Thursday, May 14, 2009

Brendon O'Connell, Hate Crimes Followup

Yesterday, I reported to an American audience a legal case that is widely known of in Australia. A man named Brendon O'Connell put up anti Jewish diatribes on You Tube, for which he was charged with hate crimes under Australian law. I got two replies, one to and the other on Both comments took issue with my conclusions. Both comments raise serious questions. Both comments came from members of the Perth Jewish community and offer background not mentioned in the mainstream media. Gedalia responded as follows.

"I have had a personal encounter with Brendan - not pleasant. He has physically threatened people, and is quite capable of crazy actions. I agree that a person should not be arrested for their attitude. However when that attitude is expressed in a way that is potentially harmful (in a very real sense) to other people, then the situation changes. As the article notes, only 2 people have been charged under this legislation, showing that it is only applied in instances of absolute necessity. You only need to watch his latest video posting to see that in this case, the charge was quite justified"

On, Perthguy posted the following reply.

"And I have news for you. Hate crimes have taken place. This lunatic has threatened the lives of men, women and children in the Jewish community, personally, by phone and email. On the very night he was charged, he rang a Perth based Jewish centre and told them he was coming around to "finish them off". The centre, which was full of children, had to have a police guard. This is beyond harassment. This guy hasn't just made videos out of the blue in the background, like the media is making out. He's being assaulting and threatening to kill Jews, in person, by email and by telephone, for almost a decade."

Both Gedalia and Perthguy rounded out the picture with accounts of a ten year campaign of harassment by O'Connell. Non stop harassment, assaults and even threatening the staff and children in a day care centre are criminal behavior. The presence of a police guard at the day care centre is proof that the public suffered expense. The fear and anxiety suffered by the Jews of Perth is no different than that of a girlfriend or public figure who is being stalked by an angry ex love or fan. Threatening physical harm is not and never was "protected speech." It is one thing to post on You Tube or a blog one's anger at Jews, Catholics, African Americans or Chinese. It is another matter entirely when one starts harassing strangers who belong to a group against whom one nurses a grievance.

Given the reports from Gedalia and Perthguy, I believe that it is proper for Brendon O'Connell to be facing possible jail time. But I still take issue with which of the existing laws were used to bring him to justice. Furthermore, it should not have taken ten years for Australian legal authorities to provide relief from O'Connell's outrages. A bad law can have a desired outcome and unforseen negative consequences. Hate crimes laws can be used to stifle the political free speech of individuals who have no intention of doing violence.

Orianna Fallaci, the late great Italian journalist wrote books and articles slamming radical Islam and the violence committed in the name of Islam. Not long before her death, legal charges were filed against her in France for "hate crimes."

In San Diego, a group of lesbians and agnostics has sued the Boy Scouts for hurting their feelings and self esteem and calling for the city to throw the Boy Scouts off land they lease from the City of San Diego to run a camping facility and an aquatic park. No one who filed the lawsuit had been to either facility or suffered any sort of discrimination there.

Great Britain has now banned Michael Savage from entry for the sole crime of runnning his mouth in front of a live microphone.

A British diplomat Rowan Laxton faces felony hate charges for mouthing off against Jews and Israel while exercising at a gym. The gym would have been within their rights to revoke his membership. The foreign service would have been within their rights to fire him. (Although his opinions are probably quite normal in the diplomatic service. )

All of these instances of the use of hate crimes laws create disturbing precedents for regulating speech. The possibility of progressive encroachments upon the boundaries of permitted speech is very real and very disturbing. Such laws even provide cover to prevent protests against human rights violations in Arab countries.

Brendan O'Connell should have to face the Australian justice system and the people he has harassed over the years. But the hate crimes laws used to stop him are like medicine that cures a disease and kills the patient.

A proper outcome for the Brendon O'Connell case would be for him to be taken out of jail, back down to the judge and back to jail on charges related to his conduct rather than his thoughts. There are enough laws to protect the people of Perth without hate crimes laws. These laws should have been invoked ten years ago to stop Brendon O'Connell in his tracks. And they should be used today as well. Sphere: Related Content


Gedalia said...

I'm no lawyer, so I can't comment from that perspective. However I have to ask, that if we accept your position, what is the alternative to removing a threat? In this case, I think we have decided to put "a fence at the top of the cliff, because it is better than an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff". G-d forbid that Brendan committed some crime by harming or injuring people, or worse. If we took no action, and the worst type of consequence then occurred, we would feel differently. We would say that we had the chance to stop it, and didn't act. Far better to prevent an act of violence when we can see that it is likely, than to have to deal with the consequences. If we can't acheive that through the use of the legal system in a case such as this, then what alternative course of action should we take to prevent hate crime?

shlomo said...

O'Connell is not being charged for having illegal "thoughts".

He has taken ACTION to tell lies in public, vilify the Jewish people, incite others to hate Jews, and to harrass and abuse Jews himself.

These are all illegal ACTIONS.

He clearly has a case to answer ...leave the Police alone and let them get on with it...

Magdeburger Joe said...

I am simply saying that the laws related to O'Connell's long history of criminal ACTS should have constituted the basis of legal action against him. Hate crime laws establish the precedent of making thoughts a crime. In the hands of a tyrant. That is dangerous. I object to the free hand that O'Connell had for ten years. I do notwant the manner in which he was prosecuted to lay the ground for future injustice. Bad laws can provide short term relief and long term aggravation

Magdeburger Joe said...

Your input as a Jewish resident of Perth was very useful in discussing this story. Thank you.

Magdeburger Joe said...

I am as concerned as you are about the harmful ACTIONS of O'Connell. I am also concerned that the right laws be used to charge him. The same laws that define hate speech can be used to ban speech that is well within the pale of what is currently accepted. We do not want to accept useful laws that have hidden strings attached.

Anonymous said...

What upsets me, is that the Jewish Community is looking to the outside world for protection. In this case, the Perth Police.

When in our thousands of years of history, has the outside world helped the Jewish people? When push came to shove, never.

The AUJS fellow who was captured on the video was a fine young man. However it is sad that he didn't realise that the time for debating was over, and O'Connell needed to have his arse absolutely kicked. I daresay the young man, like most Jewish kids, has probably never been in a fight in his entire life.

I am sure there is no jury in the land which would have convicted him for belting the snot out of O'Connell.

The typical Jewish attitude, of avoiding trouble, and keeping to yourself, has never ever been consistent with the survival of our people.

shlomo said...

Dear Magdeburger Joe,

Hate crime laws DO NOT criminalise thoughts.

The crime is vilifying and inciting hatred.

These are dangerous ACTIONS, which (history shows) can lead to horrific consequences. These actions SHOULD be illegal.

Anonymous said...

I found the videos thought-provoking. Brendon makes the case that people should better educate themselves about what is happening in Palestine, and if they know what is happening then they must each do at least a little bit to stop it. Attend a public protest for example, or boycott the sale of Israeli fruit. I agree with him on that. I have done my own research outside of the mainstream controlled media, and I support Brendon's opinion. When South African apartheid was occurring for example, there were huge protests compelling people to boycott products, and stop all commerce. I believe what the Israeli government does is much worse, but the media is silent.

At least it can be said that Israelis are a good people with bad government. But for how long can one keep saying that? I support divestment programs and peaceful commercial ways to bring about change. As for myself, well I was not raised Jewish, and I do not live in Israel, and I feel a kinship with Brendon even though I have direct line Jewish heritage. My dna is Jewish. You may not believe it. Right? It is. I feel Jews should listen to him and look into what is happening in Israel, and think about what can be done.

On another note, I feel that the Israeli lobby in America is responsible for the invasion of Iraq, and that was a terrible mistake. I also feel that Iran is not an enemy at all, yet the Israeli lobby never knows when to stop. Now they want to use the US military like attack dogs to take control of Iran. But how many Jews support the American Israeli lobby? Perhaps not many. But why is there no public condemnation, it's an interesting question. It seems like the media is complicit in making sure important questions are never asked. I wish more people like Brendon would force issues to be discussed, because the media will not.

Brendon seems to desire his own arrest. I think he may have planned it. Watching the videos, I believe if he is arrested for hate-crime, it sets a terrible precedent. Because it should not be illegal to say all of those things he says in the videos. It may not be legal to put a camera in someone's face however, and then broadcast that online without permission. I believe Brendon may have done something illegal in that regard. I believe he also threatened one of them physically. It seems he may be arrested and charged with some type of harassment and public nuisance laws. But if you watch what he says in those videos, he is calling the two kids who filmed him racist maniacs. He is calling both of them that in order to elicit a response. He does not seem to call all jews maniacs, only those who know what is happening and sit idle doing nothing. He voices the EXACT same condemnation to a Christian man in the street protest. Watch the videos if you have not.

If Brendon gets a good lawyer and an honest jury trial perhaps he will draw important attention to this issue. Sadly, I believe Brendon is correct when he suggests that so many people just do not do anything about the situation in Palestine. In that case, his case may be quietly swept under the carpet and he'll just get a stiff jail sentence for the wrong charges.

Magdeburger Joe said...

I feel that Israel is being judged by a standard in the court of world opinion that its neighbours are not and never have been held to. The state of civil liberties and rights in the PA controlled territories has been a miserable failure for Arabs. Arab prisoners in Israeli jails are shocked at how well they are treated. Arab political prisoners in Arab jails suffer horrific abuse. These are facts that are conveniently dismissed by the likes of Brendon. If some like Brendon were to get in my face, I would tell him to get lost, that I do not talk politics with strangers on the street. That would set the ground for physical self defense.
Although it is tedious, I feel that patiently pointing out the disparate standards by which Israel is judged.

Anonymous said...

If O'Connel is fund guilty its going to back fire for the jewish community,
and there is to be adverse publicity.

Brendon O'Connell said...

The fact that I have been portrayed by the judaic community as having threatened them physically, threatened them over the phone are SERIOUS claims. I will be discussing these things at the appropriate time. For now I have just been happy to "watch" and "screenshot" for posterity.

Do the Perth judaic community REALLY think they can get away with the ridiculous slander they have spewed out? My friends are not "neonazi" thugs, they are Church goers and highly respected in the community. They have sat, jaws agape at the unbelievable mentally diagnosable rubbish that has spewed forth. Statements so utterly ridiculous as to indicate to me a form of desperate mental illness. Literally.

The point is this - the Police were forced to rush over and "find something" - guns, explosives, kiddie porn, drugs OR the big one..."Mental Illness". They found nothing. Detectives were happy to state I was fine. They were courteous and professional but they came initially with their "Tasers Drawn" - no doubt. After the outlandish rubbish concocted by the judaic community no wonder.

I was released straight back into the community.

All in all I find it amusing that Stanley Keyser can come to a protest and "stalk" it, photographing, listening into conversations etc...and then when asked what he was doing claim he was just a "jew from Melbourne on holidays" who happened upon the protest when in fact he is a local judaic and leader of 2 radical leftist judaic organizations on campus at the University Of Western Australia. Stanley then assaults ME and when I shove him backwards in self defense he cries "poor victim". Yeh, we've heard it all before. Try a "new" approach. "Truth" maybe? I doubt you know the word.

A lesson for you all - do not "stalk" people protesting MASS SLAUGHTER and GENOCIDE and complain when a camera gets put in your face.

A vast movement is gathering to arrest and try criminals. I would like to stand shoulder to shoulder with judaics of the Tanakh to do this if there are any left.

I think people discussing Israeli Intelligence Operations, Leon Wende, SAS Communications Compromised and the banning of cross training between Australia Special Forces and the I.D.F might have something to do with it as well.

We could add in such MASSIVE data base mining companies as COMVERSE, VERINT, P-TECH, Guardium well. No wonder you can track people so easily.


See you all in Court.

Brendon O'Connell said...

I screenshot everything by the way and used "CamStudio" to film myself writing and publishing this comment.

I put nothing past you to edit what I write after the outrageous behavior of "alleged" judaics online who were even conversing "casually" with a "neonazi" online who called himself "SAINTHITLER" and who stated in his sig line he wanted to "rape" and "torture" women. Those posters originated from Melbourne and we managed to gather their I.P's whcih were passed onto Police.

I suggest the judaic community find out who they were and also the identity of the poster "SAINTHITLER" who they were chatting with because as far as I am concerned I saw 3 judaics who forgot there "screen identities" for a while and I will be making people aware of the judaic habit of faking outrageous screen personalities in an attempt to create the "atmosphere" of an internet filled with "haters" when the vast majority of the time it is "jews" playing "kosher nazi".

Anonymous said...

Hey Brendon. My name is Brendan Connell. I happen to be Jewish. I am just wondering if maybe we are related.