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John Anthony Borell III was arrested in March 2012. He was sentenced to three years for hacking police sites. John wrote an amazing letter we would like to share. We hope these words will inspire you to respond to him (Mail to the Jail).

Why I Am Thankful For Prison.
With every minute that we live, life presents us with new obstacles and new challenges, a constant stream of new experiences, many of which, if not most, resulting in nothing but a fleeting memory. It’s the few moments and experiences, those which hold so much power as to define you as a person, which truly matter. It’s just as much the event as our receptiveness and perspective that makes this true.

I want to make it very clear, I HATE prison. It is a detest I could never put into words. In it being the most miserable and horrible time I can remember, I am still thankful for it. I realize how incredibly ridiculous this sounds, as when hearing this, the first thing one would ask themselves is “what could possibly instill a sense of gratitude in someone for time in prison?” That is what I wish to explain.

I recognize that prison is a punishment, much more than it is a deterrent. If it was an effective deterrent, none of us would be here. Its punishing you for actions which the law dictates as wrong. Whether they are or not is beside the point once you are in prison, as you are going to be here regardless. I definitely feel as though I am being punished, I think you must have something wrong with you if you don’t. The federal prison system is not about rehabilitation. With all of this in mind, life is about making the best of any situation, and I try to look at my daily life in prison with this in mind. So how does that even begin to equate to my being thankful?

It is no secret that I was using drugs, heroin and other opiates for the most part. I wasn’t just using them socially here and there, I have a problem with drugs. Time and time again my drug use hurt those around me and myself. Yet I ran right back to drugs every time. I was on a quick path to prison or death, I ended up in prison.

I remember the countless nights I would talk to Sarah, telling her how badly I wanted to quit, everything in me wished I could, but I just couldn’t. This may be the hardest thing to explain to someone who has never had a serious addiction. That is where I was when I was raided, on a downward spiral, leading to nowhere positive.

March 20, 2012, I quit drugs that day, I don’t think I will ever forget the date. When I was on pretrial, I was required to attend group meetings twice a week. They helped me stay clean, although it was a constant struggle, and still is. I took the power back that drugs had taken away from me.

So here I am, sitting on a plastic stool in a prison, eating a cheap, disgusting pack of tuna, writing this; and in this moment, being truly thankful. Even I find it a bit ridiculous, but I am. When I was free, I never would have just sat, even for five minutes, and thought about how I need to improve myself. Not how I could help someone else, but in all sense of it, focused only on what I need to do to better myself. I have a lot of issues I need to focus on, and for once I am doing so without hiding behind the numbness of the drugs to quell the pain I feel. I have been given a second chance to be a better me. A sober, confident, positive, and healthy me. I have been given a much needed break from my life to evaluate what I need to work on within myself. I would never have taken the time to reflect on my life if I was still out looking for my next fix.

I think Western culture plays a huge part in this constant need to be busy, be it the demand for productivity or just the thought that downtime is wasteful. This culture where we live in the future, always looking so far forward that we ignore the present, so busy doing things we never just stop to be, to just exist in the moment we are in and appreciate it, to recognize just how crazy it is to be alive at all, to exist.

A few days ago someone said to me “Your surroundings should not dictate your happiness.” I think this is what I need to focus on while I am here. This is my time to embrace a bit of selfishness and focus on improving me.

I truly want to use my life to help others, but how can I help others when I have not helped myself? I truly believe we should all set aside 30 minutes to an hour a day to do nothing but sit and reflect on what we can to do better ourselves, because not one of us is perfect. It just so happens I’ve been given some time away from everything to fix me. Of that time, I have about 11,000 hours left. I am more than thankful for that opportunity than most of you could begin to imagine. I needed a break to reflect on my life more than most.

Yesterday, someone on my unit, when talking to me, said “You either leave prison more negative or more positive.” I fully intend on the latter. A better person, not only for my wife, my friends, and my family, but for me.


As many of you know, #OpPenPal began as #OpValentine approximately one year ago, when a group of activists banded together to encourage the people of the interwebz to send love via snail mail to our imprisoned comrades for Valentine’s day. (Not to buy in to the corporate holiday, but to use it as an excuse to shed light on those who most need our love and support.) We were amazed at the enthusiastic response and decided to keep the project going year-round.

Through the past year we’ve seen friends arrested, convicted, and sentenced – but also some who had charges dropped, won cases and, when very lucky, have been freed. It’s been an incredible journey and we appreciate everyone who has joined us along the way.

We have great plans for expanding our prisoner support efforts in 2014 and we hope everyone reading this will continue to play an active role. In the meantime: the next month is dedicated to #OpValentine! Being a part of #OpValentine is easy. To find a prisoner (or multiple prisoners) to write to, simply take a look at our mailing list

13 people that are alleged to be aligned with the Anonymous collective were indicted on October 3, 2013, out of the Eastern District of Virginia. They are charged with conspiracy in connection with Operation Payback. One of the defendants, Dennis Owen Collins, has been charged previously, in connection with Paypal 14. The burden on him must be unimaginable. These people are going to need a lot of support, both moral and financial. We urge people to hold donations to freeanons.org until we can establish whether the defendants will set up funds for themselves. It is better to donate directly to their funds, if so. If any of the defendants or their supporters have questions on how to establish a fund, they may call us directly, and we will be happy to advise them. Once we see which funds are available, we will work with those people to promote them to the best of our ability. If you see a fund that needs promotion, know of a defendant in need, or can help in any capacity, please call or join us at irc.anonops.com #freeanons.

For some initial news on the case, see here. There is a link to the indictment, as well.

We want to thank all of the people who immediately contacted us and offered their support upon news of the indictment, some of whom are defendants in other cases, and who have seen their lives completely overturned by the U.S. government. Freeanons is constantly amazed at the generosity that is displayed toward us by donations, goodwill, and resources like Anonops IRC, @AnonymousVideo and My Anonstore. The support from Alec Empire, Shower With Goats, Vigilante, among other artists, has been invaluable. It has been two years since Freeanons’ inception. Thanks to all who have come forward, sometimes at great risk to themselves. Let’s do our best to provide support one more time for these people newly charged.

Letter writing campaign of the Anonymous Solidarity Network
>> download document here

On September 18th of 2013, Google targeted an Anonymous affiliate and an extension of the Anonymous Solidarity Network. AnonymousFrancophone, the product of @AnonymousVideo and FreeAnons, was purged from YouTube. The account was terminated; The followers, comments and content were all removed. Not only removed but removed without explanation except for that which was posted to our YouTube channel; “This account has been terminated due to repeated or severe violations of our Community Guidelines and / or claims of copyright infringement.”

As a collective we have grown accustom to and weary from such blatant censorship but never is it without regret or remorse. We have been censored but we will not be silenced! We are FreeAnons and we will freely express ourselves and share our message. Take away our YouTube channels, our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages and the people will find our message engraved in the walls of prisons, on the steps of court houses and in the form of fliers at every rest stop on every highway and interstate we have ever traveled and every rally we have ever attended.

It will take more than a snitch to sink our ships and it will take more than the loss of a YouTube channel to deter our course. Our videos are mirrored by the dozen on YouTube. Our presence on the web is not established but deeply rooted. The Anonymous Solidarity Network will perish when Anonymous perishes, Anonymous will perish when the Internet perishes and the Internet will never perish! We are not a fan of Feds but we like to think that they can at least count and trust that they will do the math themselves.

Our message can be found still on YouTube, on private domains and on all social media but officially we have relocated our media efforts to Vimeo. AnonymousVideo, an Anonymous Solidarity Network affiliate, can be found at its new home http://vimeo.com/channels/freeanons. When Vimeo falls we will relocate to Google Video and when Google again betrays us we will relocate to LiveLeak and when LiveLeak is consumed by government we will create our own media platform. They have taken from us our message but they will never take our voice.

Our message is preserved by video, letter, cry, poem and song. Our videos are viral. Our letters are written to the imprisoned with absolute absence of fear. Our cries penetrate the walls confining our comrades. Our creed will live and is a poem that will forever be repeated by the oppressed. Together, we and those that stand with us will sing, “Bella ciao!” We sing and that we sing commemorates our cause and carries our message further than written word or any video published to YouTube ever could.

There continues to be arrests. Our support effort does little to deter the state’s prosecution of our comrades. Our words are marked by frustration. Our rhetoric is arrogant but no more arrogant than the state’s prosecution of our brothers and sisters. What is there to say in the face of such blatant injustice? What left is there for us to say to rally the strength even within ourselves to continue on such an unfortunate voyage? The Anonymous creed?

No. We are not Anonymous. We are the Anonymous Solidarity Network and we have our own creed. “We will not forgive and we will not forget until every Anon is free!” Even this is not enough. We set sail towards troubled waters and we lose each other and ourselves in the storm. Fear disturbs our rest and doubt disrupts our direction like fog across a sea. We look towards our compass.

Our prosecuted friends and family and the ideas for which they are being prosecuted for, this is our compass. No matter the greatness of our endeavor. No matter the depth of our despair. No matter the length of our struggle. No matter whether we must stand alone. We will fight! We will see this storm through to its end and we will greet the peaceful skies as an ally. We will never forget the many Anons prosecuted and imprisoned.

We have hoisted our flags to half mast. The cause of prosecuted Anons steers our ships as a compass through an unforgiving and unfortunate sea. We may lose faith in ourselves and in each other but we will never lose faith in this cause. If it is fear that disturbs our rest than it is fear that carries us through the many sleepless nights. If it is doubt that disrupts our direction than it is doubt that returns us to our true course. We are FreeAnons. Expect us.