Datacide 17

G20 in Hamburg

The 2017 summit of the G20, which is comprised of the leading seven industrial countries (G7), Russia, and a number of ‘emerging economies’ as well as the European Union, took place in the German city of Hamburg July 7 and 8, 2017. After the G8 (G7 plus Russia) summit of 2001, which had taken place in Genova, this was the first summit to take place in a major city in Western Europe. One reason for this had been that it was easier to police summits in remote locations and enforce restricted areas by only allowing counter-demonstrations far away from the actual summits.
The 2016 summit had taken place in Hangzhou, China, without any public protests. The Chinese authorities had made sure of that, simply by clearing a large part of the population out of the city altogether, either by issuing travel vouchers, shutting down factories (and thus forcing day labourers to look for work elsewhere), or putting dissidents under house arrest.

The German government couldn’t turn Hamburg – the second biggest city after Berlin – into a ghost town, but they too made it a priority to guarantee the seamless proceedings of the summit. The police force was later accused of prioritising the safety of delegates over that of the inhabitants of the host city. Apparently the police thought that by fiercely repressing any protest they would remain in control of the situation. Thus the first (legal) anti-G20 demonstration which took place July 6 under the slogan ‘Welcome to Hell’ was not allowed to march and was basically wiped off the street by water cannons, creating a panic situation that could potentially have caused casualties. [Read more →]

News Datacide 17, Pt. 3: Surveillance, Control and Repression

An unnamed person who previously worked for a secret UK Metropolitan police intelligence unit alleged in a letter sent to Green party official Jenny Jones that the police were regularly reading the emails of activists, including four from Greenpeace UK, and journalists, including two from The Guardian, as part of surveillance operations. The Met’s access to the email accounts was acquired by using hacked passwords obtained by hackers employed by Indian police.

After the Westminster and London Bridge terrorist attacks in London, Prime Minister Theresa May in June 2017 proposed new anti-terrorism measures: amending human rights laws; increasing the length of time police can hold suspects without charges; further restricting the freedom and movement of suspects through house arrest, curfew, forced relocation, and creating ‘exclusion zones’ of public spaces where the suspects are not allowed to go or enter; further reducing access to communications (phone, internet, etc.); increasing the ease and number of forcible deportations; and increasing prison sentences for terrorism-related offenses. The Investigatory Powers Act was enacted into law in December 2016, which requires web and phone companies to retain everyone’s web browsing histories and communication data records for phones and texts for up to two years, as well as forcing companies to bypass or alter encryption services like Whatsapp and Signal used by named and targeted ‘terrorism’ suspects. [Read more →]

News Datacide 17, Pt.2: Agents Provocateurs

After many years of legal battles, Helen Steel continued to appeal to force the UK Metropolitan police to publicly disclose that John Dines was an undercover officer who pretended to be another person, faked a relationship, and sexually manipulated her in order to surveil her and her environmental justice comrades. While Steel and seven other women who sued have received apologies and compensation from the police for the abuses they suffered, it was only in December 2016 that Undercover Police Inquiry finally officially named John Dines. Furthermore, Mark Jenner has still not been confirmed as the undercover officer who deceived ‘Alison’ into a five-year relationship because of the Met’s neither confirm nor deny (NCND) policy. [Read more →]

News Datacide 17, Pt.1: Endless War

Chelsea Manning, US army intelligence officer and whistleblower, received a commutation by President Barack Obama in January 2017 of her prison sentence after she served seven of the 35 years for convictions of espionage and related offenses. Manning leaked 750,000 classified military and diplomatic documents to Wikileaks, known as the Reykjavik 13, the Iraq War Logs, the Afghan War Diary, the Baghdad airstrike collateral murder video, Cablegate, the Guantanamo Bay files, the Grainai airstrike, and others. In May 2017, Manning, a trans-woman, who suffered torture and a myriad of other abuses while in US prison custody, was released, and she presently lives in New York City. She is involved with various protests and social justice actions, and maintains a presence in the media by writing columns in newspapers, as well as personal Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts. On September 13, 2017, Harvard University Kennedy School Institute of Politics named Manning a visiting fellow, however, in protest, former CIA deputy director Michael J. Morell resigned from his position as Senior Fellow at the Kennedy School. Harvard’s close ties to the CIA became even more apparent when CIA director Mike Pompeo cancelled his speaking visit to Harvard also in protest, leading the Kennedy School Dean Douglas Elmendorf on September 15 to cancel Manning’s appointment as visiting fellow (although she is invited to campus for a day to talk to students). Harvard’s actions can be seen within the larger context of fights over ‘free speech’ at American university campuses, and institutional support for CIA war criminals and tortures. Manning tweeted “honored to be the 1st disinvited trans woman visiting @harvard fellow. they chill marginalized voices under @cia pressure #WeGotThis”. On September 25, Manning took to Twitter, detailing that she had been barred from entry into Canada on September 22. Manning was unauthorized to enter Canada because of her felony conviction in the US. The Canadian immigration document states that “if committed in Canada, this offence would equate to an indictable offence, namely Treason…for which a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment may be imposed.” Manning stated she will formally challenge Canada’s refusal, and The Guardian reports that Manning was detailed by Canadian officials overnight before being sent back into the US. [Read more →]

Datacide Seventeen Editorial

In September 1867, 150 years ago, a book appeared in Hamburg with a first edition print run of 1,000 copies. This book was called Das Kapital, by Karl Marx. In the book, Marx sets out to analyse the capitalist reality in the form of a ‘critique of political economy’. He begins with an analysis of the commodity, describing its use and exchange value, and laying out, both economically and historically, how capital is produced, extracted and accumulated. [Read more →]