Yasha Maccanico, Ben Hayes, Samuel Kenny, Frank Barat
06 November 2018
Europe’s “refugee crisis” triggered a wave of solidarity actions by both civil society organisations and ordinary citizens. Their efforts were part of a wave of compassion, as people organised convoys to refugee reception centers, warmly greeted arrivals at train stations and lined highways to provide food and water to those making the journey from Syria and elsewhere. Just a few years later those same activists are treated as criminals and humanitarian search and rescue missions are criminalised.
The globalisation of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) policies is the most significant development in counterterrorism policy in the last decade. What began as a rhetorical commitment from a handful of agencies has developed into a plethora of policies, deployed from Finland to the Philippines. This report includes a foreword by UN Special Rapporteur Professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin.
Anyone trying to open a bank account or send money overseas must undergo extensive risk assessment by private data-brokers, which amass non-credible data and falsely blacklist the wrong people on a speculative basis.
This summer, Women Peacemakers Program staff interviewed Ben Hayes, a researcher on topics such as security policy, counterterrorism, border control and surveillance, about his current work. Ben Hayes has been one of the first to research and write extensively on how countering terrorism financing (CTF) policies have been affecting the right to freedom of association and financial access for nonprofits, and the role of intergovernmental institutions such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in these phenomena. In this interview, he talks about how this topic first came to his attention, current trends in trying to craft solutions for the obstacles faced by nonprofits, as well as his take on what it will take to move forward.
Ben Hayes, Frank Barat, Isabelle Geuskens, Nick Buxton, Fiona Dove, Francesco Martone, Hannah Twomey, Semanur Karaman
07 April 2017
Individual and collective activism is facing a global pushback from states, corporations and the Far Right. How useful is the metaphorical concept of ‘shrinking space’ to examine such repression of civic society? This report deconstructs the shrinking space narrative and critiques some of its inherent problems, particularly its conflation with ‘civic space’. Thus a Government can profess support for ‘civic space’ and human rights defender initiatives abroad, while adopting repressive domestic policies and promoting collusion with corporations that contribute to ‘shrinking space’.
Revelations of UK covert propaganda operation to counter extremism reveals dangers of secretive state-sponsored 'civil society' initiatives. A healthy democracy depends on civil society groups staying independent of government and corporations, or otherwise open about their relationship.
What if government and corporate elites have given up on stopping climate change and prefer to try to manage its consequences instead? In the weeks running up to the major UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21), this event examined issues raised by a new book, 'The Secure and the Dispossessed: How the Military and Corporations are Shaping a Climate-Changed World'
Hurricane Katrina was a watershed moment as it exposed how democratic states are moving towards treating social and environmental crises as security issues, rather than matters of social justice. This vision of ‘Homeland Security’ is now dominating our political response to climate change impacts.
Ben Hayes, Gavin Sullivan, Louise Boon-Kuo, Vicki Sentas
16 February 2015
For those interested in peace and the non-violent resolution of conflict the prognosis is not good. Not just because the war on terror keeps producing enemies with whom, it is said, there is no negotiating, but because the legal and political framework it has engendered has transformed the way in which political violence and armed conflict is understood and managed.
I respect your right to show solidarity with the victims of this horrible crime by reposting those drawings, but only if you respect my right not to do so because I happen to find them bigoted and incendiary.
International counterterrorism guidelines are being used - and encouraging - authoritarian regimes to repress civil society worldwide. Countries with severe restrictions like Saudi Arabia receive stellar ratings under these guidelines, while much freer countries like Norway are considered non-compliant.
"[E]ven if you’re not doing anything wrong you’re being watched and recorded. And the storage capability of these systems increases every year consistently by orders of magnitude to where it’s getting to the point where you don’t have to have done anything wrong. You simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody even by a wrong call. And then they can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you’ve ever made, every friend you’ve ever discussed something with. And attack you on that basis to sort to derive suspicion from an innocent life and paint anyone in the context of a wrongdoer..."
Multinational corporations who dominate large parts of the internet have provided USA’s National Security Agency with massive amounts of their users’ intimately personal data. This is simply unacceptable in any democracy worthy of the name.
Making banks and non-profits liable for the acts and social networks of their customers and beneficiaries while holding charities and CSOs responsible for the ‘extremist’ views and actions of their associates stifles freedom of association and expression and promotes self-censorship.