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Interview #70 - #weareinnocent with Rosa and Ellis Langsdale

Hey folks, welcome to another interview from The Mind of a Skeptical Leftist. This is a weird one and not quite the usual fare of getting to know people who create content or wrote a book. In this one I talk to people I have already interviewed and like quite a bit. Rosa and Ellis run the website and youtube channel, Rosa and the Intolerant Left. In this interview/chat we’re talking about the persecution they are facing from the state. The details are bit hazy in my mind but essentially Ellis has been accused and I think still hasn’t been charged of accessing underage pornography. Something about a flag that was raised by a website he went on. The state still hasn’t provided any actual evidence and despite taking Ellis into custody briefly they had to release him because they didn’t charge him. Rosa understandably reacted quite negatively to this and the police tried to turn her against Ellis which didn’t work. Rosa then was nearly charged with threatening to kill an officer even though she didn’t and was released without charge. Their website is down at the moment but they detail things on their twitter and some in this conversation.

A few thoughts come to mind when working on this interview.

First, some people are going to ask why the state would target Rosa and Ellis and Rosa has her answer but I have a slightly different one. In my opinion, because of the nature and hegemonic power of the state and its actors, it doesn’t take action from someone high up in the government or even knowledge of someone in power to target a threat to the state. Ellis is a long time activist who has shown himself quite resourceful at radicalizing people he talks to. This combined with a negative relationship he has with local police and you get a situation where he is well known by police for multiple reasons and they don’t like him. You can find us talking about some of that in the first interview I did with Rosa and Ellis. I think that the police know they don’t have any chance of making the charges stick regarding child exploitation so they are targeting them in a way that may make them react violently and then they can arrest them for something like violence towards an officer or something like that. It almost worked because Rosa is rightfully very emotional about the situation due to past trauma and mental health issues. It’s an upholding of state power and hierarchies by local cops who fully believe in the system and who have a bad relationship with a couple of local anarchists. I hope I’m expressing this well. I think Rosa and Ellis are victims of a small scale conspiracy by cops who know them and don’t like them. It may also involve the landlord for their community who is also carrying out illegal actions to make people move but will likely never be charged. Rosa and Ellis are a legit threat to his ability to control the property they’re on because of their ideas and their charisma.

Second, I think it’s important to acknowledge that cops lie, all the fucking time. They cannot be trusted. This is months after the police confiscated their computers and tech and they still haven’t been charged. There is no victim who came forward. All they have is a supposed red flag that came up because a website was accessed. It makes me think of years ago when I was on a variety of yahoo groups lists and one day I got a very disturbing email containing child exploitation. I closed it immediately, looked up the method for reporting it to the RCMP, and forwarded it to them, deleted the email, and removed myself from the group that sent it out. It took all of 30 minutes but if a flag was raised because of that group then I could have been targeted. And this is granting that there was a flag raised in Ellis’ case, based on the documentation that was given to Rosa and Ellis the warrant was granted after the cops came and took their shit. This makes it seem like they created an excuse after the fact for invading their home and taking their stuff.

Third, people are bad at defending themselves. I like Rosa and Ellis and I care deeply about what happens to them. I think they’re innocent but I think someone who wanted to could pick holes in their various explanations. You can’t judge people based on the way they react to being accused of something like this because they’re under a lot of stress. It’s hard knowing that state actors are targeting you, no matter what the reason is. That’s a lot of power to feel against you and that’s why they need support and solidarity.

And lastly, even though lawyers, barristers, solicitors or whatever they’re called often buy into the system they work for too much we still need them. The law speaks a language that lay people don’t really understand. It’s not a matter of right and wrong, ethical or unethical. It’s a matter of rules, policies, and custom that must be adhered to in order to get the correct outcomes. I’m reminded of a tv show where a regular guy had to stand and speak in front of a judge but couldn’t stop swearing because that was just the way he speaks, I can relate, but in the show the judge admitted that the guy had to swear (or curse if that’s a better way to understand it) to give himself the proper defense. In reality that would never work, you can’t really speak plainly in court and almost everything is a matter of procedures that need to be carried out in certain ways to get a certain outcome. I hate the court system but lawyers are a necessary evil so long as the system remains cryptic to regular people.

I hope that explains my point of view on this well enough. I hope Rosa and Ellis don’t feel hurt by anything I said here, I care about them and support them as much as I can from across the ocean. Twitter support will only go so far, I don’t have much money and have my own issues with that so hopefully my heartfelt well wishes are enough because at this time it’s all I have. If you know more about UK law or have some insight into an innocence project of some kind over there then definitely lend them a hand.

I believe they are innocent and that cops lie and that state actors uphold the state without direction because they are ingrained with attitudes that make them target anyone who doesn’t conform and that means outspoken anarchists like Rosa and Ellis are easy targets to justify. I know that if it turns out I’m wrong then my reputation wouldn’t be worth much anymore but I find it worth it to stand up for people who have been accused by the state of something awful without evidence.

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