Our interest in surveillance technologies and their widespread use against civilians, journalists, political activists and members of parliaments is astoundingly small in comparison to the impact the misuse of such practices does. Just as small is the general understanding of the repercussion of an increased control of communication and information flows in view of the progressive rise of the digital era and ever more digitalized societies and their infrastructure. In return, the already inefficient dispositions to exercise democratic control over intelligence agencies progressively decline. The results are societies which are ever more unprotected in view of their own intelligence agencies.
With the increasing appearance of the phenomena of jihadist terrorism the political influence of intelligence agencies becomes ever more noticeable. With the vindication of external interests willing to harm the democratic-self determination of western societies the operations of intelligence agencies are ever less transmitted to supervisory institutions and otherwise illegal activities get rubber-stamped in the frame of political and legal systems in the absolution of reputed national interests. Jihadist terrorism is not the threat to democratic systems as which it is presented in the public. In fact jihadist terrorism has become a billion-dollar business and a platform for widespread unconstitutional activities instead.
This platform has now arrived at an entirely new scale to Europe. But instead of following the established tradition in the fight against terrorism -which consists in rearming the executive force with unconstitutional empowerments – the public should start an examination with what it is really dealing with. A respective attempt was initiated with three commissions of enquiry which have been established in Germany as a public response to the dubious context in which the terror attack in Berlin had been perpetrated in December 2016.
In its composition the terror attack in Berlin did not substantially differ from most other terror attacks which have been perpetrated in other European metropolises. And yet the findings of the investigations were alarming. The facts, officially described as institutional “negligence”, which finally led to the lethal assault on a German Christmas market, indicate relations far beyond the acting of a twenty-three year old applicant for asylum who furthermore had been observed by German intelligence agencies for several months before committing the biggest jihadist terror attack on German territory to date.
But the investigations on this topic are still at an early stage and it is fundamental structural and institutional consequences which have to follow to grant a signification to the investigations and to protect the basement of a democratic society in view of unconstitutional interests.
The aim of this presentation is to define how societies may run international cooperations to regain democratic self-determination given unauthorized political interventions on part of intelligence services. Democracy is not a “nice to-have” thing. Democracy is the base of a peaceful, safe and just society and the base of our common future. We should be aware of the fact that a democratic foundation of national and international collective acting is the primary requirement for peacekeeping in Europe and a long-term pacification in the Middle-East.