14.04.2020: The following communique was sent today to RBB, Berliner Morgenpost, Berliner Zeitung, the news portal indymedia and dpa. With the communique, a group explains the motives behind their sabotage of a data line to the Heinrich Hertz Institute in Berlin, one of the institutions involved in the development of the “Corona-App”.
Shut Down the Power! Digital Infrastructure Sabotaged
We gave the so-called Corona-App a refusal and went into action. Today, in order to counteract any further weakening of fundamental rights and the expansion of surveillance measures, we set fire to a shaft with communication cables that supply the “Heinrich-Herz-Institute”, among others. The power cables of Colt, Telekom and other providers were destroyed by our attack. We identified the open shaft in which new cables are laid as the supply line to the “HHI”. The short-term shutdown also affected other local companies, such as car dealerships of the climate kilers VW, Alfa Romeo, Jeep, Mercedes, Audi, Porsche etc. We have ruled out any danger to human life from our action.
Why we politically sabotaged the use of the app:
The regulations against the pandemic bring with them curfews, contact bans and other interventions, which are unprecedented in the speed of their implementation and their fundamental nature in the history of the Federal Republic. These interventions are repeatedly accompanied by war rhetoric. The model for these “rules” is China’s handling of the virus. China: a patriarchal dictatorship that monitors and controls every movement of the people and punishes violations of the “rules” set by the communist-capitalist elite. The cordoning off of megacities can only be carried out in such an efficient totalitarian system, as a measure of what is possible. China, with its 60 day curfew (e.g. in Wuhan) and the total control of people, has in the short term become a model case of (alleged) containment of the pandemic for governments almost all over the world. At the beginning of January these measures were still criticized as totalitarian and violating human rights. Now they are also being transferred in a modified form to the other continents.
It was in this spirit that Jens Spahn (Federal Minister of Health) repeatedly suggested mobile phone tracking, data tracking of every person, in order to locate and isolate the infected and potentially newly infected. He kept the criticism of constitutional law experts and data protectionists at least two meters away. He copied the total location of the movement profile of each person from China and South Korea. The president of the Austrian parliament pleaded for the obligatory introduction of a similar app. In this country, too, corresponding demands were made. Even the discussions are calculated taboo breaks with the result that the growing surveillance potential of new technologies should be helped to gain acceptance and, if necessary, be controlled authoritatively if it is not possible “voluntarily”.
In China, the app from “Ant Financial” is used during public checks by the police. The personal QR code decides about shopping in the supermarket and going for a walk If the QR code is red or yellow, instructions are given by the authorities. This payment app decides in a non-transparent way about the “social coronavirus load”. South Korea has not yet imposed a curfew. All people “may” continue to work until the smartphone identifies them as “infected” or “suspected” and state access is ordered. Currently, the government is forcing people in South Korea to “voluntarily” disclose their mobile phone data and access. The tracking of data has been tested in South Korea with the “Total Information Awareness” program, among others, which the NSA secretly continued to operate as “Prism”, as whistleblower Ed Snowden revealed. In the USA, Google and Apple want to distribute a Corona app automatically as an operating system component with an upcoming update.
A data tracing system will soon be established in Germany in the form of an installed app. The propaganda for this app is already working at full speed. Politicians will make massive publicity for it, because in their opinion only the broad acceptance promises the desired effects. On the surface, the use of the app sounds reasonable. When the app is introduced, it is (initially) based on it being voluntary in order to avoid a blatant constitutional breach. This is because contacts, i.e. infected and non-infected persons and their surroundings can be spied out. But just like the forwarding of (allegedly) anonymized movement profiles by mobile phone providers, where the persons concerned already have no opportunity to give their consent or refuse, it can be assumed that the monitoring options contained in the app will quickly become a mandatory standard once they have been “voluntarily” established for a critical mass: Whoever wants to go to the library must have the app – visiting the library is voluntary…Since the source code of the software is not open, it is impossible to check whether the propaganda for using the app corresponds to reality, or who else can use the data. And if there are are any possibilities for data tracking. A simple update of the software would be possible at any time. The “Robert Koch Institute” is currently working on this app in cooperation with the “Heinrich Herz Institute”, the Federal Office for Information Security and the German Armed Forces, among others.
It is regulated:
The speed of the daily changes can barely be processed. It is not for nothing that the fight against the pandemic is repeatedly underpinned by deliberately chosen war rhetoric. For a war is always also an inward social attack, in order to reorient the “national community” or – and this is new in the case of Corona – the world community towards the interests of the ruling class. There is no conspiracy plan behind this. It is the ongoing dynamic of the ruling class, which for thousands of years could not be broken by a comprehensive revolution of liberation from all forms of rule. The pattern is not new: crises are always used as catalysts for repressive regulation of the population, unless a revolutionary force sets other precedents. In the face of the pandemic, a machinery of internal security is set in motion that lives from the fact that everyone participates. For many people, the company’s own algorithms behind the apps already regulate their daily routines and are a constant companion. So in times of Corona, it’s time to limit oneself, to distance oneself socially, to observe oneself (and the others) on contact – and then at some point to make it easy for oneself with the app. Good and responsible feeling included, you have contributed something to the security of all.
New do-not-use words appear.
With the “war against the virus”, language and thinking are also changing. Suddenly there are “systemically relevant” people. “risk groups” who are supposed to isolate themselves. “Social distancing” as salvation bringer to protect the “risk groups” and the “system relevant” people, the “heroes of everyday life”. The latter, the nursing staff, the supermarket employees, truck drivers etc. are made into fighters on the “front” instead of paying them decently – while the managers continue to get their bonuses and collect billions for their companies. The military-medical concept of “triage” is advancing into the civil sphere: the systematic sorting of people: Who is to be saved, and for whom it is no longer “worthwhile”, who has to be left behind on the “battlefield of the virus”. It is not the virus as such that leads to the crisis, but a privatized and profit-oriented health care system that leads to the dreaded state of emergency in hospitals and nursing homes. In Spain, in Italy and possibly here too.
The fact that every human being faces death without protection, especially when it appears as an invisible virus and cannot be assessed at all as a new pandemic, creates fears. These fears must not be mocked. Nor must we exaggerate these fears, or allow them to become something quite extraordinary, as we will all die one day. However, this pandemic is instrumentalising people’s primal fears of death. These fears are being “played with”. It is not the privatisation policy in the health systems that is being questioned, but whether YOU keep enough distance from the next person. If YOU keep the rules. These rules are monitored (and sometimes also punished). And they promote one of the most German virtues everywhere: the tendency to denounce. In intellectual circles, this is compounded by the accusation that one is not in solidarity if one does not follow the regulations. If YOU do not follow these rules, YOU are to blame when people die. With the reference to the “risk groups” other contradictions are stifled. Regardless of their individual attitude, the “risk groups” become a factor of moral blackmail in order to enforce the state and political rules among friends without question. Medical hygiene is accompanied by a social hygiene that hardly allows dirty, resistant thinking and debating.
Therefore it is probable:
Our action will be described as lacking solidarity by those who, on other occasions, make themselves the henchmen of new state techniques of domination and social technological attack – even without perhaps wanting to do so. Our declaration will either be ignored and subject to an invisible news blackout, or declared to be confused.
We stand in solidarity on the sidelines:
We are not taking this risky action in order to gain broad approval, for this the disputes are too polarized to our disadvantage in the counter-revolutionary sense. We are aware of the approval of a section of society. We stand on the side of those who are not prepared to watch the destruction of historically and painfully won human rights. We stand on the side of the refugees at the borders and in the camps. We are on the side of those who recognize and counteract the instrumentalisation of the pandemic and the fears. We are on the side of those who are worried about the growing surveillance.
How digital transformation happens:
We see the digitalisation of everyday life, which is inevitably spreading under the contact ban and curfew and which suddenly seems to know no analogue alternatives, as a digital transformation of society. At first glance, it seems to be the only way for isolated people to stay in contact with each other. But the space in which this takes place is not a neutral space. It is controlled and monitored. The social subjects, the people, become virtual figures, which the algorithm breaks down into data sets and judges according to secret criteria, controls advertising, marks and reports misconduct, and rewards subservience. “Social distancing” or “distance is decency” are terms that sound as if they were borrowed from Huxley’s “Brave New World” or Orwell’s “1984”. Seen naked, they are fighting terms that immersion in the virtual world assigns to us as a comprehensive social action. A “we” is pretended and the net is offered to the “we” as a new place of social encounter and the world of work – thereby further cementing the social isolation already underway as a result of the technological attack. This is where the current and future controllability of entire societies over the Net is formed.
Online commerce, digital school lessons, online seminars at universities, video conferencing, home office, electronic patient files, Amazon, Zalando, Netflix, Lieferando, card payments, dating portals, video streams and games, etc. are prerequisites for this. This is where society is re-forming itself. This is where habituation takes place, this is where society changes at a pace whose price – total manipulation and thus control – will only become clear to us in all its details in the coming years. A new, namely hygienic (national) “we” is currently being constructed in order to enforce all kinds of measures against which there were reservations and resistance in the past, such as digitalisation in schools, glass health insurance cards and patient files or online payments and the disappearance of cash.
Deutsche Telekom provides cloud-based “web conferencing services” for pupils, students and teachers free of charge, completely unselfishly. Similar offers are also available for companies and their home office needs. And for the little ones’ leisure time, there is the new streaming service from Disney. And an additional 10 gigabytes for mobile surfing on top. Free for the time being. While Telekom propagates “We connect Germany”, the battle cry of Vodafone is “Germany remains networked”. The range of services does not differ significantly. But Germany and the digital network – that creates cohesion. The coronavirus, a stroke of luck for the network operators: New demand for faster, broader, more. With the current offers, future customers are bound and even more data is generated, which can be accessed by companies and secret services alike. For example, Vodafone works closely with the British secret service, which in turn is the closest partner of the American NSA. As people spend more time online with social contacts, work and entertainment, this is a celebration for the secret services and corporations. More access to social life is not possible. How much more in terms of profit, how much more in terms of monitoring and controlling buying behaviour, desired lifestyles, early detection of revolts can be derived from this data!
At the latest since Edward Snowden’s publications on the worldwide surveillance of the NSA of states and groups down to individual digital statements of individuals is known: Every technical possibility of digital surveillance and behavioral control is also used. In China, in the USA, in Russia and also in Germany. The Corona app is a door opener. The scenario that at least 60 percent of the population in Germany should be “voluntarily” conditioned to an app, to a standard, to an intention, to a “voluntary” screening of all private and public contacts – this virtually challenges our sabotage.
What remains to be said:
We are witnessing a worldwide civil war exercise for future crises and wars. The consequences of this “exercise” will change the world. The severity of the pandemic, its spread and the mass of dying people are the matrix on which we are being introduced into a new age of crises as a permanent state. In case of doubt, neither basic rights of the country concerned (which have never applied to everyone) nor human rights count. While contact bans and curfews are imposed, the compulsion to do paid work is maintained and it is left to the discretion of the entrepreneurs whether they continue to work as before, get subsidised short-time work or switch production to more profitable methods. Elsewhere, at least the strikes broke out. In this country, pandemic control ends at the factory gates. On the assembly line and elsewhere, where no home office is possible, people should work as long as it serves to maximise profits and then quickly return to their family honeycombs, the trade unions will not listen to anything else. While the goods should continue to circulate freely and the Eastern European migrant workers should arrive on time so that the economy does not collapse, fugitives are kept in camps – camps that guarantee the rapid spread of the virus and do not guarantee adequate health care.
One crisis not only replaces the next, but makes issues disappear. The climate crisis disappears behind Corona. The wars and their consequences also disappear. And the reasons for the wars anyway. It is unclear where the 10,000 people who were trapped on the border between Turkey and Greece ended up. The EU, which is increasingly turning these borders into death strips, remains unpunished. The preparation of pogroms in Hungary against Roma and Sinti by Orban and the right wing also remains unobserved. There is no reaction to the use of the virus to establish authoritarian governments against the constitution, as in Poland. Or the retention of power by the corrupt Israeli president. Or for the consolidation of the power of Putin.
At the latest now it should be recognizable when the government and the economy trust in experts and science and when not. Why can a pandemic trigger an emergency program and worldwide drastic measures, but not the already occurring collapse of the climate? This question is transferable to all global problems.
In the case of the destruction of the climate, which affects the whole of humanity at least as much as the pandemic, the admonitions and proposals of the experts have been and will be largely ignored. Because a vaccine is not enough to combat the consequences of climate disruption. Corona is quite different: not only do health experts find open ears, but their medical approach to combating the pandemic opens up new scope for politicians. A murderous economy, a warlike world system and an orientation towards progress and growth that aims to destroy the earth and the basis of all life are being saved with trillions of dollars and euros, while protests against this are being banned by the health authorities. It is the colonial principle according to which different values are attached to human life. Every year 100,000 people die of malaria. Climate change is already killing: hundreds of millions of people are starving or starving to death. Billions of people have no access to clean drinking water.
In this new age, the forces that want fundamental change must reorient and reposition themselves internationally. A comprehensive upheaval and overcoming of patriarchal, colonial and capitalist conditions is not a luxury question, but existential.
We will never get used to what we should get used to.
Volcano Group Shut Down the Power / Sabotage Digital Infrastructure
P.S.: For a revolutionary May Day against colonialism, patriarchy and nationalism
(via Deutschland Indymedia, translated into English by Anarchists Worldwide)