21/07/2017

From Nationalist to Terrorist

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Simon Sheppard

By arrangement with my solicitor I surrendered myself to York police headquarters at 3pm on Friday afternoon to be immediately arrested. I expected to be out after a few hours or at worst the next morning. I didn't know what they wanted me for but knew I hadn't killed anyone or robbed any banks recently.

The last five days I had spent holed up in my flat, feeling very ill, only sleeping and reading Agatha Christie and Lee Child novels. Today was Saturday (15 July 2017; I am writing this in a cell in Harrogate) and the police had first been round the previous Sunday, battering frantically on the door. Given their previous performances, forcibly dragging me off for giving Christmas cards etc., I didn't respond. I was unwell, and the police visit caused an immediate and severe deterioration in my health. In short, my nerves were shot.

At last I learned what it was they wanted me for -- an alleged verbal altercation with a repairman servicing the second home the local council has lavished on an African. (This is an expression of Vicarious Generosity.*) For this I learned they were searching my flat, so the interview didn't take place until late at night. The inventions in the African's statement were quite fantastic -- I had been unable to stop myself laughing when they were read out. Though I should say nothing except "No comment," I did make a few incidental remarks for which I was later mildly rebuked. Things were to become more serious later on. I was still hopeful of being released on police bail, even after midnight had passed and an expensive taxi ride would be involved.

I was brought out of my cell to the front desk again. My solicitor was standing there, a deep-voiced Celt, and I asked him if he'd been home and come back. He said he had. Then before the desk I was arrested a second time "on being reasonably suspected of being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism." By now it was about 2am.

Another interview shortly followed and I was told that the Army was at my flat. I had to laugh. A question which received another "No comment" reply indicated that they were contemplating evacuating my block of four flats. I said this was absurd and "totally over the top" which if they had any sense would have told them then that they were barking up the wrong tree.

But they have no sense. One thing I was struck by was the calibre of many of the officers. Many of the males screamed "cuck" and the women seemed particularly clueless, thorough believers that The Official Creed Is The One True Way. An interview with a youngish female detective ended with her repeatedly asking me "Are you looking for a boyfriend?" The British police force seems to have degenerated into a militarised organisation of social justice warriors.

Only one I recall, somewhat "old school," had a reasonably sane outlook and a healthy sense of humour. In fact the sanest people in the police stations seemed to be the Detention Officers, not actual police officers but halfway between police and civilian.

The fuss they were making now over "extremist literature" concerned my archives, which have hardly changed over the last ten years. In other words, already poured over by police during multiple raids. Much of it had been stored by the police themselves, since they had been unable to return it to me until my release from prison in 2010 (I think). There was the electronic test equipment, mainly residue from my last (failed) research project but used now for general purposes. Plus, probably most notably, the chemicals I had for my current research, which is looking very promising. These chemicals are all innocuous, and obtained through normal channels; the biggest portion is surfactants (detergents in essence).

What a palaver! What utter, irrational over-reaction to a bench of test gear and some chemicals. Away from the bench I have more equipment but it is not the stuff of IED factories. All the containers are labelled (an essential rule to follow) and the contents, as stated, innocuous.

After that second arrest I was taken back to a different cell, but the cell door wasn't closed, instead an officer with an easy grin lingered at the door. Perhaps after so many "No comments" previously I was talkative, and we went through many subjects, starting with prosopagnosia (which he said he also suffered from) ending up with Wilson's sociobiology and the parallels between ants and man. Then a little digression on ant parasites (including Monomorium santschii) but I said, we won't discuss human parasites "since we're in a police station."

Shortly I was told I was being moved to Harrogate, where "serious offences" were dealt with, and a dark drive in the back of a police van ensued. The destination was a modern, almost American-style cell complex, which seemed practically deserted. I don't remember being aware of any other prisoner.
My new cell was curiously lacking in the normal, minimal facilities. Moreover the door was never closed: two Detention Officers sat at a table in the corridor, continuously observing me. They were also taking notes, so I kept them pretty busy with assorted "mad scientist lectures." I learned that if I wanted to use the lavatory I had to be observed and was not allowed to wash my hands in case I needed to be given a forensic examination.

Eventually my animation was exhausted and I fell asleep under a quilted blanket, shielding me from the constant bright light, and overseen at all times by at least one observer through the open door.
I have always found waking up not knowing where you are to be one of the most mystical experiences. However when you awake to realise you're in a cell again that sense of enchantment dissipates very rapidly. Waking this time it was evident the shift had changed and my observer was a muscular rugby player, and an educated chap. I began to feel a bit sorry for these Detention Officers, because I was certainly speaking faster than they could write. I hope I supplemented his education for the better. I told him about the notion of the "Great White Defendant" into which category I undoubtedly presently belonged.

I lost all sense of time of day; I could have practically all the tea and microwave meals I wanted, but the absence of set meal times meant one lost track. A few hours later some decision was made higher up and I was allowed to have a shower and moved to a new cell. The door was now closed.

More interviews followed, mostly "No comment" but I occasionally lapsed and took the bait the interviewing detectives laid out for me, much to my lawyer's frustration. During one of our private meetings I confessed, "I'm crap, I'm not a criminal but a scientist." I should have added, a rather highly strung one. The stupidest thing I did, making me crumple inwardly at my sheer foolishness, was to leave the notes I had scribbled for a future account lying in my cell instead of giving them straight to my lawyer. During the penultimate interview portions of this very text were quoted back to me. I was so embarrassed at myself: it was one of those "wishing the ground would open up beneath you" moments.

After that it was decided to give the police the statement we had prepared earlier in the day. Essentially it denied any involvement in terrorism and gave a brief summary of the nature of my work. This to account for why I had equipment and chemicals. It was decided to present the police with the prepared statement and strictly "No comment" any other questions. That is exactly what transpired, except for a few additional details which collaborated what I said in the statement.

All of the police treated me decently, and I have little complaint about that, the point being that they should not be treating me at all. The title of my next article, not yet published, is 'Mass Madness' and the lunacy imposed from above is beyond reason or reasonableness. Sane reactions are criminalised.
Some hours later I was released, eventually getting home in the early hours of Sunday morning to a flat denuded of computers and data storage devices. I shortly learned that twelve flats had been evacuated about 3am on Saturday morning, with several doors being broken down to gain access. We don't have the "alphabet soup" in Britain but the reader can imagine its equivalent. The smell which probably originally set off some snowflake's alarm was the isopropyl alcohol I use for cleaning glassware.

I have to answer police bail on 3 August for matters not charged as yet and attend York Magistrates Court on 17 August for something for which I have been charged. I am alleged to have gone into the local Council office, alluded to fly-tipping and complained about the Council dumping people. My plan, unless convinced otherwise, is to answer to the charges "This court is in a state of treason and I decline to enter a plea." At this point a plea of "Not guilty" will be entered on my behalf, and I'll let the lawyers slug it out. They are all too far gone to see reason and their crimes are infinitely more grave than anything I am accused of.

I am now trying to rest and recuperate from the stresses of the last few days.




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