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Bryan's Blog

Cal Bikers Urged to Protest Bikie Laws Sunday

Tuesday, January 21, 2014
California Rider Unification Rally
California bikers and motorcycle clubs are being asked to show their solidarity for their patch-wearing brethren in Australia in a peaceful protest against the strict VLAD act recently instituted in Queensland. People are asked to meet at the Australian Consulate in San Francisco on Sunday, January 26.
Motorcycle Rider Unification Rally in Sacramento.
In a show of solidarity for our biker brethren in Australia, a protest against the Vicious Lawless Association Act (VLAD) is scheduled at the Australian Consulate Sunday, January 26, 2014, from 10 a.m. to noon. The date has been established to coincide with embassy protests in Australia and other cities as well, including London, on Australia Day, the country's official national day.

Australia’s Queensland government passed the VLAD act, also known as the “Bikie Laws,” October 16, 2013. The law is directly aimed at motorcycle clubs and levies extreme penalties and extended jail time if a person is deemed to have committed a crime as part of a club. Queensland Consolidated Acts, a “database for the consolidated legislation of the State of Queensland,” defines the act as thus.

“Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act 2013 is an act of the Parliament of Queensland to ‘severely punish members of criminal organisations that commit serious offences.’ The act was passed on 16 October 2013, and went into effect immediately. The relevant Minister is required to review the Act after 3 years.

“The Act applies to legal organisations and ‘any other group of 3 or more persons by whatever name called, whether associated formally or informally and whether the group is legal or illegal.’ Similarly it defines office bearer of the organisation to allow for informal roles, with the defendant required to prove that they are not an office bearer.

“The Act declares a person to be a ‘vicious lawless associate’ if they commit a serious offence ‘for the purposes of, or in the course of participating in the affairs of, the relevant association.’ It is incumbent on the defendant to prove that the association is ‘an association whose members do not have as their purpose’ the serious offences listed in the Act.
“If a person is declared to be a ‘vicious lawless associate,’ this Act mandates a further 15 years imprisonment on top of the sentence for the crime for members of the organisation, and 25 years imprisonment for office bearers of the organisation

(1) The objects of the Act are to—
(a) disestablish associations that encourage, foster or support persons who commit serious offences; and
(b) increase public safety and security by the disestablishment of the associations; and
(c) deny to persons who commit serious offences the assistance and support gained from association with other persons who participate in the affairs of the associations.

(2) The objects are to be achieved by—
(a) imposing significant terms of imprisonment for vicious lawless associates who commit declared offences; and
(b) removing the possibility of parole for vicious lawless associates serving terms of imprisonment except in limited circumstances; and
(c) encouraging vicious lawless associates to cooperate with law enforcement agencies in the investigation and prosecution of serious criminal activity.”

What it boils down to is a form of intimidation by threat of incarceration. If a club member commits a crime that is deemed to be in the interest of the organization they represent, they will get an additional 15 year jail sentence on top of serving time for the offense in question. If you happen to be in a position of power within a club, make it 25 years. The VLAD act comes with no possibility of parole, even if a person receives parole for the original charge. The 15 year sentence is locked in, regardless. You can also be found guilty by association because the VLAD act extends to prospects and known associates.

Think things like this don't happen in America. Think again. Look at what happened to the Mongols. After a multi-state sweep by the ATF and Department of Justice called “Operation Black Rain” in 2008, “US District Court Judge Florence-Marie Cooper granted an injunction that prohibits club members, their family members and associates from wearing, licensing, selling, or distributing the logo, which typically depicts the profile of a Mongolian warrior wearing sunglasses, because according to the police, they use the logo and names as an identity and as a form of intimidation to fulfill their goals. Prosecutors requested the injunction after authorities arrested dozens of Mongols under a racketeering indictment.” (Mongols Motorcycle Club – Wikipedia)

A case was soon filed by Mongol member Ramon Rivera who sought an injunction against the United States District Court Central District of California listing Ronnie A. Carter, Acting Director of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), John A. Torres, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Los Angeles Field Division, and Eric H. Holder, US Attorney General as Defendants. Filed on May 15, 2009, US District Court Judge Cooper granted the plaintiff’s motion for a Preliminary Injunction, arguing, among other things, that “…even speech advocating unlawful conduct is afforded protection under the First Amendment.” Her conclusion states that “The Court hereby preliminarily enjoins the Government, its officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and anyone in active concert or participation with any of the foregoing persons, from seizing, or asking or directing any other person or entity to seize, from Plaintiff any property or item bearing or displaying all or part of the collective membership mark at issue in United States v.Cavazos.

Despite Judge Cooper’s ruling, the fight to strip the Mongols of their patches still hasn’t been completely resolved. A report in the Pasadena Star-News by Frank C. Girardot says the Mongols are again heading to court as trademark laws are being used to strip the club of its patch with a trial date set for March 25, 2014. So the fight isn’t over yet. And if legislators are successful at stripping the Mongols of their patch, who knows which one-percenter clubs are next.

Which brings us back to the protest scheduled for this weekend in San Francisco at the Australian embassy. California bikers showed great solidarity at the inter-club rally in Sacramento a few weeks ago at the state capitol where concerns about police profiling, harassment of riders in packs of three or more, and the right to wear colors were expressed. Let’s see if we can’t drum up similar support for Australian clubs because if the Queensland government is successful in its prosecution of bikers, there’s no telling who might adopt similar laws next. Here’s more info courtesy of the World Wide Australian Embassy / Consulate Protest Against VLAD Facebook page.

California bikers in solidarity with our Australian Brothers and Sisters.

Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act
Sunday, January 26, 2014 10 a.m. to Noon.
Australian Consulate – 575 Market Street
San Francisco, California

Date coincides with planned embassy protests in Australia and around the world.
- Objective
Peaceful and law abiding protest outside the Australian Consulate in San Francisco. I know... it is Sunday.. whose going to be there?? Doesn't matter... WE will be there. This is happening at Australian Embassies all over the world. Even as a symbolic gesture, it is important to show global solidarity against this draconian law.

Did you know... that our own government assisted the Queensland government by providing intelligence on US based motorcycle clubs?

The whole world is watching how things unfold in Queensland. As a global, unified motorcycle community of bikers, we cannot sit on the sidelines.

- Plan
Just show up. No organized pack ride, no parade, no speeches, no amplified sound, avoiding the need for city permits. Will assemble in front of the building hold signs occupying half of the public sidewalk closest to the street and avoid blocking pedestrian traffic.

More info to come.
Post Tags: Bikie Laws, Vicious Lawless Association Act, VLAD, Worldwide Australian Embassy Protest of VLAD Act
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Comments
RaptorFA January 31, 2014 01:10 PM
First off, I wish you could remove this ridiculous spam message from HanHickmottola. So what was the reported turn out? I never heard... I Hope it's making a difference. This legislation is downright scary, on multiple levels. I cannot believe the people of Queensland went for this garbage.
downunda January 25, 2014 04:21 PM
Thankyou so much, its a womderful thing you are doing for us downunder,there are many who cant protest today as they will be locked up if they are in a group of 3 or more club members or associates, so you dont know who you are standing next to, as you can imagine. hope you can keep up the good fight. ride safe
AussieRay January 22, 2014 11:09 PM
On behalf of those of us being subjected to these laws, thank you all. As simple as that, thanks.