Eco-anarchists Billy, Silvia and Costa are on trial again 23 April 2015 (Italy)

Translated by act for freedom now


Five years have passed since we were arrested in Switzerland when police at a checkpoint on the Albis pass, Canton of Zurich, found explosives, propane gas canisters, petrol cans and several copies of a claim by Switzerland Earth Liberation Front in the car we were in. The target of the proposed attack was the Binning and Rohrer Nanotechnology Centre, a structure that was under construction at the time, property of IBM in collaboration with ETH, the Federal Polytechnic of Zurich.

The trial took place a year and a half later where we were accused of: preparing deliberate arson; concealing and transporting explosive material; unauthorized trade (importation) of explosives. Federal prosecutor Hansjörg Stadler demanded sentences of 3 years and 4 to 8 months, broadly accepted by federal judge Walter Wütrich. The court confirmed all the charges, except that of illicit traffic (importation) of explosives, a charge we were cleared of.

Parallel to this, the Public Prosecutor of Turin had begun a thorough investigation of the explosive cartridges that the Swiss authorities had found on us to find out where the material had come from. When the investigation was completed, prosecutor Enrico Arnaldi Di Balme issued three more charges against us: terrorist activity involving lethal and explosive devices, possession and transport of explosives in the public space and receiving stolen goods (explosives), all charges aggravated with ‘terrorist intent’.

In these last 5 years our analysis of the present has been reconfirmed, and consequently our anarchist and environmentalist beliefs have simply strengthened. Nano-biotechnologies are the latest path beaten by the techno-industrial capitalist system in the plunder and devastation of the Earth. These paths, like all the previous ones (think of the Industrial Age), are presenting as miracles what we can easily imagine are destined to turn into nightmares. These technologies are born from the new vision of the world of the computer era that has substituted the mechanistic one of levers and gears with a mathematical one of information bits where the whole of reality must fit into one algorithm. This new vision has now taken root as it is more suited to the needs of the present system. In asserting itself it has opened up hitherto undreamed possibilities for science to carry out what the moment and self-cannibalism of the system are urgently pressing it to do: appropriate everything in the universe and break it down into its smallest, infinitesimal components, into ‘bits’.

In other words, to achieve some universal basic unit with which scientists can reduce the whole of the existent to a level of interchangeability and equivalence so that through the engineering of this new (inaccessible up until now) raw material it will be able to make anything in the universe usable for the needs of power. These technologies are therefore the pillars upon which the system will be able to re-arrange the processes of production and supply that are vital to its growth, a growth to infinity on a planet that has already been plundered beyond the limits of its possibilities. And, as in the case of GMOs [Genetically Modified Organisms], the convergence of the sciences is the latest promise of a development trend that is supposed to tackle the ecological crisis that ecocidal progress itself has taken us to.

As we have written elsewhere, the Binning and Rohrer Nanotechnology Centre was rendered operative and inaugurated a few months before our trial in Switzerland. For almost three years it has been offering 950 square metres to collaboration in the basic research for new materials and elements of nanometric construction. This site will allow the researchers of IBM, ETH and their partners to push the knowledge and above all the application possibilities of nanotechnology far beyond, very far beyond, the current use reached by cosmetics, tyres and nanotech sprays. That is what the director of the structure Matthias Kaiserswerth is promising. For us, even if the men of IBM and ETH boast of having a laboratory that is unique in the world – and in certain aspects they are right – the reality is that the places where the engineering and manipulation of life and the planet are being pushed forward are numerous and scattered a little everywhere. From the research centres of the multinationals to the universities, from scientific hubs to international research institutes: this world is moving parallel to the reality we know, planning and building a future that will be imposed upon us, some aspects of which we can already see around us. This world has a name and address.

We have felt the urgency of trying to build struggles against this development more and more throughout the years, starting by understanding how indispensable bio and nanotechnologies are to the system and their potential harm. It is important to clarify that this harmfulness does not so much concern damage to human health or the environment as the relation between power and technology that is becoming a remodelling/substitution/ destruction of living ecosystems. It is a far wider concept of nocivity [toxicity/harmfulness] directly linked to nocivity as a whole: the system itself. We still feel this urgency, and given the advance of the technological and industrial system we are still convinced that it must be translated into a radical critique, which cannot ignore the economic and social context of which these nocivities are both a product and a necessity. In turn, this critique must be able to transform the oceans of ink and words required to express and deepen it, into struggle and direct action. So we are still convinced of the need to develop radical environmental struggles against this deadly techno-industrial system; but we want to point out that the struggle needs to be seen as a real possibility to put everything into question, not just a space to find a role in the political theatre or for offering ‘eco-sustainable’ alternatives to the system.

What we see is how the places of techno-scientific power are being decentralized and molecularised into a constellation of interests and ultra specific projects, although these are still necessarily all interconnected. Intervening and striking where it hurts most is always less evident and easy to understand. A constant source of inspiration in this respect are those all over the world who, still feel the urgency of the struggle, are carrying out projects, campaigns and mobilizations in defence of what they feel they are a part of, and sabotaging and attacking the gears of the techno-scientific patriarchal and capitalist industrial system.

We know that putting oneself on the line through the struggle probably means having to face repression sooner or later, and there’s no escape from that. What one can and must avoid is leaving those who have been struck by the repression alone. Support for prisoners is something that can’t be forgotten, and besides solidarity and basic support, it is just as important and fundamental to carry on the struggles that the comrades are paying for. As far as we are concerned, now outside these walls, we really appreciate the efforts of so many who have organized events and initiatives over recent months. As well as the warmth of their immediate necessary support they have given space to our case and above all, to the topics we want to discuss and express what we feel. This is fundamental for us.

April 23 is the day set for the preliminary hearing, where it will be decided whether or not this ‘déjà vu’ trial is to take place. For our part, we are not as interested in drawing attention to our specific case and the trial against us, as in the desire to succeed in also transforming this moment into an occasion, mobilization, to re-launch these topics and feelings we share.

Not putting repression at the centre of things, but acting without delegating to others, against bio and nanotechnologies, nuclear power and all other forms of nocivity produced by this system of death; against the present moment of annihilation and devastation.

For earth liberation, for animal liberation

Billy, Costa, Silvia.

[Luca (Billy) Bernasconi, Costantino Ragusa and Silvia Guerini]

February 2015
In view of the trial where we are going to have many legal costs, we are asking everyone for their support through benefit initiatives and donations to the postal account in the name of:

Marta Cattaneo
Reason for payment: solidarity with Silvia Billy Costa