbroken or at least severely diminished in terms of their ability to ever again defy the system."
In the past the weapons John has faced are the boots and fists of prison guards, years of isolation, constant transfers, treatment often amounting to torture. Now, as John should be preparing for release, he faces the lies and calumnies of a right-wing prison social-worker. This individual, Matt Stillman is attempting to block John's release by highlighting his contact with the Anarchist Black Cross, and vilifying it as a terrorist organisation. In an official report, dated 12th March 2007, Stillman states:
"Bowden has written for a self-proclaimed anarchist website called ABC Brighton, and says he supports many of their ideals and actions. A review of this website brings into question the nature of this group. The members of this group appear to be primarily eco-terrorists or para-military members involved in what they see as battles against political systems and principles.
"In a previous report from HMP Edinburgh it was reported that Bowden had received visits from people involved in terrorism."
This statement is quite clearly not only an attack on John Bowden, but a vicious smear, without any foundation whatsoever against a legitimate prisoner support organisation. To characterise the ABC as "para-military" or "eco-terrorist" is quite simply the basest of lies, and something that needs to be strongly challenged. The visit Stillman refers to was a visit to John by two members of Brighton ABC. John Bowden has been supported by the ABC for many years, and we will continue to support him to the best of our ability.
The Parole Board will sit on John's case in just two week's time. Therefore, please write urgently to:
Matt Stillman, H M Prison Castle Huntly, Longforgan, Dundee, DD2 5HL, Scotland.
Fax (FAO Matt Stillman): 01382 360510
The Parole Board for England and Wales, Grenadier House, 99-105 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2DD, England.
Fax - 020 7217 0118
You can e-mail the Chairman of the Parole Board, Duncan Nichol at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Send letters/cards of support to John Bowden at the following address (if possible please enclose a few stamps):
John Bowden, 6729, H M Prison Castle Huntly, Longforgan, Dundee, DD2 5HL, Scotland.
"For having stood up to and resisted unlawful and inhuman treatment in prison, and retained some basic human integrity and humanity in the process, I probably shall now remain imprisoned far beyond what even a reactionary judge deemed an appropriate period of time all those years ago. Hell will freeze over, however, before I surrender that part of myself that had the courage and integrity to fight back and resist when resistance often seemed futile."
John Bowden (from Tear Down The Walls, available from Leeds ABC.)
Please circulate as widely as possible.
LEEDS ABC, PO BOX 53, LEEDS, LS8 4WP. ENGLAND.
Down with the prison walls!