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Securitisation as a Political Strategy: Creating Insecurity, suppressing Dissent

Event Date: 11 July 2012
Garden Court Chambers
57 – 60 Lincoln Inn’s Fields
London WC2A 3

The Campaign against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC) in association with the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, European Association of Lawyers for Democracy & World Human Rights (EDLH), the Newham Monitoring Project (NMP), the Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol), G4S Campaign and CagePrisoners  present:

Securitisation as a Political Strategy: Creating Insecurity, suppressing Dissent

‘Security Measures’ are becoming all-pervasive, supposedly to protect us from severe threats. In practice, such measures turn us into suspects – subjected to preventative measures such as state surveillance, restrictions on movement, extra-judicial powers, secret evidence and even punishment without trial. ‘Terrorism’ , ‘extremism’ and ‘ suspicious behavior’ are defined so broadly and vaguely as to entrap potentially anyone. Some measures target specific groups; for example, anti-terror powers target migrant diaspora and Muslim communities, as well as (increasingly) political activists. Organised as mass-media spectacles, anti-terror raids label individuals and entire groups as terror suspects. For the past decade, secret evidence has been systematically used to label and detain foreigners as ‘terror suspects’; more recently, secret evidence has been extended to other procedures, likewise in the name of national security. Curfews and dispersal orders target youth, labeling normal social activities as dangerous.

Israel’s occupation of Palestine has served as a laboratory for many surveillance and control techniques designed for global export. These are being adapted for ‘security measures’ at airports and mega-events such as the Olympics. In the run-up to the London Olympics, military equipment is being deployed to build public fear, justifying a quasi-military occupation on behalf of multinational companies. Israeli checkpoints have been spreading: when Palestinian activists planned protests against Israel’s Habima Treatre performance in London in May, the Shakespeare Globe Theatre installed airport-style detectors to screen all ticket holders, as well as employing private ‘security guards’.

The British-Danish company G4S has been quickly growing and gaining state-like powers in this country. It has been long involved in the Israeli occupation, e.g. by supplying equipment to Israeli prisons and ‘security services’ to businesses in illegal Israeli settlement. G4S has been designated as the ‘official provider of security and cash services for the Olympics’.

In all these ways, securitisation is a political strategy for spreading fear and insecurity, while also suppressing dissent against neoliberal policies and war. It attempts to discipline us all through fear that our behavior will be treated as ‘extreme’ or ‘suspicious’. Societal conflicts are increasingly defined as ‘security problems’ warranting special measures – which thereby become normal. All these measures encourage suspicion towards each other, discouraging solidarity.

We will ask the following questions: How is insecurity being defined and even created by the state? Who threatens whose security? What has been driving securitisation? How can this be undermined through solidarity among the groups being targeted?

Welcome by Saleh Mamon (CAMPACC) .
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Les Levidow (The Campaign against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC))

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Professor Bill Bowring ( European Association of Lawyers for Democracy & World Human Rights (EDLH))

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Estelle du Boulay ( Newham Monitoring Project (NMP))

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Diana Neslen (G4S Campaign)

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Shiar Youssef (Corporate Watch)

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Val Swain ( Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol))

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Aviva Stahl ( CagePrisoners)

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Dr Sutha Nadarajah (SOAS)

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Kat Craig ( Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers and co-author of  ‘The Protest Handbook’)

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