On Monday 31st we lit up the opening week of the Olympics with an attack on two vehicles (and all the equipment they contained) belonging to British Telecom (BT), an “official Olympic partner”. It’s a small reply to the heightened repression in London.
In Longwell Green this week we then sabotaged a mast owned by BT’s parent company, O2, the mobile phone network. We burnt out the mast by setting fire to the cables at the bottom.
While the thousands who can afford to swell the economy are welcomed by the state for the Olympics, O2 profits from the exploitation of a literal captive audience of “illegal” migrants who are forced to use O2 phones with extortionate pricing in a pilot scheme at Yarl’s Wood “Immigration Removal Centre” (prison) which is run by Serco. The authorities can monitor calls with ease, and the network is easier to shut down in the event of a disturbance or as punishment for rule breaking. There are currently mass hunger strikes in Germany and the UK (in ?Morton Hall, a former open prison now specifically designated for “foreign nationals”), these hunger strikes are an expression against detention, control and isolation.
While O2 profit from their dealings in detention they are also furthering the encroachment of the market into the fabric of our social lives. “Giff Gaff” is a mobile phone network owned by O2 and a brainchild of their head of brand strategy. Their model of operating encourages consumers (or “members) to participate in aspects of running the service such as customer support, marketing and sales in return for meagre incentives and forms their “horizontally run” business image. Under this model your friends become marketing targets and your relations are degraded in their value as commodities, bringing us even closer to a world where every human interaction consists of buying and selling.
O2 also supply radio and phone systems for the UK police through a network of TETRA masts. G4S also use O2 sim cards to run their electronic tagging systems.
BT supply the UK prisons (as well as investing millions in the arms trade). Inmates are charged upto 7 times the average call rate, paying for the privilege to be spied on. In BT’s words, “paying for the level of ongoing investment in security”. BT now run computerise information points on prison wings, “aiding the prisoner during settlement”. There’s even employment opportunities uploading information and performance statistics.
Behind the scenes of Olympic grandeur, our daily experience is that modern life becomes more and more like a cage. Britain jails more adults than any other European country, and comes 3rd for jailed young people, but it’s gold medal is in extending the authoritarian management of the “inside” to the “outside” with its induced culture of cowardice, conformity and snitching. The developing social control structure has many tentacles and is always deepening them through technology, psychology, surveillance, policing and architecture. In short, the mechanism of jail diffused throughout the urban environment. This society is already one giant prison for all but a privileged few and the modern citizen is already being trained to be the model prisoner.
But some cells are still more concrete than others. In April this year Carla Verdugo and Iván Silva were arrested in Santigao transporting an explosive the night before their comrade Juan Alistes trial preparation hearing. We want to continue what they started. Yesterday the “security case” trial against Juan, Freddy and Marcello began in Chile.
Strength to all unpacified captives from last summers riots. Solidarity with all those resisting the deportation machine. None of these hostages are forgotten. Solidarity is our weapon and we can use it.
We also take this opportunity to welcome ELF Switzerland prisoner Silvia Guerin back to the streets.
Attacks on communication structures are a necessary part of the multi-formed struggle towards the collapse of capitalism. Where society means misery we chose rebellion. Fire to the prisons, borders and detention estate.
Autonomous Sabotage Cell