Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Willingly Afeared in Aberdeen


Reader Comment

... the general thrust of fascism is that the rapidly expanding capacity of the bureaucratic state to discipline and regulate its citizenry can and ought to be used to the utmost to create a rigidly hierarchal, homogenized and cohesive populace.


Norway killer had BP Aberdeen base as a 'target'
Anders Behring Breivik included BP's headquarters in Aberdeen on a list of places to attack included in his infamous 'manifesto' 


gunman’s internet manifesto revealed north sea rigs were prime targets
BP’s north-east HQ was on mass killer’s terror hit-list


Warning to public after Norwegian massacre
Top Grampian policeman says public must stay alert
A SENIOR police officer today warned people across the Aberdeen area to be ever alert to the threat of terrorism following the massacre in Norway.
Aberdeen terrorism expert Professor David Capitanchik of Robert Gordon University [added] that Aberdeen remained “vulnerable” to terrorist attacks.


We couldn't help but notice and so be disgusted and sickened by a sort of self-important self-satisfied glee leaking out at the edges of these local reports. A perverse delight in the fact that mention in that madman's 1500 pages of racist paranoid rage somehow puts Aberdeen on the map, and is therefore something to be slyly happy about while nodding sagely and making all the right noises and hand-wringing gestures. 

But these local press and TV reporters are merely sensationalising, and, more seriously and to our great dismay, in doing so are tipping us all into an illiberal trap. Their headlines are only true on the margins, and then with a fair bit of interpretation. To report that the killer Breivik had identified Oilco BP's Dyce HQ as a 'target' is no more true (nor, indeed, false) than to say that 'Paris' or 'Literature Festivals', or all oil refineries everywhere in the EU, were included in an extensive list of infrastructural, cultural, economic, political and social 'targets' which also encompassed every single commercial electricity supply nuclear reactor in Western Europe, all mainstream political parties of both left and right in all EU countries, "Royal Castles" and even Wikipedia.

Our local press, by their willingness to propagate such sensasionalised reportage are acting as 'useful idiots' and delivering us directly into the type of hypersecurity state of which the murderous far-right terrorist Breivik would no doubt heartily approve.


Saul Newman
The Politics of Post-anarchism

The logic of security itself, which has become so ubiquitous and omnipresent today, has to be seen as a mechanism of depoliticization: it is a way of imposing a certain order on social reality which is self-legitimizing and beyond question.
Today we have come to think of freedom only as strictly circumscribed by security; freedom and security become part of a binary in which the former cannot be imagined without the latter, and in which the former always gives way to the exigencies and prerogatives imposed by the latter. The liberal idea of an appropriate balance between security and liberty is an illusion. The only vision the security paradigm offers us - with its pernicious technologies and its perverse logic that grips us in a double bind - is an empty, controlled, overexposed landscape from which all hope of emancipation has faded and where all we have left to do is obsessively measure the risks posed to our lives from the ever-present specter of catastrophe. The security paradigm intensifies a micro-politics of fear, producing a kind of generalized neurosis.


We smiled grimly when we read Newman's warnings of "self-legitimizing" security infrastructure which is "beyond question" because we had noted with the launch of the Aberdeen Business Improvement District (Aberdeen BID) business plan (PDF) that CCTV is regarded as "Baseline Service", with the only indication of the benefit its installation is supposed to confer being the solipsistic "provision of 24/7 CCTV coverage". Yes, they insist that more CCTV capacity be installed, because it will provide greater CCTV capacity.


Comments on Facebook "Aberdeen" Community Page and STV Local.
  • "Scary stuff! My work is just behind the BP headquarters in Dyce!"
  • "I work at BP and this is scaring the hell out of me... Hopefully adequate security is provided..."
  • "We are all really worried..."
  • "We all have to sleep with one eye open now..."

We'd like to point out to these worriers that, what with the UK being the most CCTV surveilled nation in the world (notwithstanding the possible exception of weirdo aseptic totalitarian state Singapore), there's probably nothing to fear. That is, of course, unless they have something to hide...



uair01 said...

Great observation! I like the collected fearful responses from the "public" (sheeple?).

Peter Burnett said...

Why is it that this argument can be presented with relative calm and reason, and yet illicits shock?

Not because of Oslo, but because of Stockholm Syndrome.

Nothing promotes state authority more than 'national emergency' - and in terms of protection against aggressors foreign and domestic - we are told that only the government can provide this service effectively. The government however are not permitted to test this claim by resorting to competing suppliers of law, order and security, because government enforces a monopoly over the production and distibution of these services and brings violence to bear against would be competitors - and in so doing it reveals the fraud at the heart of its claims and the fact that it is offering not protection - but in fact a protection racket.

The mass belief in this general beneficence of democracy represents a kind of... Stockholm Syndrome... and the public's victimisation at the hands of state functionaries is complete.

I am not afraid :)

uair01 said...

I assume you already know about the essays of Bruce Schneier?

Peter Burnett said...

You assume wrang ;) so thanks for the url! - indeed the internet - like my bookcase - is awash with such polemic - ! - lang may it thrive. I will read the Essays and Op Eds and enjoy. P

Peter Burnett said...

@uair thank you that is priceless! Internet Eyes indeed... never in my wildest dreams... ☮ !