News, events and important upcoming dates related to the case.
28th March 2014: 9pm, solidarity info night at Rewild di Roma, in Rome, Italy / Venerdi, 28 Marzo 2014, Ore 21, Rewild di Roma - sostenere il Blackmail3.
5th March 2014: The trial continued with Debbie giving evidence.
5th March 2014: Solidarity photo from No Harlan Group Gannat, France. Read their solidarity statement too:
4th March 2014: During court today, the prosecution and defence finished their cases by discussing some of the phone evidence and some further admissions. Debbie’s cross examination then began, with her being questioned about the case.
4th March 2014: Solidarity photo from Antispe Dresden & die tierbefreier e.V. Take a look at their solidarity statement too:
3rd March 2014: Debbie’s trial resumed for the second week by running through some more admissions. The defence then spent a while questioning police about the circumstances surrounding Debbie’s raid and arrest. They were asked why they forcefully broke into the house belonging to the owners of the property that Debbie rented. The police were also asked why they sent 2 male officers into Debbie’s bedroom, before she was allowed to dress herself. A query was raised about the fact that 25 officers were present (all to arrest Debbie) and also why only 1 of them was female, despite knowing that their ‘suspect’ was female. The defence highlighted how it could feel for a female to suddenly and without warning, have 24 (plain clothed – so not immediately identifiable) policemen force entry into her house during the night, shouting and acting aggressively. After gaining entry, the police didn’t explain why they were there or arrest Debbie for some time. They eventually directed her to sit down by her computer and then produced a search warrant. Debbie reached for her glasses so that she could read the document and also switched off her computer (at this point she was not under arrest). The prosecution are now alleging that she turned off the computer to hide evidence, which the defence have argued. Following the police questioning, the focus returned to some of the foreign evidence. The defence argued that Debbie was not involved in any of the alleged criminal activity and was in the UK at the time.
28th February 2014: The prosecution finished the first week of the trial by covering the admissions; including their history of the campaign against HLS and the previous convictions of some activists who were involved in it. The prosecution also ran through the schedule of events in the Blackmail3 case and looked at some of the evidence against the defendants. It was striking how little related to Debbie, with a lot of material referring to activists who were involved in the campaign many years ago. A police Forensic Computer Analyst stated that there had been about 40 thousand pages of evidence throughout criminal cases (relating to the campaign against HLS) over the past decade, but of that, only a few appear to mention Debbie. NDEU (National Domestic Extremism Unit) police officers Ian Caswell (now retired) and Christopher Cowley were called to give evidence. Questioning by the defence confirmed that both officers frequently did surveillance of peaceful demonstrations – photographic and taking details of those present (including recording vehicle number plates) and logging when people entered or left private events. More info on the routine surveillance of lawful protest activities can be found on the Fitwatch website. The prosecution is expected to finish their case by next Wednesday, but the trial will likely continue into late March.
27th February 2014: For several hours people protested in front of the British Consulate in Geneva, in solidarity with the 'Blackmail3'. We think that solidarity with those who are affected by repression because of their determination to take part in the struggle for animal and earth liberation, should be considered an integral part of those struggles. We hope that more and more people are willing to take to the streets to demonstrate solidarity and support, not only with Debbie, Sven and Natasha, but with all those who have to deal with State repression, and don't just ignore it and look the other way. Solidarity is our best weapon, let's use it! / Giovedi 27 Febbraio 2014– Per ore diverse persone hanno protestato davanti al Consolato Generale Britannico in solidarietà con gli /le attivisti /e del caso 'Blackmail 3'. Pensiamo che la solidarietà con chi viene colpito /a dalla repressione a causa della propria determinazione nel prendere parte alle lotte di liberazione animale e della terra vada considerata considerata parte integrante di ogni percorso di lotta. Ci auguriamo che sempre più persone abbiano voglia di scendere in strada per dimostrare vicinanza e supporto non solo con Debbie, Sven e Natasha, ma con tutti /e coloro che devono fare I conti con la repressione di Stato per aver deciso di non abbassare la testa e volgere lo sguardo altrove. La solidarietà resta la nostra migliore arma, usiamola! Per maggiori informazioni:
27th February 2014: In court both Andrew Jackson (AJ) and James Adams (JA) gave evidence. The defence questioned AJ about many of the scandals, cruelty and corruption that HLS and Novartis have been responsible for, but as became a pattern with him, he seemed unable to remember anything and somehow oblivious to any of the bad press his company has received. It transpired that he had lied on one of his witness statements by claiming JA was a member of staff, despite knowing he was an undercover police officer. AJ admitted that the police had increasing involvement and were guiding the communication allegedly sent from Novartis to SHAC. It was stated that senior police staff had advised AJ to lie about JA’s identity in his statements, seemingly with the intention of misleading the court throughout the Blackmail3 trial(s). JA later gave evidence himself, using his false identity and hidden behind a screen to shield him from public view. A start was then made on looking at the computer evidence being used in the case. Anonymous threatening emails had been sent to Novartis using the alias ‘George Orwell’. The prosecution argued that Debbie is linked to George Orwell because she was found to have a copy of ‘1984’ (book written by George Orwell) on her hard drive, has quoted George Orwell in the past and also received (unsolicited) messages to email lists in which someone else had quoted him. The defence provided documentation revealing that ‘George Orwell’ is in fact a default alias of the email software used to send the anonymous emails. They also argued that Debbie has used quotes from many well known people and is far from having any obsession with George Orwell, as the prosecution are trying to claim. This was apparently recognised by the Judge, who said “she doesn’t even have ‘Animal Farm’!”.
26th February 2014: The majority of court time today was spent listening to secret police recordings from 2009, of meetings between activists and Novartis, who were a top customer of HLS. The Novartis staff member present was Head of Security Andrew Jackson (AJ), revealed in court to have previously worked for the UK Government as a ‘spook’. Along with him was a man claiming to be Corporate Security and Head of Special Projects for Novartis, who was actually an undercover law enforcement officer, using the fake name ‘James Adams’ (JA). The activists were deceived about his identity and the police involvement. Both of them were searched by Novartis’ security before the meetings and AJ and JA repeatedly emphasised that the meetings must be confidential and not recorded, falsely claiming that they were not recording the meetings themselves. The activists were tricked into attending the meetings in unsuccessful attempts to link them to criminal activity, with Novartis and the police lying to them and misleading them throughout the process.
26th February 2014: Solidarity photo from South Florida Smash HLS. Nine activists from Smash HLS are also facing charges related to campaigning against vivisection. Please support them just as strongly as you have been supporting the Blackmail3. International solidarity is our strongest weapon against repression:
25th February 2014: Began working through evidence footage at court today, before the trial adjourned for the afternoon due to a power cut.
24th February 2014: Debbie's trial began today. The jury was sworn in and introduced to the case. They then heard the prosecution's opening arguments. Cross examination of witness statements will begin tomorrow.
23rd February 2014: 2pm, the Berlin Animal Liberation Action group (BerTA) are holding a soli-brunch with vegan food in aid of the Blackmail3, at Schreina47 / Schreinerstr. 47 / Fhain. More information / Wann: 23. februar, ab: 14:00 uhr, wo: Schreina47/ Schreinerstr. 47/ Fhain - Solinachmittag der Berliner Tierbefreiungsaktion (BerTA). Wie jeden letzten Sonntag im Monat seid ihr herzlich dazu eingeladen, mit der BerTA in gemütlicher Runde unsere vielen selbst mitgebrachten veganen Leckereien zu verputzen. Von herzhaft bis süß wird alles mit dabei sein. Wenn ihr Lust habt, könnt ihr gerne auch etwas mitbringen. Wenn nicht, ist trotzdem genug für alle da. Der Soli geht dieses Mal an die Blackmail3. Mehr information.
21st February 2014: 2pm, solidarity demo at the UK Consulate in Marseille, France / vendredi 21 février 2014 à 14H - MARSEILLE - Devant le consulat du Royaume-Uni - 24 avenue du Prado (métro Castellane). Soutien Francophone au Blackmail3 - Rassemblement de soutien aux inculpéEs - Contre l’expérimentation animale et la répression de l’Etat:
21st February 2014: 5pm, solidarity demo at the UK Consulate in Genoa, Italy / Venerdi 21 Febbraio - h 17 - PRESIDIO SOLIDALE con i/le BLACKMAIL 3 davanti al CONSOLATO GENERALE BRITANNICO pza Giuseppe Verdi 6 ( davanti staz. Ge Brignole, angolo tra via de Amicis e Via San Vincenzo):
20th February 2014: More legal arguments took place in court this afternoon. Debbie is due back in court on Monday, with her trial finally expected to begin next week.
20th February 2014: Solidarity demos in London - "Today in an act of solidarity with Debbie, one of the most dedicated and loyal activist's we've ever known, we took the anti vivisection message to the government and the pharmaceutical industry in central London. Both have their fair share of blame for animal torture and the repression of peaceful activists. First off was the MHRA - Medical and Healthcare Product Regulatory Agency who are responsible for breeding and experimenting on monkeys, whilst at the same time being responsible for regulating drugs trials. Then we went to the offices of the ABPI - Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry who are a lobby group for all the major drugs companies. Their desperate attempts to brainwash people into believing animal experiments are moral/necessary/reliable, involves providing resource material for kids as young as 5 years old. They lobby politicians, the government, academia, patient groups etc. More solidarity demonstrations are planned in the coming weeks so if you want to get involved please get in touch!"
18th February 2014: Following more legal arguments, court has been adjourned until Thursday afternoon, after which it will be adjourned again until Monday.
18th February 2014: Our pgp key has been updated.
17th February 2014: Debbie's trial reconvened at Winchester Crown Court. In an interesting development, the defence revealed that the'Novartis executive' who campaigners previously dealt with, was in fact an undercover policeman, working under the alias 'James Adams'. The prosecution were pushing for another adjournment, but the defence put forward their argument for the trial to continue as planned. The judge heard from both sides and called for time to deliberate, with court adjourned until 10.30am tomorrow.
16th February 2014: "Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield sabs stand in solidarity with the Blackmail3 and all activists criminalised by the state for challenging animal abuse":
16th February 2014: Call for solidarity published by DIY Conspiracy.
16th February 2014: Solidarity photo sent in from Sofia, Bulgaria:
15th February 2014: Activists from different parts of northern Italy took part in a protest against Air France - KLM that the group 'La Lepre' organized in front of the BIT ( Italian Tourism Fair), in Milan. The demo was held in solidarity with the Blackmail3:
12th February 2014: Trial adjourned until Monday 17th February.
12th February 2014: Debbie's trial begins at Winchester Crown Court. Expected to last about 4 weeks.
12th February 2014: Rally in support of the Blackmail 3 held in Toulouse, France on the first day of Debbie's trial:
11th February 2014: "Resilience to Repression: Learning from the repression of the animal liberation movement" info night held in Bristol, with info on the Blackmail3. Here's a solidarity photo taken during the event:
11th February 2014: Even more solidarity statements added to the support page! Including this brilliant photo from The Bunny Alliance:
10th February 2014: Because We Must publish an interview with Debbie.
10th February 2014: Please contact us if you know Debbie and would like to attend court to support her during the trial.
9th February 2014: Solidarity statements coming in thick and fast! There's still time for groups to write one before Debbie's trial starts!
1st February 2014: Benefit gig in Bristol raises £235 for the support group.
28th January 2014: Clothes swap in Bristol to raise funds for the Blackmail3 support group.
24th January 2014: French support page launched on Facebook: "Soutien au Blackmail3".
23rd January 2014: "Watch my S.H.A.C" article about the case and repression published by SchNEWS.
18th January 2014: Support the Blackmail3 twitter account launched, follow us here.
14th January 2014: "Solidarität mit den Blackmail 3" article about the case published on German Indymedia.
7th January 2014: "Supportiamo le/gli attiviste/i del caso BLACKMAIL3" Italian article published about the case.
2nd January 2014: Gofundme.com account set up to raise money to help Debbie and her support group travel to court - please donate!
19th March 2013: The fourth person is told their charges have been dropped.
21st September 2012: A fourth person is raided and arrested in the UK.
11 September 2012: Extradition to the UK can't proceed yet, so both defendants released on bail again.
3 September 2012: The 2 defendants in Holland arrested a second time, with the intention of extraditing them to the UK.
12 JULY 2012: The 2 defendants in Holland are released from jail, also with bail conditions.
7 JULY 2012: UK defendant released with strict bail conditions.
6 JULY 2012: Raids and arrests in London, UK and Amsterdam, Holland. 3 people arrested and charged with conspiracy to blackmail HLS. The person in the UK is accused of committing this between 2001-2011 and the 2 people in Holland between November 2008-December 2010.