Edward Snowden Full Statement to European Parliament.

What You Should Know about US Mass Surveillance……

Edward-Snowden-1

 

–Introductory Statement–

I would like to thank the European Parliament for the invitation to provide testimony for your inquiry into the Electronic Mass Surveillance of EU Citizens. The suspicionless surveillance programs of the NSA, GCHQ, and so many others that we learned about over the last year endanger a number of basic rights which, in aggregate, constitute the foundation of liberal societies.

The first principle any inquiry must take into account is that despite extraordinary political pressure to do so, no western government has been able to present evidence showing that such programs are necessary. In the United States, the heads of our spying services once claimed that 54 terrorist attacks had been stopped by mass surveillance, but two independent White House reviews with access to the classified evidence on which this claim was founded concluded it was untrue, as did a Federal Court.

Looking at the US government’s reports here is valuable. The most recent of these investigations, performed by the White House’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, determined that the mass surveillance program investigated was not only ineffective — they found it had never stopped even a single imminent terrorist attack — but that it had no basis in law. In less diplomatic language, they discovered the United States was operating an unlawful mass surveillance program, and the greatest success the program had ever produced was discovering a taxi driver in the United States transferring $8,500 dollars to Somalia in 2007.

After noting that even this unimpressive success – uncovering evidence of a single unlawful bank transfer — would have been achieved without bulk collection, the Board recommended that the unlawful mass surveillance program be ended. Unfortunately, we know from press reports that this program is still operating today.

I believe that suspicionless surveillance not only fails to make us safe, but it actually makes us less safe. By squandering precious, limited resources on “collecting it all,” we end up with more analysts trying to make sense of harmless political dissent and fewer investigators running down real leads. I believe investing in mass surveillance at the expense of traditional, proven methods can cost lives, and history has shown my concerns are justified.

Despite the extraordinary intrusions of the NSA and EU national governments into private communications world-wide, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the “Underwear Bomber,” was allowed to board an airplane traveling from Europe to the United States in 2009. The 290 persons on board were not saved by mass surveillance, but by his own incompetence, when he failed to detonate the device. While even Mutallab’s own father warned the US government he was dangerous in November 2009, our resources were tied up monitoring online games and tapping German ministers. That extraordinary tip-off didn’t get Mutallab a dedicated US investigator. All we gave him was a US visa.

Nor did the US government’s comprehensive monitoring of Americans at home stop the Boston Bombers. Despite the Russians specifically warning us about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the FBI couldn’t do more than a cursory investigation — although they did plenty of worthless computer-based searching – and failed to discover the plot. 264 people were injured, and 3 died. The resources that could have paid for a real investigation had been spent on monitoring the call records of everyone in America.

This should not have happened. I worked for the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency. The National Security Agency. The Defense Intelligence Agency. I love my country, and I believe that spying serves a vital purpose and must continue. And I have risked my life, my family, and my freedom to tell you the truth.

The NSA granted me the authority to monitor communications world-wide using its mass surveillance systems, including within the United States. I have personally targeted individuals using these systems under both the President of the United States’ Executive Order 12333 and the US Congress’ FAA 702. I know the good and the bad of these systems, and what they can and cannot do, and I am telling you that without getting out of my chair, I could have read the private communications of any member of this committee, as well as any ordinary citizen. I swear under penalty of perjury that this is true.

These are not the capabilities in which free societies invest. Mass surveillance violates our rights, risks our safety, and threatens our way of life.

If even the US government, after determining mass surveillance is unlawful and unnecessary, continues to operate to engage in mass surveillance, we have a problem. I consider the United States Government to be generally responsible, and I hope you will agree with me. Accordingly, this begs the question many legislative bodies implicated in mass surveillance have sought to avoid: if even the US is willing to knowingly violate the rights of billions of innocents — and I say billions without exaggeration — for nothing more substantial than a “potential” intelligence advantage that has never materialized, what are other governments going to do?

Whether we like it or not, the international norms of tomorrow are being constructed today, right now, by the work of bodies like this committee. If liberal states decide that the convenience of spies is more valuable than the rights of their citizens, the inevitable result will be states that are both less liberal and less safe. Thank you.

I will now respond to the submitted questions. Please bear in mind that I will not be disclosing new information about surveillance programs: I will be limiting my testimony to information regarding what responsible media organizations have entered into the public domain. For the record, I also repeat my willingness to provide testimony to the United States Congress, should they decide to consider the issue of unconstitutional mass surveillance.

–Rapporteur Claude Moraes MEP, S&D Group–

Given the focus of this Inquiry is on the impact of mass surveillance on EU citizens, could you elaborate on the extent of cooperation that exists between the NSA and EU Member States in terms of the transfer and collection of bulk data of EU citizens?

- A number of memos from the NSA’s Foreign Affairs Directorate have been published in the press.

One of the foremost activities of the NSA’s FAD, or Foreign Affairs Division, is to pressure or incentivize EU member states to change their laws to enable mass surveillance. Lawyers from the NSA, as well as the UK’s GCHQ, work very hard to search for loopholes in laws and constitutional protections that they can use to justify indiscriminate, dragnet surveillance operations that were at best unwittingly authorized by lawmakers. These efforts to interpret new powers out of vague laws is an intentional strategy to avoid public opposition and lawmakers’ insistence that legal limits be respected, effects the GCHQ internally described in its own documents as “damaging public debate.”

In recent public memory, we have seen these FAD “legal guidance” operations occur in both Sweden and the Netherlands, and also faraway New Zealand. Germany was pressured to modify its G-10 law to appease the NSA, and it eroded the rights of German citizens under their constitution. Each of these countries received instruction from the NSA, sometimes under the guise of the US Department of Defense and other bodies, on how to degrade the legal protections of their countries’ communications. The ultimate result of the NSA’s guidance is that the right of ordinary citizens to be free from unwarranted interference is degraded, and systems of intrusive mass surveillance are being constructed in secret within otherwise liberal states, often without the full awareness of the public.

Once the NSA has successfully subverted or helped repeal legal restrictions against unconstitutional mass surveillance in partner states, it encourages partners to perform “access operations.” Access operations are efforts to gain access to the bulk communications of all major telecommunications providers in their jurisdictions, normally beginning with those that handle the greatest volume of communications. Sometimes the NSA provides consultation, technology, or even the physical hardware itself for partners to “ingest” these massive amounts of data in a manner that allows processing, and it does not take long to access everything. Even in a country the size of the United States, gaining access to the circuits of as few as three companies can provide access to the majority of citizens’ communications. In the UK, Verizon, British Telecommunications, Vodafone, Global Crossing, Level 3, Viatel, and Interoute all cooperate with the GCHQ, to include cooperation beyond what is legally required.

By the time this general process has occurred, it is very difficult for the citizens of a country to protect the privacy of their communications, and it is very easy for the intelligence services of that country to make those communications available to the NSA — even without having explicitly shared them. The nature of the NSA’s “NOFORN,” or NO FOREIGN NATIONALS classification, when combined with the fact that the memorandum agreements between NSA and its foreign partners have a standard disclaimer stating they provide no enforceable rights, provides both the NSA with a means of monitoring its partner’s citizens without informing the partner, and the partner with a means of plausible deniability.

The result is a European bazaar, where an EU member state like Denmark may give the NSA access to a tapping center on the (unenforceable) condition that NSA doesn’t search it for Danes, and Germany may give the NSA access to another on the condition that it doesn’t search for Germans. Yet the two tapping sites may be two points on the same cable, so the NSA simply captures the communications of the German citizens as they transit Denmark, and the Danish citizens as they transit Germany, all the while considering it entirely in accordance with their agreements. Ultimately, each EU national government’s spy services are independently hawking domestic accesses to the NSA, GCHQ, FRA, and the like without having any awareness of how their individual contribution is enabling the greater patchwork of mass surveillance against ordinary citizens as a whole.

The Parliament should ask the NSA and GCHQ to deny that they monitor the communications of EU citizens, and in the absence of an informative response, I would suggest that the current state of affairs is the inevitable result of subordinating the rights of the voting public to the prerogatives of State Security Bureaus. The surest way for any nation to become subject to unnecessary surveillance is to allow its spies to dictate its policy.

The right to be free unwarranted intrusion into our private effects — our lives and possessions, our thoughts and communications — is a human right. It is not granted by national governments and it cannot be revoked by them out of convenience. Just as we do not allow police officers to enter every home to fish around for evidence of undiscovered crimes, we must not allow spies to rummage through our every communication for indications of disfavored activities.

Could you comment on the activities of EU Member States intelligence agencies in these operations and how advanced their capabilities have become in comparison with the NSA?

- The best testimony I can provide on this matter without pre-empting the work of journalists is to point to the indications that the NSA not only enables and guides, but shares some mass surveillance systems and technologies with the agencies of EU member states. As it pertains to the issue of mass surveillance, the difference between, for example, the NSA and FRA is not one of technology, but rather funding and manpower. Technology is agnostic of nationality, and the flag on the pole outside of the building makes systems of mass surveillance no more or less effective.

In terms of the mass surveillance programmes already revealed through the press, what proportion of the mass surveillance activities do these programmes account for? Are there many other programmes, undisclosed as of yet, that would impact on EU citizens rights?

- There are many other undisclosed programs that would impact EU citizens’ rights, but I will leave the public interest determinations as to which of these may be safely disclosed to responsible journalists in coordination with government stakeholders.

–Shadow Rapporteur Sophie Int’Veld MEP, ALDE Group–

Are there adequate procedures in the NSA for staff to signal wrongdoing?

- Unfortunately not. The culture within the US Intelligence Community is such that reporting serious concerns about the legality or propriety of programs is much more likely to result in your being flagged as a troublemaker than to result in substantive reform. We should remember that many of these programs were well known to be problematic to the legal offices of agencies such as the GCHQ and other oversight officials. According to their own documents, the priority of the overseers is not to assure strict compliance with the law and accountability for violations of law, but rather to avoid, and I quote, “damaging public debate,” to conceal the fact that for-profit companies have gone “well beyond” what is legally required of them, and to avoid legal review of questionable programs by open courts. (http://www.theguardian.com/uk- news/2013/oct/25/leaked-memos-gchq-mass-surveillance-secret-snowden) In my personal experience, repeatedly raising concerns about legal and policy matters with my co-workers and superiors resulted in two kinds of responses.

The first were well-meaning but hushed warnings not to “rock the boat,” for fear of the sort of retaliation that befell former NSA whistleblowers like Wiebe, Binney, and Drake. All three men reported their concerns through the official, approved process, and all three men were subject to armed raids by the FBI and threats of criminal sanction. Everyone in the Intelligence Community is aware of what happens to people who report concerns about unlawful but authorized operations.

The second were similarly well-meaning but more pointed suggestions, typically from senior officials, that we should let the issue be someone else’s problem. Even among the most senior individuals to whom I reported my concerns, no one at NSA could ever recall an instance where an official complaint had resulted in an unlawful program being ended, but there was a unanimous desire to avoid being associated with such a complaint in any form.

Do you feel you had exhausted all avenues before taking the decision to go public?

- Yes. I had reported these clearly problematic programs to more than ten distinct officials, none of whom took any action to address them. As an employee of a private company rather than a direct employee of the US government, I was not protected by US whistleblower laws, and I would not have been protected from retaliation and legal sanction for revealing classified information about lawbreaking in accordance with the recommended process.

It is important to remember that this is legal dilemma did not occur by mistake. US whistleblower reform laws were passed as recently as 2012, with the US Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, but they specifically chose to exclude Intelligence Agencies from being covered by the statute. President Obama also reformed a key executive Whistleblower regulation with his 2012 Presidential Policy Directive 19, but it exempted Intelligence Community contractors such as myself. The result was that individuals like me were left with no proper channels.

Do you think procedures for whistleblowing have been improved now?

- No. There has not yet been any substantive whistleblower reform in the US, and unfortunately my government has taken a number of disproportionate and persecutory actions against me. US government officials have declared me guilty of crimes in advance of any trial, they’ve called for me to be executed or assassinated in private and openly in the press, they revoked my passport and left me stranded in a foreign transit zone for six weeks, and even used NATO to ground the presidential plane of Evo Morales – the leader of Bolivia – on hearing that I might attempt to seek and enjoy asylum in Latin America.

What is your relationship with the Russian and Chinese authorities, and what are the terms on which you were allowed to stay originally in Hong Kong and now in Russia?

- I have no relationship with either government.

–Shadow Rapporteur Jan Philipp Albrecht MEP, Greens Group–

Could we help you in any way, and do you seek asylum in the EU?

- If you want to help me, help me by helping everyone: declare that the indiscriminate, bulk collection of private data by governments is a violation of our rights and must end. What happens to me as a person is less important than what happens to our common rights.

As for asylum, I do seek EU asylum, but I have yet to receive a positive response to the requests I sent to various EU member states. Parliamentarians in the national governments have told me that the US, and I quote, “will not allow” EU partners to offer political asylum to me, which is why the previous resolution on asylum ran into such mysterious opposition. I would welcome any offer of safe passage or permanent asylum, but I recognize that would require an act of extraordinary political courage.

Can you confirm cyber-attacks by the NSA or other intelligence agencies on EU institutions, telecommunications providers such as Belgacom and SWIFT, or any other EU-based companies?

- Yes. I don’t want to outpace the efforts of journalists, here, but I can confirm that all documents reported thus far are authentic and unmodified, meaning the alleged operations against Belgacom, SWIFT, the EU as an institution, the United Nations, UNICEF, and others based on documents I provided have actually occurred. And I expect similar operations will be revealed in the future that affect many more ordinary citizens.

–Shadow Rapporteur Cornelia Ernst MEP, GUE Group–

In your view, how far can the surveillance measures you revealed be justified by national security and from your experience is the information being used for economic espionage? What could be done to resolve this?

- Surveillance against specific targets, for unquestionable reasons of national security while respecting human rights, is above reproach. Unfortunately, we’ve seen a growth in untargeted, extremely questionable surveillance for reasons entirely unrelated to national security. Most recently, the Prime Minister of Australia, caught red-handed engaging in the most blatant kind of economic espionage, sought to argue that the price of Indonesian shrimp and clove cigarettes was a “security matter.” These are indications of a growing disinterest among governments for ensuring intelligence activities are justified, proportionate, and above all accountable. We should be concerned about the precedent our actions set.

The UK’s GCHQ is the prime example of this, due to what they refer to as a “light oversight regime,” which is a bureaucratic way of saying their spying activities are less restricted than is proper (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jun/21/legal-loopholes-gchq-spy-world). Since that light oversight regime was revealed, we have learned that the GCHQ is intercepting and storing unprecedented quantities of ordinary citizens’ communications on a constant basis, both within the EU and without http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jun/21/gchq-cables-secret- world-communications-nsa). There is no argument that could convince an open court that such activities were necessary and proportionate, and it is for this reason that such activities are shielded from the review of open courts.

In the United States, we use a secret, rubber-stamp Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that only hears arguments from the government. Out of approximately 34,000 government requests over 33 years, the secret court rejected only 11. It should raise serious concerns for this committee, and for society, that the GCHQ’s lawyers consider themselves fortunate to avoid the kind of burdensome oversight regime that rejects 11 out of 34,000 requests. If that’s what heavy oversight looks like, what, pray tell, does the GCHQ’s “light oversight” look like?

Let’s explore it. We learned only days ago that the GCHQ compromised a popular Yahoo service to collect images from web cameras inside citizens’ homes, and around 10% of these images they take from within people’s homes involve nudity or intimate activities (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/27/gchq-nsa-webcam-images-inte…). In the same report, journalists revealed that this sort of webcam data was searchable via the NSA’s XKEYSCORE system, which means the GCHQ’s “light oversight regime” was used not only to capture bulk data that is clearly of limited intelligence value and most probably violates EU laws, but to then trade that data with foreign services without the knowledge or consent of any country’s voting public.

We also learned last year that some of the partners with which the GCHQ was sharing this information, in this example the NSA, had made efforts to use evidence of religious conservatives’ association with sexually explicit material of the sort GCHQ was collecting as a grounds for destroying their reputations and discrediting them (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/26/nsa-porn-muslims_n_4346128.html). The “Release to Five Eyes” classification of this particular report, dated 2012, reveals that the UK government was aware of the NSA’s intent to use sexually explicit material in this manner, indicating a deepening and increasingly aggressive partnership. None of these religious conservatives were suspected of involvement in terrorist plots: they were targeted on the basis of their political beliefs and activism, as part of a class the NSA refers to as “radicalizers.”

I wonder if any members of this committee have ever advocated a position that the NSA, GCHQ, or even the intelligence services of an EU member state might attempt to construe as “radical”? If you were targeted on the basis of your political beliefs, would you know? If they sought to discredit you on the basis of your private communications, could you discover the culprit and prove it was them? What would be your recourse?

And you are parliamentarians. Try to imagine the impact of such activities against ordinary citizens without power, privilege, or resources. Are these activities necessary, proportionate, and an unquestionable matter of national security? A few weeks ago we learned the GCHQ has hired scientists to study how to create divisions amongst activists and disfavored political groups, how they attempt to discredit and destroy private businesses, and how they knowingly plant false information to misdirect civil discourse (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/02/24/jtrig-manipulation/).

To directly answer your question, yes, global surveillance capabilities are being used on a daily basis for the purpose of economic espionage. That a major goal of the US Intelligence Community is to produce economic intelligence is the worst kept secret in Washington.

In September, we learned the NSA had successfully targeted and compromised the world’s major financial transaction facilitators, such as Visa and SWIFT, which released documents describe as providing “rich personal information,” even data that “is not about our targets” (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/spiegel-exclusive-nsa-spies-on… transactions-a-922276.html). Again, these documents are authentic and unmodified – a fact the NSA itself has never once disputed.

In August, we learned the NSA had targeted Petrobras, an energy company (http://g1.globo.com/fantastico/noticia/2013/09/nsa-documents-show-united… brazilian-oil-giant.html). It would be the first of a long list of US energy targets. But we should be clear these activities are not unique to the NSA or GCHQ. Australia’s DSD targeted Sri Mulyani Indrawati, a finance minister and Managing Director of the World Bank (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/18/australia-tried-to-monitor-… presidents-phone). Report after report has revealed targeting of G-8 and G-20 summits. Mass surveillance capabilities have even been used against a climate change summit.

Recently, governments have shifted their talking points from claiming they only use mass surveillance for “national security” purposes to the more nebulous “valid foreign intelligence purposes.” I suggest this committee consider that this rhetorical shift is a tacit acknowledgment by governments that they recognize they have crossed beyond the boundaries of justifiable activities. Every country believes its “foreign intelligence purposes” are “valid,” but that does not make it so. If we are prepared to condemn the economic spying of our competitors, we must be prepared to do the same of our allies. Lasting peace is founded upon fundamental fairness.

The international community must agree to common standards of behavior, and jointly invest in the development of new technical standards to defend against mass surveillance. We rely on common systems, and the French will not be safe from mass surveillance until Americans, Argentines, and Chinese are as well.

The good news is that there are solutions. The weakness of mass surveillance is that it can very easily be made much more expensive through changes in technical standards: pervasive, end-to-end encryption can quickly make indiscriminate surveillance impossible on a cost- effective basis. The result is that governments are likely to fall back to traditional, targeted surveillance founded upon an individualized suspicion. Governments cannot risk the discovery of their exploits by simply throwing attacks at every “endpoint,” or computer processor on the end of a network connection, in the world. Mass surveillance, passive surveillance, relies upon unencrypted or weakly encrypted communications at the global network level.

If there had been better independent and public oversight over the intelligence agencies, do you think this could have prevented this kind of mass surveillance? What conditions would need to be fulfilled, both nationally and internationally?

- Yes, better oversight could have prevented the mistakes that brought us to this point, as could an understanding that defense is always more important than offense when it comes to matters of national intelligence. The intentional weakening of the common security standards upon which we all rely is an action taken against the public good.

The oversight of intelligence agencies should always be performed by opposition parties, as under the democratic model, they always have the most to lose under a surveillance state. Additionally, we need better whistleblower protections, and a new commitment to the importance of international asylum. These are important safeguards that protect our collective human rights when the laws of national governments have failed.

European governments, which have traditionally been champions of human rights, should not be intimidated out of standing for the right of asylum against political charges, of which espionage has always been the traditional example. Journalism is not a crime, it is the foundation of free and informed societies, and no nation should look to others to bear the burden of defending its rights. Shadow Rapporteur Axel Voss MEP, EPP Group

Why did you choose to go public with your information?

- Secret laws and secret courts cannot authorize unconstitutional activities by fiat, nor can classification be used to shield an unjustified and embarrassing violation of human rights from democratic accountability. If the mass surveillance of an innocent public is to occur, it should be authorized as the result of an informed debate with the consent of the public, under a framework of laws that the government invites civil society to challenge in open courts.

That our governments are even today unwilling to allow independent review of the secret policies enabling mass surveillance of innocents underlines governments’ lack of faith that these programs are lawful, and this provides stronger testimony in favor of the rightfulness of my actions than any words I might write.

Did you exhaust all possibilities before taking the decision to go public?

- Yes. I had reported these clearly problematic programs to more than ten distinct officials, none of whom took any action to address them. As an employee of a private company rather than a direct employee of the US government, I was not protected by US whistleblower laws, and I would not have been protected from retaliation and legal sanction for revealing classified information about lawbreaking in accordance with the recommended process.

It is important to remember that this is legal dilemma did not occur by mistake. US whistleblower reform laws were passed as recently as 2012, with the US Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, but they specifically chose to exclude Intelligence Agencies from being covered by the statute. President Obama also reformed a key executive Whistleblower regulation with his 2012 Presidential Policy Directive 19, but it exempted Intelligence Community contractors such as myself. The result was that individuals like me were left with no proper channels.

Are you aware that your revelations have the potential to put at risk lives of innocents and hamper efforts in the global fight against terrorism?

- Actually, no specific evidence has ever been offered, by any government, that even a single life has been put at risk by the award-winning journalism this question attempts to implicate.

The ongoing revelations about unlawful and improper surveillance are the product of a partnership between the world’s leading journalistic outfits and national governments, and if you can show one of the governments consulted on these stories chose not to impede demonstrably fatal information from being published, I invite you to do so. The front page of every newspaper in the world stands open to you.

Did the Russian secret service approach you?

- Of course. Even the secret service of Andorra would have approached me, if they had had the chance: that’s their job.

But I didn’t take any documents with me from Hong Kong, and while I’m sure they were disappointed, it doesn’t take long for an intelligence service to realize when they’re out of luck. I was also accompanied at all times by an utterly fearless journalist with one of the biggest megaphones in the world, which is the equivalent of Kryptonite for spies. As a consequence, we spent the next 40 days trapped in an airport instead of sleeping on piles of money while waiting for the next parade. But we walked out with heads held high.

I would also add, for the record, that the United States government has repeatedly acknowledged that there is no evidence at all of any relationship between myself and the Russian intelligence service.

Who is currently financing your life?

- I am.

–Shadow Rapporteur, Timothy Kirkhope MEP, ECR Group–

You have stated previously that you want the intelligence agencies to be more accountable to citizens, however, why do you feel this accountability does not apply to you? Do you therefore, plan to return to the United States or Europe to face criminal charges and answer questions in an official capacity, and pursue the route as an official whistle-blower?

- Respectfully, I remind you that accountability cannot exist without the due process of law, and even Deutsche Welle has written about the well-known gap in US law that deprived me of vital legal protections due to nothing more meaningful than my status as an employee of a private company rather than of the government directly (http://www.dw.de/us-whistleblower-laws-offer- no-protection/a-17391500). Surely no one on the committee believes that the measure of one’s political rights should be determined by their employer.

Fortunately, we live in a global, interconnected world where, when national laws fail like this, our international laws provide for another level of accountability, and the asylum process provides a means of due process for individuals who might otherwise be wrongly deprived of it. In the face of the extraordinary campaign of persecution brought against me by my the United States government on account of my political beliefs, which I remind you included the grounding of the President of Bolivia’s plane by EU Member States, an increasing number of national governments have agreed that a grant of political asylum is lawful and appropriate.

Polling of public opinion in Europe indicates I am not alone in hoping to see EU governments agree that blowing the whistle on serious wrongdoing should be a protected act.

Do you still plan to release more files, and have you disclosed or been asked to disclose any information regarding the content of these files to Chinese and Russian authorities or any names contained within them?

As stated previously, there are many other undisclosed programs that would impact EU citizens’ rights, but I will leave the public interest determinations as to which of these may be safely disclosed to responsible journalists in coordination with government stakeholders. I have not disclosed any information to anyone other than those responsible journalists. Thank you.

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An Garda Síochána profiling Traveller family babies on Pulse system

John Wilson - former Garda, turned whistleblower.
John Wilson – former Garda, turned whistleblower.

This morning on RTE radio one, John Mc Guiness  made reference to the profiling of children and babies within the Traveller community by the police force. He spoke of one case of a 16 day old baby being entered into the Pulse system, the national police intelligence and crime database.  This is one case in at least 40 families being targeted in this way.  One wonders what kind of training cops get if they enter the details of a baby on a crime database.  It seems that in the eyes of the police force, or certain officers at least, merely being alive makes you a criminal suspect.

This has been in the public domain following actions by Garda whistleblower John Wilson (pictured above.)  Once on the PULSE system you cant be taken off.  Whilst most of mainstream media seek to push this under the carpet as part of moving on, the statement made on RTE today are likely to provoke anger and action from anti racist, traveller advocacy and human rights organisations over the next few days.   Here’s a letter Wilson wrote over 2 years ago about the practice of recording underage children by the police force on the PULSE system.

WilsonLetter

Broadsheet reported at the time.

“Mr Wilson alleges that hundreds of Traveller babies – one as young as 16 days old – have had their names put on the PULSE system, with each child getting a criminal intelligence PULSE number.

How this would happen, he claims, is that if a Garda stopped a car driven by a Traveller, and if there were children present in the car, those children’s names would be placed on PULSE.

Mr Wilson says that gardaí were encouraged to do this by senior gardaí.

Mr Wilson says  that gardaí are in the practice of stopping and searching young people in certain, “working-class areas”, under the Misuse of Drugs Act and that gardaí would put these youths’ names on PULSE and record them as having been searched for drugs.”

Its unlikely that this will blow over anytime soon.

“The Troika Party” launches for European Elections.

miceky mouse
“Troika? Never heard of it? Don’t worry! You will learn first hand when one unforgettable day the three inseparable friends (International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank & European Commission) visit your beautiful country, not for tourism but for a bailout! What?  You are not in need of a bailout? That doesn’t matter, Troika offers its bailout policies at a competitive price. Besides, nobody asked you!
Support us, because democracy is not competitive!”

 

We don’t need you to vote for us for we already have the power we want.  What we would really love is to be a little more famous… Not many know who we are, what we are up to and what are the consecuences of our policies are, especially in central and northern Europe.
We will be launching this project on Tuesday February 25th, plunging into the social networks. For gaining strength, we need your help and this is how you can participate:
  • Follow now our Facebook, ‘Like’ it and especially comment on and share our postshttps://www.facebook.com/TheTroikaParty. You can also invite your friends to like the Troika Party’s Facebook. We have some surprises this week!
  • Follow our Twitter account, make retweets and participate in the discussion with your own tweets: @TheTroikaParty
We will be sharing information and generating a lot of discussion using irony and humor. The  project is coordinated at European level involving people from various countries, launching in Spanish, English and French. We want people to better understand what the Troika is, what  influence it has on the countries that are under its mandate (and those that still aren’t), how it affects democracy and in which direction it is taking Europe.
It is also an experiment to share knowledge, work together and share emotions with people from other European countries. We also aim at to strengthening coordination networks and encourage many young and not so young people to participate.
Hope you enjoy it and remember to look out for us!

GSOC, Williams, Callinan and Shatter. Hardly Credible

“Because today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups… So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.”  ―Philip K. Dick

Image: Thanks to Eamonn Crudden
Image: Thanks to Eamonn Crudden
Update: 12:53. The paragraph about Garda leaking info to journalists around what was called the “rape tape” by traditional media has been amended following  details from another person involved in the womens media support team at the time.

Update 13:57  Added info on Rabbles  discovery that the Indo has substantially changed Paul Williams article without informing readers.

So now that GSOC, Martin Callinan’s police force – as he likes to describe it – and Alan Shatter and the DoJ have stopped slugging it out in front of us kids, maybe its time we all took a breather. It was quite the James Bond ride there for bit, but all official parties have made it clear that they want to Put. This. Behind. Them. Or sweep it under the carpet. Or make it go away. Or something. Anything to stop people talking about the elicit surveillance, or cops running a high level international heroin smuggler. Or focusing on the silencing of whistleblowers who are suggesting there are a lot of people sitting in prison after being stitched up by dodgy cops. Shatter has announced he is appointing a judge to “look into things”. Though he also said he is  “satisfied that no bugging took place” because he hired an Irish security firm, who have a ongoing DoJ contract, to do a third sweep of GSOC. Cos like, you know, whoever was doing the bugging has been sitting on their arses praying that wouldn’t happen right?
Move Along Now
Move Along Now
Hey numpties,  look over there” says Independent News and Media, the countries largest media corporation. Whose chief editor used to edit the Garda Review. “It’s nothing says Generic Crime Correspondent. “And stop pointing at us. We are just doing out jobs. Political correspondents get handed their stories all the time too
A crime correspondent getting annoyed with comments on Twitter
Getting annoyed with comments on Twitter. Mick to his credit has engaged and debated after the fallout of GSOC bugging
Sure I can understand people not wanting to lose Garda contacts for their stories. And if you aren’t pulling the stories in you could get sacked. Such is the pressure of contemporary  traditional media workplace.  I’m completely empathetic to that. But can we all stop pretending Generic Crime Correspondent is a position of  public service, rather than an outsourced Garda media strategy. Actually doing a  public service comes with a higher risk of getting  sacked. Just ask Gemma O Doherty, sacked by INM for having the brass neck to investigate bent boys in blue.
Many people Ive spoken to – you could call them sources – see a macho culture not a million miles away from the macho pricks regular fixes of Smack Factor, were dope celebrities are created to sell newspapers. Generic Crime Correspondent wants to feel he is doing a service to democracy? Lets see. How about not making shit up. Or repeating shit made up by cops.
Yesterday morning we had Paul Williams on RTE literally talking non sense about how it was possible to set up a UK mobile phone network using a couple of phones from the UK. This was all false, nothing about it was true. It is simply not possible. La la land. I hadn’t planned on writing on any specific journalist for fear of litigation as the issue is systemic  but as Paul Williams likes to frame himself as the top dog I thought it might be illustrative to talk about my own direct experience. I dislike what  Williams does not simply for his crimes against writing. Read his piece comparing GSOC and the recent stormy weather. Seriously. You have not read how bad crime fiction can get until you read it. But that’s not the big issue. Just look at what Rabble have uncovered. On the day William cries with another long winded moan about PC-ism, his bosses at the Indo have doctored his original article. Whatever about not following online etiquette of making updates, changes and correction obvious to your readers, this is a clear case of a media corporation of back handed sneakiness.
 Its important to say too I don’t know the guy personally from adam. My opinion is based upon observing what he does, and a critical look at what function he serves. But its also based on times when his profession job and my personal experiences collided.
I’m sure he is a lovely bloke to many people.  It is his ongoing  role in shielding full examination of alleged police abuses that is problematic. My dislike is also shaped by his work as a crime journalist in 2011. Officers of An Garda Siochana recorded themselves laughing about using the threat of rape against two women they arrested walking along a roadside in Rossport. One of those women was a close friend. They both had been taking part in a protest earlier that day. Williams was working for the News Of The World, a news title shut down in direct response to widespread revulsion to its ‘journalistic’ practices. These included paying dodgy cops, hacking dead children’s mobile phones and blackmailing people. The paper closed because people organised online to shut down its advertising in a rare show of decentralised power against a massive media corporation.
The women were upset and angry once they realised what the arresting officers had done. One was particularly traumatised by what traditional media would call the “rape-tapes”. Neither thought it was funny at all that the men who had bundled then into a car could be hear talking about them. Nor did they think the rest of the country would think it was funny. And in support of the women, a few friends got together and made a point of ensuring the country did hear about it. And we succeeded. Most people were abhorred. Rape prevention and support services condemned the actions as dangerous and undermined women confidence in reporting to the police. GSOC was called in to investigate the matter. Though in this instance its was clear that GSOC and An Garda Siochana were working in tandem. (I’ll link the extensive report into this at the bottom.)
During the couple of days after we broke the story, we got a series of calls from journalists on one afternoon. All independently saying Paul Williams was going to “do a job” on the two women for News Of The World. It had been clear in all our dealings with traditional media up to this point that the women didn’t want their identity to be revealed. They felt they had done enough in bringing this to public attention, provoking a national conversation about policing at Corrib and also sparking widespread conversation across new media about rape culture. We were told that Williams intended to send a journalist and photographer.  Earlier in the week a reporter from the Irish Independent turned up at one of the womens parents’ house in Dublin. That was the address that could only have come from Belmullet Garda station.
We highlighted this at a press conference. In response to this, the NOTW sent a reporter and photographer to a different address  that one could find by Googling one of the womens name. This was a different address to the one she gave at Belmullet. The NOTW’s strategy was to rubbish the claim about Gardaí leaking the women’s details by saying: “We just found her address by Googling her name.” But it was a  distraction strategy to hide garda leaking. But at the point of getting those calls, I was sick to the bottom of my stomach for my friends. We expected a fight back from police for highlighting their shitty behaviour. That’s what they do everwhere and everytime throughout history.
The crime correspondents?  RTE sat on the recording for 24hrs without any comment. Their first report was Orwellian, mentioning that “something inappropriate was said to two women” RTE was  later forced to run an apology over Paul Reynolds false accusations that the original digital file was tampered with. (As an aside, in 2010 GSOC didn’t even have the internal capacity to tell if a digital file had been modified. They had to draw upon a digital forensics officer from the PSNI. That’s the level of under resourcing)
Williams coverage of the community struggle in Co Mayo against a dangerous and untested gas extraction project is well known, documented and discredited. He has argued the provisional IRA, then the Real IRA and eventually the dissident IRA was really behind it. None of this is true. Like Paul’s description on RTE this week of how you can use a few UK mobile phones Dublin to set up a UK mobile network, his claims are easily rebuked. But his social capital is such that he gets coverage.  Williams shouts louder and louder that he “stands over” his stories.
After Verrimus rubbished his pre-record he appeared on Newstalk  doing damage limitation with more “standing over” his story. Is there not something incredibly narcissistic about a journalism that tries to sidestep the technical impossibility of ‘facts’ in stories by by appealing to the authors ‘credibility’?  It sounded like when you were a kid and you’d ask a question and you get the response “just because”. It was infuriatingly unsatisfactory answer, right?
It’s not about the answers though. Lets not be fooled. Its about the dynamics of power to define in the specific context.  Parents dont say  “just because” because its an honest answer. They say it because it solves a problem. They say it because they can. Likewise Paul Williams saying the IRA were behind a large community-led national campaign, Williams was really saying its proper that the police be allowed to beat the shit of people without any close examination by the wider public. Its ok to illegally detain them and to fabricate evidence and to lie in the courts because, well these people have the whiff of ‘terrorists’.    
People locally and from every county  in the country who saw what was going on. People from every continent on the planet  who recognised global pattern of extraction industry behaviour. People stood up against corrupt politicians on the make and fair weather friends like the Green party who dropped the issue as soon as they got onto government. People who opposed a monolithic corporation that has actually funded and armed people to kill humans so they can extract fossil fuels.    These  are the people Paul Williams calls ‘terrorists’.  These ‘terrorists’ are my friends and comrades.  These ‘terrorists’ are me.  
Paul Williams might have market value.  But so to does a protected heroin dealer with a lot to spill on the cops. Credibility, however, is a different beast.
There is also a touch of Willie Frazier about Paul William. Like Frazier, William seems keen to exploit the real pain and hurt of families to make a political point. Maybe I’m hyper-sensitised to the smell of parasitical political pain-drawing. Growing up in a low level war you get a really good radar for behaviour that seeks to make the most of a situation on the back of the blood and hurt of others.
On two separate occasions when Williams was wheeled out on RTE’s Mariane Finucane Show around the so called ‘rape-tapes’ he mentioned the families of two police officers killed by the IRA. I have yet to come across a more parasitical use of other peoples pain by a journalist in the south. Finucane herself said nothing. I’ll leave it to readers to form their own opinion on what it would be like to have the pain and memory of your murdered father, or husband being bandied about on national radio as part of a discussion on police joking about raping women.
On one of his outings on Marian, Williams tried to batter away rape jokes as dark humour. “99% of what i say when I’m in certain company would get me thrown in jail” Now that’s some statement.  99%? That’s beyond rhetorical exaggeration. Its 100% crapola  Like I say market value is one thing, credibility very much another.
So what about the actual institutions?
GSOC, An Garda Siochana, and the representative state are, if you believe the hype, institutional arrangements that are meant to serve all of us equally. But really, hand on heart, how many of us believe it? It’s not that the bugging of GSOC makes us feel our really great democracy is under threat. Merely it is a yet reminder of what we already know and what already has officially noted by the institutional realm. Shatter’s attitude thus far has been the standard official state response to those challenging the behaviour of state bodies. The first instinct is never to listen, to enquire, or encourage. Instead is a long established cultural reflex that glowers “How dare you!!”
Depending on the specifics, this instinct manifests itself in different way. If the claim of wrongdoing/corruption/injustice emanates from a respectable broadsheet (or you are the head of a body with thats meant to hold An Garda Siochana to account for its abuses of power) the big guns, in this case Shatter and Callihan, are wheeled out. They smear, and misrepresent and semantically lie to protect themselves and their institutions. The other institution fights back, tries to hold its ground. But such intra-institutional scraps tend to be choreographed or at least have their own rules. Rebukes are given out, and metaphorical blood letting occurs but within relatively defined and controlled limits. Too much out-of-control truth telling in anger can get very problematic very quickly. An all this is well and good when the debate is framed and mediated by a mostly compliant indigenous traditional media.
But that now is suffering from undernourishment as corporate owners extract as much wealth as possible without killing the goose entirely. The strongest pieces within traditional media in the last week around GSOC have all been opinion pieces. The media ecosystem has changed forever though. From the outset of the story over a week ago the meaning of what happened and its implications dominated political discussion on horizontal mass communication, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and forums.  The analysis on social media has been far more critical, radical and incisive too the extent it has had a gravitational pull on traditional media coverage.
“Its all in the game” Omar Little
Making institutional respectability respectable, somehow natural and decreed. Making authority and obedience seem inevitable and necessary whether it social policy or pepper spray. This is the primary function of the game. These illusions are reproduced and often internalised. They stop critical examination of any imagined possible democracy. The rub is this. Until we as a society stop thinking about those that have power to over our life and liberty as our betters, we give up the power to change jack shit, and we renege on the responsibility to try.
The behaviour of the central characters since the bugging story broke has been the polar opposite. What they ultimately are seeking to protect is institutional respectability and authority. It is important we learn to not respect a police force that covers up this. It is really important we not respect a police force stands accused of running high level heroin smugglers and fits up people. These folks are closing rank for a reason. And its not anything to do with equality, justice or democracy.
Its worth highlighting some other official responses to state and allegded police abuses being called into account. Very few illicit immediate responses from either sitting Ministers of Justice or Garda Commissioners. Compare this to how the many families seeking resolution, answers and justice after the death of their children, their kith and kin in Irish police cells.
- 'Inquiry announced into 14-year-old's death
As has been shown by the experience of the families of Terence Wheelock and Brian Rossiter something very different happens. When evidence at the very least suggests police violence within a police station have contributed to the death of a human being one would expect full, transparent and timely intervention by the state. Instead as we have seen the police instead intimidating family members who try to get answers about the deaths of their loved ones. We have seen Ministers of Justice drag heels and rebuff families. We have seen evidence disappear from Garda stations. You cant unknow this nor forget it when you think about policing.  Over 200 people turned up to a public meeting in a hotel on O’Connell St in December 2008 to talk about the reality of day in day out police brutality.  After the panel spoke, person after person, mostly but not exclusively  from the floor spoke out about mistreatment and violence. For about three hours solid. Almost exclusively, but not all young males from Dublins inner city. These voices we rarely hear in traditional media, or on Facebook or Twitter for that matter.
Public meeting
I could and will write more. But I will pose some last questions. Perhaps not asked too often by ‘people like me’.  How corrosive is it for people to work in a police force whose culture prioritizes loyalty to the institution  above honesty.  How dehumanising  is it to sign up for all the best of intentions, and find yourself working in a culture of Omertà? Where the protection of institutional respectability is based upon the hiding of violence,and lies.   All the while fronted with stripes of ‘legitimate’ state authority?  

Media, Crisis and The Making Of Common Sense

From The Live Register project I work with

http://theliveregister.tv/

Why is the vast majority of Irish media dominated with an undoubting and uncritical attitude towards a single theory of the ‘crisis’? What role does it play in legitimising, rather than challenging, the structural causes of growing inequality? And what does this mean for radical interpretations of democracy, public space and the remaking of common sense?

In this Live Register podcast, we’re joined by Julien Mercille and Henry Silke, two academics who have been carrying out separate research relating to the Irish media.

Julien Marcille lectures at the School of Geography in UCD and has recently published research on how the Irish mainstream media have covered the Irish “crisis” from a pro-austerity position over the last five years. Henry Silke is a postgraduate researcher at the School of Communications DCU, who has been examining the political role of the Irish press during the crisis.

We used their research to frame a wider discussion of the real role of mainstream media in Ireland today, exploring how market ideology is central to how mainstream media frames public discourse, very much at odds to the perception of mainstream media holding truth to power.

“Wages For Facebook” : Full Text.

money-facebook

Im not sure how long http://wagesforfacebook.com/ has been up, but its an interesting read. Its a slow scroll so kinda problematic if you want to read it in a hurry. Clearly based upon a rejection of the capitalist logic of work, and acknowledging the amount of times our lives are spend doing in pointless labour. Its speak to the fact that everything we do online within the confirms of big social media companies is enclosed, commodified and sold off. Our activities make data brokers rich whilst state surveillance is right now logging that you are reading this. Our “free time” is always political as it stand aside and in contradiction to our time that is not carefree. the text is a little bit crimethinc but interesting all the same. Looking forward to other expressions of the sentiment, though not sure if its a pisstake or not. Either way its great.

THEY SAY IT’S FRIENDSHIP. WE SAY IT’S UNWAGED WORK. WITH EVERY LIKE, CHAT, TAG OR POKE OUR SUBJECTIVITY TURNS THEM A PROFIT. THEY CALL IT SHARING. WE CALL IT STEALING. WE’VE BEEN BOUND BY THEIR TERMS OF SERVICE FAR TOO LONG—IT’S TIME FOR OUR TERMS.

TO DEMAND WAGES FOR FACEBOOK IS TO MAKE IT VISIBLE THAT OUR OPINIONS AND EMOTIONS HAVE ALL BEEN DISTORTED FOR A SPECIFIC FUNCTION ONLINE, AND THEN HAVE BEEN THROWN BACK AT US AS A MODEL TO WHICH WE SHOULD ALL CONFORM IF WE WANT TO BE ACCEPTED IN THIS SOCIETY. OUR FINGERTIPS HAVE BECOME DISTORTED FROM SO MUCH LIKING, OUR FEELINGS HAVE GOTTEN LOST FROM SO MANY FRIENDSHIPS.

CAPITAL HAD TO CONVINCE US THAT IT IS A NATURAL, UNAVOIDABLE AND EVEN FULFILLING ACTIVITY TO MAKE US ACCEPT UNWAGED WORK. IN ITS TURN, THE UNWAGED CONDITION OF FACEBOOK HAS BEEN A POWERFUL WEAPON IN REINFORCING THE COMMON ASSUMPTION THAT FACEBOOK IS NOT WORK, THUS PREVENTING US FROM STRUGGLING AGAINST IT. WE ARE SEEN AS USERS OR POTENTIAL FRIENDS, NOT WORKERS IN STRUGGLE. WE MUST ADMIT THAT CAPITAL HAS BEEN VERY SUCCESSFUL IN HIDING OUR WORK.

BY DENYING OUR FACEBOOK TIME A WAGE WHILE PROFITING DIRECTLY FROM THE DATA IT GENERATES AND TRANSFORMING IT INTO AN ACT OF FRIENDSHIP, CAPITAL HAS KILLED MANY BIRDS WITH ONE STONE. FIRST OF ALL, IT HAS GOT A HELL OF A LOT OF WORK ALMOST FOR FREE, AND IT HAS MADE SURE THAT WE, FAR FROM STRUGGLING AGAINST IT, WOULD SEEK THAT WORK AS THE BEST THING ONLINE.

THE DIFFICULTIES AND AMBIGUITIES IN DISCUSSING WAGES FOR FACEBOOK STEM FROM THE REDUCTION OF WAGES FOR FACEBOOK TO A THING, A LUMP OF MONEY, INSTEAD OF VIEWING IT AS A POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THESE TWO STANDPOINTS IS ENORMOUS. TO VIEW WAGES FOR FACEBOOK AS A THING RATHER THAN A PERSPECTIVE IS TO DETACH THE END RESULT OF OUR STRUGGLE FROM THE STRUGGLE ITSELF AND TO MISS ITS SIGNIFICANCE IN DEMYSTIFYING AND SUBVERTING THE ROLE TO WHICH WE HAVE BEEN CONFINED IN CAPITALIST SOCIETY.

IF WE TAKE WAGES FOR FACEBOOK AS A POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE, WE CAN SEE THAT STRUGGLING FOR IT IS GOING TO PRODUCE A REVOLUTION IN OUR LIVES AND IN OUR SOCIAL POWER. NOT ONLY IS WAGES FOR FACEBOOK A REVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVE, BUT IT IS A REVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVE FROM A CONTEMPORARY VIEWPOINT THAT POINTS TOWARDS CLASS SOLIDARITY.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO RECOGNIZE THAT WHEN WE SPEAK OF FACEBOOK WE ARE NOT SPEAKING OF A JOB AS OTHER JOBS, BUT WE ARE SPEAKING OF THE MOST PERVASIVE MANIPULATION, THE MOST SUBTLE AND MYSTIFIED VIOLENCE THAT CAPITALISM HAS RECENTLY PERPETRATED AGAINST US. TRUE, UNDER CAPITALISM EVERY WORKER IS MANIPULATED AND EXPLOITED AND HIS/HER RELATION TO CAPITAL IS TOTALLY MYSTIFIED.

THE WAGE GIVES THE IMPRESSION OF A FAIR DEAL: YOU WORK AND YOU GET PAID, HENCE YOU AND YOUR BOSS ARE EQUAL; WHILE IN REALITY THE WAGE, RATHER THAN PAYING FOR THE WORK YOU DO, HIDES ALL THE UNPAID WORK THAT GOES INTO PROFIT. BUT THE WAGE AT LEAST RECOGNIZES THAT YOU ARE A WORKER, AND YOU CAN BARGAIN AND STRUGGLE AROUND AND AGAINST THE TERMS AND THE QUANTITY OF THAT WAGE, THE TERMS AND THE QUANTITY OF THAT WORK.

TO HAVE A WAGE MEANS TO BE PART OF A SOCIAL CONTRACT, AND THERE IS NO DOUBT CONCERNING ITS MEANING: YOU WORK, NOT BECAUSE YOU LIKE IT, OR BECAUSE IT COMES NATURALLY TO YOU, BUT BECAUSE IT IS THE ONLY CONDITION UNDER WHICH YOU ARE ALLOWED TO LIVE. BUT EXPLOITED AS YOU MIGHT BE, YOU ARE NOT THAT WORK.

TO ASK FOR WAGES FOR FACEBOOK WILL BY ITSELF UNDERMINE THE EXPECTATIONS SOCIETY HAS OF US, SINCE THESE EXPECTATIONS—THE ESSENCE OF OUR SOCIALIZATION—ARE ALL FUNCTIONAL TO OUR WAGELESS CONDITION ONLINE. IN THIS SENSE, IT IS MORE APT TO COMPARE THE STRUGGLE OF WOMEN FOR WAGES THAN THE STRUGGLE OF MALE WORKERS IN THE FACTORY FOR MORE WAGES. WHEN WE STRUGGLE FOR WAGES WE STRUGGLE UNAMBIGUOUSLY AND DIRECTLY AGAINST OUR SOCIAL EXPLOITATION. WE STRUGGLE TO BREAK CAPITAL’S PLAN TO MONETIZE OUR FRIENDSHIP, FEELINGS AND FREE TIME, THROUGH WHICH IT HAS BEEN ABLE TO MAINTAIN ITS POWER.

WAGES FOR FACEBOOK, THEN, IS A REVOLUTIONARY DEMAND NOT BECAUSE BY ITSELF IT DESTROYS CAPITAL, BUT BECAUSE IT ATTACKS CAPITAL AND FORCES IT TO RESTRUCTURE SOCIAL RELATIONS IN TERMS MORE FAVORABLE TO US AND CONSEQUENTLY MORE FAVORABLE TO WORKING CLASS SOLIDARITY. IN FACT, TO DEMAND WAGES FOR FACEBOOK DOES NOT MEAN TO SAY THAT IF WE ARE PAID WE WILL CONTINUE TO DO IT. IT MEANS PRECISELY THE OPPOSITE.

TO SAY THAT WE WANT MONEY FOR FACEBOOK IS THE FIRST STEP TOWARDS REFUSING TO DO IT, BECAUSE THE DEMAND FOR A WAGE MAKES OUR WORK VISIBLE, WHICH IS THE MOST INDISPENSABLE CONDITION TO BEGIN TO STRUGGLE AGAINST IT. AGAINST ANY ACCUSATION OF ‘ECONOMISM’ WE SHOULD REMEMBER THAT MONEY IS CAPITAL, I.E. IT IS THE POWER TO COMMAND LABOUR.
THEREFORE TO REAPPROPRIATE THAT MONEY WHICH IS THE FRUIT OF OUR LABOUR—AND OF ALL OUR FRIENDS’ LABOUR— MEANS AT THE SAME TIME TO UNDERMINE CAPITAL’S POWER TO COMMAND FORCED LABOUR FROM US.

AND FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF WORK WE CAN ASK NOT ONE WAGE BUT MANY WAGES, BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN FORCED INTO MANY JOBS AT ONCE—WE ALSO WORK FOR GOOGLE, TWITTER, MICROSOFT, YOUTUBE AND COUNTLESS OTHERS. FROM NOW ON WE WANT MONEY FOR EACH MOMENT OF IT, SO THAT WE CAN REFUSE SOME OF IT AND EVENTUALLY ALL OF IT.

WAGES FOR FACEBOOK IS ONLY THE BEGINNING, BUT ITS MESSAGE IS CLEAR: FROM NOW ON THEY HAVE TO PAY US BECAUSE AS USERS WE DO NOT GUARANTEE ANYTHING ANY LONGER. WE WANT TO CALL WORK WHAT IS WORK SO THAT EVENTUALLY WE MIGHT REDISCOVER WHAT FRIENDSHIP IS.