Note from Insurrection News: Phoenix Project was initiated in Athens, Greece on the 7th of June 2013 when a car owned by the director of Korydallos prison, Maria Stefi, was blown up by the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire FAI-IRF and the Gangs of Conscience FAI-IRF, ‘Sole-Baleno’ cell who then released a communique announcing the project. It’s stated aim was “the rebirth and the dynamic comeback of the urban guerrilla,” a project that would create the terms of the rise of the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire from the ashes left behind by police oppression. Phoenix Project then spread with attacks occurring again in Greece and further afield in Indonesia, Russia, Mexico, United Kingdom, Italy, Chile and Germany. Phoenix Project is still ongoing, with the most recent action occurring on 10.01.16. in Chile with an explosive attack against a private security company in Santiago that was claimed by Anarchist Arson Attack Cell ‘Fire And Consciousness’ FAI-IRF. For more information about Phoenix Project, the website 325 has a chronological archive of posts that includes videos, communiques and downloadable booklets related to the project that can be accessed here. It has been such a lengthy initiative that it would be very difficult to summarize it in just a couple of paragraphs here!
The anarcho-nihilist comrade Spyros Mandylas was arrested and detained along with the comrade Andreas Tsavdaridis in Greece on 11.07.13. He was accused of participating in Phoenix Project based on non-existent evidence and ridiculous charges including possession of explosives that were never found. Spyros was charged with membership of the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire, an attempted parcel bomb homicide against Dimitris Chorianopoulos – former chief of the anti-terrorism agency – that was claimed by Commando ‘Mauricio Morales’ FAI-IRF, attempted bombing (for the parcel bomb sent to Dimitris Chorianopoulos) and possession of explosives (for the parcel bomb sent to Dimitris Chorianopoulos). Spyros denied all of the charges. Spyros was held in pre-trial detention for 18 months then released due to lack of evidence but was later rearrested and taken back to prison before being released once more in the first half of 2015. During his final imprisonment he embarked on a lengthy hunger strike that brought him very close to death. Finally, on Monday, December 21, 2015 in the special hall of Korydallos prison the “plea” of anarcho-nihilist Spyros Mandylas for Phoenix Project took place, here is the full transcription…
President of the Court: You know the charges. What do you have to tell us?
Spyros Mandylas: Before coming to the bill of indictment, I will first mention a chronicle of my political actions from 2004 until today. Besides, as I have also said at my political
positioning the first day of this court, during a political prosecution the only pleading which represents me is showing my political activity.
I have been participating in anarchist circles since 2004. My first contact was with the
movement against the Athens Olympic Games in 2004. After this I took part in several
collective groups and participated in struggles about many issues. During these 10 years I
organized and participated in many different actions such as calls for manifestations, the
claim of political asylum for political refugees, the support of several imprisoned anarchist hunger strikes, organizing events-debates, PA gatherings, concerts for financial aid to imprisoned anarchists, distribution of political texts, book presentations and publications.
Since 2005 I participate in Anarchist Hangout Nadir & since 2008 I was participating in the self-organized counter-information project Radio-Revolt. Since the beginning of Nadir we set solidarity with anarchist prisoners of war as one of the basic pillars. Specifically, from 2005 to 2009, I took part in several solidarity structures that dealt with more than 30 cases of imprisoned anarchists.
From 2009, as Nadir anarchist hangout assembly, we considered that we should focus on the “Halandri Case”. The “Halandri Case” was actually the beginning of repressive operations against the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire (CCF), those operations started on 23/9/09 with the invasion at the house in Halandri. During that period and after we had contact by phone with the 3 detained arrestees & made an event at Thessaloniki Polytechnic, where all of them interposed by phone. About 200-300 anarchists came to this event, where an advocate of this case spoke about the 2nd modification of the terror law.
From 2009 until recently we chose to deal with the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire case. This was for two reasons, on the one hand we wanted to talk up the actions and the words of CCF. On the other hand, this affair had many extensions. For example, with this affair as a pretense, the state conducted a witch hunt against many anarchist comrades. Apart from that, the vengeful arrests in 2010 are well known; when the state was randomly arresting people after every attack by CCF.
After the first event, I continued the contact by phone with more CCF members who were
arrested in the period that followed. Later I visited CCF members during the courts. Also
following a demand to the ministry of justice, I had several visiting hours with them inside Korydallos prison.
President: Please tell us about the visiting hours.
Mandylas: About a year before my arrest, I started having visiting hours (approx. 5) with CCF member Christos Tsakalos. During these visiting hours, we discussed various subjects, such as several matters concerning the anarchist circles, the preparing of some events, even matters not related to the anarchist circles.
I want to mention also some things related to the visiting hours. During the last visiting
hours we discussed about an event and the publication of an anarchist book. I’m talking
about the publication of Alfredo Bonanno’s book, “Armed Joy”. CCF, who take part in Black International Editions, helped us a lot with this publication, which was produced by
Anarchist Hangout Nadir Editions. The book presentation took place in Nadir on Wednesday 3rd July 2013, which many comrades attended. At this event 4 imprisoned anarchists from Italy contributed their texts & there was also a communication by phone with CCF member Olga Economidou. Briefly, this event had the following topics:
– Book presentation of Alfredo M. Bonanno’s “Armed Joy”
– Contribution of translation networks to the lasting anarchist insurrection
– Information on the repression in Italy
At this point, I want to tell something else. The event I just mentioned took place one week before my arrest. This event had too many parameters, as there was a need to coordinate many tasks simultaneously. This means contacting imprisoned comrades in Greece and Italy, writing the introduction, contact with translation projects participating at the event, gathering books from different editions, carrying out flypostings, editing and printing of the book plus much more.
Why am I saying all this? Because for the same period of time the bomb attacks are
indicted on me. As expected, having all this burden and the intercepts during that time (I
have mentioned in my texts about “discreet intercepts” by the anti-terrorist force), also the visiting hours during the courts and in prison with CCF, it would be practically impossible to do any other actions. However, Dendias made handouts about my arrest talking about an attack of an international terrorism network, first they accused me for 3 bomb attacks and one arson in Indonesia…
In regard to the charges, I believe what has happened is the machination set by the ministry of justice along with the anti-terrorist force has been exposed. From the first moment of my arrest, it was known that the day the package-bomb was mailed from Thessaloniki (to the former chief of the anti-terrorist unit, Dimitris Chorianopoulos), I was in Athens for a visiting hour with Christos Tsakalos. From the first day therefore, there was a formal document issued by the ministry of justice and the authorities at Korydallos prison confirming the fact that I was in Athens. This means that my alibi is the ministry and Korydallos prison themselves. For the other 3 attacks, as you also know, I have already been dismissed 6 months after the start of my trial detention.
Furthermore, neither my fingerprints nor my DNA has been found. Even if they had been
found it would not prove anything and I say this because many anarchists have courts for
just a fingerprint or a part of DNA found somewhere…
Another thing I would like to say is that there is a reference in the file that in Nadir a bookcase for a gun was found. This book is none other than the book cover of “Armed Joy”. I have given a copy of the juvenilia creation of the cover.
I know you will ask me what my position about violence is. My position on this issue is clear. I agree with armed revolutionary violence. All revolutions were made by force. In my situation I could say other things, but in this case I would not be consistent with my ideas. My position is clear. The anarchist insurrection is carried out by any means and obviously with violence too.
Prosecutor: What do you believe about collateral damage? Please tell us your opinion about the case of Thanos Axarlian.
Mandylas: For the specific case of Thanos Axarlian, Revolutionary Organization 17
November has thoroughly talked about it. I don’t have to say anything more. On the
question of collateral damage, it is clear to say that an anarchist is against such logic and
practices. To be specific, groups such as CCF and FAI are known for giving high priority to this issue by making warning calls etc.
I’d like also to say that the logic of collateral damage is the practice of the bosses. Although I’m not a “workerist”, what I see is that those who have adopted this tactic are the bosses. For example, usually in a factory, employee safety measures are reduced in order for the business to make a greater profit. We also hear of workers dying all the time…
Prosecutor: That is true…
Prosecutor: You, as an anarchist what do you think should be done? What is your position?
Mandylas: I am an anarchist-nihilist. I think that first we must destroy everything, then we’ll talk about how and what we will create. If I didn’t believe in this then I would believe in reforms and gradual changes, but obviously this doesn’t express me, not in the least.
President: During police intercepts it was you with Andreas Tsavdaridis?
Mandylas: With Andreas I had contact, not very intensely. I knew him for 4 years before my arrest. I was not with him at the intercept you mention.
President: What is your marital status and what is your relationship with your family?
Mandylas: Where does this question aim at?
President: I want to form your profile to the judge better…
Mandylas: Just the fact that it is enough there is not any evidence against me in the case file. In closing I would like to say what the rationale of the state was by invading Nadir and proceeding to my pre-trial detention. As I said at the beginning, I’m part of the anarchist circles about 10 years now. All these years, events and activities we perform as Anarchist Hangout Nadir attract people’s interest in a good way. The state watching us expressing our solidarity with armed groups wants to tear down this communication. The linking of public and illegal is considered an explosive mixture.
Having gained over these years a very good insight into the tactics of the state regarding the persecution of fighters, I can say that this is the only time, without one piece of proof, an anarchist was in pre-trial detention for 18 months.
President: What does the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire proclaim to be?
Mandylas: Anarchists-nihilists. However, personally for me one of my virtues is not to speak for others, so you can ask them.
Prosecutor: You said before that you agree with armed revolutionary violence. I believe that all this creates is a stalemate which not only leads nowhere but instead new laws are
created and rights are shrunk even more. What do you think about this?
Mandylas: I believe that the only way to resist is to fight. Only when you fight you win. The only ones not to blame for continued creation of new laws and shrinking rights are those who resist.
Prosecutor: I think that these organizations are harmless and that the state does not fear
Mandylas: So, you mean that the rebels do not threaten the state? Then answer me, for
what reason does one detention after another come for CCF and why does the state keep
them imprisoned for so long?
Prosecutor: Thank you, I don’t have anything else to ask.
President: I have no other questions.