Since last November 19, the Australian State of Queensland in Northeastern Australia, has banned the distribution of the monthly newsletter Brother Behind Bars in its prisons.
Brothers Behind Bars is a digest of biker club and motorcycle news edited by retired Sons of Silence patch holder Iron Mike Davis. Davis is the burly man in the photo above. BBB is specifically aimed at motorcycle club members and is stubbornly non-partisan. The first page of the February issue includes the following announcements.
“In memory of BPM Corky from Minnesota who passed away on February 2nd… R.I.P. Corky.” Congratulations were offered to “Damned Deacons Torch on your Release,” “Mongol Dirty on your release on Feb 22nd,” “Mongol Man Dog on your release to ½ way house,” “El Forastero Mike on your release to ½ way house,” “El Forastero Robert on your release to ½ way house,” “Galloping Goose Don on your release to ½ way house,” “El Forastero New Yorker on your release to ½ way house,” and “Forsaken Few Supporter Jason on your upcoming release to a ½ way house on March 26th.” A welcome was extended to new subscribers including Vago Casey, Pagan Bluto, Hells Angel Pat, Banshee Sancho, Devils Diciple Victor, Legion of Doom Bullet, Pagan Dirty Red and Pagan Creed.
In all, the newsletter is distributed to imprisoned members of 71 motorcycle clubs.
Queensland has been trying to outlaw motorcycle clubs since 2009 when the state passed the “Anti-Bikie Laws.” The legislation was formally called the Criminal Organisation Act of 2009. The spelling is Australian.
The laws give police the power to declare which organizations are criminal and which are not. The laws also permit the demolition of fortifications that are part of property owned by police identified criminal organizations. Similar sets of laws have been passed in the Australian states of New South Wales and South Australia. The laws have been challenged in the courts by the Hells Angels, Finks and Rebels Motorcycle Clubs.
The laws are a component of the global war on motorcycle clubs which is a subset of the much better known Global War on Terror. Australia’s strategy has been difficult to implement in the United States because the United States Constitution specifically guarantees citizens’ and visitors’ rights to move freely, assemble peaceably, to keep and bear arms and to express themselves freely in numerous ways including the right to wear a patch on your back. Various federal police forces in America including the FBI, the ATF and increasingly the Department of Homeland Security have attempted to subvert these Constitutional guarantees using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and in several recent cases trademark law.
Mike Davis was notified that the words he publishes were illegal in Oz with a peremptory, unsigned form letter from the Government of Queensland that read in full:
“On 7th of November 2012 Queensland Corrective Services issued a directive from head office that all correspondence between prisoners who are members of an Outlaw Motorcycle Gang (OMCG) and OMCG members and associates was to cease immediately.
“As a result the author of this letter has been identified to be either a member or associate of an OMCG as such your mail has been returned to you.”
Mike Davis told The Aging Rebel, “Something I’ve said for years: ‘Australia today, Canada tomorrow, and the U.S.A. the day after.’ I truly believe countries like Canada, Germany, U.S.A., and others are watching and seeing what works in Australia to outlaw motorcycle clubs – starting with the 1%er ones.”