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Full Spectrum Resistance!

Events and protest against the 13th European Police Congress

This call in german

In 2010 the European Police Congress, a meeting of international police functionaries, politicians and various actors of the security industry, is again going to take place in Berlin. It is the 13th convention and just like the Congress on European Security & Defence, it is being organised by the publishing group “Behörden Spiegel”. According to the organisers, last years convention was visited by 1800 participants from 70 countries.

Double Networking

As officially stated, the convention aims at “reinforcing existent relationships and developing new practices”. The focal point is the expansion and consolidation of the cooperation of European repressive institutions, whose agenda is concerned with an “EU Internal Security Strategy”. On the schedule is the “Stockholm Programme”, a “multi-annual” programme on the future of European home affairs. This five year programme again calls for a “war on terrorism, organised crime and illegal migration”, at the same time demanding the expansion of police, military and intelligence service cooperation. This encompasses the adoption of new technological standards for surveillance and control, for which the security industry will exhibit various products in the congress lounge.

The police congress wants to be “trendsetting” for the embedding of intelligence service methods into police procedures. Surveillance and repression increasingly operates “proactive”, an in the police forces jargon common synonym for an “anticipatory approach”, which has also been adopted by the NATO. During the police congress there will be diverse forums in which strategies are being put together to “fuse inner and outer security”. Accordingly one panel poses itself the question "What can we learn from the armed forces?”. Representatives of the NATO meet with police officials and intelligence agents, interior ministers and state secretaries go for coffee with security industry CEO’s at their stalls. Last year a podium talk on civil-military cooperation was given by Kai Vittrup, the chief of the EU police mission in Afghanistan. Vittrup has been chief of the UN police forces in the Kosovo as well as before being involved in leading policing positions in Sudan, Iraq and East-Timor. For years he has been chief of the police in Copenhagen, which only recently at the climate summit demonstrated how the policing of protest and resistance shall take place in the future to come.

Pic: Plakat

“Border Management” and combating migration

Police authorities and agencies of the European Union such as Europol and Frontex, accompanied by the corresponding databases, information systems and operative forces are more and more being networked. Their deployment into non EU countries shall be increased – a novelty hidden in the Lisbon Treaty under the polite term of “civil conflict resolution”.
But also in the fight against “illegal” migration the European interior ministers seem to share great consent. Going by numbers, the greatest target of this apparatus are the actual migrants, who are often being named in one breath with "organised crime and drug trafficking”. Despite of the upgraded and militarised security apparatus, migrants find ever new ways into the privileged countries of the EU. The police agencies respond with measures like the fingerprint database Eurodac or the new Visa Information System coming into action in 2010. Most of these databases store entries on migrants; entries for other policing purposes are accumulating. As the EU external borders are being secured with new technologies such as satellite surveillance systems, IR cameras, motion detectors or drones, border crossings for travellers with EU passports or visas are being dealt with more discrete. The feeling of a “Europe without borders” shall only be experienced by a privileged minority.

The power of statistics

Databases and the therein stored extensive information are of extremely high interest for police agencies. With the in Germany long known “dragnet investigation”, we encounter the instalment of a powerful instrument of control, defining deviant behaviour and normalising the population. Every peculiarity is being dealt with as “risk”. Today’s dragnet investigation however, has access to much more “person and object related information” than the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) had at the time of president Horst Herold, who ordered the dragnet investigation for the first time in 1979. Additionally, it now encompasses computer supported analysis of criminal statistics, but also other data such as information from telecommunications data retention, population registers, the aliens authority, employment centres or graduation information as well as place of residence of delinquents or suspects (as in Körtings note on “left violence in Berlin”). European interior ministers joyously embrace the new “Data-Tsunami” [sic], and want to render its “massive amount of information useful to police authorities”. Furthermore the disassembly of the freedom of the internet also falls into the realms of police covetousness. Social networks and websites are being analysed electronically, to then feed eventual abnormalities into police databases. Moreover, the EU is signing agreements on data exchanges with third countries, treaties with the USA and Japan for example, regulate the transfer of data retrieved from financial transactions or flight passenger data. It is not only in this case that the European interior ministers have defied a dissenting vote by the European Parliament against these data deals.

The computer enhanced mania of feasibility demands to process more data in less time whilst simultaneously integrating an increasing number of police agencies. But to achieve this goal, soft- and hardware in all of Europe needs to be adjusted. For the administration of this “IT architecture” new agencies need to be developed. From now on this apparatus has the status of a “critical infrastructure”, whose control by police authorities in turn is an important topic of this year’s congress. Software companies develop products, which aim to combine data from satellites with biometrical CCTV analyses and various other databases. Some exhibitors even offer software, which is supposed to predict human behaviour. Several German companies compete in this market of so called “Predictive Analytics”, just to name a few: SAP, PSI, role security, Siemens and EADS. These applications serve a tactic of “Full Spectrum Dominance” and aim to support the repressive authorities at any time with a comprehensive overview over all available information.

Why all this?

The European Union is in no ways the peaceful project, which we are thought to believe in. Besides the structural violence from a capitalist ratio, which is supposed to deploy itself as well as possible on the European level, the EU strives to become an international superpower ever more following its own objectives. In the course of becoming a supranational union, the four European G8 states have had a grave impact on the direction to go. The massive investments into research and development of a “Homeland Security” sector, strengthens the European security industry, which despite of a general financial crisis profits from expanding markets. The fusing of police, intelligence and military agencies shall safeguard energy and production security in the EU and further secure Europe as location for business to the inside as well as to the outside against further crises, such as the expected consequences of climate change.

And the response?

Emancipatory social movements can’t allow themselves to miss these changes in the cooperation of European law enforcement authorities. Rather more it is necessary to search for possibilities to respond to transnational repression beyond borders. Among European activists there also exist active and intensive networks, including migration issues or the organisation of summit protests. To collapse the columns of the European security architecture in the own country, their special characteristics and actors need to be identified. In the context of the European supranationalisation the radical left, which in other respects is always up for a critique of the state, seems to have difficulties. In Germany the critique is mainly left to citizen rights initiatives, lawyers or as recently observed the pirate party.

In the course of mobilising against the European Police Congress we want to try to gain insights into changes of European police cooperation. Antecedent to the protest several activities are going to take place, which in the end will lead to a – for the time being singular – plenary meeting. There we want to pursue the question how far reaching these developments are, whether repression really has been worse in the past or merely different, how cross-border autonomous interventions could look like and which networks for this exist.
The talks will take place on the second, the third and the fourth Tuesday in January; the plenum meets on Friday the 29th of January.

Smash the European security architecture! Because we are still not loving’ police…

29th of January | Plenary meeting: How can we respond to the European “strategy on inner security” and the internal political statehood of the EU? What do the outlined developments mean for a radical, autonomous resistance?
7:30 PM, Bethanien, Berlin

2nd of February: Protest against the European Police Congress
5:00 PM, SAP branch at the Hackeschen Markt, Rosenthaler Straße 30
S-Bahn Hackescher Markt/ U-Bahn Rosenthaler Platz, Berlin