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Prison Diary of a Games Monitor Contributor

Security Fence: While in jail I couldn't help noticing the similar aesthitic of the prison and the Olympic enclosure which is surrounded by 17.5km of electric fence, on which there are 900 day and night vision cameras   © Mike WellsSecurity Fence: While in jail I couldn't help noticing the similar aesthitic of the prison and the Olympic enclosure which is surrounded by 17.5km of electric fence, on which there are 900 day and night vision cameras © Mike Wells

An Olympic Prison Diary

Prisoner Number A6379CN
HM Prison Thameside
Somewhere in South East London

This diary was written by Mike Wells while incarcerated in Stoke Newington and Leyton police stations, and then in Thameside prison. Mike Wells was arrested after an incident which occurred on Leyton Marshes, site of a contentious Olympic construction project. He is currently free on bail. His bail conditions state that he should not go within a certain distance of a certain Olympic venue. His bail conditions last until his trial is over. The trial date has been set for the last day of the Olympics. He could be imprisoned for a breach of these bail conditions. He will answer a charge of common assault with a not guilty plea. He is a journalist, writer, photographer, and film maker.

Prison Diary
No way of knowing if it is day or night unless you ask and are told what time it be. Ten minutes or an hour, or three, time stands on its head...

This must be how they break people. I will be try and be strong and at the same time accept my limitations, but mustn’t crumble.

I’m now in Leyton police station which is really part of the modern prison security industrial complex, soulless, fluorescent tube lit nightmare. Somehow less “friendly” than where I was previously imprisoned - Stoke Newington police station. They moved me in the very early hours. While in Stoke Newington I thought of the cries of the black men murdered by the police in those cells. My treatment was not physically rough there. However, little things like a blanket and pillow were not provided to lessen the thin shiny plastic covered mattress of sleeplessness.

The inhumanity of walls and doors and fences. After arrest and arrival at Stoke Newington, I was queued with other prisoners unable to enter what is called the “custody suite”. There was a special area for this queuing. They called it “The Cage”.

It can’t be only the prisoner that is hurt by this as, for a lesser time, the staff running this place are also volunteer captives in the industrial world’s machine of punitive measures.

But despite it all there is humanity. In Stokey cop shop there was a man’s large round dark black face framed by the small hatch through which they can pass food and so on, the face said, “you ok?”, then when I replied he said, “good man”. Somehow this touched me, as I thought he really meant it.

I don’t have Stockholm Syndrome. I know because last night my heart filled with hate. Something pulled me back from that abyss, mostly the thought of my friends on the outside and the Buddhist meditation I learned at the London Buddhist Centre.

As Anita one of the 3 other people to be imprisoned over issues connected with the Olympic debacle on Leyton Marshes said to me, “we are all in this together”. My take on what she was talking about is that we are all on the sinking ship of of our culture, as this crazy Ponzi scheme financed by a fiat currency, prepares to crash.

The “system” is being run by psychos, how can we bring power to the hands of those that don’t want it? An inevitable contradiction. The cell is a good place to ponder such questions. Are the rich powerful people more brutal then the less rich? I think not. The “system” can brutalize all.

Just learned it is 1450 on Friday. I have just been charged with “common assault”. The officer who charged me claimed he thought I would “make mischief” if he released me on bail. “Mischief” is something the authorities want to avoid in connection with the Olympics, therefore I’m in the police cells for at least another 20 hours or so. Very interesting. I would imagine they are playing for time hoping that the magistrates will send me down and if that doesn’t work they can then asbo me. I think this is political. There will no doubt be other victims who will face the same or worse injustice as me in order to put on a good show during the Olympics. What a tragedy for this nation. The Fake becomes the more important than the authentic. The lies bigger than the truth, and 0.1% of the population, the rich, become richer and more important than the rest of us.

It makes me feel very vulnerable to be in here in solitary confinement.

I asked for the 3rd time for a shower, and the second time to go for exercise outside. The woman I spoke to was curt and a bit angry. Small things mean a lot here.

It is after midnight and I am going to court tomorrow.

The previous pen which I got from The Gavin, The Lawyer (he asked if he could give it to me), stopped working. The sergeant gave me this one. I had to promise to give it back when I leave “in case one of the other prisoners gets it and does harm with it”. What a hellish world in here.

The shower was cold, and washing painful due to bruised or cracked ribs. I was not allowed outside for exercise.

I thought I was going to lose my mind earlier. It is frightening to think how easily that could happen in here. The claustrophobia, the walls, the oppression. To stop myself going mad I started meditating and it helped a lot. Mindfulness of Breathing followed by Loving Kindness. I could feel Isabelle’s love through space and time. Thank you darling. I could feel my friend’s love and mine for them.

I wonder who knows where I am, and who doesn’t. I wonder how Sarah’s daughter is? If she is beating the cancer? I hope so.

I am scared that I won’t win the case tomorrow and would therefore go to jail. I think that jail would not be nearly so bad as here. This is solitary confinement and is really nasty. It is designed to be so. I can see it has a purpose. Only desperate people would want to be here, which according to the policeman who arrested me is common.

Writing helps. But I am also tired. I think it was kind of the sergeant to give me this pen, perhaps against his better judgment.

If I get out and am free tomorrow I will be happy to see everyone.

The whole Olympic situation is unbearable, its presence and power hang in the air like a bad smell in the area where our community of boat dwellers exist. The thousands of adrenaline charged security personnel will be a menace to ordinary Londoners.

I think I may need to get away. The next film ... Escaping the Olympics? But I feel as though I really need to be part of the community at the moment and don’t want to go off on my own.

This place is a mad house. No wonder the policeman was concerned about the pen being used as a weapon. They have created a place of concentrated madness, a black hole sucking in psychic darkness. God help the folks trapped in its gravity. That includes the staff.

It is probably coming up for 0100 am. I’m tired and going to try and sleep.

Who would come on the Olympic Escape with me? There is a possibility there will be insufficient water for boat movements (owing to drought), but Oxford might be possible.

Saturday 27th
Picked up the “go back to jail” card in the monopoly game of life. After 2 days in the new police station in Leyton, which was a nasty experience, I’m now in Thameside prison which is also part of the afore mentioned prison industrial complex. However the atmosphere here is totally different. A holiday camp by comparison to the police station - well maybe not. The cop shop was basically 2 days in solitary with out seeing sky or any natural light, and with almost no sleep. It had a profound effect on me and I think I was on the cusp of panic attacks. Thank god for meditation.

The judge today was a grumpy man, (TEXT REMOVED SO AS NOT TO PREJUDICE BY TRIAL) he gave my lawyer a bollocking for not filling a form in and sent me back down to the cells below to reappear later. TEXT HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM HERE FOR LEGAL REASONS.

Saturday about 1800
I just chatted with another prisoner, a short thick set tough looking African man, lets call him Z. He is a new arrival like me. He was crying. I asked if he was ok. Z told me a bit of his story. He had been working in London illegally in a shit job so he could send money home to his granny. Where he is from there are no jobs and no money. He was very upset at not being able to send money home to his gran owing to being in jail.

Also arriving in prison with me is a man with few teeth and dreadlocks, who has similar politics to me and was complaining about how the rich are getting richer while we are all getting poorer. The conversation moved onto Latin American politics. He told me he’d been in prison a few times starting in the 1980s. He gave me advice on dealing with this as a first timer. “Treat it like a holiday” he said! “Leave stuff on the outside on the outside, there’s nothing you can do about it”, he advised.

Another man who gave me comfort, a long timer who’s in for more than 2 decades could see I was down and gave me some kind words and wisdom saying he had felt the same when he first came to prison. He tapped his head saying “it’s all in here”.

Another one of the prisoners I came in with was being very belligerent to a guard. The guard let it go a couple of times then put him in a room on his own. In a way I thought the young person’s guts were amazing. Fearless and defiant.

We can wear our own cloths but are also issued shapeless dark green tracky bottoms and t shirts. On first impressions this place seems very egalitarian. We are all in the shit together no matter what our backgrounds.

It is obvious from my hearing that the police, and who knows what authorities, are out to get me. They are so paranoid about protest and security over the Olympic period and it looks as though I’m seen as a risk, and though I would associate the following words with the Olympic project I don’t have plans to disrupt it. Their actions towards me demonstrate that they imagine all kinds of crazy scenarios. Fake, forgery, deception, theft, bread and circus, inauthentic, criminal, lies, bullies, creepy.

I wrote an article about Olympic security a couple of years ago and cited Red Team Journal (London 2012: one big party or one big prison). RTJ is a security publication. Red Teaming is a term used to describe defense research based on cold war language, imagining one is the Red (communist) enemy and thinking of ways to attack. In other words thinking as though you are your own enemy.

An article I found RTJ commented ...

“But protecting the national interest is a task that must be accomplished regardless of human weakness.”

Anyhow I do wonder if all the wondering and machismo of these security personnel doesn’t make them a bit mad. When Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Chris Alison (whose remit includes Olympic security and firearms) visited Leyton Marshes, where a small protest camp had sprung up against the construction of Olympic practice basketball courts, he and his mysterious co-visitor, a Home Office bod who worked on Olympic security, looked very uncomfortable, and I wondered what they imagined - more than anyone else present I suspect.

Sunday April 29th 10:19
A passable night’s sleep, though the bruised / broken rib still makes sleep not easy. This place is a prison. You can’t just go out. I haven’t been outside the cell yet and feel apprehensive to do so.

I seem to have been able to manage my emotional state so far while here. That is after the occurrences of the 2nd night in the police cells where I was definitely on the edge of something, some kind of melt down. The meditation has really helped.

Since being a prisoner I have had one small poo in three and a half days so I guess things must be backing up.

There is a Sun Newspaper on this wing in which I found the headline, The Scariest Thing About the Olympics is Walking into a Room Full of Superstars, says Victoria Pendalton”. What a poor analysis. It appears she knows very little, whoever she may be.

I have had a horrific realisation. I think the police will be able to, through means I don’t want to write about here, keep me in prison for some time (months).

I just met a 21 year old lad in the exercise yard, he stole a jumper during the riots. He was 20 when he did that. He got 13 months. This is crazy. There are people out there engaged in crime such as the destruction of the NHS, the destruction of economies and currencies, who are free and rich. This experience is valuable for me, it is an unpleasant learning experience.

I love and miss my friends. My heart aches so much. I realise I have been so stupid to have put myself in a situation which has given the authorities the opportunity to silence my criticism. I have been stupid.

A guy who also entered the jail at the same time as me was telling me he has a serious case which if he’s found guilty of would involve a sentence of some years. He goes to court tomorrow. It will not be his trial but a hearing to decide if he gets bail or not, so its a big deal for him. He caught me off guard as I wasn’t expecting a visitor to walk into the cell. I was in tears, over my situation, as through talking to him and learning his story I have realised this nightmare is likely to last for months and they are likely to keep me locked up and therefore silence my reporting on the Olympics.

I feel separated from my friends which hurts a lot. I am wondering how my mother will take this. If I don’t get out on Friday when the court hearing takes place I will have to let her and my dad know. I know it has to hurt them because it is quite possible they won’t understand the political nature of the situation.

There needs to be a phrase such as “unAmerican Activities”, only in this case it should be unOlympic Activities”!

I fear that they are going to make all kinds of connections that don’t exist about me. I am so sad that our country is becoming like this. By “this” I mean, a state where the state has turned on its citizens and is being run for the benefit of a few. There seems to be no stopping it - fiat currencies and Ponzi schemes. (A fiat currency is one that is based on no actual commodity value other than trust, a Ponzi scheme is a financial investment with high returns on capital, but is a scam in which the returns are paid only out of the new investors’ inputs, they inevitably collapse) I think the global economy, perhaps especially the UK’s, is basically a giant Ponzi scheme - bank rolled by fiat currencies. In other words a few rich people have been running the show for their own short term gain. If I’m right and I hope I’m not, this could cause a huge economic crash. The “capitalist” thieves won’t go to jail.

The problem is people’s hearts are not sufficiently open to let their love free. Narcissism and self interest has become common. I think this is due to the breakdown of communities, and also by turbocharged advertising. Stable communities mean friendship and love can thrive, but in Britain, movement for work, poor tenancy protection, and the house price bubble have produced significant difficulty for most people to become embedded in a community.

I’m shit scared I’m going to be in prison a while. The evening has been very difficult and I’ve been in tears. Also when I think of the stories from other prisoners it is very sad. I spoke with the African man Z who has been working here illegally. He is very scared, has done nothing immoral, and is in fact just trying to help his family. This is so fucked up.

Monday 30th April
It is a friend’s birthday and I can’t even send a message and she probably doesn’t even know I’m in prison. I feel as though I’m morning the loss of my freedom. I’m missing my friends and it really hurts to the core. I’m thinking all kinds of things about how I could be lost in this hellish system of crazy suspicion. I’ve lost my appetite and can’t sleep. I think I am the one of the least able people to cope with confinement of anyone else I know.

Was given a short exercise break this morning and there were only a handful of other prisoners that wanted to go outside which I thought was surprising.

I am praying there won’t be any attacks during the Games, because if there are I can imagine the police would be rounding up anybody who has protested and has any convictions - even minor against the Olympics. I worry about my friend X who has been meeting others with concerns about the Olympics I’m sure he’s on their list. That is the so called “Domestic Extremist List” (by this our paranoid security apparatus does not mean a person who indulges in aggressive Hoovering). X is not extreme and is only an intellectual threat.

I’m in a dark desperate state of mind and I don’t know how to shift it. Meditation isn’t working at the moment. Is that weak? Yes. I’m not a tough guy. I feel as though I just don’t have enough strength. How the hell do other people in here seem to cope? They are very strong. This prison is not like others. It does not keep people in their cells 22 or 23 hours per day. There is quite a lot of time on the wing, which is an open area outside the cells. The not being able to phone or arrange visitors due to various Catch 22
bureaucratic issues is a real blow and has caused me to feel very isolated.

Perhaps I have taken my friends a little for granted. When cut off from those relationships in this setting I realise how important friends and community are.

But hoorah; the phone worked this evening and I have managed to get Sasha on the phone. So great to hear a normal person, a caring loving person with a big heart.

After our first phone call she went back to my boat/home where I phoned her again and Isabelle, Ben and Charlie were there, and so I was able to talk to them as well.

The feeling of helpless isolation has almost completely lifted.

Anyway mission to study serco from the inside is progressing. Thameside is a new prison run by the private security company serco, imaginatively short for service company. Because Simon and Dan, also from Leyton Marshes, had also been imprisoned here and had given me some details I had an idea of what to expect. It holds, when full, around 900. Due to newness and not filling up yet (maybe 275 inmates) most have a 2 person cell to themselves. The cells have a window about 1 metre by 1 metre, there are of course bars, but you can see outside and the sky. There are curtains which you can draw. You are locked in your cell at about 6pm. The cell is opened at about 7am. You are also locked up between midday and 1pm ish. I guess that’s when the guards have their lunch. There is a shower and a toilet in the cell, there is a tv, a phone and a double bunk. The phone has a complicated system of credits, and when arrested I had just been to the cash point and had a £100 in cash on me which as proved very handy as credit on the phone.

In terms of physical conditions this prison seems good. I’ve heard stories from other inmates about other prisons and the dirty conditions, and rats, and violence, these places sound scary.

I have the privilege of being in a new design prison bought off the shelf rather as one might buy a suit. The staff seem genuinely ok. Just doing their job. One of the civilian staff at Leyton cop shop which is also an off the shelf design and was built especially for the Olympics, after I asked, told me she was earning £30,000 per year. The qualifications required are probably quite minimal. One of the civilian workers in the Custody Suite filled in a form about me and his spelling and writing were even worse than mine, and I’m a hopeless dyslexic.

Anyhow I am lucky. This could be so much worse. Anyhow for the moment I’m out of my psychological hole and am in a better position to observe. We went on an “education induction” today. A medium sized room, could have been a conference room for business people in a hotel except behind the desks were a load of tough looking blokes - and me. The purpose of the induction was to let prisoners know what was on offer and also a motivational thing to try and give prisoners hope and focus. They guy who delivered the first round, a handsome 30 something light black man, was passionate, knowledgable and decent. After his talk a guy next to me turned and said, “that was over pitched man”, which I thought was a very funny bit of cynicism. Quite number of the guys talked about their frustration over not being able to get jobs on the outside and clearly have a strong motivation to work. A couple of really nice women did the next round, which included a test. It was pretty easy for me but some of the prisoners struggled and took a long time over the test. The staff were from an outside agency.

There seems to be a genuine will in this place to treat people well. It really does seem as though a new approach is being tried.

One of the long term prisoners here, there are a number who have come from other prisons to help with the setting up of this place, was helping me with something and we talked about conditions here, and we both agreed that if the police knew they would be disappointed.

I don’t know that much about the police but I do think they have a more brutal mindset than the staff here. To me it seems that brutality can only bread more brutality and is therefore not useful. I was in the police cells for only 40 or so hours and it is to me a form of torture. I was thinking what it would be like to be locked up for 21 days, which is the max for “terror” suspects, a situation in which I think a person could easily lose their mind. From the police point of view the question is - would this give useful and accurate information. I would have thought that a person would say anything just to try and stop the nightmare. I am not talking from experience only the police and the people they have done that to can know this. Is it right that a “civilised” society would do this however? But it appears also that British security services have sent people to be physically tortured as well. This is shameful in my view. It also demonstrates that there are dark forces within the security apparatus of our nation.

Back to Thameside prison. I have heard two inmates voice their doubts that this place will will remain humane. I can see that this could so easily become corrupted. Statistics on reoffending may help it. I can see that the Right would not like this, there not being enough vengeance. But lots of the guys I’ve talked to in here have been in and out of tough jails for years, and the Toughness of those places doesn’t appear to have helped them, or stopped them reoffending.

From the fellow inmates somehow I can feel a sense of respect for each other and each other’s suffering. Almost everyone here has suffered isolation and separation.

But the mutual respect between prisoners is not universal. Before an exercise break I was waiting to be let out through a door leading into a large cage constructed for the purpose of prisoner exercise. I went through the door followed by another prisoner who I had never seen before. He said to me, “you stink”. I think the meditation had made me sufficiently passive so as not to feel scared or angry at this. I took it at face value. I said “do I? I probably need a shower”. The situation went from threat to friendlyish very quickly. He was even prepared to wait out in the rain with the guard while I was jogging round in circles in the exercise cage.

But the “you stink” situation took another turn later in the lunch queue, when another prisoner was making funny head movements indicating he wanted to have a private talk to me. I didn’t trust the guy, however I complied with his request for a conversation, which was conducted with another dodgy onlooker. He claimed to be looking out for me and had heard what happened. It was some kind of prisoner power politics and something about it was far more sinister than the straightforward “you stink” situation.

Unsurprisingly there seems to be an almost universal disrespect for the police with people saying they seem to act sadistically trying to mess people’s lives up as much as possible. Jail is not just jail. Jail can include loss of job, home, and relationships. It can be a comprehensive fuck up of a life.

But though those factors are still present here, this place might be different - for the time being. The handsome educator / motivator was telling us we must have a plan when we leave. A foreign national prisoner asked him how he was supposed to have a plan? The educator was pitching well, and was convincing. “Whatever the circumstances have a plan”, he said.

This place is a challenge to my dislike of privatisation. It might even be bad for business. If reoffending falls, that’s less meat to put in the mincer of the prison system. However, from serco’s point of view, if successful that may mean more contracts going to them. Less prisoners but greater market share. However zero reoffending would not be a good business model.

Am I being too cynical?

There could be some Rightwing meddling trying to discredit this model of incarceration. However, it is all a bit outside the box. Rightwing likes free market economics and privatisation - tick. Rightwind likes “tough on crime” - cross.

This place would be a photographers heaven - not only because of the people but also the building, the general aesthetic. The order, the locks, the symmetry, the asymmetry, the repetition, the colours.

The uniforms. Apart from the odd civilian or manager no one here is trying to look good. The guards uniform is a bit like the cops’. It just doesn’t look good, the cut is all wrong and the fabrics are gross. The prisoners can wear their own cloths, or the prison issue dark green very baggy tracky bottoms, t shirt, and sweat shirt. All entirely without shape. No one gives a fuck. As soon as I’ve washed my green attire I’ll be wearing it again. I think it helps you not really be you here when you are not in your own cloths, or at least you feel somehow less contaminated by the place.

1st May
Sunset over the razor wire. Shards of light glint from the from the flesh tearing cutting edge of the prison, rolls of wire adorning 4 metre zinc electroplated security fencing. A vision of the future? No this is now. Funnily enough the security fencing around the perimeter of this place and also surrounding the small exercise enclosures at the end of each wing, is similar in appearance to that of the Olympic “park” where there are also inexplicable enclosures. Aesthetically the 5,000 volt electric fence around the Olympic zone is tidier, without the messy roles of razor wire. There are other similarities between here and the Olympic Park insofar as every square millimeter has been planned in a security context which leaves it feeling cold, contrived, and inauthentic. However the aesthetic of a jail is at least honest, functional, authentic. It is the not pretending to be a “park”, when it is closer to a jail.

The Olympic spin machine has made so many extravagant claims. The list is endless. The greenest Olympics ever, the most inclusive, etc etc. The wild abandon with which the superlatives have been used makes me think London 2012 should be known as The Greatest Claims Games - Ever.

One of their funniest claims has been that “The london Olympic Park will be the largest new park in Europe for 150 years”. One of the greatest thorns in the sides of bureaucrats -Ever - Mr Julian Cheyne, enquired through Freedom of Information, which was previously the largest park in Europe? Olympic bosses held no information on this, in other words this claim was fabricated. The claim was subsequently downgraded - but not by much. The largest new urban park in Europe for 150 years. More probing from Mr Cheyne and it became the “largest new urban park in Europe for a 100 years - after an Olympics”.

But this project is so knee deep in bull’s shit - even the word “park” is misleading. What most of us would think of as a park would be an open area of land, perhaps with trees, may be a small gardener’s building, and in public ownership. This is not the London Olympic “Park”. It remains to be seen if the 5,000 volt electric fence will be taken down post Olympics, but in any case London’s Olympic “Park”, soon to be the Queen Elizabeth 2nd Olympic Park, is not what most people would think of as a park. And the move to invoke the Queen’s brand for the title of Olympic enclosure is akin to brand hijacking. A matter to which Olympic bosses are very sensitive.

I just looked out of my cell window and saw a bubble. One solitary unexplained bubble floating in the air about 20 metres from my window. I am not seeing things in case you are wondering. The bubble disappeared but I keep looking out of the window and there are no more bubbles out there. Where did the bubble come from? Did it come from outside, bypassing all the razor wire and security, or did a prisoner blow a bubble. The prisoner theory does not seem likely as its about 12.30 pm and everyone is locked in their cells. I feel sorry for the bubble dying in a place like this, but I suppose it was free to roam as it pleased. Thank you bubble for revealing yourself to me. God I’m in a state. I’m getting emotional about a bubble.

I seem to be coping with being here though there were tears this morning. I haven’t been outside in two days. I missed outdoor exercise yesterday because of being moved to a different wing. And I missed it today due to the fact that on this wing exercise happens at a different time. It seems important to learn the routines of jail.

My mind feels muzzy and I think my breath smells, I guess my brain might be decomposing as well. Sleep has not gone well. My ribs still hurt which makes sleeping even more tricky in this place.

There is some thing about the compartmentalization of this place that has got me thinking. It coincides with the police’s apparent compartmentalizing and categorizing of people as“protesters” and “domestic extremists”. What is a protester - what is a person? Is a person their job, their car perhaps, their address? Modern society seems to be indulging in a turbocharged from of categorization. This is a category B prison, for cat B and below prisoners. Anyhow it is “home” to everything from murderers to people who haven’t paid their council tax. A murderer only has to murder someone once to be called a murderer for life. If a person protests once does the term protester become an everlasting label, leaving them on the police’s Domestic Extremist List, and an enemy of the state?

The guard who took me from the cells at the court last Saturday asked me what I was in for, I replied, “murder”. As he had just handcuffed himself to me I could feel him stiffen before I said “no only joking”, and he relaxed again - until I mentioned the genocide.
I just realised what death and prison have in common. Death causes separation, both for the dead and the left alive. Prison does the same especially if you are unable to communicate with the person in jail and they unable to communicate with you. I think what I was experiencing before I was able to make that first phone call (5 days) was a kind of morning over separation from my friends and community who I love very much. I am very lucky to have such an amazing bunch of people in my life, beautiful, good, and talented people.

I got a call to go to the visitor’s centre today, for a legal visit. It turned out to be a false alarm, there was no one there. I am a bit suspicious about why? I believe the state is moving into a condition of paranoia which will reach its zenith during the Games (it looks as though I’m entering that zone also). In a way it is perhaps also blessing I won’t be allowed near the Olympic venues owing to whatever legal instrument they will level at me.

When I was at the Visitor Centre today, while I waited for the “error” to be sorted out I sat and very discretely watched the men with their loved ones. There was a prisoner a few metres away, what were probably his mum and dad came in. They looked very middle class they embraced with a lot of love. The father son embrace was touching. Another prisoner was standing by the reception desk / lookout post, his 3 kids spotted him from the other end of a room which is about the size of a basketball court, and they ran over to him giggling and happy to see their dad who kissed and cuddled them. The prisoners are thoroughly searched on the way in to the Visitor Centre, and so I guess are the visitors. I was quite surprised how the prisoners and visitors are allowed to touch and hug. This seems almost too humane for a prison. I believe that in Scandinavian countries the prisoners are allowed to have conjugal visits. I’ve been to Sweden and know a few Swedes, and I would say it is a more civilized less barbaric way of life there.

I heard another story today, from foreign national prisoner, a really quiet gentle guy, quite a religious person. A parcel delivery turned up at his door. It was for another person in the shared house he lived in, and so he signed for it. I guess it must have been spotted in customs, as it had come from another country. It contained drugs. He is on remand for months before his trial date. I believe his story. He was very upset.

It was an election day today. I am registered to vote. I asked to be able to vote in the prison but they thought I was crazy. That is the reason Boris Jonson got back in.

Friday 4th -bail hearing day.
Currently in a place that resembles a dungeon under Thamesmead Magistrates’ Court, Bow, London, waiting for the hearing. Recently I was chatting with number of other prisoners. They seemed like a nice bunch of blokes (awful screaming noises coming from a cell in this dungeon). An idea popped into me head... to ask what the other prisoners thought about the London Olympics? The first guy I asked had a one word reply to the question - “shit”, he said. (sound of guard saying “no screaming” to screaming woman) A compact, accurate and minimalist analysis of London 2012 I thought, especially for a man that can’t read or write. I knew he couldn’t read or write from an earlier conversation. (more and louder screams) The second guy I put the Olympic question to said, “it’s great, its a brilliant thing, it will bring lots of opportunities. This is a once in a life time opportunity” he repeated. He went on, “for thieving”. It was so unexpected despite my stress I laughed a lot. (the sound of groaning from the screamer) One of the reasons I liked this guy’s comment on thieving is the use of language. “Once in a lifetime opportunity” It is just the sort of drivel the Olympic bull’s shit machine would have come out with, except in this case it wasn’t bull’s shit. He was a fascinating bloke who was telling me how he enjoys thieving right under the noses of police, he sees it as a challenge. He seems like a very interesting and sophisticated criminal, who robs from the rich.

I have never had such a good transportation service. All free of charge. The serco vans are interesting in themselves. You are handcuffed and moved into a small fiberglass cubicle. The cubicle has a small tinted window to see the outside world through. The tint is quite dark and makes everything look as though it is dusk. When transported I have found myself transfixed watching the miscolured outside world. The tint is so that people can’t see the prisoners. It is another way of cutting us off from society. The serco van can be right up alongside a truck, the people inside the same height, just feet way, but it is as though you don’t exist to them. The other window in the cubicle is in the door leading to the van’s corridor. I wondered how there could be graffiti in the cubicle as prisoners are searched before entering the van. The graff included, “serco wankers” and comically there were arrows pointing towards the window in the door from comments such as, “bell end”, “wanker”, and “knob head”. Thus the serco staff would be framed by such insults when they were outside the door. There was also quite a good drawing of a guy behind bars saying “get me out of here”.

Still in the dungeon under the courts. I just had a disturbing experience. I was being moved from another cell where I saw my lawyer, Tom. At the same time a young man I had seen and chatted to in prison, was being moved along the same corridor. I said hello, but he didn’t really acknowledge me. As he walked down the corridor I realised he was just being returned from a toilet visit. I knew that because he had his trousers round his ankles. I realised with some horror that he has gone mad. I have asked the guards to get him a doctor, but am not sure what they will do. (screaming again) In a way I would like it if they take him up to the court to the magistrates so they can see what their handy work has done to this young person. This is barbaric, this is wasteful, this is not intelligent. It is a tragedy of monumental proportions. I don’t know how many prisoners we have in this country but I know in the USA they now have more than a million prisoners.

Screaming woman has just let out a blood curdling scream and I can hear bashing on a cell door. To much pain, too much hurt made worse. I have to remain calm to go upstairs and face the court.

The screaming person’s lawyer is talking to her ....

I have just returned back in the dungeon after the hearing. There is currently no screaming.

I was granted bail. I probably should be dancing and singing. That will come later. I’m free - for the time being. I am a little worried that the police will rearrest me when I walk out of the courts, however lawyer Tom thinks that is unlikely. Tom was very good. Very professional and credible. Being cuffed and locked up in a cell again seems a little unnecessary now as I am supposed to be free. I am told it’ll take 30 mins or so to get me out. Tom has just come down to say bye. I thanked him profusely. He’s a dude.

On a less fun note, on the way up to court I spoke to the lawyer of “screaming woman”. I had a suspicion that it may have been the young man with the trousers round his ankles. It was / is. I told the lawyer that I thought the young man should see a doctor. He told me he had already seen the dungeon’s medical team. That doesn’t inspire me with confidence.

There were friends in the court which helped me feel strong and less isolated. The bail conditions are confusing, and surprise surprise my trial date is set for the last day of the Paralympics. I can live my life again - I hope. The judge seemed ok, a traditional looking white woman of about 55. Overall I’ve been very very lucky. I didn’t go to the worst prison. I didn’t get bullied in jail, I got a great lawyer and a reasonable judge. What an experience.

I do have fear of rearrest. I cant wait to hug my friends and also ride by bike and sleep in my own bed at home on my beautiful little boat. A cup of green tea will be great as well was some really nice red wine. I am so lucky.

Sitting in the dock, which is basically a small room in the corner of the court made out out of one inch thick bullet proof glass, I noticed on the woodwork below the glass graffiti. Bloody hell that is dedication to an art form.

In theory I am a free man. However an hour and a half has passed and I am still locked in the dungeon. The boy is still screaming. I’ve talked to the guards again they say they think he’s acting. Other prisoners are shouting “shut up” at the boy now, as it is a distressing sound. Once trapped in this system it is unlikely one will become saner, and most likely that you will become less sane. I have known 2 people who had psychotic episodes and so am not unfamiliar with madness. The boy seemed distant and unable to communicate properly when we were in the prison. I really don’t think he is ok. I can’t do more than talk to the guards. I don’t know the boy’s name. I could hear through the cell door I think another prisoner was talking to the guard about him. I am emotionally drained but have to remain strong in case of immediate rearrest.

Two hours after receiving bail. The screaming continues another prisoner shouts “shut up cunt” and “quiet”. After a further hour they let me out.


POSTSCRIPT TO PRISON DIARY (written some weeks after release)

I was chatting to a South Korean friend about my experience in jail. Some years ago her ex boyfriend was imprisoned for 14 years under Korea’s US sponsored dictator. He was also tortured. This puts my 8 days’ of imprisonment into some kind of perspective. But I still have to admit that being jailed has had an effect on me.

I feel a bit of a lightweight, but in my defense I think it was partly my imagination playing tricks on me, the not knowing how long I was going to be in for. Based on my belief that the authorities have become paranoid and dangerous, and my history as a critic of the London Olympics I imagined that they might try to keep me in for months. At one point I even imagined they might render me to another country.

It was actually quite a close shave, I could easily of remained on remand in jail until my trial date in September (5 months). The reason I didn’t end up languishing in prison for all those months is that I had a good lawyer, the judge was reasonable and listened, and the prosecution lawyer was so bad her contribution amounted mostly to shuffling bits of paper and mumbling incoherently. Another thing that brought the judge round was my friends offer to put up a few thousands pounds as security, and they also provided character references.

A significant proportion of the prisoners I shared my experience with were on remand, that is people who are charged with a crime but who have not yet had a trial. According to the Prison Reform Trust in 2009, 55,207 people were remanded into custody to await trial. It is not funny. Even less funny is the number of children they are banging up on remand in young offenders’ institutes. Time served on remand is typically in the order of 3 months. To keep someone in jail costs around £160,000 a year. The other problem with being on remand is the difficulty of preparing one’s defense - not easy when in jail.

Letters I wrote from prison have still not been delivered, and some letters sent to me have also gone missing. This upsets me. One of the letters I wrote is a love letter, and it feels horrible to know that a bureaucrat or police officer has prevented it reaching its intended recipient.

I am aware that they (police etc) may be monitoring my communications - a thought which I usually manage put to one side. When communicating by phone or email in an intimate way with friends the thought of being monitored makes me feel quite uncomfortable.

I am still processing the prison experience and feel confused about it. I feel uncomfortable whenever I see police and am suspicious about who is and who isn’t police. It would now only be with the greatest reluctance that I would call on their services, even in an emergency.

Though I’m sure I was in jail with some proper villains, probably a few murderers, I liked and felt a sense of solidarity with most of my fellow inmates. I think the feeling of solidarity came from a common sense of the crazy machine we’d been sucked into.

To feel the full power of the state, the leviathan, has humbled me in some way. It has also shown me how brutal the state is, like using a truncheon to perform a surgical procedure.

It was interesting for me to view the state’s project to put on an Olympic Games from the jail. To me, jail, like the Games, is a huge lie being told at huge public expense. But the financial costs are less important than the social costs of both these spheres of untruth.

My personal experience of the Olympics has been traumatic in many ways. Our community, the Clays Lane Housing Cooperative, home to about 500 people, was demolished in 2007 to make way for the Olympic “Park”. Our homes were ground up into piles of little nuggets about 20mm in diameter, then the piles of nuggets diapered leaving no trace. I moved onto a boat. The authorities then tried to socially cleanse our community from London’s waterways. In an exhausting struggle we fought back and won that particular battle. The authorities now require us to move our homes / boats out of our home turf, almost out of London, for 3 months over the Olympic period. Apparently we are seen as a security threat. I am uncertain if we will be allowed back in to our home waterways.

A number of people I know have been imprisoned over issues connected with the construction of Olympic buildings on open parkland. Other friends and acquaintances have been threatened with litigation by Olympic bosses. I received threatening communications from the Olympic Delivery Authority’s legal team after making public details of the radioactive contamination, and it mismanagement, of the London 2012 site.

Unlike many Olympic observers I was not surprised to learn London 2012 was accepting sponsorship from Dow Chemical, a corporation whose list of crimes link them to the death and suffering of more than a million people. I found it interesting to see how many people appeared genuinely offended by the choice of Dow as a sponsor. I think this demonstrates that most people fail to understand that the Olympics is just all about money. Olympic bosses don’t care if it is blood money.

Before being acquired for the Olympics the land in this area of east London was, for more than a century, a dumping ground for all sorts of obnoxious industries. Contamination of the site is profound and includes radioactive isotopes. Management of this contamination has been negligent and has put locals and workers at risk. The contempt with which 2012 bosses dealt with this issue is exactly the same as Dow Chemical’s shirking of responsibilities over contaminated land in India and other places. Though I am not claiming that the health outcomes for Londoners is likely to be as serious as in Bhopal. But I am concerned that rather than face criticism for their mismanagement of radioactive contamination on the site, Olympic bosses have received knighthoods.

An increasing number of people are spotting the Olympic lies, and some have started to complain about them. This includes people that don’t like the inventory of corporate sponsors, many of who have blood on their hands. Rio Tinto, for example, a mining company, is providing the gold, silver and bronze for medals. I recently chatted with Benny Wenda, a tribesman from West Papua where Rio Tinto operate the Grasberg mine. He claims Rio Tinto, in cahoots with the Indonesian occupying forces, have committed genocide against his people.

Also with grievances are Londoners from the area surrounding Leyton Marshes who are upset with the Olympic requisition of public parkland, and the mismanagement of works on the polluted and contaminated site. Olympic bosses lied to Planners in relation to this project. The latest news from Leyton Marshes comes from dog walkers who’s pets have been poisoned after drinking from puddles near excavated material on the site.

In my view standing up against, and exposing Olympic lies, is the same as standing up against state corruption. Olympic officials have got away with telling untruths to courts, elected officials, and quasi judicial bodies, while ordinary local residents with justifiable grievances, including single mothers, grandparents, and dog walkers who have been painted by the courts, the police, and that shoddy rag - the Evening Standard, as dangerous undesirables, and even as unsuitable parents. A number of people have served prison sentences in relation to their complaints against the London Olympics. Olympic bosses have also threatened one dissenter, a single mother of 3, with costs of over £300,000.

This wasn’t how it looked at the bid phase, when Sebastian Coe and his cohort were keen to use local kids to promote their plans. Some of those kids accompanied the bid delegation to Singapore. Coe’s strategy was to persuade voters on the International Olympic Committee that London’s bid would benefit local children from some of the the most deprived parts of London. Now a couple of months before the Opening Ceremony Olympic chiefs are “protecting” the surroundings of the Olympic enclosure with so called “dispersal zones”. Within these a police officer has the power to order a group of two or more young people to leave an area and to ban them from returning for up to 24 hours. These control orders are aimed at the same local children they claimed would benefit from London 2012. Non-”dispersal” can lead to a maximum penalty of three months' imprisonment and/or a fine of £5000.

At the state’s expense, during my time in prison, I was able to talk to young people from poor parts of London. One likable and charismatic young man who I arrived in prison with told me he’d only been out of jail a week when he was rearrested and returned to jail on a trivial charge not involving violence. He was hoping his mum and girlfriend would figure out he’d been rearrested. He’d been unable to contact them due to the prison’s bureaucracy regarding phone calls. He told me how he’d been in and out of young offenders’ institutes, and now he is 21, in jail. I feel privileged to have been given this window into a world that I would otherwise not have been able to observe. I can report that the Olympics hasn’t touched the problem of youth disenfranchisement. Claims that they would were an attempt to persuade us that it really is ok to spend £ billions on an event that will benefit only a small elite. Seb Coe did you ever believe that local kids would benefit from your project?

There has been never ending stream of drivel spewing out the Olympic Communications Department, its objective, to convince us that a few weeks’ of sport is worth £24 billion (my estimate). They have been highly creative. The benefits, we have been told, will include getting us off our sofas and out onto the playing fields. We’d get jobs, housing, and all of that kind of thing. And despite poring millions of tonnes of concrete, and flying those able to afford the tickets millions of air-miles around the planet, the Olympics, we are told - are Green - and Inclusive.

“The Greenest Olympics Ever” claim is so stupid it doesn’t deserve comment. The inclusivity claim is also looking increasingly lame especially in relation to the “Games Lanes”. They are for the sole use of VIPs and the “Olympic Family”, transporting them from their 5 star hotels in London’s West End to Olympic venues. The VIPs are to be chauffeured along these red carpet corridors in cars provided by Olympic sponsor BMW. The chauffers will be required to wear hats (a condition in the Host City Contract).

Apart from their chauffeurs, and those serving them in the Olympic VIP enclosure, the VIPs won’t have to come into contact with ordinary Londoners. The Lanes are to be policed by a numberplate recognition which will automatically issue £130 fine to Ordinary Londoners who enter them. At significant public expense a system to turn traffic lights green for the VIPs has also been installed.

Last year, on my most recent visit to casualty at the Royal London, I queued with young gang members, whose stab wounds left trails of blood on the hospital floor. It took around 4 hours to see a junior doctor. This is considered unacceptable for Members of the Olympic Family who have been given guarantees of seeing a senior medical consultant within 30 mins of admission to an A and E department.

While pandering to the every need of VIPs, 2012 organisers have, stated they will put on a good show - “no matter what”! But the list of enemies, the list of those that might spoil the fun is extensive. Streakers, terrorists, ambush marketeers, brand hijackers, space hijackers, real hijackers, ticket touts, Olympic flame firefighters, Tibetans, and survivors of Olympic sponsor Dow Chemical, everyone except the VIPs are on the list of suspects. Even the athletes are seen as a potential brand hijack risk. Streaking at the Olympics carries a maximum £20,000 penalty.

Approximately 13,000 military, 13,000 police, 23,000 private security, plus VIP and sponsors’ security is to be deployed during the Games. Elite military units such as the SAS, Paras, and Marines are to be mobilised, and nations such as the US are to deploy at least 1,000 of their own security staff. Britain may never have seen so many firearms concentrated into such a small area. And according to the UK’s Independent newspaper - “the British Secret Service is carrying out its biggest operation since the Second World War with almost all of its 3,800 staff mobilised for the London Olympics which will take place amid rising concerns over the possibility of terrorist attacks.”

An attack during the Games would be appalling, but such a probability should be balanced against the risk of mistakes. The command structures involved with this number of personnel from different agencies, together with the mix of foreign security must increase the risk of error. And does the probability an attack actually decrease with the deployment of such fire power? In my view the appropriateness and proportionality of this is questionable.

Let us face reality the London Olympics is not sporting event with a bit of security on the side. Rather it has become a security event with a bit of incidental sport. George Orwell commented, “sport is war minus the shooting”. In the case of the London Olympics he could be wrong. The killing of innocent people carried out by armed police in recent years makes me wonder if it might not be the Met Police who win gold in the shooting events.

The 1968 Mexico City Olympics are remembered for 2 US athletes giving the black power salute. But about 2 weeks before those famous salutes there were student protests in Mexico City. Chanting at these demonstrations included “No queremos olimpiadas, queremos revolución”, in English, "We don't want Olympics, we want revolution”. Perhaps not the image the Mexican ruling class would like propagated to visiting VIPs during their Olympics. The Olympia Battalion was called on to sort things out. They were a secret Mexican government security outfit set up to ensure the safety and security of the 1968 Games. A massacre followed. Women, children, bystanders, and protesters, a hundred or more people were murdered. The numbers are disputed, but probably somewhere between 100 and 500.

Peak surveillance is reached in the London Olympic “Park” which is surrounded by a 17.5 km, 5,000volt electric fence. The fence is topped with 900 daylight and night vision surveillance cameras linked with facial recognition software. Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Chris Alison has publicly stated that the authorities will be monitoring social media and gathering intelligence on Olympic dissenters. The extent of the monitoring remains unknown New software is planned to integrate all of London's CCTV cameras, and will have the capability to follow you through the city. Behavioral recognition software is also expected to be used.

We now learn that missiles are to be dotted around our Olympic city though it is unclear who or what they are supposed to protect us from. There will be pilotless drones with laser guided bombs, there will be battleships on the Thames also with missiles. I wonder what would happen if these weapons were actually used in a densely populated area like London. Surely the “collateral damage” would be significant, or would that be called a “friendly fire incident”?

For me another commonality jail and the London Olympics share is machismo. Both are muscle flexing exercises. In the case of the London Games it appears the power of the elite athlete is to be over shadowed by the state’s display of weaponry, a hijack of the state’s security apparatus as a projection of power - a display of machismo?

Mallet's Mortar: Mallet's Mortar - an old fashioned weapon on display in Woolwich, South East London, London 2012 will have bigger balls.Mallet's Mortar: Mallet's Mortar - an old fashioned weapon on display in Woolwich, South East London, London 2012 will have bigger balls.

Command Perimeter Security System, sonic cannons, water cannons, attack dogs, sniffer dogs, fast patrol boats, drones, battleships, bombs, missile batteries, snipers, side arms, fire arms, special-forces, fighter jets, no-fly-zones, control-zones, stun-grenades, stun-guns, uncover personnel, uniformed personnel, biological agents, double agents, close protection, protesters, anarchists, jihadists, domestic extremists, foreign extremists, self radicalised individuals, terrorist cells, prison cells, anthrax, Taliban, Al Quada, organised crime, disorganised crime, dissident republicans, rubber bullets, CS gas, and nuclear detection equipment. The list of suspects and the shopping list of equipment designed to neutralize them is endless. One could be almost be forgiven for thinking London 2012 is a giant security exhibition - “a once in a lifetime opportunity” for manufactures of security equipment to showcase their wares.

During work as a photojournalist I witnessed a colleague being knocked unconscious and hospitalised by police. He was not doing anything wrong or illegal. His injuries had long term health implications. While working I have been assaulted by police officers including one case outside the Olympic enclosure in which officers physically tried to take my camera from me. After that incident a colleague who made an enquiry to the police press office was told I had verbally abused and threatened the officers - not true. Incredibly on another occasion, while photographing in a public space, I was threatened with arrest under the Official Secrets Act.

I have been also been assaulted by Olympic security provider G4S. While working as a journalist I have also witnessed violent assaults by police officers on members of the public including one case (filmed and photographed) of a hefty male officer beating a 5 foot tall woman. He was not found guilty of assault - he has since been promoted. Approximately 400 people have died as a result of contact with the police over the last 10 years. No police officers have been sentenced as a result. Stoke Newington Police station, where I was incarcerated for a time, is notorious for the deaths of black men in its custody. Some years ago I met an ex policeman on a Buddhist retreat. He had served at Stoke Newington police station during its darkest years. It made him ill.

It is troubling that the police can kill and main, and are then untruthful about what has happened. Two recent high profile case studies of killing then lying are of Ian Thomlinson and Jean Charles de Menezes. There are many others.

This demonstrates there is a need for the public to monitor the authorities, however they seem to be becoming more resistant, hostile and violent towards such scrutiny. A example this comes from a recent public meeting organised by Olympic bosses. The meeting was supposed to address issues connected with Leyton Marshes, where local residents have been angered by the construction of Olympic basketball courts on public parkland.

At this meeting there were around 25 local residents. There were 4 official Olympic representatives, 8 uniformed police officers, and 3 plain cloths officers. In order to gain admission to the meeting locals were required to provide their names and contact details, however during the course of this meeting officials refused to give their names, job titles, or say which organisations they worked for. Officials also objected to a member of the public making an audio recording of the meeting, and one of the police officers asked to be given a copy of the recording. The unnecessary deployment of police officers, and the asymmetric use of surveillance seems entirely consistent with a new paranoid macho mindset of bureaucrats and police. In this mindset ordinary citizens appear to have become a threat - potential terrorists.

Local people’s efforts at using democratic means to halt the construction project on Leyton Marshes were thwarted at every turn, while the authorities lied to planners, used prison sentences, inappropriate legal instruments, and expensive lawyers to steam roller opposition.

The Olympics could be seen as a testing ground for the state’s bureaucrat’s to utilize the law as an anti-democratic weapon, a means of silencing critics and forcing unpopular projects onto unwilling local communities. I think this is a symptom of a much bigger problem - a crisis of democracy. The ballot box doesn’t currently look like a means of making change. The only difference between present day mainstream political parties is the speed with which they will manage the process of redistribution, from poor to rich. I was surprised and disappointed to see that voters of Britain, in a recent referendum, turned down the implementation of proportional representation.

Concern over the democratic deficit has spawned movements such as Occupy, Climate Camp, and UKuncut. Many young people are rallying in an intelligent non-violent way to tackle the problem. But of course the police and the state see them as a threat. It is like theatre, with the police acting out their expected roll. It isn’t however particularly entertaining theatre, as the logical outcome of this play is a corporate surveillance state. A kind of corporate fascism, in which the technologies of control and surveillance enable a small elite to run the planet for their perceived benefit.

But hope is the essence of life and my money is on the the humanity of an emerging counter culture. I could feel this counter culture amongst the young people I was jailed with. They were almost all non-white, from a mixture of ethnic backgrounds and though they were not politically educated they know how fucked up the system is, and I felt they had a wisdom beyond their years. I could see they possess a deep cynicism. Unfortunately there is a huge class divide between the young guys I was in jail with and the people participating in, for example, Climate Camp. There is a need for these two groups to work together.

Economic inequality is increasing in most nations. The consequence of this is that those who rise to the top of the food chain feel threatened by the needy masses below. They develop a Bunker Mentality. Those further down the food chain feel alienated and less worthy, while the elite live in a constant state of fear.

The mindset of seeing everyone as a potential threat has not only embedded itself in the security apparatus of the London Olympics it has also leached out into the relationship between athletes. The British Olympic team’s doctor has advised the squad not to shake hands with other athletes for fear of contracting a virus. I am wondering if Britain has not become the most paranoid nation on the planet?

“How many a time have I stood watching the toads mating, or a pair of hares having a boxing match in the young corn, and thought of all the important persons who would stop me enjoying this if they could. But luckily they can't. So long as you are not actually ill, hungry, frightened or immured in a prison or a holiday camp, spring is still spring. The atom bombs are piling up in the factories, the police are prowling through the cities, the lies are streaming from the loudspeakers, but the earth is still going round the sun, and neither the dictators nor the bureaucrats, deeply as they disapprove of the process, are able to prevent it.

George Orwell

George Orwell is so right - and so wrong. While the bureaucrats and “elected” dictators may not be able to stop the earth going round the sun, they look increasingly at risk of putting half of us in jail, while at the same time destroying the planet through their worship of profit and economic growth. This model of social organisation, the prison industrial complex, can’t be sustainable, because what happens in the prisons, the police stations, the military, and in all acts of cruelty spreads like pollution in a stream - eventually the polluted streams poison whole oceans.

I think the collective consciousness is also offended the act of making some people more important than others - offended by inequality. The frightening thing about inequality is that once entrenched the point of no return may be quickly reached. A point at which the fear felt by the elite, and the alienation of the subordinated classes spirals us into a dystopian future, where survival requires self seeking selfish behavior, rather than a sense of mutual support.

As Anita, who was also imprisoned in relation to events on Leyton Marshes, said to me, “we are all in this together”. That statement is so deep. It is not just a bland off the cuff cliche. There is no leaving the planet, we have to share this space with each other, there is no option. Dystopia is shit for all, so we might as well build utopia. The utopian future will not include spiraling inequality, or the widespread use of jail, nor elitist Olympic sleaze feasts.

I can’t wait for the London Olympics to be over. But as the Olympics are only a manifestation of a wider problem, the problem is, it isn’t over when the 5 ringed circus leaves town, especially as the technology and apparatus of control and surveillance will be left as its most meaningful legacy.

The Olympics really do provide us with “once in a life time opportunity” - to clearly observe how, and for whose benefit society is being managed.


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