Intelligence and law enforcement agencies in western democracies are turning increasingly to electronic surveillance tools in their efforts to identify and combat new terrorist threats. But this does not mean that they are equally equipped to undertake these measures. As the author shows by comparing surveillance activities in three countries—Great Britain, the United States, and Germany—the Federal Republic's more restrictive legal norms and institutions provide its government with much less freedom of maneuver than its allies.
A. James McAdams
Amateur Radio and the Politics of Aural Surveillance in France, 1921-1940
Derek W. Vaillant
As France wrestles over the uses and societal impact of digital media and the Internet, it is instructive to recall another era of communications innovation, namely the introduction of interwar radio to the French public, and the government's reaction to controversial applications by the citizenry. Recent scholarship has underscored the importance of interwar radio broadcasting to France and its territories. Less explored, however, is the work of amateur user/developers who shaped the radio medium as an instrument of speaking, as well as listening. Determined to manage applications of radio, the French Interior Ministry formed a Police de l'Air to monitor France's airwaves, including the activities of amateur radio users (i.e., hams), whose lawful (and sometimes unlawful) use of point-to-point and broadcast communication had begun to significantly disrupt the government's effort to dictate the future forms and uses of radio. Against a backdrop of political crisis and attempts to manage print and electronic communication and dissent, the skirmishes between the Police de l'Air and amateur radio users reveal historical aspects of contemporary debates over use, access, and qualifications to speak and be heard in mediated cultural and political settings.
A Political Experiment with IBM Machines during the Algerian War
The Paris police faced considerable problems in trying to identify migrant workers who, during the Algerian War, provided a support base for the Front de libération nationale. In order to overcome the failings of manual card-index systems (fichiers) the Préfecture of Police experimented in 1959-62 with IBM punch-card machines. The origin of these powerful identification techniques can be traced back to the inter-war statistical services headed by René Carmille. Although such methods were banned after the Liberation because of their repressive potential, they were discretely revived to track Algerians. Although the experiment proved successful, the proliferation of numerous decentralized fichiers continued to make the process of identifying wanted Algerians slow and cumbersome and this enabled FLN clandestine networks to survive intact to the end of the Algerian War. However, while rapidly superceded by true computers, the punch-card experiment was a precursor of contemporary, high-speed "Panoptican" systems and the computer driven" "révolution identitaire".
A Philosophical Analysis of New Peacekeeping
Lisa Portmess and Bassam Romaya
In June 2014 an Expert Panel on Technology and Innovation in UN Peacekeeping was commissioned to examine how technology and innovation could strengthen peacekeeping missions. The panel's report argues for wider deployment of advanced technologies, including greater use of ground and airborne sensors and other technical sources of data, advanced data analytics and information fusion to assist in data integration. This article explores the emerging intelligence-led, informationist conception of UN peacekeeping against the backdrop of increasingly complex peacekeeping mandates and precarious security conditions. New peacekeeping with its heightened commitment to information as a political resource and the endorsement of offensive military action within robust mandates reflects the multiple and conflicting trajectories generated by asymmetric conflicts, the responsibility to protect and a technology-driven information revolution. We argue that the idea of peacekeeping is being revised (and has been revised) by realities beyond peacekeeping itself that require rethinking the morality of peacekeeping in light of the emergence of 'digital peacekeeping' and the knowledge revolution engendered by new technologies.
A Case Study of Malmö
Vanessa Stjernborg, Mekonnen Tesfahuney, and Anders Wretstrand
This study focuses on Seved, a segregated and socioeconomically “poor” neighborhood in the city of Malmö in Sweden. It has attracted wide media coverage, a possible consequence of which is its increased stigmatization. The wide disparity between perceived or imagined fear and the actual incidence of, or exposure to, violence attests to the important role of the media in shaping mental maps and place images. Critical discourse analysis of daily newspaper articles shows that Seved is predominantly construed as unruly and a place of lawlessness. Mobility comprises an important aspect of the stigmatization of places, the politics of fear, and discourses of the “other.” In turn, place stigmatization, discourses of the other, and the politics of fear directly and indirectly affect mobility strategies of individuals and groups.
Every film has its moment. Be it an unforeseen glance, an unmotivated gesture, or a startling sequence unnecessary for narrative progression, such a "moment" reveals in a flash what's at stake—then and now. In the following, I analyze such a moment in Karl Grune's Die Strasse (The Street), a film that Siegfried Kracauer considered one of the defining documents of German modernity. Produced and shown in fall of 1923, the film inaugurated the so-called Strassenfilm genre, which combined the visual language of expressionist cinema (oblique angles, harsh lighting, heavy shadows, painted backdrops, distorted spaces, stylized gestures) with an urban setting. In its gritty exploration of sex, crime, morality, and madness, the street film became the prototype for American film noir of the 1940s. The Street has its "moment" in a brief sequence that discloses the film's underlying theoretical project—the nexus between urban modernity and the disciplining power of vision.
Surveillance and the African Immigrant Community in France, 1960-1979
By the early 1960s, an increasing number of Africans migrated to France from their former colonies in West Africa. Most were men hoping to gain employment in several different industries. Their settlement in Paris and other cities signaled the start of "post-colonial" African immigration to France. While scholars have analyzed several facets of this migration, they often overlook the ways in which France's role as a colonial power in West Africa impacted the reception of these immigrants after 1960, where surveillance played a critical role. Colonial regimes policed and monitored the activities of indigenous populations and anyone else they deemed problematic. The desire to understand newly arriving immigrant groups and suspicion of foreign-born populations intersected with the state's capacity to monitor certain groups in order to regulate and control them. While not physically violent, these surveillance practices reflected the role that symbolic violence played in the French government's approach to this post-colonial immigrant population.
The Language and Politics of Race in the Late Third Republic
Jennifer Anne Boittin
This article uses notes generated by France's surveillance of African and Afro-Caribbean migrants during the interwar years to analyze the use black men made of racial terms such as nègre and mulâtre. Although developed before the twentieth century, such racial language was infused with new political, social and cultural meaning after World War I. Workers and intellectuals, often at odds with each other, developed a race consciousness that was both a means of uniting in response to colonialism and a reaction against those within their communities who did not appear anti-imperial enough in their politics. Arguing that racial language expressed the nuances and range of black men's political and ideological stances with respect to the French Empire, this article traces the meanings granted to race and the important role in cultivating their significance played by members of organizations such as the Union des Travailleurs Nègres.
Notes de recherche sur la trajectoire sociale de Zacarias Moussaoui
Stéphane Beaud and Olivier Masclet
La France découvre, au lendemain des attentats du 11 septembre 2001 et de la guerre en Afghanistan, qu’elle a couvé en son sein des jeunes, nés ou élevés dans le pays, qui sont devenus des soldats de l’islamisme radical. Antoine Sfeir, directeur des Cahiers de l’Orient, estime à 150 le nombre de jeunes Français qui seraient impliqués dans les réseaux islamistes proches de Al Quaïda. Le plus connu d’entre eux, Zacarias Moussaoui, 33 ans, fiché depuis 1999 par la Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire (D.S.T.) comme « susceptible d’appartenir au Jihad international », est soupçonné d’être le vingtième pirate de l’air des attentats du 11 septembre 2001. Emprisonné aux États-Unis, il risque la peine de mort. On peut aussi citer Djamel Beghal, arrêté à Dubaï en juillet 2001, et son adjoint Kamel Daoudi, 27 ans, informaticien de formation, tous deux d’origine algérienne et également suspectés d’appartenir au même réseau Al Quaïda.
Police Power and Popular Culture in Colonial Algerian Theater
Following World War II, French police surveillance in Algeria increasingly focused on the threat of Algerian nationalism and policing theater proved no exception. The police assiduously investigated the contents of plays and the background of performers, seeking to determine whether a performance could be considered “purely artistic.” In cracking down on theater, the police attempted to produce “pro-French” art that could influence Algerian loyalties, a cultural civilizing mission carried out by the unlikely figure of the beat cop. Ultimately, their mission failed. Live performances presented an opportunity for spontaneity and improvisation that revealed the weakness of colonial policing. In this article, I argue that in trying to separate art from politics, the police created an impossibly capacious idea of the political, giving officers justification for inserting themselves into intimate moments of daily life. The personal, the interpersonal, and the artistic became a realm of police intervention.