Datacide 11

Tortugan tower blocks? Pirate signals from the margins


1. Talented performers belong to the industry long before it displays them

On 16 June 2010 after sixteen years of unlicensed transmission the UK broadcasting regulator OfCom announced that Rinse FM was to be awarded a community radio FM licence. The announcement was enthusiastically reported in the UK press (Rinse FM finally gets the recognition it deserves: Guardian Newspaper UK: 18062010), and received a surprisingly positive response from contributors to the dubstep.co.uk forum.

Rinse’s press release regarding the announcement is low on concrete details but replete with a selection of quotes from gushing music industry ‘supporters’ such as Fergal Sharkey (Director of UK Music) who feels that Rinse has been ‘nurturing the next generation of inner city talent on which our industry and nation is so dependent’, and Guy Moot (President of EMI) who agrees that Rinse ‘feeds into the wider music industry bringing and generating more income’. Rinse echoes these industry comments in its own statement pointing out that they ‘provide a […] grass-roots gateway into broadcast radio and the wider music industry’, while at the same time attempting to reassure its listeners that it will remain in ‘stark contrast to the homogenous radio landscape’. What Rinse either fails to realise or refuses to accept is that it is already part of a homogenised landscape. Rinse’s press release and the accompanying supporting statements demonstrate this, but more interestingly, the texts clearly display the dependence the Culture Industry has on unregulated zones of creativity, and the continued willingness of those involved to capitulate. [Read more →]

Shaking The Foundations: Reggae soundsystem meets ‘Big Ben British values’ downtown


In October 2008 Ed Balls (the UK government’s Schools Secretary) announced an initiative to encourage teachers to spy on their pupils. This was of course done under the banner of “anti-terrorism” and “opposing extremism” [1]. For example identifying children with “radical” ideas. And presumably grassing them up. Essentially there is nothing new there (as with most New Labour initiatives). The opposition was sluggish and predictably along the lines of civil liberties.

In fact the main comment in the media was from Anthony Glees (Professor of security and intelligence studies at the University of Buckingham). Glees complained that the initiative didn’t go far enough, and that it failed to make a statement about “Big Ben British Values” thus allowing children’s identities to stem from a number of sources. Therefore, he went on, the ‘toolkit’ provided to teachers allowed religion to remain a legitimate source of identity, which “ultimately presents us with a security risk”.

This brings us back to the thorny question of national identity – something which has been problematic for most countries, but especially for the UK and Germany. “Big Ben British Values” shows us that the very concept of national identity is rooted in the language of the ruling class. Big Ben is attached to the Houses of Parliament in London. It’s like talking about “Reichstag Values” in Berlin. [Read more →]

Dope smuggling, LSD manufacture, organised crime & the law in 1960s London

I can’t identify with any certainty the first international drug smuggler my mother – Julia Callan-Thompson – befriended, but one she met early on was Damien Epsilon, an Irishman who’d lived in Ibiza before moving to London in the early 1960s. In 1962 my mother approached Epsilon in Henekey’s pub in Portobello Road. She wanted to go to Spain and had been told he was driving there. Epsilon agreed to take my mother and her boyfriend Geoff Thompson to Ibiza if they shared the petrol costs. After spending a few weeks in Ibiza, Epsilon returned to London and my mother travelled on to Andorra alone. Thompson, who’d proved somewhat erratic about covering petrol costs, went back to London at the same time as Epsilon, but separately. When my mother returned to London, she socialised with Epsilon until he moved back to Ibiza in 1963. She returned to Ibiza many times in the mid-sixties to hang with Epsilon’s set, and this may well have constituted the first of a number of international drug smuggling sets with which she was acquainted. [Read more →]

Pics from Datacide Release Event

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Datacide 11 – Political news compiled by Nemeton

Social Media Surveillance and Repression
Previously undisclosed government documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation through Freedom of Information Act (FIOA) lawsuits give hard evidence to previous reports that various spy agencies including the FBI, CIA, and others under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are using social media sites like facebook, myspace, twitter, youtube, etc. to gather “evidence” of criminality against suspects. One FIOA obtained internal document from the Justice Department trains FBI agents how to snoop for pictures, postings, videos, etc on social media sites. Investigators sometimes create false identity accounts on the social media sites in order to “friend” the suspect, or “friend” any number of individuals who the suspect is “friends” with in order to gain information that can be used for evidence and conviction. For example, Maxi Sopo, wanted by the feds for bank fraud, was discovered to be in Mexico and then later extradited to the US, after agents read such evidence on the public and private facebook pages of his friends. Information gathered from social media sites are shared with other law enforcement agencies in local, state or federal areas and databases. [Read more →]

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