Originally triggered by a case of police brutality, the London riots soon became a generalized expression of malcontent from today’s young proletariat. The cramming of the unprivileged into neighbourhoods resembling ghettos combined with continued police oppression has always been an explosive combination. The Los Angeles riots of 1992 and the French riots of 2010 took place in very similar circumstances. While it is obvious that many rioters have absolutely no political agenda except for the looting of a few bottles of liquor, the riots are nevertheless the accumulated result of years of segregation of the poor and minorities in conjunction with the type of police oppression not found in well-to-do suburban areas.
While the media seems focused on portraying the rioters as a bunch of drunk hoodlums who have nothing else to do, it is obvious to the citizens of the area that the growing tensions with the police would lead to this kind of outburst. Here’s an interview describing the “other side of the story” (I don’t think that the BBC was expecting this kind of response).
Order Out of Chaos
That being said, the London riots might be exactly what the ruling class needed to further a few agendas. The elite’s motto is Ordo Ad Chao, meaning Order Out of Chaos. Time and time again, chaotic situations have been “allowed” – if not totally engineered – by the elite in order to create fear and panic within the general population. The distraught masses then beg the elite for an intervention and a prompt solution. The result of these interventions is almost unequivocally the same: the introduction of rules and regulations disadvantaging the average citizen while giving more (undemocratic) powers to the elite.
The new policies would not normally be accepted by the general population, but due to the panic generated by the crisis, the policies are not only accepted but welcomed with open arms. The Great Depression of 1929 allowing the Rockefellers and the Morgans to hijack the banking system, 9/11 clearing the way for the PATRIOT act, the bailout “crisis” that handed $700 billion of tax-payer money directly to a few favored companies … the same pattern repeats itself continually. Create a crisis, make it last long enough to get the population worried and introduce the solution that was, in fact, part of the agenda all along. And the population falls for it, every single time.
Using mass media, it is easy to create widespread panic. Simply interrupting a TV show with “Breaking News” featuring a red banner at the bottom of the screen and bold letters is enough to raise the collective heartbeat of a nation, and to make it aware of a situation in a matter of minutes. In the days that follow, all media outlets constantly remind the population of this particular situation. The constant hammering makes the situation almost seem as unbearable by the population who hear about it continuously on TV and read about it in the newspapers and the internet. After a while, the average citizen will want just one thing: the awful, nauseating feeling created by the situation to go away, whatever that takes. After the problem has dragged long enough, the media present one or several solutions. Not fully understanding this solution, but tired and annoyed, most people think: “Well, if that’s what it takes for them to shut up about this and move on to something else, then I’m all for it.”
Did the elite allow the London riots to last long enough to create a sentiment of panic? There are already sources stating that the police were ordered to stand by as the riots took place (according an article from the Daily Mail entitled Why police were so soft on London looters: They ‘were ordered to stand and observe’ as capital burned (but in Manchester they were hunting looters within hours). Furthermore, we are already seeing in the media the emergence of a specific agenda and a call to the adoption of specific policies that, predictably, go against the interests of the general public.
The Blackberry Riots – The Underlying Agenda
After a single day or rioting, an obvious agenda emerged in the media and a specific culprit was singled out by the authorities: the privacy of mobile messaging. The same way a picture of bin Laden appeared on TV screens only a few minutes after 9/11, mobile instant messaging was outed as the main cause of the London riots. Several media outlets have even dubbed these events “the Blackberry Riots”. The media, being the right hand of power, steered the attention of the public towards a specific agenda.
According to news sources, the London riots were mainly orchestrated using Blackberry’s instant messenger service (known as BBM), which is a (relatively) private service as the communications are encrypted. Here’s a typical article pointing out Blackberry, this one is from Reuters:
The BlackBerry riots
MP calls for BBM suspension to calm UK riots
A lawmaker called on Tuesday for BlackBerry’s instant messaging service to be suspended after rioters used it to mobilize in London and other British cities.
David Lammy, Member of Parliament for Tottenham, where London’s worst riots for decades began on Saturday, appealed on Twitter and on BBC radio for BlackBerry maker Research in Motion
to suspend BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).
“This is one of the reasons why unsophisticated criminals are outfoxing an otherwise sophisticated police force,” he tweeted. “BBM is different as it is encrypted and police can’t access it.”
The riots, in which shops are being looted and cars and buildings set ablaze, spread to Britain’s second-largest city Birmingham and other centres.
Politicians and police are blaming the violence on criminals and hooligans but some commentators and local residents say its roots lie in anger over economic hardship in a city where the prospects for many youths are dim.
Many of the rioters favour BlackBerry Messenger over Twitter and other social media because its messages are encrypted and private, but the service is widely used and messages can easily be sent to groups.
Research In Motion said in a statement on Monday: “As in all markets around the world where BlackBerry is available, we cooperate with local telecommunications operators, law enforcement and regulatory officials.”
The company declined to say whether it was handing over chat logs or user details to police.
Research In Motion’s Inside BlackBerry blog was hacked on Tuesday by a group going by the name of Teampoison. The group posted a warning to the company not to cooperate with police.
“You Will tNOTt assist the UK Police because if u do innocent members of the public who were at the wrong place at the wrong time and owned a blackberry will get charged for no reason at all,” the statement said.
“If you do assist the police by giving them chat logs, gps locations, customer information & access to peoples BlackBerryMessengers you will regret it, we have access to your database which includes your employees information; e.g – Addresses, Names, Phone Numbers etc. – now if u assist the police, we tWILLt make this information public and pass it onto rioters,” it said.
Sameet Kanade, analyst at Northern Securities in Toronto, said: “RIM will need the directive of the UK authorities and the cooperation of the carriers. Lawful intercept is the only valid legal reason that a carrier and handset vendor can intervene.
“In terms of actual mechanism, RIM has always claimed that it is unable to de-encrypt/decipher messages routed through the BES or BIS servers. It may be able to disable the routing of messages at best, from what I understand.“
Geoff Blaber, analyst with UK telecoms research firm CCS Insight, said: “One option would be to switch it off. But BBM is highly popular and has got a big installed base in the UK.“
BlackBerry Messenger, or BBM as it is popularly known, has driven sales to new audiences for RIM in recent years as it expanded from its base as a tool for executives to a more consumer and younger clientele.
It has more than 45 million active users worldwide, 70 percent of whom use it daily, sending billions of messages in total every month.
Users with data plans can instantly pass text messages, pictures and other files without incurring charges from their network carrier.
RIM has got into hot water in the past on the one hand for cooperating with governments seen as repressive, and on the other for not cooperating enough with the security needs of authorities in some countries.
Its encrypted services, which it moves over its own servers via telecom carriers, have been blamed for aiding militant attacks in India and for allowing unrelated men and women to communicate in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
In August last year, a source close to talks between RIM and Saudi authorities said the Canadian company had agreed to hand over information that would allow monitoring of BBM.
A deal was also reached in the UAE, averting a threatened ban on all BlackBerry services.
The company says it cooperates with authorities around the world with a consistent standard.
RIM has been relatively willing to provide authorities with access to its consumer services, such as BBM, but says it has no way of allowing monitoring of its enterprise email.
In the case of India, RIM gave the authorities access to BlackBerry Messenger services but said it did not have the technical capabilities to provide interception of corporate emails on the popular device.
India has demanded access to all BlackBerry services as part of efforts to fight militancy and security threats over the Internet and through telephone communications
In London, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanagh of the Metropolitan police said on Tuesday: “Police have got extensive monitoring of this BlackBerry messaging model and actually a lot of people who are seeing these Blackberry messages are forwarding them to the police.“
Police did not immediately respond to a request for more details of how they were monitoring message traffic.
After a few days of repetition, the population is convinced: The riots are not the results of inequalities or police brutality; they are the result of too much privacy in mobile communications. This cancer must be stopped. The police, or whomever else that wants to, must be able to monitor all of our communication, at all times, or our cities will burn. This is the message that is being hammered to the public. Do all of the rioters own a Blackberry? I would not think so, but that is not important. The agenda was already set.
Singled out and facing bad publicity, RIM (the company that created the Blackberry) was pressured to violate the privacy of its subscribers and to divulge their personal information. Normally, this would have caused outrage, but now, due to the riots, the the general population believes that it that it is necessary to stop these riots and to prevent other ones from taking place.
The media’s focus on RIM, and the resulting pressure to hand over sensible information to the authorities, lead to the hacking of Blackberry’s official site on August 9th by a group who opposing this sharing of information.
This is the message left by the hackers to RIM:
You Will _NOT_ assist the UK Police because if u do innocent members of the public who were at the wrong place at the wrong time and owned a blackberry will get charged for no reason at all, the Police are looking to arrest as many people as possible to save themselves from embarrassment… if you do assist the police by giving them chat logs, gps locations, customer information & access to peoples BlackBerry Messengers you will regret it, we have access to your database which includes your employees information; e.g – Addresses, Names, Phone Numbers etc. – now if u assist the police, we _WILL_ make this information public and pass it onto rioters… do you really want a bunch of angry youths on your employees doorsteps? Think about it… and don’t think that the police will protect your employees, the police can’t protect themselves let alone protect others…. if you make the wrong choice your database will be made public, save yourself the embarrassment and make the right choice. don’t be a puppet..
p.s – we do not condone in innocent people being attacked in these riots nor do we condone in small businesses being looted, but we are all for the rioters that are engaging in attacks on the police and government… and before anyone says “the blackberry employees are innocent” no they are not! They are the ones that would be assisting the police
– TriCk – TeaMp0isoN –
Despite the threats, RIM stated on August 10th that it would fully collaborate with the police force. This means that chat logs, the GPS locations and the customer information stored in RIM’s databases can be used by the police to track down and to prosecute suspected rioters. Caught up in the panic caused by the riots, most Britons will agree with these measures. They do not however realize that dangerous precedents are being created and the net result will be the reduction of privacy and freedom for all and a collective step towards a police state. These kinds of policies can only be introduced during periods of chaos. Instead of causing outrage, the population is actually applauding RIM’s compliance with the British government. Because, after all, what company wants to be on the side of these drunken looters?
Acceptance of a Police State
Dragging out the riots for several days serves another important agenda: the acceptance, and even the welcoming, of police state measures. Every additional day of rioting causes the average citizen to be increasingly favorable to the use of drastic measures by the government. At the time of writing this article, conservative elements of the government are already calling for the imposition of martial law and for the gunning down of rioters on sight, Here’s a poll (produced by NewsCorp’s Sun TV) that perfectly describes how a population can become favorable to oppression when chaos occurs (let’s not forget, of course, that it is possible for Sun TV to have tricked the numbers to give an illusion of consent regarding the use of force).
If the London riots stemmed from deep social problems involving the exclusion of the unprivileged and police brutality, the powers that are seizing the opportunity to push a specific agenda. Do not be surprised if, in the near future, news of agent provocateurs being hired to incite violence popped up in the news. Violence justifies repression. In other words, the elite needs violence to make its policies acceptable. After just a few days of rioting (which was allowed to continue), a major shift in communication technology was introduced and accepted by the population: chat logs, GPS location and other private information can now be monitored by the authorities for “suspicious activities”. A few more days and the population will be ready to accept martial law and other tactics normally usually used in oppressive third world countries.
To be “for” or “against” the riots is, ultimately, an irrelevant debate. The most important thing to consider is the aftermath and the changes that will affect our nations for years to come. Whose interests will the riots ultimately serve? The poor people of London wanting a bigger piece of the pie? Or the ruling elite wanting to justify more control?