PLAYING WITH FEAR

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German Version / Deutsche Version

Cold war and 9/11

This is not – essentially – another article about the virus named SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 and not about the pandemy – as the WHO proclaimed it to be – that it – apparently – created globally. This is an essay about fear. Fear as a weapon used with dramatic impact by entities that love to act from behind the curtain. And about the surrealistic, kafkaesk, morbid reality I’m experiencing. Definitely the most impressive shift of reality since I have been born in 1966.

During my childhood, the common, collective fear was the cold war. A fear that the next generation does not know or care about. But for me and the society around me, it was the fear number one. The next big, global installment of the fear principle was 9/11. Those airplanes that flew into the world trade center in New York. I remember them well – also because it was my birthday. To me those pictures being repeated that whole day on every television channel, printed on every single newspaper frontpage, repeated over and over like in an endless hypnotic loop where like candles on a morbid birthday cake. But what connected both those fears, looming over us like the proverbial Sword of Damocles which Dionysius II let hang over the once too happy court flatterers head, is an eerie feeling. That something is off. Something feels wrong. Terribly wrong.

The collective fear of the end of the world by nuclear destruction of two opposed systems, communism and capitalism, the second installment of that same collective fear, like one gear up on the global human fear scale, was 9/11 – the fear of terrorism. Fear number 1 led to a massive anti-communist witch hunt, powerful and unhindered secret service activity, a public happy with decreased freedom in order to protect survival. Fear number 2 made those collateral damages of the first one look small, infinitely small even. With those airplanes hitting the landmark of the land of the free values right in the core. Suddenly, freedom did not seem to matter anymore. Whenever the word terrorism fell, populations were eagerly accepting any kind of change of law. And whenever systems wanted to take more of the little remaining citizens rights away, they just needed to mention the magic word ‘Terrorism’. 9/11 was nearly 20 years ago and has changed reality profoundly. In retroperspective, neither the cold war fear nor the 9/11 fear made me fearful, but their repercussions on public opinion, the magic switch in reality which followed them.

Fear Number III

But now both of those fears and their astonishing global secondary effects which profoundly changed society seem so astonishing anymore. Fear Number III has arrived. And because I am not writing an article about SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 and do not want to focus on this magic virus, I will refrain from calling it such and remove some of its occult power by just kicknaming it ‘C’.

Throughout history, totalitarian regimes have maintained control by imposing a strategy based on fear. Those who oppose the established order are called a “danger” to the nation by those in power. Creating fear and keeping people in ignorance are two infallible ways to stay in power.

Fear is an instrument of oppression, Revista Envio
https://www.envio.org.ni/articulo/4454

C is more than any science fiction movie I ever saw, more than any distonian book I ever read, more than any scare story I’ve ever read in 53 years of my humble life on this year. And it is not the virus, of which a comparatively humble number of 56 people globally died today. It is the fear, the mass panic, the truly horrendous secondary effects of C.

The name is due to the characteristic, wreath-like appearance of corona viruses (Latin “corona”: wreath, crown). The word Corona is of Latin origin and means crown or also wreath and is known by the holy Corona, a martyr from the 2nd century.

Corona, origin

And those are not medical, not scientific. Those secondary effects are the endless flow of martial law implementations by systems around the globe. A truly extreme reaction unthought of in the past – and surpassing anything one could ever read or see in fiction by far.

56 died from C today. 3014 from tuberculosis. 2430 from hepatitis. 2216 from pneumonia. But C is king.

Fear number III has the magic power of an occultist wet dreams coming true. If those Illuminatis exist, or whatever they are called, that entity behind the smoke screen, they must have been mildly happy with the magic effect instilled by cold war, with medium smile since 9/11 and wildly grinning now.

“There is always danger for those who are afraid.”

George Bernard Shaw, author

Whatever medial, mass psychology, subliminal effort it took to instill fear number 1 and 2, fear number III is the chartbreaker, is the megastar, is the ultimate occult weapon as it seems. Fear number III has reduced all the accumulated fantasy of any filmmaker, author, artist in creating a massively altered fictional reality to a faint fart. C seems to be the ultimate psychological weapon, the holy grail of global control, the final tool.

Switch of reality

On the 3th of this month I left Switzerland for Spain – and yesterday I travelled from Spain to Germany. In only 14 days I experienced several switches of reality which feel like travelling from planet to planet.

When I arrived in Alicante 2 weeks ago, all was fine. Sunshine, people sipping on coffees and beers in the bars, people smiling, full of life. In the following days suddenly government decisions from around the globe regarding C popped up – and Spain was, by the King’s decision, put on Alarm state (a nice word for martial law).

And from one day to the other street where completely empty, shops, bars, everything closes with C warnings on the door. An eerie, surreal, dystopian silence took hold of Spain. And police started patrolling, closing down children’s playgrounds, checking suspiciously every face on the street. Then even drones came, patrolling with their stringent virtual eyes and informing all the stay home.

And when I arrived at the Alicante airport, with much look at possibly the last public transport, there they were. All those eyes full of fear, those mask adorned people proudly wearing what will because the fashion add-on of the year. And with another streak of luck I made it to probably one of the last planes before airport shutdown. And landed in Düsseldorf, Germany, again – probably, as one of the last before both countries completely closed their borders. To be beamed into a completely different reality, where shops and hotels are still open, people wandering on the street, smiling – still, somewhat – all normal, easy, fine.

But what will happen tomorrow. Every minute new policy changes around the world are communicated. Friends of mine in Greece are stuck, other in Ireland, others in Switzerland. All in different situations, all getting told in an endless row of new regulations and rules again and again how to now behave.

“If they tell us to stop breathing tomorrow, many would”, I half jokingly told an acquaintance in my cheap hostel yesterday. And cheap it is, as the receptionist told me yesterday, because it’s nearly empty. ‘Corona special’ I thought, smiling. Smiling – but sad inside.

And no, I am am for the protection of the old, the frail. And no, I am not by all means an non empathic being. And no, I understand that C is not just a joke.

But where is this going? What will happen in a minute, in an hour, how will reality look tomorrow, in a week, in a month? How far can the system go?

Is C man produced, is C a biological weapon against freedom, against humans, against those useless eaters ‘they’ apparently so disrespect? Is C a virus or a new religion of infinite fear?

What is C – really?

Deep trance sheep vs conspiracy nuts

There seem to be two opposite types of humans living in all systems around this globe. Those that think that systems are basically good and truthful and that the reality represented by the mass media is valid – and those that don’t.

Not only are those two factions of people, those that mindlessly believe in what the pharmaceutical industry sells them, in the godsend of all technology, that those behind bars deserve to suffer, that human rights are real – and those that don’t. But those that are often called by the previous group crazy conspiracy nuts – notwithstanding the fact that numerous conspiracy theories have throughout the history become facts – are not the majority. Far from it. Thus this article – again – opens a controversy of David against Goliath. Of the few vs the many.

And because democraties, or whatever the majority of systems could be named that pretend to be such, are majority concepts, as long as one group is possibly a minority of 2% versus an overwhelming majority of the remaining 98% whatever this majority will decide to happen, or let happen, will.

Thus not only is this article in the end another useless article written by a basically useless member of a small minority of ‘thinkers’ – but the impact of it will be as the impact of all the others I have written during those last over 10 years, nearly nill.

This, apart from the extremely impressive impact C has made on our collective reality, on laws, on freedom, on perception, on our rights, is the sad truth which with I would like to end another substantial amount of hours spent behind a screen typing, thinking, researching, looking for the right words, wording and rewording, revising – and finally hitting the publish button.

I often think about the fact how useless my work is. That while the corporate journalists do want to, do ‘have’ to (due to their orders and dependencies) lie and can actually live from it, I am and will remain a poor and useless writer of what I see as truth for most probably the end of my days.

“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.”

George Orwell

But then I also have to think of the innumerable people that lost their comfort, their freedom and often their life for the same reasons since many centuries. And in the name of those – and in the name of my own conscience – I will continue to write those most probably completely useless words. Until my last breath and until my existence on this Earth comes to an end.

And if C is – as a friend publisher said to me yesterday in a late night conversation – not just another test drive but the final occult theater act before the curtain falls – then I will (and have to) humbly accept whatever destiny will soon hold for me, and all of us. As the saying goes:

Sad – but true.

BEHIND BARS (EN)

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Surviving the hell of Naples

German Version – Deutsch Version

This inter.doc (inter.doc is a medium developed by notepad.agency consisting of 80% interview and 20% documentary) about 1 year, 1 month and 20 days in Europes worst prison – so they say – Poggioreale, the Hell of Naples, und the largest federal prison of Italy with around 3300 inmates instead of 1400 as legally allowed.


Language: English with English subtitles
Release: 22.02.2020
Quality: Full HD
Duration: 1 hour 7 minutes 34 seconds
Transcript: https://news.notepad.agency/behind-bars-transcript-en/

Copyright by notepad.agency 2020. All rights reserved.

About me:
I have got – innocently – a sentence of 1 year 4 months and 20 days and was released 2 months earlier due to good conduct from Europes worst prison, Poggioreale, in the heart of Naples, South Italy.
This inter.doc is not to prove my innocence. Actually I do not want to discuss my innocence. I just know the truth. This content is about my impressions and my survival in the hell of Naples.
I am currently also making the manuscript of a book which both focuses on my prison experience and my past ready for publication. The book which will be published as ‘Memories of a (mad) man” in April 2020 as well as this inter.doc have been a difficult experience to me.
Most people don’t want to know about prison, prisoners, injustice. Most people think inmate are just bad people. And making ones prison experience public is risky.
But I wanted to allow others who did not have the ‘chance’ to make such an experience  more aware of the reality of prisoners. And wake up an often sleeping public conscience to the suffering of ‘deleted numbers’ in a system that talks about human rights – but is often as ruthless as the people called criminals.
And through the creation of those works I have been giving myself the blessings of much needed self therapy, by writing, filming, talking, drawing about an essentially traumatic experience.
I won’t write my full name here because I don’t want Google to index me with prison related keywords. And I enjoy some privacy. In the BEHIND BARS inter.doc you’ll find those informations, hidden in moving images.

About notepad.agency: 
notepad.agency aka notepad publishing has been founded in 2006 in Geneva, Switzerland. We have published a substantial amount of interviews, documentaries and news during the years 2006-2020. notepad.agency has moved its headquarters to the United Kingdom in 2014 and opened an agency in Lausanne, Switzerland – and divided its activities into five new departments, each bringing together renowned experts in their respective fields and soon 15 years of notepad.agency inside know-how.

Copyright by notepad publishing (notepad.agency) 2020.
All rights reserved.

SHARING IS CARING

This content can be reuploaded or reused in order to make this information at no cost widely available. But only under the following conditions:
1. This content is reused, copied, reuploaded in its integrality. No changes at all are made to this production
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Related articles

Human Rights
https://news.notepad.agency/human-rights/

Resources

Prison Talk
Group on Quora where lots of ex-inmates answer questions:
https://www.quora.com/q/prisontalk?sort=top

Poggioreale on Wikipedia
(no English version available):
GERMAN https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poggioreale_(Gef%C3%A4ngnis)
FRENCH
https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poggioreale_(prison)

I’m a journalist, press photographer, filmmaker, author, publisher and technology expert @ notepad.agency, currently living in Lausanne, Switzerland and London, United Kingdom.

HUMAN RIGHTS

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Paper doesn’t blush

German Version / Deutsche Version

Yes, to my own surprise and after 52 years of looking at such places incredulously from the outside, I’ve spent 1 year, 2 months and 10 days in prison.

But this fact – and also the fact that I am 100 percent innocent (you don’t need to believe me but I keep fighting with my lawyer through all available courts for my rehabilitation) and none of my constitutional rights were respected – does not shock me. At least not in retroperspective.

Inhuman isolation is according to EU parlament and the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg a primary reason for the dramatically high suicide rate in Italian prisons

What shocks me, and keeps tormenting my mind even now when outside of bars since a good 4 months, is how easy, seamlessly and not found in any way worth of discussion by most citizens of so called civilized and supposingly democratic societies, my basic human rights – and those of the many others who still have to survive my not so distant past imprisonment – have been blatantly violated before, during and even after my stay in what is often considered Europe’s worst prison.

In over one hundred years, apparently, officially, nobody ever made it out of Poggioreale before his day of release. I cannot fully believe this, but it’s a fact that Poggioreale is quite save. The architect of this prison committed suicide – he hanged himself – after realising that the prison he built, in which suddenly his own son became an inmate, was so safe.

Two months before I was released an inmate made it out. Very old school like. This became official news. While I personally think such must have happened before, but officials kept it under the carpet.

2 months prior to my release an inmate made it out of Poggioreale, not through the front door but over the nearly 7 meters high wall. Officially the first in over 100 years.

In Poggioreale, nicknamed ‘The Hell of Naples”, I was not surprised to ‘meet’ violent inmates, real criminals as in murderers, organised crime members and other with serious mental issues, I was surprised to find that the Italian legal system, from police to judges, prosecutors and prison management, does not – in the least – care, respect or much less defend any kind of concept regarding human rights.

My primary feeling was that of a deleted number. That ‘deleted number’ feeling as made me produce an inter.doc, a combination of interview and documentary, with my own self – possibly the only one who cared – about my experience.

Julian Assange – another (mad) journalist?

But the shock still remains. And like a sustained grand piano sound, in keeps lingering in the air. Television, the only information medium allowed in this hell, showed one day how Julian Assange, whistleblower journalistic helper of Wikileaks, was brought out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and escorted into a waiting police car.

Julian Assange as he left the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, as I saw him in TV. A once strong, proud, fighting man. Now broken, sick, mad? Is psychological torture OK?

I have interviewed Julian and assisted to a press conference he gave in Geneva, Switzerland. That now seems – too – many years ago. In reality, the man I have interviewed is not the man I have seen on television that day. The man in Geneva was a strong, upgright, proud, fighting one.

The one I have seen for a few seconds in TV in an overcrowded cell in Poggioreale while eating cheap, often half-rotten ‘food’ one lunchtime was a broken, small, tired man. And worse, to me it seemed like he had already become a crazy man.

And I seem not the only one having remarked this change. Assange was heavily psychologically tortured, the UN special commissioner for human rights recently said.

Now some may be of the opinion that Julian Assange acted illegally, or is some kind of traitor. I don’t agree but respect other opinions as in free speech – and free thoughts. My real problem is that exactly this free speech and free thoughts which should even more apply to individuals concerned with journalistic work, seems to have been a valid motivation to break a man like him.

Accused by Sweden of rape (to be precise of not agreeing to use a condom which in the special laws of Sweden is considered a form of rape), and worried that those accusations where only a pretension for extradition to the US, he thought and found asylum on the Ecuadorian Emassy in London. Interesting to note that those rape accusations disappeared into strange air as soon as the asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy was removed by some new Ecuadorian politician and Julian was escorted to jail.

Now I do not want to pretend that my jail experience and his jail experience are similar. Or that the way I was psychologically tortured by the ‘system’ and his are the same.

Prison, specially in Poggioreale, also called ‘the hell of Naples’, is not just ‘doing time’, but seconds that are minutes, minutes hours, days months and months years.

Innocent or criminal – it makes no difference

But I am also a journalist, I was in prison for a reason I am fully convinced to be innocent, and my human rights, exactly as his, were disregarded, made even fun of – exactly as his.

I have been working – part time, or as much as my financial situation would allow – as a journalist for the last 15 years. My journalistic work was and most possibly will remain for the foreseeable future, non-commercial, unpaid and fully self financed. Not because I really find this the best way to do things, but because the special interest areas I like to report on tend to not align with editorial constraints.

And during this work, I’ve seen and felt my share of intimidation by both government and corporate ‘agencies’. And as I learned more and more about reality – not the blurred, children rated lies society’s propaganda mediums proclaim – I also understood that we all, while called citizens, are in reality just numbers.

Birth numbers, staff numbers, social security numbers, military staff numbers, hospital patient numbers, unemployment numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, passenger numbers, tomb numbers – or, in some instances – inmate numbers.

Numbers that can be removed, temporarily or permanently, at any time from the system. For no reason at all.

Inmates where holding thos iron bars for hours, looking outside into the equally boring hallway, like animals in a zoo. Behind bars is a sad reality – not just two words.

That, in my view, is the basic reason human rights as a concept exist – and have been signed in the scope of the United Nations definition of them by most ‘civilised’ nations. And having them and purporting to respect them as one reason society can relax, watch TV, eat in a nice restaurant, walk in the parks, sleep well. Because the individual, the one human being, the one number, is nicely held in the believe that there are some human rights, like the right no not be held captive for no reason, the right to legal defense, the right to medical assistance, the right to a minimum of space, the right not be tortured, neither in soul nor in body, do indeed exist.

This article is about reality. And reality is not about human rights. Reality, at least where I was held captive, in the largest federal prison of Italy, does not care for human rights – at all. One example of this fact is the existence of the ‘famous’ cell zero.

‘Zell zero’ in Poggioreale became famous 5 years ago. Walls full of blood, multiple prison guards accused and sentenced, torture, massive human rights abuses.

Cell zero, torture and murder. Who cares.

But where is the public outcry? And even if ‘Cell zero’ in Poggioreale is a proven fact, even if this sound, feels like a huge Human Rights scandal, even if those are new that should make the headlines, where is the massive media attention? I had trouble finding more than a handful of mentions on Google search. And those where mostly from human rights organisation.

This leads us to a second issue. The media. In Wikileaks case, the media was full of Julian Assange, for some time. And loads of journalists for corporate media were able to write about the importance of what he did, about the government crimes he helped bring to the light and about him and his main whistleblower, Chelsea Manning.

But then, as so often, a recurring pattern of mainstream media, the attention died, the coverage of Assange went smaller and smaller, until…

And exactly this is part of the problem. Not every citizen is careless, emotionless, indifferent. Human rights are indeed important and even essential to civilisation to some. And what the big names media often does, is overreact. Report until those emotions die down. Then bring the words to the grave. As soon as attention of the public dies, the media reporting seems to die too.

Inmates walking, running, sitting, talking in the courtyard, a dirty piece of concrete offering very limited freedom and some fresh air one to three hours a day.

And that is one of the problems with human rights. Human rights die too. They don’t die on paper, those UN conventions are still signed documents by the highest dignitaries of participating governments and similarly part of the basic legal constitution of many countries – including such like Italy – but they die in reality.

Human rights are, as the father from the catholic church told me – in his way – with what I felt a sarcastic smirk when he put a huge book titled ‘Prisoner Rights’ on a small table in a small office I met him in Poggioreale, just words: “Here are your rights”.

What he really meant was, take this book with you up to the cell and be the laughing stock of your fellow inmates or just shove it into your ass. It does neither matter to me or to anybody else in here what is written in there.

Law and order. Or populism and fascism.

When they arrested me – for a crime I did not commit, but this is another story, police didn’t give me a chance to read the accusations, they beat me up as a group of seven and they didn’t bring me a lawyer even after many requests. When they brought me to court and sentenced me I had no lawyer and no translator and was not in any way informed of my rights. But only when I arrived in my cell – slowly and over the first weeks and months of imprisonment – I realised what having no rights really meant.

Europe court say Italy's hard prison regime breaches human rights
Multiple times the European court for human rights has condemned italy for breaching inmates human rights in prison. But nothing is happened. Zero. Null.

Now the problem with human rights is not how well they worded, and the same goes for nice words in respective constitutions – but how much they are upheld. Or if. And the problem with media is not that it does not report often on ‘deleted numbers ‘ (and deleted numbers we both are, Julian and me, as are many, many others held captive all over the globe) but that the citizen, in majority, believe that the media would report if those basic rights are just on paper that does not blush. Our modern and civilised societies are used to delegation. Responsibility in the case of human rights is delegated to governments, judges and the media. The duty of the journalist is to report if they are abused, the duty of the judge to respect them, the duty of the government and of the executive forces to upheld them.

But this is not reality. In reality, once you are in prison those rights are gone. Theoretically you should not be tortured or killed or left without any medical assistance. But in practical terms, you are just an inmate number with – in the best case and based on your financial possibilities – with access to a private lawyer who actually cares about your case as the only means to defend your rights.

And this lawyer is part of the system. He has to feed his own family, keep his right to exercise, not upset the judge or the prosecutor too much – and he also gets used and kind of conditioned to the reality of the system. A good lawyer in Italy – and I met, among bad ones, quite a few – would say: “Yes, I know that the police is fascist” or “This prison is a horrible place” or “I don’t like this system, but I have to play by the rules”. But the citizen who has the chance to – still – live in comparative freedom and who possibly has a remaining believe in an existence of human rights, expects an outcry. An outcry that does not happen.

The reason is that we all, and this is even more acentuated for people whos work is to defend human rights, have to make a living. The lawyer needs to make a living, the (in Italy not so common) law abiding and not corrupt policeman has to keep his job and keep thus quiet and the journalist cannot write on what he thinks is important – but most comply with the newspaper view. Follow the money – as always.

A coffee, a cigarette. Little things become essential lifesavers behind bars. And having gas, coffee, sugar, cups – and tobacco, papers, a lighter. Not evident.

Just numbers. Just useless eaters. Just…

Thus what shocked me, and keeps shocking me today – also in memory of the many innocents and small time criminals incarcerated for ludicrous amounts of drugs or for tiny things – is not the reality that human rights are essentially words of people, which I kind of knew before – but the realisation at how quickly those theoretical rights can be removed from you.

It remembers me a bit the feeling when I lost some work and thus my badge and seeing those people walk eagerly with their batches around. Oh, I realised, you are not one of them anymore. And more, who are you now? But worse. This time it was, you were once a citizen. You had some rights. You at least imagined so. And now?

In Poggioreale, which is possibly the oldest prison of Italy and defintely not considered a nice one, human rights became exactly what the official from church made apparent. Words. Just words. I saw inmate with massive heart problems, with tumors that deformed their body, with cancer that got no medical treatment at all. I had to eat food that made many sick and some dead. I had to experience inhuman treatment, psychical mainly but also psychical torture firsthand. I had to hear nearly daily the siren of the dead, a distinctive sound that filled the hallways when people died. I had to see suicides. Had to experience people going completely mad right in front of my eyes.

And I am not saying that all the staff in Poggioreale where bad people. “We know that most inmates are innocent and that the real criminals are outside enjoying their lifes” a couple of elderly prison guards with sad eyes told me while sitting in their office and after being offered a well appreciated cigarette. “You’re right” the lady from the government agency supposed to guarantee human rights in Italian prisons said when I told her that fascism had arrived in Italy. Only that she left and never came back. “Patience” many told me, “just have patience”.

Yes, I had patience and made it out alive. But I was lucky. My thoughts are with the many captive in prison, mental hospitals and other official and unofficial institutions around the world. And I do not have a problem with somebody having committed a crime going to prison. At all.

One day, about 20 guards came out in the courtyard and took us one by one inside for an extensive search. We naked and them in uniforms is a situation of weakness.

But I do have a problem with human rights not worth the paper they have been written on, with their signature not meriting the respect of the ink used. I have a problem with lies. And in that sense I do see parallels between Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and me. We both became deleted numbers. And this happened in the very middle of civilised societies. And nobody seems to care.

And we both are in essence just slaves of the system. Not citizens. And never were. The concept of citizen is a shame in itself. It is a well known fact that governments kill people. They have their bodies for that kind of work. And it is a reality that the status, the dignity, the freedom – and all rights, can be taken away from the unsuspecting citizen anytime.

For any reason.

Even some criminal lawyers went marching on the street to accuse Poggioreale of human rights abuse. For lawyers with soul Poggioreale is an emotionally hard place.

Where even the lawyers suffer

What a shame that in the case of Poggioreale even lawyers had to go on the street to make abuse of human rights public. But again, how many news reports is one able to find of this? One?

And what does it change? In Italy, television is full of uniforms. Military tells you the weather – really – archived police cars are shown 70% of news footage time and a populist government is telling the citizen how hard the system fights for justice. Government, the media and politicians are working hand in hand to convince the Italian citizen both of the existence of heavy crime (need of security) and of the perfect state (justice, police, military) doing their best to eliminate it.

Excuse me? In Italy? Reality is that I met multiple small time drug dealers incarcerated for many years. OK, this is up to society how much they want to criminalise people which where found with minimal amounts of a soft drug. But in Italy, where the cargo ships with tons of hard drugs pass the coast each night, where every construction site, many companies and even hospitals are infiltrated by organised crime and work hand in hand with officials, how does imprisonment for nearly 4 years for a man found with 2.5 grams of Haschisch sound?

In Poggioreale, there was no medicine. The only thing they had was pain pills. Whenever asked, the answer was: No money. The problem is that a huge amount of money goes into Poggioreale each year. And the question is, where does it disappear? What society does, according to my observation in an exponentially increasing way, is conveniently look away. Not only the guards, the management, the judges, the prosecutors, even most lawyers, conveniently look away from the myriad of human rights abuses committed against Poggioreale’s, and as I understand against most of the over 72000 prisoners in Italy – but also the media and – trusting the media or finding trusting them convenient – the citizen.

The European parliaments delegation of Italy also condemned multiple times the Italy for not addressing structural problems of its penitentiary system. To no avail.

Human rights in Italy? Just a dream

Apparently, the EU human rights court in Strasbourg and even the EU parlament, after many complaints, was unable to look away anymore. Both complained multiple times that the Italian prison system was inadequate.

Zell zero. There should have been a massive public outcry. Instead, the story of cell zero was only reported by a few courageous media. And the tortured and dead?

In essence, the existence of torture and human rights abuse in general is known to the UN, to the EU court and to the EU parlament. Since many years.

And now? This is the problem. Now – nothing. Nothing will change. Assange is a traitor I heard from some. That he deserves whatever happens to him. While I can live with the traitor opinion, because in the end we all have different viewpoints and should all be allowed to have them, what do some mean by ‘and he deserved it’?

Do accused merit to be sentenced without lawyer, translator, being beaten up, forced to sign unread documents? Do inmates in prison merit to die because of inexistent medical assistance, rotten and contaminated food or by guards that lose their temper?

Does Julian Assange merit to being broken down completely, going sick and mad, being forgotten just for offering a platform on which government crimes were published?

In our modern societies, delegation is common. Responsibility for the poor is delegated to state welfare. For human rights abuses to the media. The ‘normal citizen’, afraid to lose his job, afraid of crime, afraid of complexity, afraid of so many things, but in essence just afraid and thus pretending to not be interested, delegates responsibility to the media. And if, as in Italy, the media (apart from few exceptions and of those quite a few closed down now with populist, right wing governments) does not report on violations of human rights anymore, what then?

Well, in Julian Assange’s case, in my view a combination of 2 US ‘slave’ states all too eager to comply, England and Sweden and a media that lost interest sadly and interestingly very quickly, left a once strong fighter an old, both mentally and physically handicapped man. His rights don’t matter – in the least. They don’t matter to the media and by extrapolation they don’t matter to the citizen, who seems to have delegated all his conscience to media and government.

The only place for some spirituality in Poggioreale. Intently watched by rows of guards one could listen to what the catholic church had to say. And nothing else.

He got what he deserved. And me? And you?

Thus ‘he got what he deserved’ seems a dangerous statement. Has not every fascist, dystopian system used similar concepts? Does somebody who, purposely or really, commits a crime deserve anything? Do we collectively base human rights on… what?

But I am not writing this to complain about the concept of human rights. I am not disliking any constitution or law. I am writing this to express my sadness at the fact that those things are not values.

But remain words – that don’t blush – on paper, written with ink wasted, if they are not upheld. A society that collectively looks away, at Assange, at me, at the ones tortured in cell zero, at the ones still walking around with cancers and tumors each day in the courtyard of Poggioreale – is not a civilised society.

A civilised society respects human rights. A civilised press reports on human rights abuses. A civilised police upholds them. A civilised judge remembers them. And a civilised prison does not destroy the last bit of them.

In Poggioreale, I met many young black men, some of them got 2-4 years for being caught with Marijuana, many others jailed for a police prime, statistics and being black.

Thus in my view society, systems, citizens are in no urgent need to create more good looking laws, sign more conventions, condemn with more rhetorical alarm. But to respect. To upheld. To take action.

Not just protect the upstanding citizen – or pretend to. But make sure that we are not just reduced to numbers, and get used to it – but remain humans. And get treated as such.

Also in a situation of weakness. The once strong man Julian Assange looked very weak and frail to me on TV. “He deserved it”?. Why?

Did Poggioreale’s inmates deserve to die of bad food, of absence of medical treatment or, worse even, in cell zero?

And did I deserve to be incarcerated with no lawyer, no translator, no documents – after being robbed 3 times in the previous days. Did I deserve no visits, no phone calls, no contact to friends and family?

Of the many inmates that die each year in Italys prison system only few are reported correctly. The number system is still at works. Stasticically most inmates die in the ambulance. It is an open secret in prison that reports can falsified to make statistics look nice.

Because, after all, we are all not citizens, we are numbers. Or not?

Last year, in Italy, there were nearly 1200 suicide attempts and over 100 suicides in prisons. Others died of bad food, of inadequate medicine, by guards or by other inmates.

I made it out alive. My innocence is not proven and maybe never will. One of the few friends left – of the ones that did not judge me or cheat me while behind bars – said to me: “You have to go to the Human Rights court. This is an injustice. You need to fight for your right”.

Indeed, I have to. I would have to. I should. But it’s not easy. Most people may believe that I deserved it. It does not matter to them if I am innocent or a criminal. They just delegate. If the judge says so. If police says so. If the government says so.

Me, taking a shower. My only tattoo, done after 10 years of observation and contemplation, reflects what I believe we all are for the often ruthless system(s).

And fighting for one’s right is both expensive and risky. In Poggioreale, the ones that made appeal while in prison often got to stay even longer. The state does not like to be criticized.

It is not as simple. Getting your right means having a voice. That Julian Assange is currently suffering in a UK prison, probably soon to be extradited to the US and condemned to a life sentence, is not a question of moral innocence. He just played with forces that are angry now – and stronger than him.

That is why we would need a strong media. Journalists that are not afraid. And strong lawyers. A strong and truly civilised system.

What we get instead is pretention.

Politicians pretend that human rights are upheld. Police pretends to defend the law. Judges pretend to be impartial. And prison pretends that a cell zero is ok.

We get pretentions. Faked signatures on worthless paper. Not only does that – hopefully – not represent humanities civilisation level but its a shame. Its a shame to talk and not take action. Its worse than to not pretend anything.

“He deserves it”. Sure, Julian deserves it. I deserve it. And, who knows, maybe tomorrow, you’ll deserve it…

I'm a journalist, press photographer, filmmaker, author, publisher and technology expert @ notepad.agency, currently living in Lausanne, Switzerland and London, United Kingdom.