Australian activist Brendon O’Connell, 42, was arrested
and jailed in 2009 for making “anti-Semitic” statements.
He was released last January.
Life can be easy in a West Australian prison
if you “play ball” but that isn’t Brendon’s style.
“You haven’t seen pathetic, desperate, and low-life until you’ve been to jail. Sad fact is you end up heading that way yourself – how else do you get along? Especially in maximum security. “
I’ve been out of jail for just on three months – since January 23rd 2014. It feels like jail is a distant memory. I feel like I’ve simply been transferred to a “Extra Minimum” security jail with internet and shopping privileges rather than “freedom.”
Henry, you asked me about the psychological aspects of jail and “maturing”. Well, jail was an incredibly stressful time for me and I have an extremely high threshold for stress – so when I say it was stressful, I mean it was stressful.
This was partly of my own making. It was clear the establishment wanted to make my ride as easy as possible. They wanted me to shut up. They wanted me to apologize and simply leave the [Jewish] issue alone.
Most of all they wanted me to admit I was “bi-polar” and needed medication. In fact, they pushed that one all day, every day, and twice on Tuesdays.
Apparently my “talking fast” and “fearlessness” indicated a clear mental illness – bipolar…with aspects of “delusional” fantasies.
You know, “fantasies” of people out to get me; fantasies of speaking with a High Court Appeals Barrister who traveled the world over seeing high profile court cases (Dr Walsh); fantasies of the Israeli Ambassador interfering in my case; fantasies of being invited out for coffee with the head of counter terrorism in this State; fantasies of speaking with a journalist in the US with contacts with Iranian leadership (Mark Glenn); fantasies, fantasies, fantasies.
Eventually, after many “assessments,” they worked out my “fantasies” were true. My paperwork being online and my hunger strike helped. Clearly one level of ‘upper’ prison management knew what was happening but another didn’t. In fact, I was begged by one level of prison security to please stop being so provocative in my letters (whatever that meant) as he had the Australian Federal Police and other government agencies giving him grief all day.
In fact, he asked me to go underground, to keep completely silent and do my time quietly. Apparently, the AFP and local counter terrorism were running around all day all over the Western Australian prison system threatening the large Muslim communities in the jails with all sorts of sanctions if they didn’t ignore me and spoke with me.
“PAIN IN THE ARSE”
Fat chance of that 🙂 So, I could have had it easy and lived it up in “self-care” but I felt obliged to be a “pain in the arse” which isn’t hard in jail because just exercising your most basic of rights in a West Australian jail makes you a “trouble maker” and they do know how to deal with troublemakers.
Don’t get me wrong, “play ball” in a W.A jail and life can be easy, very easy. But fight for your rights, exercise your legal avenues and articulate to staff their rights and obligations towards you, including official prison policy, and they will come down on you like a ton of bricks.
Their greatest fear is “monkey see, monkey do” – one prisoner has a win and the rest will start learning real quick because in jail there is simply nothing else to do, and a prisoner – even a low IQ one – can learn ‘real quick’. “Good order and management of the prison” is the mantra and anyone so much as disturbing the tea break time of a prison officer is liable for being written up as a “troublemaker”. Not unlike what happens to people on the “outside” right now.
After all, Henry, there have been plenty of people on the “outside” written up as trouble makers over the years – JFK, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Ezra Pound, Khalid Marshal, Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and up to and including the ultimate trouble maker – Jesus. I guess we’re all on the ‘hit list’ ultimately, but I think the times they are a changin’ 🙂
PASSED THE TEST
Though jail was stressful in more ways than you could imagine, I wouldn’t change it for the world. They’ve physically wrecked my shoulder, my arm and at times my dignity but what a life experience! For me it was a “rite of passage”. I’ve been to battle. I’ve survived. I’ve earned my stripes and they can do their worst – I spit on them.
There were times in jail I would have gladly been in Iraq in a USMC squad in the worst part of Baghdad and that would have been a relief for me, and again, I’m not being funny. There is nothing more stressful than having ALL your personal power taken from you. Where you can hear the words, “O’Connell to Reception! O’Connell to Reception!” and your heart starts racing, “What now?” You ask a guard, “what’s happening?” “Oh I’m sure its nothing, just a medical escort or something.”
But you know better. So, 30 minutes later you’re stripped naked and in front of two people you are lifting your testicles, squatting naked and ‘coughing’ and getting thrown in a prison truck to God knows where.
All your meager possessions will be gone through. Many will “disappear” – some stolen by prisoners in the property section of the jail or things like paper work sent to ‘Justice Intelligence Service’ (diaries+xrays+Qu’ran) to be “disappeared” until you kick up such a stink they give them back – minus a few things 😉 “They” have complete control over you and you never know what little game they are going to play next. In that way – solitary confinement was like paradise and I would have happily done the entire three years alone in solitary if it hadn’t been for the need to do paperwork.
Now, off to a new jail where I have to start all over again. I have to explain my case to the long line of “Noongyar” boys (Native Australian Tribe) who have heard through the prison grape vine you are here and you are a “racist”. Stressful as it was they accepted my explanations at face value and I gave Elders within the jail some of the reporting and paperwork. Some even knew about Palestine and the bad habits of Jewish racial supremacism so I taught them more.
That was something the legal establishment wasn’t expecting – they did their best to make sure I was bashed the moment I went in. Prison Officers were also clearly stirring up trouble. Just as things would settle down, it would start again – comments in the food line, harsh stares etc. This all stopped when a few well known prisoners I had become friends with started demanding from the ‘tattle tales’ exactly “who was saying what to whom?”
It all stopped right there because a simple ‘working down the line’ would have ended back at the local prison informant population and the prison officer who handled them. Don’t ever try to out Scorpio a Scorpio on the Machiavellian battlefield. I thrived in that dark little cesspit environment. I like getting dirty and there are a few prison officers with their tails stuck firmly between their legs since meeting me. One day we might meet on the outside and I will record the meeting for posterity. Absolute fucking cowards. They disgust me more than the pathetic informants they handle in the jail.
The ultimate lesson learned was that with population pressure and ‘scarcity’ (artificial or otherwise), you are going to get a nightmare. Civilized behavior will go out the window. You haven’t seen pathetic, desperate, and low-life until you’ve been to jail. Sad fact is you end up heading that way yourself – how else do you get along? Especially in maximum security.
As they make it all a “Prison Planet” I can see exactly how people are going to behave. They will gladly accept a Police State as long as they are fed, watered and entertained. I bet Henry if a poll was taken where “The Leader” stood up and said these words: “Citizens, democracy doesn’t work. Too much infighting and most of you are stupid and uninterested in running your own life anyway so we have decided that a fascist/corporatist system is the best way of doing things.
Your betters (Elders) will decide what is good for you. We will do psychological profiling based on your Facebook and Google data collected from your Smart Phone and put you in the right job. We will do detailed profiling and run it through our Quantum Computer in Jerusalem to decide on your best sexual Mate to produce children with; as well as genetic testing before licensing you to have children and you will be able to keep them and raise them if you make sure the correct “values” are instilled – otherwise the State will do it in a child care center for you. Only the best and brightest will be able to breed. Population reduction will be done humanely. Return to work citizen.”
Henry, I bet 90% of people would accept such a system. The other 9% would bitch about it and swear to die fighting it – but as soon as their internet connection was cut and they couldn’t watch funny You Tube video’s and their kids complained, they would buckle under, especially when the food is controlled. The final %1 will head “a little further out West” to isolated places. True Israelites who don’t want to be dictated to by corrupt King Herod and counted by Rome. I might see you out there.