Statewatch News online: Archive for year 2005
News Online Archives: 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
Germany: Refugee from Cameroon threatened with imprisonment for resisting travel restrictions imposed on asylum seekers. Synopsis: The German self-organised refugee group The Voice and the Göttinger Arbeitskreis zur Unterstützung von Asylsuchenden e.V. is asking for support in their campaign to stop the imprisonment of Cornelius Yufanyi for fighting for his right to free movement.
UK-Greece: MI6 Athens station chief named (Cryptome, link) and MI6 officer linked to abductions in Athens hunt for Tube bombers (Guardian, link) and Greece urged to investigate MI6 torture link Athens MI6 station chief linked to abduction and beating of 28 migrants from Pakistan. See also Athens News (link)
EU: Austrian Presidency draft Agendas for the three Justice and Home Affairs Ministers' Councils (see pages 22-28. pdf). Austrian and Finnish Presidencies of the Council of the European Union:Programme for 2006 (see pages 40-45, pdf) - this includes the heading "Strengthening freedom" which is all about asylum, refugees and border controls, whose "freedom" it might be asked.
EU-wide warrant over 'CIA kidnap' (BBC, link) Abu Omar was allegedly kidnapped from a Milan street An Italian court has issued Europe-wide arrest warrants for 22 suspected CIA agents accused of helping to kidnap a Muslim cleric in Milan in 2003.
US-EU: The US Senate voted yesterday (16 December 2005) to refuse to renew the Patriot Act, see Reuters (link) The reason was concerns over the lack of judicial control and congressional oversight - two crucial safeguards which the European Parliament agreed to remove from the EU Directive on mandatory data retention this week, see: Statewatch's Observatory on the surveillance of telecommunications in the EU
EU: "Unaccountable Europe" by Tony Bunyan (Statewatch editor) in Special issue of Index on Censorship: "Big Brother Goes Global"
EU: European Parliament to set up committee to look into CIA detention centres
EU-USA: Rendition and removing refugees raise the same issue: Censored document reveals increased transit facilities for the USA to use EU airports to move people around the world
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: "Whether these US transit flights are for "criminals", "inadmissible aliens" or for rendition the same questions arise. Do EU governments know how many times their airports have been used for "transit" by US government flights? Which airports are used? How many people have been moved in this way? How many "criminals" and how many "inadmissible aliens"? If they do then why are the facts and figures not available? And if they do not know, why not?
If EU governments do not know who is being moved and where by foreign agencies using their airports then they are grossly irresponsible. To "aid and abet" the movement of people in an inhuman or degrading way or to be tortured is a crime."
EU: Another nail in democracy's coffin: European Parliament, 14 December 2005: The EP today voted in favour of "deal" on mandatory data retention agreed in secret meetings between the Council (EU governments) and the "grand coalition" of the PPE (conservative group) and the PSE (socialist group). The measure was "fast-tracked" through the parliament on 1st reading. The vote was 378 votes in favour, 197 against and 30 abstentions. The GUE, Greens and UEN groups and some members from the ALDE group voted against the directive in the final vote. The rapporteur, Alexander Nuno Alvaro (ALDE, DE) withdrew his name from the report. Amendments adopted by EP (pdf) For documents and background please see: Statewatch analysis: "The European Parliament and data retention: Chronicle of a 'sell-out' foretold?" (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, Open Letter from civil society groups to the European Parliament calling on MEPs to reject Data Retention, UK-EU: Data retention and police access in the UK - a warning for Europe and for full background, see Statewatch's Observatory on the surveillance of telecommunications in the EU
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"The European Parliament has failed on almost every count to protect fundamental rights and privacy. The two big parties in the parliament believe more in "inter-institutional loyalty" to the Council (the EU governments) than their responsibility to the people who elected them.
The way this measure was passed is a democratic travesty - rushed through with deals negotiated in secret and not in open committee. When civil society and national parliaments have no chance to find out what is happening, when the proper co-decision timetable is discarded, there is little chance to intervene. Such a procedure diminishes respect for the European Parliament and lacks any legitimacy whatsoever.
Mandatory data retention will place all the communications of everyone under surveillance. In 2002 the same grand coalition steam-rolled through the Directive on privacy in telecommunications opening the door to state agencies. In December 2004 the mandatory taking of finger-prints for passports was agreed and in April 2004 an EU PNR (passenger name record) for everyone flying in and out too. The asylum procedure directive - which is a disgrace to any notion of humanity and the rule of law - was formally adopted last week. The cost of the "war on terrorism" to democratic standards is mounting as each year goes by. Today we have seen another nail driven into democracy's coffin"
EU Presidencies of the Council of the European Union: 2006-2018
Northern Ireland (Offences) Bill: Groups oppose proposed legislation: Joint statement from Justice for the Forgotten, Relatives for Justice and the Pat Finucane Centre Full-text of NI (Offences) Bill (pdf) Explanatory Note (pdf)
Europe: Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europes (PACE) Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, Paris 13 December. The rapporteur and Chair of the Committee, Dick Marty, Council of Europe statement on detention centres (full-text). "Legal proceedings in progress in certain countries seemed to indicate that individuals had been abducted and transferred to other countries without respect for any legal standards."
UK: Defend democratic and human rights in Russia: Justice for Prof Bill Bowring: Protest at the Russian Embassy, 13 Kensington Palace Gardens, London, W8 4QX. Friday, 16 December 12.30-2pm (pdf)
EU: Opinion of the Meijers Committee on the recently adopted asylum procedure directive (pdf) This has been sent to the members of the Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE) in the European Parliament, requesting them to start a 230 annulment procedure. Aslyum Procedures Directive (OJ, pdf)
UK: Armed Forces Bill (full-text) - including discipline and charges. House of Commons Research Library: Background to the Bill plus Analysis of the Bill. The Constitutional Affairs Committee has also pprodcued a report on the role of the Advocate-General
CIA rendition: MI6 and CIA 'sent student to Morocco to be tortured' - An Ethiopian claims that his confession to al-Qaeda bomb plot was signed after beatings, reports David Rose in New York, 11 December 2005 (Observer, link) Soviet air bases in Poland are labelled secret CIA sites (Guardian, link) Poland launches investigation into CIA's secret 'anti-terror' prisons (Independent on Sunday, link)
EU: Data Protection Commissioners join with civil society: Open Letter from civil society groups to the European Parliament calling on MEPs to reject mandatory data retention
EU: Mandatory data retention: Latest (revised) set of Council amendments (EU doc no: 15449/05, 6.12.05, pdf) Commission Declaration to be Annexed (EU doc no: 15449/05 ADD 1, 7.12.05). The former document includes the observation that: "The Presidency concluded that, provided that the European Parliament agreed amendments to the Commission proposal in the exact form as set out in Annex I and that the Commission would amend its proposal accordingly, the Council would be in a position to adopt the proposed Directive in the form of the text thus amended." (emphasis added)
In other words the European Parliament is not to be allowed to change a "dot or comma" of the text.
The parliament will vote on 12 December at its plenary session under a "fast-track" 1st reading procedure. The "exact" amendments accepted in secret negotiations by the two largest groups in the parliament, the PPE (conservative) and PSE (socialist), will be voted through unless an amendment is passed. There is the Green/EFA group table rejection amendment (link) and another from Charlotte Cederschiold MEP (PPE) seeking to re-introduce the reimbursement of costs for the telecommunications industry (backed by 37 MEPs). Whether Mr Alvaro (ALDE, liberal group) will keep his name on a report which bears little resemblance to his draft report remains to be seen. See Statewatch analysis: "The European Parliament and data retention: Chronicle of a 'sell-out' foretold?" (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers.
UK: House of Lords - the Lords of Appeal unanimously reject the use of evidence obtained through the use of torture. Full text of Torture judgment (pdf) Commentary (Guardian, link) "Complicity with torture: Why is the US flying terror suspects to secret camps if it has nothing to hide? We must halt our collusion" Richard Norton-Taylor, 8 December 2005 (Guardian, link)
EU: Statewatch analysis: "The European Parliament and data retention: Chronicle of a 'sell-out' foretold?" (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers. Concludes:
If the EP accepts the Council's current position without amendments, it will have 'sold out' its civil liberties principles. More data will be included than the EP had wished, and access to it will be essentially unregulated by EC law - the opposite of the EP's intentions. Data will be retained for up to double the period that the EP wanted, and indeed Member States will be unconstrained in requesting (and probably getting authorisation for) longer periods of retention... Taking the Council's version of the Directive, it is difficult to see what absolute constraints concerning data retention would be placed upon Member States by EC law at all. In principle, Member States could insist on (or at least request) the retention of any type of data for any type of security purpose for any period at all.
There would, in effect, be nothing to show from a human rights point of view regarding the core data protection issues, following the application of the co-decision process to this legislation. The European Parliament now has to decide whether it has the courage of its civil liberties convictions or not.
EU: Open Letter from civil society groups to the European Parliament calling on MEPs to reject Data Retention
Adopting this Directive would cause an irreversible shift in civil liberties within the European Union. It will adversely affect consumer rights throughout Europe. And it will generate an unprecedented obstacle to the global competitiveness of European industry.
For full background, see Statewatch's Observatory on the surveillance of telecommunications in the EU
UK: First trial for demonstrating illegally near Parliament (link). The first trial resulting from the new anti-protest zone around Parliament under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act will take place tomorrow (Wednesday 7 December). Maya Evans, 25 years-old, was arrested on 25 October 2005 under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA) for taking part in an unauthorised bell-ringing and name-reading ceremony in Whitehall to mark the first anniversary of last year's Lancet survey on war-related deaths in Iraq.
EU: "Terrorist" list updated 29 November 2005 - see latest news on Statewatch's Observatory on the terrorist lists
UK: Joint Human Rights Committee issues damning report on UK terrorism Bill (pdf) The Committee considers that the definition of terrorism needs to be changed for the purposes of many of these measures if they are to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights. See also evidence submitted to the joint Committee.
EU-US: Torture By Proxy, International and Domestic Law Applicable to Extraordinary Renditions (report by Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, New York University, pdf) Outlines how Extraordinary Rendition violates international human rights, humanitarian, refugee and criminal law. It also identifies the responsibilities of States to not collude in the practice of Extraordinary Rendition by other States. "States are on notice that Extraordinary Renditions have been carried out in Europe," warns Professor Meg Satterthwaite, Director of CHRGJ. "Under human rights law, they must now take steps to end cooperation with these wrongful acts."
European Commission: "Recommendation" and "Code of Conduct" for non-profit organisations. In another response to the "war on terrorism" the proposal calls for the compulsory registration of all non-profit groups in the EU: European Commission proposal calls for the compulsory registration of NGOs The proposal is being considered by the Council's (25 EU governments) "Joint meeting of Financial Attaches and Counter-Terrorism Focal Points", its first thoughts are in: EU doc no: 14694/05
EU: Two reports from the UK House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union: 1) Human Rights
Proofing EU Legislation (pdf) and 2) Scrutiny of Subsidiarity: Follow up Report (pdf)
EU: Viewpoint by Tony Bunyan: More openness or just a drop in the ocean? The need for Freedom of Information in the EU. See also: Brussels, 6 December: Press Seminar The European Ombudsman: 10 years, 20,000 complaints too many? "A more open and accountable EU administration - the next steps for the Commission, the Parliament and the Ombudsman"
EU: Mandatory data retention: Council agreed position on mandatory retention of communications data (dated 2.12.05, pdf) The European Commission has accepted these changes to its draft Directive. The European Parliament has to adopt its report at the plenary session shecduled for 12-15 December (the deadline for amendments is 7 December).
EU: Mandatory data retention: Latest documents and news, 2 December 2005:
1. Draft Council text of the Directive (doc 15101/05, 1.12.05)
2. Extensive list of Member State Reservations on the draft text in 15101/05 (doc 15101 ADD 1, 1.12.05)
3. Note from Presidency setting out four areas for decision of Council on its position (doc: 15220/05, 1.12.05)
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"This is turning into a democratic fiasco. The Council has a long list of reservations by member states and four substantive issues where it disagrees with the European Parliament. The European Parliament rapporteurs have had three secret trialoges with the Council and the Commission - now the PPE (conservative group) and the PSE (socialist group) appear to be carrying out their own negotiations with the Council with the aim of rushing through the measure before Xmas under the "fast-track" procedure (intended for non-controverisal measures).
It is quite impossible for anyone, outside of a handful of people, to follow what is going on. If national parliaments and civil society cannot track the decision-making procedure they are unable to make their views known. This is compounded by a virtual media silence leaving the people of Europe in ignorance about the decision to place under surveillance everyone's communications.
A decision taken in this fashion will utterly lack legitimacy."
EU: European Commission proposals on: 1) Priority actions for responding to the challenges of migration: First follow-up to Hampton Court (pdf) and 2) Green Paper: On the future of the European Migration Network (pdf)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council 1-2 December 2005:
JHA Press release for 1 December 2005 (pdf)
"A" Point agenda (adopted without debate)
"B" Point Agenda (pdf)
Background Note (pdf)
"A" Point agenda includes: Code of Conduct : Non-Profit Sector (pdf) Documents on the main agenda include:
1. The European Union Strategy for Combating Radicalisation and Recruitment to Terrorism"
2. The European Union Counter-Terrorism Strategy (pdf)
3.A Strategy for the External Dimension of JHA : Global Freedom, Security and Justice global strategy (pdf)
Plus three press releases (converted from documents) put out 1 December on terrorism (see also EU Counter-Terrorism Strategy above): a. Terrorism: Scoreboard b. Implementation of terrorism Action Plan c. "Radicalism" and recruitment
Also adopted as "A" Points the controversial Directive on asylum procedures (pdf) plus additional document: 14579/05 This includes the proposal to designate countries as "safe" to send people back to, see: EU divided over list of safe countries of origin Statewatch calls for the list to be scrapped
EU biometric ID Card: European Association for Human Rights (AEDH) statement: Biometry and electronic ID card : Big Brother is watching you (pdf) Biométrie et carte didentité électronique : Big Brother is watching you (French, pdf) Biométrie et carte didentité électronique : Big Brother is watching you (Spanish, pdf) and
Biometric EU Identity Cards: Belgium government enters reservation on fingerprinting and RFID chips (EU doc no: 14622/05, with full-text of the Council Conclusions due to be adopted on 1 December at the Justice and Home Affairs Council)
EU threat to countries with secret CIA prisons - Poland and Romania under investigation - · Germany fears it was hub for 'rendition' flights (Guardian, link) EU to query US 'secret prisons' (BBC, 23.11.05) on CIA "rendition" flights in and over EU countries: Malta (link) Spain (BBC, link), UK (Guardian, link), US detention centres in EU (Council of Europe, link) and US detention centres (UPI, link) and euractiv (link)
EU: European Arrest Warrant (EAW): Interesting note in the Outcome of Proceedings of the Article 36 Committee on 15-16 November 2005: "Cyprus: The Committee took note of the information provided by Cyprus on the decision by the Supreme Court of Cyprus to prohibit surrender by its nationals pending the amendment to its Constitution. The Council Legal Service informed the Committee that the Council had decided to intervene in a case pending before the Court of Justice concerning the Framework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant. It also noted that only Hungary and the Czech Republic (of the 10 new Member States; of the other 15, 12 had done so) had decided to permit requests for preliminary rulings under Article 35 TEU and asked these delegations to inform the Council of the reasons why they had not used this opportunity. Were there any impediments?"
Germany: State spying on journalists
EU: Mandatory data retention, Council position as at 29 November 2005
EU: Visa Information System (VIS):
a. "Roll-out" plan for priority countries (pdf)
b. European Commission Communication on access to VIS (pdf)
It should be noted that the "collison" of chips (ie: the EU visa chip with national passport chips) has yet to be resolved, see: EU: Biometric visa policy unworkable and EU Data protection working party criticise proposals on VIS and Statewatch analysis on linkage between SIS II and VIS
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council on 1-2 December:
1. The European Union Strategy for Combating Radicalisation and Recruitment to Terrorism"
2. The European Union Counter-Terrorism Strategy (pdf)
3.A Strategy for the External Dimension of JHA : Global Freedom, Security and Justice global strategy (pdf)
EU: Mandatory data retention: Report from the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties as amended (see below) dated 28 November 2005
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 1-2 December 2005: Background Note (pdf)
EU-UK: Report from the Home Affairs Select Committee on the European Evidence Warrant (pdf)
EU: Data retention a step closer - privacy sell out as EP committee approves "compromises" reached in secret meetings (provisional EP report). An alliance between PPE (conservative) and PSE (socialist) MEPs on the European Parliament's civil liberties committee has adopted a series of amendments to the Alvaro report on data retention, overturning earlier opposition to the proposals and demands to restrict them. The "compromise" amendments, which pave the way for the mandatory retention of everyone's telephone and internet usage records for one year, follow secret "trialogue" meetings between representatives of the EP and the Council (representing the member state governments) and unprecedented pressure on MEPs from the UK presidency. The vote was 33 to 8 in favour of the PPE-PSE amendments, with 5 abstentions, green and left MEPs voting against (see Green group press release). The report may now be fast tracked through the December plenary session of the EP (scheduled for the week beginning Monday 12 December).
For full background, see Statewatch's Observatory on the surveillance of telecommunications in the EU
Russia: Russian MPs act to 'curb' NGOs (BBC, link). In a 370-18 vote, the State Duma approved in the first reading the bill that would require all NGOs to re-register with a state commission.
It is interesting that the EU is also discussing similar proposals, a Commission paper on "Transparency" says they are considering: "compulsory registration of interest groups represented in consultative bodies and/or compulsory registration for all lobbyists." (emphasis added: "Lobbyists" include multinational lobbying and NGOs/voluntary groups) see: European Transparency Initiative (pdf). This is in the context of a proposed new Code of Conduct for non-profit groups who, it is claimed (though no evidence has been presented) could be used to channel funds for terrorist groups. See also the Council's latest thoughts: Code of Conduct : Non-Profit Sector (pdf)
Spain: Analysis: Spanish anti-terrorist policy, with the wind blowing in its favour (pdf)
Brussels: Press Seminar The European Ombudsman: 10 years, 20,000 complaints too many? "A more open and accountable EU administration - the next steps for the Commission, the Parliament and the Ombudsman"
EU: Opinion of the Advocate-General on the European Parliament's case on EU-US PNR before the Court of Justice: Press release (pdf) Full-text of Opinion (French, 4.52MB, pdf). For background and documentation See Statewatch's Observatory exchange of passenger data with the USA
Advocate general backs Parliament challenge on passenger records (euractiv, link) EU-US air data accord under legal threat (eupolitix, links)
UK: Health on-line: public attitudes to data sharing in the Scottish NHS by the Scottish Consumer Council. Interesting report as most people do not realise that a national NHS database is being set up containing all patient's personal records. It is being created on the basis that people have to "opt-out" (presuming they know what is happening) rather than positive consent by "opting-in".
UK: Submission on Parliamentary supervision of terrorism legislation from Dr Chris Pounder (Editor of Data Protection and Privacy Practice) to the Home Affairs Select Committee
EU: Transparency in the Council of the European Union: following the Special Report from the European Ombudsman the Council Presidency has put forward an "Options" Note: Transparency in the Council Option 1 would require changes in the Council's Rules of Procedure while Option 2 would simply tinker within the existing Rules. The accompanying Summary is misleading as it suggests that it is the norm for all preparatory documents to be released when a legal act is adopted - in fact great swathes of documents are refused under the exceptions (Art 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4. and 4.5 of Regulation 1049/01). See also: European Ombudsman finds Council has given no valid reasons for continuing to legislate behind closed doors (press release) Full-text of the Special Report from the European Ombudsman (pdf)
Russia: UK Human rights lawyer deported - On 15 November Professor Bill Bowring was refused entry and sent back to London without any explanation. He had visited Russia many times before and on this occasion was going to observe the trial of a journalist. Bill Bowring is Academic Coordinator of the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC) which takes cases to the European Court of Human Rights. Letter to the Russian Ambassador from the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (pdf) Letter from the UK embassy in Moscow (pdf)
EU: European Ombudsman issues critical report against the Council of the European Union which tried to hide documents from applicant: Press release (pdf) Full-text of decision (link). Having first denied the existence of more documents than admitted the Council claimed that due to a "clerical error" ten other documents not been located.
EU: Mandatory data retention - the shifting sands of "compromises" reached out of public view See for full background and documentation: Statewatch's Observatory on the surveillance of telecommunications in the EU
"The authoritarian within: Reflections on power, knowledge and resistance", Phil Scraton, Inaugural Professorial Lecture, Queens University, Belfast, 9 June 2005
Netherlands: Local political activist shot dead in Nijmegen
EU: Mandatory data retention: European Parliament rapporteurs agree list of "compromise" amendments: EP, 17 November - amendments (19 pages, pdf) - this has been whittled down from the: Full list of amendments (167 pages, pdf). The parliament's new list of amendments were the basis for a "trilogue" (closed meeting between rapporteurs, Council and Commission) on 15 November. If a common set of "compromise" amendments can be agreed between the parliament and the Council they will be "fast-tracked" through to the plenary session on 14-15 December for adoption. See for full background and documentation: Statewatch's Observatory on the surveillance of telecommunications in the EU
Meanwhile the UK Select Committee on European Scrutiny in the House of Commons put out a Report (pdf) on 8 November which says that the proposal is still under scrutiny awaiting further information from the Home Office Minister. It notes: "No date set" for the proposal to be discussed in Council. In Brussels the UK Presidency of the Council hopes to get agreement before the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 1-2 December and for the measure to be adopted before Christmas. How national parliaments are meant to keep under meaningful scrutiny a proposal whose content is changing day by day is a mystery.
EU: Biometric EU ID Cards to be introduced "by the back door" (EU doc no: 14351/05). The UK Council Presidency set up an "ad-hoc group of experts" which has drawn up a set of "Conclusions" to be adopted at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 1-2 December. "Conclusions" are "soft-law", non-binding, and not subject to any national or European parliamentary scrutiny. Thus working on an "intergovernmental basis" it will be agreed that face and fingerprint biometric will be taken and incorporated in a radio frequency chip, and that the standards agreed for EU passports will "apply without modification". "Minimum standards" say that applicants have to "appear in person" and their identity verified against "existing databases". Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"This is no way to bring in such a far-reaching policy, one which will affect millions of people. It is particularly objectionable that the Council are using a '"proper" EC committee to draw up the text of these Conclusions, without being accountable under the normal rules for these committees and exceeding the committee's powers as set out in legislation.
This method of decision-making (soft-law) is becoming all to common, it was also used to develop the technical requirements (scope and function) for VIS and SIS II. By-passing national and European parliamentary scrutiny, let alone civil society, has no place in a democracy"
EU: Draft Council Conclusions on Migration and External Relations (pdf)
EU: Mandatory data retention: Protecting Privacy in the Information Society - Communications Data Retention policies are invasive, illegal, illusory and illegitimate (pdf). Appeal by Privacy International and European Digital Rights (EDRI) to members of the European Parliament. See for full background and documentation: Statewatch's Observatory on the surveillance of telecommunications in the EU
UK: ID cards: Report from the House of Commons Select Committee on Delegated Powers concludes that the powers being sought are "inappropriate". See commentary on Out-law (link)
UK: Terrorism Bill - as amended - 9 November 2005 (after government defeat on period of detention)
France: Statement opposing the state of emergency and Statement by the immigrant movement MIB on the situation in France
EU: Mandatory retention of telecommunications data: Latest Council negotiating position (8.11.05) The first "trilogue" between the Council and the European Parliament (EP) will take place on 10 November: A timetable has been circulated to MEPs which would allow a "compromise" to be reached with the Council and for the measure to be agreed at 1st reading ("fast-track") at the plenary session on 14-15 December. Comparative chart showing Commission draft Directive, the Council's view and EP amendments: Chart (pdf) See for full background and documentation: Statewatch's Observatory on the surveillance of telecommunications in the EU
UK: Terrorism Bill - Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, said on 7 November in an article for the Evening Standard newspaper that one of the main reasons the police want to hold suspects for 90 days is because of :
"the immense time taken to decode super-encrypted hard drives on computers without a key"
See item below which refutes this claim.
UK: Two top establishment figures, Lord Brown (the Intelligence Services Commissioner) and the Rt Hon Sir Swinton Thomas (Interception of Communications Commissioner), have both - in their annual reports published last week - thrown doubt on the police and government's argument for holding terrorist suspects for 90 days. One of the main arguments put forward is that people need to be detained for questioning (without charge) for more than 14 days because of the difficulty and complexity of decryption. Extraordinarily both reports use exactly the same words on the question of encryption in Part III of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) which is not yet in force:
"the use of information security and encryption products by terrorist and criminal suspects is not, I understand, as widespread as had been expected when RIPA was approved by Parliament in the year 2000. Equally the Government's investment in the National Technical Assistance Centre - a Home Office managed facility to undertake complex data processing - is enabling law enforcement agencies to understand, as far as is necessary, protected electronic data"
EU: Comments on the Draft Council Framework Decision on the European enforcement order and the transfer of sentenced persons between Member States of the EU (Initiative of Austria, Finland, Sweden) from the Permanente commissie van deskundigen in internationaal vreemdelingen - vluchtelingen- en strafrecht (The Standing Committee of experts in international immigration, refugee and criminal law - The "Meijers Committee")
EU: Mandatory data retention: Amendments proposed to the Council's draft Directive for the Committee on Civil Liberties in the European Parliament See for full background and documentation: Statewatch's Observatory on the surveillance of telecommunications in the EU
UK: Telephone and communication interception reaches new high - now three times more than when the Labour government came to powe in 1997: Statewatch's Observatory on: Telephone tapping and mail-opening figures 1937- 2004
It is interesting to compare the UK figures with those for the USA, see: The Centre for Democracy and Technology (USA) The comparable figures showed that in 2003 there were more interception warrants issued in the UK than the whole of the USA. Figures for warrants issued by the UK Foreign Office (for the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6 and for GCHQ) were only published 1980-1984.
UK: Report of the Interception Commissioner for 2004 (pdf)
UK: Report of the Intelligence Services Commissioner for 2004 (pdf)
Statewatch has launched an Observatory on the surveillance of telecommunications in the EU - under mandatory data retention a record will be kept of everyone's phone-calls, e-mails, mobile phone calls (including location) and internet usage. The Council (the 25 EU governments) are proposing the data can be accessed by law enforcement agencies for any suspected crime, however minor. The proposal is now being discussed in the European Parliament.
UK: Statement from the families of the men who have been detained pending deportation to countries where they are certain to be tortured and even killed and Letter from the families to Tony Blair, the Prime Minister
UK-EU: Data retention and police access in the UK - a warning for Europe
UK: Racial violence after 7 July - week 17 (IRR News Service)
The right to know or the right to try and find out? The need for an EU freedom of information law, by Ben Hayes (pdf)
EU: Mandatory data retention:
1. Critical Opinion of the Article 29 Working Party on Data Protection (pdf)
2. The Council's latest draft positions on its Framework Decision and the Commission's draft Directive (doc no: (13789/05, dated 28.10.05) - effectively the Council's negotiating position
3. Background: Statewatch's: Annotated Guide to the issues and documentation
4. Context: While Europe sleeps.....
Ireland: Immigration-related detention in Ireland A research report for the Irish Refugee Council Irish Penal Reform Trust and Immigrant Council of Ireland (link)
EU: Mandatory data retention: In November the European Parliament will be deciding its position on the European Commission's proposal for a Directive on data retention - which would log everyone's communications (phone, fax, mobiles including location, e-mails and internet usage) and give access law enforcement agencies for the foreseeable future.
The European Parliament has the power of "co-decision" and therefore is in a position to insist on all the amendments needed to protect the privacy and liberties of the people in the EU. The UK Council Presidency (representing the 25 EU governments) is demanding that the parliament rush through the measure by the end of November under the 1st reading procedure ("fast-tracking" intended for uncontroversial measures).
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"The Council has failed to convince many of us of the need for this measure. But it is good that on such a momentus issue - placing all the communications of everyone under surveillance - that the European Parliament has the full powers of co-decision.
If the security and intelligence agencies - who are at the forefront in stopping terrorist attacks - need access to the telecommunications data to be retained it is very hard to believe that EU governments would have taken over four years to come up with a proposal which will not come into effect for at least two further years. If this is the case they would be guilty of gross negligence and failure to protect the people of Europe. However, if additional powers are needed they should be strictly limited to dealing with terrorism and related offences."
In the interests of ensuring an informed debate here is a:
Statewatch: Annotated guide to the issues and documentation on: Mandatory data retention in the EU and the Annotated Guide as a pdf (with live links)
EU: Two overviews on civil liberties, security and democracy: While Europe sleeps: under the "war on terrorism" a veneer of democracy is legitimating the creation of a coercive (and surveillance) state by Tony Bunyan and There is no balance between security and civil liberties just less of each by Ben Hayes
EU: Europol 2005 Organised crime report - public version (pdf)
Why Muslims reject British values: As ministers accuse Muslims of failing to integrate into mainstream society, a leading black intellectual and anti-racist campaigner calls on Tony Blair's government to face up to the reality of continued racism in Britain, by A. Sivanandan, Director of the Institute of Race Relations (link to Observer)
UK: Information Commissioner's report on the ID Card Bill (pdf)
UK: The Home Office Research Unit has published two reports: 1) Racist incidents: progress since the Lawrence Inquiry (pdf) and 2) Assessing the impact of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry (pdf)
Netherlands: Eleven people die in blaze at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport detention centre (link)
"Essays on civil liberties and democracy in Europe": A collection of sixteen Essays were specially written for the launch of the European Civil Liberties Network (ECLN) on 19 October. They include:
The Rules of the Game? A. Sivanandan, Director of the Institute of Race Relations
The War on Terror: lessons from Ireland Paddy Hillyard, Professor of Sociology, Queens University, Belfast
Why Terror and Tolerance are the Greatest Test of Modern Journalism Aidan White, Secretary-General European Federation of Journalists
Lex Vigilatoria Towards a control system without a state? Thomas Mathiesen, Professor of the Sociology of Law, Oslo University, Norway
Checking and balancing polity-building in the European Union Deirdre Curtin, Professor of European and International Governance, Utrecht School of Governance, Utrecht, Netherlands
Lampedusa - a test case for the subcontracting of EU border controls Lorenzo Trucco, President of A.S.G.I. (Associazione Studi Giuridici sullImmigrazione)
Spain: "Transparency and silence" report on freedom of information throws up alarming results
EU: Schengen Information System II (SIS II). Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor has issued his opinion on the proposals for SIS II (the second-generation Schengen Information System). Echoing the last week's opinion from the Schengen Joint Supervisory Authority, Mr. Hustinx criticised the absence of both an explanatory memorandum and impact assessment study, the complexity of the legal framework and the lack of clarity regarding competences. Mr. Hustinx also has serious reservations about the incorporation of biometrics into SIS II: EDPS Opinion (pdf)
See also: Joint Supervisory Authority (JSA) on the Schengen Information System issues critical report on SIS II proposals and Statewatch analyses: Legislative proposals on SIS II (Professor Steve Peers) and SIS II fait accompli? Construction of EU's Big Brother database underway (pdf)
EU: Reports from the Article 29 Working Party on Data Protection: Standards for security features and biometrics in passports (pdf) and Data Protection Issues Related to RFID Technology (Radio Frequency ID, pdf)
EU: Journalists Warn of Threats to Press Freedom in European Union Debate over anti-Terrorism Policy (link to press statement from the European Federation of Journalists)
UK: Terrorism Bill - as revised - dated 12 October 2005 (pdf). Amnesty International briefing (link) Liberty briefing for the 2nd reading (link)
UK: The head of MI5 (the UK's internal security service), Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, has submitted a statement to the Court of Appeal in the House of Lords on the use of intelligence from a third state which may have been obtained by the use of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment: Submission by head of MI5 (pdf). The statement includes: "it may be apparent to the Agencies that the intelligence has been obtained from individuals in detention ("detainee reporting")." See also: Four facing deportation on security claims given bail (Guardian, link)
UK: House of Lords Constitution Committee has published a critical report on the ID Card Bill (pdf) In the report, Liberal Democrat Lord Holme of Cheltenham said: "Contrary to the government's assertions, the committee reaffirms that the bill fundamentally alters the relationship between citizens and the state." The Joint Committee on Human Rights (Houses of Commons and Lords) has also published its report on scrutiny which includes strong reservations about the ID Card Bill: Scrutiny report (pdf)
UK: Identity Card Bill as sent from the House of Commons to the House of Lords (19.10.05): Full-text (pdf) In the final vote in the House of Commons the Labour government's overall majority of 66 was slashed to just 25 on the Identity Card Bill. Twenty-five Labour MPs voted to oppose the Bill giving a final vote of: 309 to 284.
Working with the media: New IRR Guide (link,pdf) The Institute of Race Relations has published a new 19-page guide for anti-racist campaigners and refugee rights activists on working with the media. The guide can be downloaded at: (pdf file, 697kb)
European Commission: Fighting trafficking in human beings - an integrated approach and proposals for an action plan (pdf)
EU-SIS: Joint Supervisory Authority (JSA) on the Schengen Information System issues critical report on SIS II proposals  In a detailed opinion on the Commission proposals the JSA has criticised the planned "open-ended legal structure", suggesting it is "sometimes be unclear what is [to be] regulated by which instrument." Neither is the JSB clear what exactly the purpose of SIS II is, meaning "the legal basis fails to comply with one of the key principles of data protection; namely, that the purpose of processing must be specified and explicit". It is also unclear "from the proposals who will be responsible for the SIS II" and what roles there will be for European and national data protection supervisors.
See also EU Statewatch analyses: Legislative proposals on SIS II  (Professor Steve Peers) and SIS II fait accompli? Construction of EU's Big Brother database underway  (pdf)
The European Civil Liberties Network (ECLN) was launched in Brussels on Wednesday, 19 October 2005. The launch was marked by the publication of a collection of fourteen essays especially written for the occasion. Contributors include A. Sivanandan, Paddy Hillyard, Phil Scraton, Tony Bunyan, Deirdre Curtin, Thomas Mathiesen, Heiner Busch, Aidan White, Liz Fekete, Lorenzo Trucco and Ben Hayes: Essays for civil liberties and democratic standards in Europe (link)
Tony Bunyan, joint coordinator of the ECLN, called on groups and individuals to support the ECLN: if the everincreasing demands of law enforcement continue to go unchallenged in the name of the war on terror, the face of liberty and democracy in Europe will be changed for ever: press release
See also ECLN website and noticeboard (link)
European Commission publishes Proposal on the "principle of availability" (pdf)
Italy: ALCEI - Electronic Frontiers Italy - The repression of civil rights with the pretext of terrorism
European Civil Liberties Network (ECLN) to be launched on Wednesday, 19 October 2005:
"We are living at a moment in history when civil liberties and democracy are under attack as never before and the need for a collective response to counter these threats has never been greater.
We share common objectives of seeking to create a European society based on freedom and equality, of fundamental civil liberties and personal and political freedoms, of free movement and freedom of information, and equal rights for minorities. This entails defending, extending and deepening the democratic culture - a concept not limited to political parties and elections but embracing wider values of pluralism, diversity and tolerance. And we share too a common opposition to racism, fascism, sexism and homophobia.
The defence of civil liberties and democracy also requires that positive demands are placed on the agenda. For example, respect and rights for all people, cultures and their histories, for the presumption of innocence and freedom from surveillance and the freedom to protest and demonstrate.
To these ends the European Civil Liberties Network (ECLN) has been established."
Press launch in Brussels and Workshop for NGO's and researchers (pdf)
ECLN website and Noticeboard (link)
It's anti-racism that was failed, not multiculturalism that failed by A. Sivanandan, Director of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR News Service, link)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 12 October 2005, Luxembourg: Press release (pdf) Background Note (pdf) Main "B" Point agenda (pdf) "A" Point agenda (adopted without any discussion)
EU: The Justice and Home Affairs Council (12 October) is discussing: July 13 JHA Council Declaration: Updated follow-up (dated 10.10.05) which is a useful summary of anti-terrorist measures planned - and contains a number that are little or nothing to do with combating terrorism.
An associated document on "New Ideas" was drawn up later and they are not included in the Declaration. This contains: 1) A proposal to extend the members of the Prum Treaty (Germany); 2) A proposal to look at recording the entry and exit of third country nationals (Italy); and 3) "developing a common approach to the expulsion of terrorist suspects" (Italy): "New Ideas" on Counter-Terrorism from the July JHA Council: Next Steps (pdf)
EU: Data retention: Council to agree to drop its proposal on mandatory data retention - because of its incorrect legal basis and let the Commission proposal go forward, but want the European Parliament to put it through at "first reading": Council doc. no: 13036/05 (10.10.05) Current Council draft: Council draft text, 10.10.05
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: "Five member states introduced the proposal in eighteen months ago (April 2004) and still have not sorted out a number of "outstanding questions" in the Council. Now they have the cheek to "pursue" the European Parliament to rush it through on first reading as if it was an uncontroversial measure. Now the legal basis has been sorted, the parliament should take all the time it needs to properly consider a measure which will put all the communications of everyone in Europe under surveillance for the foreseeable future"
EU: European Ombudsman finds Council has given no valid reasons for continuing to legislate behind closed doors (press release) Full-text of the Special Report from the European Ombudsman (pdf) and also
Statement from: COSAC (the EU Affairs Committees of the national parliaments of the EU Member States) on the need for public decision-making in the Council
Italy: A diary of life in Lampedusa
UK: Terrorism laws: Letter from the Metropolitan Police to Home Secretary seeking to justify holding people for 3 months for questioning (pdf) Home Office consultation document on "Preventing Extremism Together Places of Worship" (pdf) Exclusion or deportation powers, consultation (pdf) Clarke climbs down on 'glorifying terror' (Guardian, link) Terrorism Bill as published on 13 September 2005: Draft Terrorism Bill published (pdf)
Update: Morocco/Spain: Six migrants die in Melilla: On 6 October 2005, the Moroccan interior ministry announced six more sub-Saharan migrants died in a mass attempt to climb the border fence in Melilla and to enter Spain, adding that some had died of bullet wounds while others had been crushed by fellow migrants. The Moroccan interior minister said that "due to the unusual strength of the immigrants, who were possessed by the strength of their despair, the [Moroccan] police legitimately defended its surveillance posts in front of the fence and six illegal immigrants have died". Ceuta, the other Spanish enclave in northern Morocco, had been the scene of a similar incident in which five migrants died, some of them shot, on 28 September 2005 (El País, 6.10.2005). Previous Statewatch coverage: Spain/Morocco: Migrants shot dead at the border fence, Spain deploys army
Morocco/Spain: Migrants deported to die in the desert (posted 6.10.05). See also: Morocco/Spain: MSF reveals violence suffered by "illegal sub-Saharan immigrants" at the hands of police forces and gangs
EU: Data protection - European Commission proposal (full-text): Data protection activities of police and judicial co-operation in criminal matters provided for by Title VI of the Treaty on European Union and Impact Assessment - Data Protection (pdf). Article 1.2 says: "Member States shall ensure that the disclosure of personal data to the competent authorities of another Member State is neither restricted nor prohibited for reasons connected with the protection of personal data as provided for under this Framework Decision." In short, all data and "intelligence" (which may be speculation) held can be exchanged. Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: "when it comes to the balance between the demands of state agencies and the rights and privacy of individual there is no contest, the state wins every time"
EU: Mandatory data rentention of telecommunications data: The latest report from the Council simply notes: "The European Parliament has been invited to give its opinion on the draft. It rejected the draft on 7 June 2005 and on 27 September 2005" (3 October 2005). Latest Council text with outstanding questions (pdf)
UK-London: We remember Jean Charles de Menezes, 7 January 1978 - 22 July 2005: "Justice for Jean - Shoot first: ask questions later? Campaign launch and public rally (pdf)
Greece: Amnest International report: "Out of the spotlight" - The rights of foreigners and minorities are still a grey area (link)
UK-London: Open Forum: "Defend our liberties! No to the poitics of fear (pdf) Tuesday 11 October 7-9pm, Grand Committee Room, House of Commons
Amnesty International UK: have launched a campaign on "Seeking asylum is not a crime" (link)
EU: Mandatory data retention: Report of the European Parliament adopted on 27 September 2005 rejecting the Council's proposal (pdf) European Parliament press statement (link)
Latest version of the Council's proposal, 27.9.05 (pdf). The View of the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party on the Council initiative by five members states (November 2004).
Text of the European Commission proposals on the mandatory retention of telecommunications data (pdf) Full-text of the Commission's Extended Impact Assessment (pdf). The Commission's Impact Assessment is dismissive of the strong objections from the European Data Protection Supervisor and the national Data Protection Commissioners on the Article 29 Working Party stating that it expects them to "revisit their position(s)". Report from the European Data Protection Supervisor on the Commission's proposal (26.9.05) on the Commission's proposal.
Civil society letter to Members of the European Parliament on data retention proposals, from 21 NGOs
The Council's proposal, from five member states, combines the mandatory retention of traffic data by service providers and access to the data by law enforcement agencies (LEAs) - on which the European Parliament is only "consulted". The Legal Services of the Council and Commission said the proposal should be split in two with the first measure (data retention) coming under the "first pillar" on which the parliament would have powers of co-decision with the Council. The Commission has put forward a proposal on data retention under the "first pillar" which will be followed by another on access by LEAs.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor comments: "The issue of the legal basis is clear, there should be two separate measures. However, on the substantive issue the Commission's proposal on mandatory data retention presents as great a danger to privacy and civil liberties as the Council's - which will result in the wholesale surveillance of all communications in the EU with few if any constraints."
UK: Shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes: Press statement: Ian Blair has jumped the barrier of the law (pdf) Met chief tried to block shooting inquiry (Guardian, link)
Spain/Morocco: Migrants shot dead at the border fence, Spain deploys army
EU: The UK presidency has drawn up draft Council conclusions on regional protection, in response to the Commission communication. Commission Communication on: regional protection programmes (COM (2005) 388, 1.9.05, pdf). See also Statewatch analysis: "Killing me softly? Improving access to durable solutions: doublespeak and the dismantling of refugee protection in the EU" (2004)
EU: Terrorist recruitment: a Commissions Communication addressing the factors contributing to violent radicalisation: Press release (pdf) Text of Communication (English) Text of the Communication (French, pdf). An earlier draft of the Commission's Communication shows the changes made over the summer: Earlier Commission draft (pdf) The Council of the European Union (25 governments) are expected to adopt their plans on this issue in December
EU: Civil society letter to Members of the European Parliament on data retention proposals, from Privacy International and EDRI (European Digital Rights) and endorsed by 19 NGOs (see documentation below)
EU: Final text of the European Commission proposals on the mandatory retention of telecommunications data (pdf) Report from the European Data Protection Supervisor on the Commission's proposal (26.9.05). Latest Council draft proposal: Council, full-text, 16.9.05 (pdf) and the View of the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party on the Council initiative by five members states (November 2004)
Data Protection: 27th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners, Montreux. 16 September 2005 Three strong resolutions on:
1. Resolution on the use of biometrics in passports, identity cards and travel documents:
English French German (pdf)
2. Resolution on the Use of Personal Data for Political Communication: English French German (pdf)
3. Montreux Declaration: The protection of personal data and privacy in a globalised world: a universal right respecting diversities: English French German (pdf)
Spain/France/Italy: Joint expulsion flight to Romania
Spain/Germany: Spain annuls German European Arrest Warrant's
UK: Racial violence after 7 July - week 11 by IRR News Team (link)
IRR: Two asylum seekers took their own lives within 24 hours (link)
EU: The lower EU court, the Court of First Instance, has today (21.9.05) finally ruled in two judgments on the merits in two cases brought back in 2001 against EU implementation of UN Security Council sanctions concerning alleged terrorists, whose assets and income were frozen to prevent them from giving financial support to the Taliban regime and (subsequently) to Al-Qaeda. Professor Steve Peers explains the judgments: Statewatch analysis. See also Statewatch observatory on the terrorist lists
EU Lawyers Slam Data Retention Proposal Draft would have public pay for state surveillance (link)
EU: Data retention: The latest version of the Council's (25 governments) draft Framework Decision, which has been drafted as a "third pillar" (TEU) measure on which the European Parliament (EP) will only be consulted: Council, full-text, 16.9.05 (pdf) It notes the European Commission's initiative to present two separate proposals, one a Directive on the mandatory retention of telecommunications data by service providers: Mandatory data retention in telecommunications on which the EP will have powers of co-decision, and a second on access and exchange of the data by law enforcement agencies on which the parliament will only be consulted. The latest Council draft says that: "the Council will need to decide if it accepts the approach of a Directive or if it will takes measures on data retention" based on its own draft. The different initiatives stem from the opinions of the two Legal Services who both advised that legally there should be two separate measures, see: Statewatch analysis
UK: Protect our rights - a briefing document on the government's anti-terrorism proposals. A joint analysis from UKs leading civil society organisations
EU: EU Data protection working party criticise proposals on VIS (Visa Information System)
EU: COSI - Standing Committee on Internal Security rescued from the debris of the EU Constitution
UK: Press statement regarding the arrest of Algerian refugees from Gareth Peirce, Birnberg Peirce & Partners (15 September 2005)
UK: Draft Terrorism Bill published (pdf). Liberty press release (link) Home Secretary's letter to opposition parties (pdf)
UK: Racial violence after 7 July - week 10 by IRR News Team, 15 September 2005,
European Commission two proposals (full-text): Data protection activities of police and judicial co-operation in criminal matters provided for by Title VI of the Treaty on European Union and Mandatory data retention in telecommunications
Schengen: Report from the Joint Supervisory Authority (JSA) on the use of Article 96 "alerts" to exclude unwanted people from entering the Schengen area (pdf). See also story below
SIS-Denmark: Following a request from the Danish Data Protection Agency the National Commissioner of Police was asked to review the 443 Article 96 "alerts" (aliens to be denied entry to the Schengen area) placed on the Schengen Information System (SIS) by Denmark. It was found that "the reporting had been erroneous in 25 cases" (5.6%) as well as various other errors (a total of 68 are set out, 15%) including failure to update the data. Letter from Danish DPA (pdf). The number of people entered by Denmark is tiny compared to those entered on the SIS by Italy (335,306) and Germany (267,884) and similarly levels of errors and failures could affect tens of thousands of people - the results of the review being conducted by the Joint Supervisory Authority of Schengen should reveal the full picture. See also EU-SIS: Three-quarters of a million "illegal aliens" banned from Schengen area
Council of Europe report on use of biometrics (pdf)
EU Presidency: UK circulate paper on: Liberty and security, striking the right balance (pdf). This paper covers data retention, biometric passports and ID cards, EU passenger name record (PNR) plans and closed circuit television (CCTV). In effect this package of measures is already on the table and will introduce the whole surveillance of telecommunications and movement. Statewatch databases searches: Data retention / Biometric passports and ID cards
EU: Data retention: The current draft Council proposal (dated 27 July 2005) Draft European Commission proposal on data retention (pdf). Dutch ISPs letter to the European Commission (pdf) The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) comments on proposal (pdf). The Council draft has been highly criticised because of its legal base (see Statewatch report) and the Commission is proposing to put forward two proposals, one requiring service providers to retain traffic data (set out in the leaked draft above) and a second on access to its data by law enforcement agencies. If the Commission's draft is indicative of the proposal expected on 21 September then, apart from the legal basis, there will be little difference in the content.
The Court of Justice has annulled the Framework Decision on environmental crime, on the grounds that it falls within the EU's powers: Press release (13.9.05, pdf)
Destination Cairo: human rights fears over CIA flights - Snatched suspects tell of torture, UN investigator to look at British role (Guardian, link) See also: Update: Sweden: Expulsions carried out by US agents, men tortured in Egypt
UK: UK: Metropolitan Police Special Branch (MPSB) to be amalgamated with the Anti-Terrorism Branch to form new Counter-Terrorist Branch
UK: Head of MI5 warns of the need to erode civil liberties in the fight against terrorism: full-text of speech
Spain: Supreme Court upholds complaint against immigrant detention centre regulation
UK Home Secretary Charles Clarke lambasted by Council of Europe President
UK-EU: Speech by Charles Clarke, UK Home Secretary, to the European Parliament (7/9/05): full text. Clarke's priorities are the adoption of the controversial data retention proposal, development of the "investigative" capabilities of the Schengen Information System (SIS II) and the Visa Information System (meaning broad law enforcement access), and the deployment of "biometrics" (mandatory fingerprinting). Presumably referring to his own domestic deportation plans, Clarke implies that aspects of the European Convention on Human Rights are now outdated.
Spain: Guardia Civil accused of cover-up in death in custody case: report
EU: European Commission releases proposals on migration, integration, asylum and expulsion:
1. Communication on migration and development (COM (2005) 390, 1.9.05, pdf). See also Statewatch analysis: "Migration, development and the EU security agenda" (2003)
2. Communication on a common agenda for integration (COM (2005) 389, 1.9.05, pdf). See also EUobserver.com: Commission suggests EU loyalty oath for immigrants (2.9.05, link)
3. Communication on regional protection programmes (COM (2005) 388, 1.9.05, pdf). See also Statewatch analysis: "Killing me softly? Improving access to durable solutions: doublespeak and the dismantling of refugee protection in the EU" (2004)
4. Draft Directive on expulsion (COM (2005) 391, 1.9.05, pdf). See also NGO paper on expulsion: "common principles on removal" (September 2005, pdf)
5. Commission Press conference: Franco Frattini on migration and asylum package (Brussels, 1.9.05)
EU-US: Documents reveal hidden EU cooperation with US (Guardian, link). Article by Richard Norton-Taylor examining Statewatch's attempts to get access to EU documents on cooperation with the US on justice and home affairs and security matters.
London: End impunity: Public meeting: Outlaw human rights abusers in the British Army (leaflet, pdf). Assembly Room, City Hall., 5 September at 7pm. Speakers include: Ken Livingstone, Mike Mansfield QC, Angela Hegarty and Phil Shiner. Supported by the Mayor of London, the Irish World and the Pat Finucane Centre
Crimes of arrival: immigrants and asylum-seekers in the new Europe by Frances Webber, was published by Statewatch in 1996 and reprinted in 2000. It is available here as a downloadable pdf and is available in hard-copy pamphlet form too
The Europol Convention by Tony Bunyan (1995) with the full-text of the Convention, analysis, chronology and bibliography downloadable as a pdf. Hard copy pamphlet form is also available at £5.00 as is "The activities and development of Europol - towards an unaccountable "FBI" in Europe by Ben Hayes (32 page pamphlet, published 2002, reprinted 2005, £10.00)
ICAO: Machine-readable and biometric passports will not be in place until 2018-2020
UK: e-Borders plan to tackle "threats" - the scheme when in place will be one of the most advanced in the world (pdf)
UK: The racist backlash goes on... (IRR News Team, link) 25 August 2005. In the seven weeks after the London bombings the racist backlash against has continued.
UK: Government plans to deport to States that torture - Liberty (link). New security measures are a serious attack on human rights (Amnesty International, link) See story below
UK: Home Office publishes the "list of unacceptable behaviours" regarding "tackling terrorism". Consultation document: Home Office grounds for exclusion or deportation in consultation document (pdf) The Home Secretary intends to use his powers to exclude from entering the UK people who behaviour is "unacceptable" and to similarly deport foreign nationals resident in the UK. The range of people affected has been widened from, for example, religious leaders to teachers, community and youth leaders.
Ten men are currently being held pending deportations - all of whom were under "control orders" restricting their actions and movements: Statement by Gareth Peirce, lawyer, on the men arrested (pdf) The central issue in the use of these powers is not just the criteria used by the Home Secretary but concerns that those deported will be returned to countries where they would face torture or degrading and inhuman treatment. The government has concluded one agreement to take back those detained with Jordan: Memorandum of understanding on undertakings in respect of specified persons prior to deportation - full-text (pdf) of which Amnesty International UK said: Jordan assurances not worth the paper they are written on (press release). Most of the men detained are from Algeria. Manfred Nowak, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, said such assurances were "not an appropriate tool to eradicate this risk [of torture etc]": UN expert criticises terror plans (BBC, link)
Denmark: Raids and arrests against solidarity organisation for "terrorist" fund-raising
Brussels: Conference of the: European Network for Peace and Human Rights, 20-21 October 2005, European Parliament, Brussels. Themes: Civil liberties, Iraq and nuclear weapons
UK: There's no such thing as total security - A third terrorist attack on London may be 'inevitable' but draconian new laws will do little to solve the problem, Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian, link)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council Declaration Follow-up list thirty-three measures being pursued as part of anti-terrorism (pdf). Among the measures listed is: "Commission to present proposals on data protection/principle of availability" which is very worrying as a measure covering data protection in the "third pillar" (policing, immigration, judicial cooperation) has been promised since 1997 - now peoples' rights to privacy are to be considered at the same time as the so-called "principle of availability" which would make all information/intelligence held by the myriad of law enforcement agencies across the EU available to all. See: EU policy putsch: Data protection handed to the DG for law, order and security - it is not "relevant" for citizens to know how and what information about them is exchanged.
The document also lists a number of additional measures (p9) which include a proposal from Germany that more EU member states to sign up to the Prum Convention (Schengen III, see below).
EU: Prum Convention (Schengen III) official English translation (pdf) Schengen III Treaty (Spanish, pdf),
Schengen III Treaty (French, pdf), Schengen III Treaty (German, pdf), plus in German: Annex 1, Annex 2 and Statements Commentary: Some remarks on Schengen III
EU: As of 18 August 25,000 have signed-up to the: Data retention is no solution - petition The EU is discussing proposals for the mandatory retention of traffic data for phones, faxes, e-mails, mobile phones (inc location) and internet usage for all communications by everyone. Supporting organisations: IRIS, France, BIT Internet B.V., Netherlands, Bits of Freedom, Netherlands, FIfF, Germany, Electronic Frontier Finland ry, Finland, Netzwerk Neue Medien, Germany Luna.nl, Netherlands, SIUG, Switzerland, Stop1984, Germany, CPSR-ES, Spain, Privacy International, UK, Statewatch, UK, GreenNet, UK, Digital Rights, Denmark
UK: Press Statement on the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes on 22 July: Response to the evidence made public during the last 24 hours as to the true circumstances of the death of Jean Charles de Menezes Birnberg Peirce & Partners (Harriet Wistrich/Gareth Peirce), 17th August 2005:
"Yesterday the family of Jean Charles de Menezes and we, their lawyers, became aware through the press that virtually the entire body of information either placed, or allowed to remain, in the public domain since Jean Charles de Menezes was killed on July 22nd 2005, has been false.
Insofar as the claim of the existence of an official inquiry has contributed to or provided for a situation in which a blanket of secrecy has covered the true facts, and lies and scenarios have been allowed to hold good, we on behalf of the family suggest that claim has constituted a grave public disservice."
Met chief tried to stop shooting inquiry (Guardian, 18.8.05)
Fatal mistakes that cost de Menezes his life (Guardian, 18.8.05)
New claims emerge over Menezes death: Brazilian was held before being shot, Police failed to identify him, He made no attempt to run away (Guardian, 17.8.05)
Leaks raise sharp questions about police tactics (Guardian, 17.8.05)
Statewatch analysis: Italy: Tough new anti-terrorist laws adopted (html) This analysis as a pdf file
UK-Jordan: Memorandum of understanding on undertakings in respect of specified persons prior to deportation - full-text (pdf)
Ireland-USA: Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty signed (press statement, link) Full-text of the MLAT (pdf) Treaty gives CIA powers over Irish citizens (Irish Examiner, link) Statewatch analysis of the EU-US MLAT
UK: Second statement by Gareth Peirce, lawyer, on the men arrested (pdf) First, Statement from the solicitors of foreign nationals today arrested by police say they do not know where their clients are being held Ten foreign nationals who the Home Office says pose a threat to national security have been detained in the UK, pending deportation. Comments by Gareth Peirce on Tony Blair's 12 point terrorism plan (pdf) Prime Minister's 12 point plan The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, said such deportations would breach international human rights law: ``If there is a substantial risk in a certain country like Algeria, Jordan, Egypt, etc., then diplomatic assurances cannot be used... If a country usually and systematically practices torture, then of course they would deny they were doing it because it is absolutely prohibited. So they can easily give diplomatic assurances, but they are worth nothing.''
UK: Anti-Muslim backlash goes on by Institute of Race Relations. 11 August 2005. A month after the London bombings, police forces across the country are reporting rising levels of racial incidents (link)
UK: Liberty statement on Blairs Proposal for New Secret Terror Courts
Statewatch Observatories: ASBOwatch monitoring the use of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders throughout the UK (updated and re-designed) and "Terrorist" lists: monitoring proscription, designation and asset-freezing (updated)
UK: Home Office put out sweeping grounds for exclusion or deportation in consultation document (pdf) This spells out one of the measures in the Prime Minister's statement on new terrorists measures including deporting and excluding people said to be encouraging terrorism. The grounds set out in consultation document go wider than the already controversial concept of "indirect incitement". The Home Secretary would take powers to exclude those so defined (with no right of appeal except on judicial review) and to deport those with temporary or indefinite leave to remain in the UK. Now there is a "List of unacceptable behaviour" which include to "forment" (foster or stimulate) terrorism or "serious criminal acivitty" or "justify or glorify terrorism" and "those who express what the Government considers to be extreme views that are in conflict with the UK's culture of tolerance".
The three statements on the government's new terrorism plans:
1. Home Office consultation document (5.8.05)
2. Statement by Prime Minister (5.8.05)
3. Home Secretary announces new terrorism laws (20.7.05)
and two reactions:
The price of a chilling and counterproductive recipe - Tony Blair cannot be allowed to sell our rights and freedoms: Shami Chatrabarti (Guardian, 8.8.05) and Stay calm, the government says, in a mad panic itself: Proposed new anti-terrorist laws will be counterproductive article by lawyer Louise Christian (Guardian, 30.7.05)
The London School of Economics says the Home Office's recent rebuttal of their critique of the Government's identity cards scheme was misleading and inaccurate, containing "substantial errors and misrepresentation of fact": LSE response to HO critique (pdf) Home Office critique (pdf) The Identity Project: an assessment of the UK Identity Cards Bill and its implications (published by the LSE) 27 June 2005 (2.5 MB, pdf)
UK: Reactions to the government's new plans to tackle terrorism (see story below): Deportation plans anger rights groups (link) Who will be deported and who decides? (link) Worse than the disease (Guardian, Leader Comment) Gareth Peirce is lawyer who has represented many terror suspects in the British courts commented on the Prime Minister's statement:
"There is nothing I can say as a lawyer that can adequately react to so terrifying an announcement.This is a statement of dangerous self-delusion, deliberately ignoring history, legality, principle and justice."
UK: Prime Minister's statement on new terrorists measures including deporting and excluding people said to be encouraging terrorism: Full text of new terrorism plans
Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, commented:"It seems he no longer has much truck for fundamental humn rights at all. He is talking about actively deporting people to face torture around the world - that is completely unacceptable and plays into the hands of the terrorists" and Eric Metcalfe, JUSTICE's human rights policy director, said: "A British court would never accept a diplomatic assurance from a country that tortures its own citizens. Any attempt to amend the Human Rights Act to force courts to do otherwise is doomed to failure. A free society doesn't fight terrorists byexportingthem to other countries. It prosecutes them here in the UK."
On the idea of returning people to third countries with whom the UK will sign a "memorandum of understanding" on their treatment, the first being with Jordan, Amnesty International UK said: Jordan assurances not worth the paper they are written on (press release). In the statement Mr Blair said that "assurances" will be sought from "around 10 such countries" including Algeria and Lebanon. See also: UK: Egyptian national unlawfully detained after intervention by Prime Minister (16.11.04)
UK: New special forces unit tailed Brazilian (Jean Charles de Menezes shot dead by police on 22 July 2005) (Guardian, link) This article reports that the Special Reconnaissance Regiment of the army, set up in April 2005, was involved in the surveilance operation that led to the shooting. The regiment apparently "absorbed" the 14th Intelligence Company which for years operated covertly in Northern Ireland.
Invitation to sign Open Letter: Attack on fundamental liberties of lawyers in Turkey from the Haldane Society
Amnesty International: USA/Jordan/Yemen: Torture and secret detention: Testimony of the disappeared in the war on terror (link)
UK: Forty-five race murders in Britain since Macpherson - Figures released today by the Institute of Race Relations show that there have been forty-five murders with a known or suspected racial element since the publication of the Macpherson report in February 1999 (link)
The seizure of Indymedia's servers in London (link to EFFI). Fascinating detail and documentation is provided by the Electronic Frontiers Foundation in the USA who worked to get key documents released. The documents confirm that the US court order only required Rackspace to produce log files in relation to the creation and updating of the web spaces corresponding to particular URLs. On 7 October 2004, however, Rackspace said that it had "received a federal order to provide your [Indymedia's] hardware to the requesting agency." The fact that no official request was made to the UK government confirms the view that the seizure of the servers in London by the FBI was not lawful. See also: Was the seizure of Indymedia's servers in London unlawful or did the UK government collude?
European Commission announces 13 new security research projects to combat terrorism (pdf)
Suspect's tale of travel and torture: Alleged bomb plotter claims two and a half years of interrogation under US and UK supervision in 'ghost prisons' abroad (Guardian, links) Benyam Mohammed travelled from London to Afghanistan in July 2001, but after 11 September he fled to Pakistan. He was arrested at Karachi airport on April 10 2002, and describes being flown by a US government plane to a prison in Morocco. These are extracts from his diary: 'One of them made cuts in my penis. I was in agony'
UK: Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC): We are all terror suspects: The War on Terror at home (pdf)
EU: Annual report for 2004 from the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights (pdf). The country reports can be found on: Country reports (link)
EU: Data retention is no solution - petition The EU is discussing proposals for the mandatory retention of traffic data for phones, faxes, e-mails, mobile phones (inc location) and internet usage for all communications by everyone. Supporting organisations: IRIS, France, BIT Internet B.V., Netherlands, Bits of Freedom, Netherlands, FIfF, Germany, Electronic Frontier Finland ry, Finland, Netzwerk Neue Medien, Germany Luna.nl, Netherlands, SIUG, Switzerland, Stop1984, Germany, CPSR-ES, Spain, Privacy International, UK, Statewatch, UK, GreenNet, UK, Digital Rights, Denmark and 6,514 individuals (29.7.05)
UK: Anti-Muslim backlash intensifies, 28 July 2005 The anti-Muslim backlash begins and Muslim backlash continues IRR News Service (links)
Special: EU: Schengen III Treaty signed in Prum, Germany on 27 May 2005. The participating states are: Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria and Belgium. The Treaty includes:
- automated access by law enforcement agencies to DNA, fingerprints and vehicle registration
- public order and protests
- armed "sky marshals" on flights
- joint deportation flights
Schengen III Treaty (English, pdf)
Schengen III Treaty (Spanish, pdf)
Schengen III Treaty (French, pdf)
Schengen III Treaty (German, pdf)
plus in German: Annex 1, Annex 2 and Statements
Commentary: Some remarks on Schengen III
EU: Communique from the French Ministry of the Interior on the deportation of 40 people to Kabul 25 from France and 15 from Britain "escorted" by police officers from both countries (pdf) Europe should be ashamed of itself Expulsions to Kabul and Joint charter flight (GISTI, link)
IRA statement in full, in which its leadership ordered members to stop the armed campaign (link BBC)
EU: Draft European Commission proposal on data retention (pdf, thanks to EDRI). This is a a copy of the so-called 'Interservice Consultation', which is circulated for comment within the Commission. The final, possibly amended version is expected to be published some time in August 2005. The Commission proposal is intended to replace the initiative in the Council of the European Union by five member states, see on the latter: UK-EU: Call for mandatory data retention of all telecommunications
EU: European Commission proposal for a Regulation on information on the payer accompanying transfers of funds for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection and prosecution of money laundering and terrorist financing.(pdf)
UK: ID Card Bill as amended in Committee (House of Commons)
UK: Amnesty International statement: Full circumstances into fatal shooting must be investigated (link)
Democracy at the crossroads? Counter-terrorism and the state: International forum, Pisa, Italy on 29-30 September 2005
London police shot wrong man (link to BBC News) The man shot dead by police on Friday 22 July was Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27 year old Brazilian national who had lived in London for three years, working as an electrician - police say that he had nothing to do with the bombings on 7 July or the attempted bombings on 21 July 2005. The shooting will be investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Authority (formerly the Police Complaints Authority), see: Police Complaints Authority Review of shootings by police in England and Wales from 1998 to 2001 (January 2003, pdf) See also: Guidelines (1987) ACPO Manual of guidance on police use of firearms (January 2003, pdf) Devon and Cornwall Police Guidelines (15 July 2005, pdf)
The Statewatch searchable database has been updated and now holds 23,570 records (news, features, analyses and documentation): Search database
UK: Prison Ombudsman: Mistreatment of detainees: Inquiry into allegations of racism and mistreatment of detainees at Oakington immigration reception centre and while under escort (pdf)
UK: Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) calls for new terrorism measures:
- extend powers to detain people for questioning from 14 days to 3 months
- new offence of "indirect incitement" will "capture the expression of sentiments which do not amount to direct incitement"
- extend provisions in the Council of Europe's Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism which make the provision of training an offence to "receiving training" (this was discussed but rejected in the CoE negotiations)
- extend the role of MI5 (the Security Service) to enable it to operate outside of the UK and British Territories
- create a new offence of "inappropriate internet usage"
- have powers to "attack identified websites"
Full details in: ACPO proposals (pdf)
See also: Home Secretary announces new terrorism laws
UK: Information Commissioner's Annual Report 2005 (pdf)
UK: Home Secretary announces new terrorism laws (text of statement). These will include tackling preparatory acts and training. The most contentious proposal would introduce a criminal offence of "indirect incitement" which the Home Secretary says will cover "unacceptable behaviour" and will:
"target those, who while not directly inciting, glorify and condone terrorist acts knowing full well that the effect on their listeners will be to encourage them to turn to terrorism"
Another initiative launched by the government is to return people to third countries with whom the UK will sign a "memorandum of understanding" on their treatment, the first being with Jordan. Amnesty International UK said that: Jordan assurances not worth the paper they are written on (press release). See also: UK: Egyptian national unlawfully detained after intervention by Prime Minister (16.11.04)
UK: Home Office: consultation document on: Selective Admission: Making Migration Work for Britain
Statewatch report: The exceptional and draconian become the norm by Tony Bunyan (updated 19 July 2005). The emerging counter-terrorism regime: G8 and EU plans for special investigative techniques, the use of "intelligence information" in court and new preparatory offences
The European Commission has produced two Communications: The first is on the control of explosive material: COM 329 (it is a bit of a mystery why this obvious and necessary measure has taken nearly four years since 2001 to produce), the second, more contentious, would extend "hot pursuit" and surveillance in the Schengen Convention: COM 317
Statewatch European Monitor: Special issue on the implementation of the Hague Programme
Statewatch bulletin: Contents of latest issue: vol 15 no 2
German Constitutional court revokes national regulation implementing European Arrest Warrant
EU: Biometrics - from visas to passports to ID cards
- The EU does not have the powers to introduce biometrics for national ID cards
- The ICAO standard only requires a "facial image"
- USA not intending to introduce biometrics on its passports - only a digitised normal passport photo
Italy: Police obtain wholesale access to encrypted e-mails and internet discussion groups used by activists
Report on: Global Enforcement Regimes Transnational Organised Crime, International Terrorism and Money Laundering from the Transnational Institute (pdf)
Transparency vs data protection? The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) presents guidelines for good practice as to both rights (pdf) EDPS press release (pdf)
G8 Legal Support Group - monitoring and helping those arrested (link). During the protests against the G8 over 700 people were detained or arrested by the police, often overnight, and around 366 people have been arrested and charged.
EU: Special meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Ministers on 13 July 2005: Press release (pdf)
EU: UK Presidency proposes that all ID cards have biometrics - everyone to be fingerprinted
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"This proposal, with others, means that everyone living in the EU is going to be finger-printed and their details held on an EU-wide database. At a time of great tragedy it is all the more important that we act with care and do not bequeath to future generations a society where every movement and every communication is under surveillance. Whether a democratic way of life could survive in such a climate is doubtful."
EU policy putsch: Data protection handed to the DG for law, order and security - it is not "relevant" for citizens to know how and what information about them is exchanged
UK-EU: Call for mandatory data retention of all telecommunications The draft proposal on the table is:
1. legally flawed and open to legal challenge
2. confused as to its scope - is it to deal with terrorism or crime in general?
3. requires service providers to retain data they have never collected before
4. the cost and technical capacity of service providers is unknown
5. the value in terms of tackling terrorism is highly questionable
6. it will store data on all the communications of everyone in the EU, suspect or not
7. there are no data protection provisions nor any external supervision
EU: UK Presidency programme on asylum and immigration (pdf)
European Parliament: MEPs reject the EU-Canada agreement on transfer of personal data (pdf)
EU: Report from the European Union Committee of the UK House of Lords on: The Constitutional Treaty: Role of the ECJ: Primacy of Union Law - Government Response and Correspondence (pdf)
EU-US issued a Summit Declaration in Washington on 20 June 2005 entitled: Working together to promote democracy and support freedom the rule of law and human rights worldwide (pdf) It opens with the joint commitment to "accountable and representative government, the rule of law and respect for human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights". Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: "Given the onward march of free market economics and the war on terrorism one might wonder if these leaders have ever read the 1948 Declaration", see: Universal Declaration of Human Rights (pdf)
G5 meeting, Evian, 4-5 July 2005 - Operational Conclusions G5 members are: France, Germany, Italy, Spain and UK
UK: Biometric passports will do little to stop terrorism
Statewatch analysis: Revising EU border control rules: A missed opportunity? (pdf). Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex, seeks to untangle the discussions between the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament (EP) on the abolition of internal border checks and external border controls. This measure was subject to co-decision by the Council and the EP and was passed by the parliament at 1st reading on 23 June 2005. While the EP has had some success in getting a number of its more modest amendments accepted more radical changes have either been rejected by the Council or not tabled at all by the EP:
"The net result is that there will still be risks in particular of breaches of international human rights law and refugee law concerning asylum-seekers who arrive at the external borders of EU Member States, as well as the human rights of demonstrators and protesters."
UK: asboconcern: Lobby the Home Office, 56.30pm Wednesday 20 July: Stop this asbo fever (pdf) See also Statewatch's ASBOwatch monitoring the use of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders throughout the UK
France: The punishment machine "La machine à punir" collection, under the direction of Laurent Bonelli and Gilles Sainati, eds
G8 and Security (link to Transnational Insitute, TNI). G8 Legal Support Group (link) Red Pepper's G8 Events Guide (link). See also: Statewatch special report: The exceptional and draconian become the norm - G8 and EU counter-terrorism plans (pdf): "Special investigative" techniques * "intelligence information" in court * new "preparatory" terrorist offences.
Bristol Indymedia server seized
European Commission publishes proposal for an: EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (pdf) Impact Assessment Report (pdf) See also: Statewatch submission to European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE) hearing: Does the EU need a Fundamental Rights Agency? Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, looks at the proposal and wonders if it will be just another figleaf for inaction
UK Presidency of the Council of the European Union and Justice and Home Affairs: Provisional agendas for JHA Councils on 12-13 October and 1-2 December 2005 - see page 18 onwards (pdf)
Statewatch: Terrorising the rule of law: the policy and practice of proscription Statewatch, with partner organisations the Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC) and the Human Rights and Social Justice Institute (HRSJ, London Metropolitan University) publish extensive research on a new website to explain and monitor the policy of proscription designating groups and individuals as terrorists in order to criminalise their activities or impose sanctions against them.
The website includes expert legal analysis on the development of the policy, the scope and effect of the current UK, US, UN and EU terrorist lists, the procedures used to agree them, and what listed groups and individuals can do to challenge their inclusion.
UK: The Identity Project: an assessment of the UK Identity Cards Bill and its implications (published by the LSE) 27 June 2005 (2.5 MB, pdf)
1. Identity Card Bill (full-text, pdf) Explanatory Notes (pdf)
2. House of Commons Research Paper comparing previous Bill with present one (link)
3. Government briefing to Labour MPs (pdf)
4. Home Office Regulatory Impact report (pdf)
5. UKPS Biometrics Enrolment Trial Full Report (link, 3.7MB) Includes the finding that the fingerprint success rate (ie: a usable record) was as follows: Asian 70.90%, Black 54.70%, Chinese/East Asian 65.91%, Other 74.91% and White 70.86%
6. ID cards: implications for Black, Minority Ethnic, migrant and refugee communities (IRR News Service, link)
7. Liberty: 2nd Reading Briefing (pdf)
8. Transport and General Workers Union briefing (pdf)
UK: New Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill published (pdf) Explanatory Note (link) Regulatory Impact (pdf) Final RIA (pdf)
EU: Confusion over the Visa Information System (VIS) continues. A Note (20.6.05) from the EU Presidency of the Council of the European Union calls for an an "additional period of reflection". First, "certain delegations" want only 2 fingerprints to be recorded (like for the planned EU passport) but a majority want 10 fingerprints. Second, a study carried out in the Netherlands shows that it is very difficult to "capture" fingerprints from small children leading to the question whether there should be a lower age limit - and for EU passports too? Third, having collected fingerprints from visa applicants in their own countries then stored on the central VIS database there is still no agreement on just how and where checks against the data held will be carried out in the EU. Note from Presidency (French, 10222/01/05). See also: Analysis from Statewatch on the linkage between VIS and SIS II: SIS II fait accompli? Construction of EU's Big Brother database underway (pdf)
Spain: Court dismisses terrorist charges in Basque youth association trial
Spain: Court report on the Gabriele Kanze case - Gabriele Kanze was detained in complete isolation in Switzerland, and in provisional and preventative detention in Spain, for a total of over two years and eight months before being released.
Amnesty International reports on: Seeking asylum is not a crime: detention of people who have
sought asylum (link) and Europe: Treatment of refugees and asylum seekers (link)
EU: European Council, 18 June (press release, pdf). See pages 4-7 on justice and home affairs
Report from Le Forum des droits sur linternet (Forum for Internet Rights) on the national identity card project INES (identité nationale électronique sécurisée): Report (French, pdf) and the LSE Identity Project - draft for public consultation in advance of final report (pdf)
EU: Statewatch analysis: Legislative proposals on SIS II. Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex, concludes: "Given the non-existent democratic scrutiny, dubious financial accountability, unjustified extensions of access to data and ambiguous provisions on data protection and the grounds for people to be banned from the entire Schengen area, these proposals represent another step in the construction of a European "surveillance society"".
G8 - Gleneagles Summit, Perthshire, Scotland, 6-8 July 2005: Meet the friendly face of the Gleneagles "bobby" (pdf) Local security information (link) The local impact (link) Taking out insurance cover (link)
USA: General Accountability Office (GAO) Report on RFIDs (radio frequency identificationy) which are used to transmit data from chips holding personal and biometric data
EU: Updated documents on EU Terrorism Action Plans:
1. Updated Terrorism Action Plan (version dated 10 June)
2. Council and Commission Hague Programme (10 June - English version)
3. Report from EU Anti-terrorism Coordinator - useful summary of implementation of measures at national level
UK: European Commission against Racism and Intolerance - 3rd report on UK (pdf) Reports on Muslims, asylum-seekers and refugees living in a 'climate of fear and suspicion'
EU: Report from the European Union Committee, House of Lords: Evidence by Commissioner Franco Frattini,
Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security on Justice and Home Affairs Matters (pdf)
UK: Violent Crime Reduction Bill published (pd). Includes: Alcohol Disorder Zones and Directions to individuals to leave a locality: "That test is that the presence of the individual in that locality is likely, in all the circumstances, to cause or to contribute to the occurrence or continuance in that locality of alcohol-related crime or disorder."
Denmark: Greenpeace verdict introduces collective punishment in Danish law
Council of Europe: Report from the Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) on the UK. Critical report on the treatment of people held in Belmarsh and Woodhill under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act (2001)
Italy/Spain: Big Brother Awards
UK: Damning report on human rights and civil liberties: Report by Mr Alvaro Gil-Robles, Commissioner for Human Rights on the United Kingdom, Council of Europe (pdf)
UK: GMB Union Congress Demands End To Electronic Tagging Of Workers "Battery Farm" Workplaces. Press release (link) Report (pdf) Guardian coverage (link)
EU: On 7 June the plenary session of the European Parliament unanimously adopted the report from the Committee on Civil Liberties calling for the rejection of the proposal from the Council of the European Union (governments) on the mandatory retention of all telecommunications traffic data: Full-text of report (pdf)
EU: Letter to the European Parliament on mandatory retention of communications data - from European Digital Rights, Privacy International and Statewatch. Letter (French) Letter (German) Letter (Spanish)
EU: In 2000 Statewatch prepared a report for the European Parliament on: "The impact of the Amsterdam Treaty on justice and home affairs issues". Volume 1: The main report (799kb, pdf) Volume 2: Annexes (721kb, pdf)
Ethnic Profiling by Police in Europe (Open Society - Justice Initiative, link to full report, pdf). Contribution by Ben Hayes (Statewatch): A Failure to Regulate: Data Protection in the Police Sector in Europe (pdf)
EU/Libya: Full steam ahead, without pausing to think examines the draft Conclusions discussed by the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 2 June 2005
EU-AFRICA-UKRAINE: In an interview with eupolitix.com, justice and home affairs Commissioner Frattini has announced that the Commission will launch two regional protection programmes for refugees (RPPs) in July: The Great Lakes region is probably the biggest origin area of illegal immigrants and the eastern dimension of Europe for example, Ukraine or Georgia or Belarus. We will try to start with two pilot programmes, the first one for Africa and the second one probably for Ukraine, he said. The RRPs will focus on "relief, rehabilitation and regional development in a bid to build capacity in countries which can host large numbers of Europe bound refugees" and are described as an "alternative" to the controversial UK plans to build camps outside Europe to hold refugees bound for Europe. To many observers, however, the Commission's plans look very similar indeed. See eupolitix.com (link) and Statewatch analysis: Dismantling refugee protection in Europe (July 2004, pdf)
ID cards: implications for Black, Minority Ethnic, migrant and refugee communities (IRR News Service, link)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA), 2-3 June, in Luxembourg:
a. Press release (English, pdf)
b. "B" Points agenda (pdf)
c. "A" Points agenda (adopted without discussion)
d. Background Note (French, pdf) and see documents being considered:
1. Draft Framework Decision on mandatory data retention (8864/1/05)
2. Council Legal Service Opinion on data retention proposal (French)
3. Statewatch report: Data Retention proposal partly illegal, say Council and Commission lawyers
4. Evaluation of European Arrest Warrant implementation (8842/1/05)
5. Updated Terrorism Action Plan (version dated 31 May) - NEW
6. Draft Framework Decision on racism and xenophobia (8994/1/05)
7. Council and Commission Hague Programme (9246/2/05 - French introduction, English text, pdf)
Amnesty International report: Human rights dissolving at the borders? Counter-terrorism and EU criminal law (link.pdf)
EU: The Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament has rejected a proposal on the mandatory retention of data on all telecommunications for the purposes of law enforcement (full-text of adopted report, pdf) Press release (pdf)
UK: Report on the Operation in 2004 of the Terrorism Act 2000 by Lord Carlile (pdf)
UK: Identity Card Bill published 25 May 2005 (full-text, pdf) Explanatory Notes (pdf)
1. Government briefing to Labour MPs (pdf)
2. Home Office Regulatory Impact report (pdf)
3. UKPS Biometrics Enrolment Trial Full Report (link, 3.7MB) Includes the finding that the fingerprint success rate (ie: a usable record) was as follows: Asian 70.90%, Black 54.70%, Chinese/East Asian 65.91%, Other 74.91% and White 70.86%
4. Privacy International analysis (link)
EU: Updated EU Anti-terrorism Action Plan, 23 May 2005 (corrected link, pdf) plus:
1. EU Anti-terrorism implementation report, 24 May 2005
2. EU anti-terrorism clauses 11 May 2005 - declassified version with lots of deletions
3. EU: anti-terrorism external relations 11 May 2005 - declassified version with lots of deletions
4. Europol's Plan of Action on Combating Terrorism, 23 May 2005. Contains interesting comments by Europol on the "principle of availability" of intelligence (ie: every agency has access to everything) to "avoid information "shopping" and duplication of effort" and on the Analysis Work File (AWF) "Dolphin" which seeks to cover suspected terrorist groups not covered by "Islamic Terrorism" - which covers 2,380 "entities and 6,286 "link records"
The Action Plan updates that of 14 December 2004, see Statewatch's Observatory on freedom and democracy
US Michael Chertoff, Chief of the US Department of Homeland Security speech in Brussels (link to speech) which includes the following statement: "we've got to be compatible. It doesn't make a lot of sense, for example, to have radio frequency chips that use different kinds of modalities in the United States and Europe and in Asia because we're simply going to make it hard for us to interconnect, so that to the extent that we can start to build common platforms and common technological approaches"
EU: Meijers' Committee report on the Visa Information System (VIS) (pdf). Comments Standing Committee of experts in international immigration, refugee and criminal law on the draft proposal for a Regulation concerning the Visa Information System (VIS), COM (2004) 835
EU-Canada Passenger Name Record (PNR) agreement (pdf)
UK: Civil Contingencies Act 2004: i) Emergency preparedness - guidance (231 pages, pdf, link); ii) Draft Regulations (Statutory Instruments which go through parliament on the nod unless MPs object); iii) Civil Contingencies Act 2004 iv) Statewatch critique of the Bill
EU: Draft Council Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia (draft at 19 May, pdf)
EU: Report for the European Parliament's STOA Committee published in 1998: An Appraisal of Technologies of Political Control by Steve Wright (pdf)
Europol Terrorism Report October 2003 - October 2004 (pdf)
EU: Analysis from Statewatch: SIS II fait accompli? Construction of EU's Big Brother database underway (pdf)
* after four years of secret negotiations a host of new functions are being built into SIS II
* new categories of violent troublemakers, suspected terrorists and visa over-stayers planned
* EU Visa Information System to share biometrics platform with SIS II
* fingerprints and photographs to be included widened access for law enforcement
* European and national parliaments not yet consulted
Statewatch is also releasing an accompanying 48-page analysis which first appeared on the Statewatch European Monitoring and Documentation (SEMDOC) website in February 2004: From the Schengen Information System to SIS II and the Visa Information (VIS): the proposals explained (pdf) Sources for this analysis (htm)
Draft European Parliament report on the amended proposal for a Council directive on minimum standards on
procedures in Member States for granting and withdrawing refugee status (pdf)
EU: Feasibility study carried out in 2002 on: "The setting up of a European Border Police" (pdf)
EU: European Arrest Warrant figures for 2004 (pdf) covering 17 member states. In 2004 Germany issued 1,300 warrants (compared to 510 in 2003), Spain 668 (compared to 106 in 2003). The EU state which has received the most arrest warrants was the UK with 1,848 (compared to only 76 in 2003).
EU: European Union Committee in the UK's House of Lords has published a report on: Clause 2 of the European Union Bill - the Constitution's Passerelle Provisions (pdf). The Committee expresses strong concern's over the government's proposal that the House of Commons alone will be able to register an objection to a measure going through under this clause while the House of Lords will have just 20 days to express a view.
Migreurop: Externalisation of controls at the Southern borders of Europe mobilisation and research workshops 20-21 June, Séville (pdf)
Amnesty International report on: USA: Guantánamo and beyond: The continuing pursuit of unchecked executive power (link to pdf)
Denmark: Greenpeace charged under anti-terror laws
European Commission: Technical Mission to Libya on illegal immigration - report (pdf)
European Court of Human Rights: Judgement in the case of Ocalan v Turkey (pdf). The Court found in particular that there had been a violations under Article 6.1 (Fair trial) in that the applicant had not been tried by an independent and impartial tribunal; and a violation of Article 6.1, taken together with Article 6.3 (b) (right to adequate time and facilities for preparation of defence) and (c) (right to legal assistance), in that the applicant had not had a fair trial.
European Court of Justice: Judgment in the case of Sison v Council of the European Union (pdf) The Court ruled against the applicant who requested access to documents concerning the decision to place him on the EU terrorrist list. The judgment deals with a number of key points including access to 'sensitive' documents, the identity of the third country who provided "evidence" against Mr Sison, access to documents connected with the fight against terrorism.
Journalism, civil liberties and the war on terrorism (full-report/request printed copy) - Special report by the International Federation of Journalists and Statewatch. This 64 page report includes an analysis of current policy developments as well as a survey of 20 selected countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin Amercia, the Middle East and the USA.
An atmosphere of fear and uncertainty is being created and civil liberties are being torn to shreds, even in states with a reputation for tolerance and pluralism, said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. This report is an alarm call to democracies," said Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director. "In the name of the "politics of fear" we are in great danger of sleepwalking into a surveillance society while the democratic values we have taken for granted are being sacrificed in the war on terrorism.
EU: European Commission Communication: "The Hague Programme: Ten priorities for the next five years" (pdf)
EU: Role of new Internal Security Committee being decided by the Council - in secret - "internal security" to include crime, public order, illegal immigration and border controls
EU-Biometrics: Two reports, which were only summarised, in the Joint Research Centre report "Biometrics at the Frontiers" are well worth reading: The social implications of the wide-scale implementation of biometric and related technologies by Julian Ashbourn (pdf) and Biometrics: legal issues and implications by Paul de Hert (pdf). See also: EU: Report on biometrics dodges the real issues - "puts economics and profit above liberties and privacy"
The 4th Annual report from Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights (pdf). See in particular the comments on human rights, immigration and asylum in Europe.
EU: Liberal Group (ALDE) in the European Parliament on the data retention proposal: ALDE leader Graham WATSON, said: "European countries must do more together to combat terrorism. However, a sense of proportion and a respect for individual privacy must infuse our approach. The choice of legal base for this decision will be crucial. The US Congress will not agree to retention of data about American citizens. Why should EU governments believe that they can get away without referring such decisions to a democratic vote in Europe's Parliament?" Press release (pdf) See also previous Statewatch report: Data Retention proposal partly illegal, say Council and Commission lawyers
Brussels: Press Conference - The International Federation of Journalists and Statewatch will launch a Special Report on Journalism, Civil Liberties and the War on Terrorism on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May: Press conference calling notice Date: 3 May 2005 Place: Résidence Palace, Bloc C, 2nd Floor, Room No. 02251 - 11 am. How the War on Terror Puts Pressure on Press Freedom: "the war on terrorism amounts to a devastating challenge to the global culture of human rights and civil liberties established almost 60 years ago"
EU-SIS: Three-quarters of a million "illegal aliens" banned from Schengen area
- 778,886 people registered on Schengen Information System as aliens to be refused entry;
- massive discrepancy in number of records created by Schengen member states;
- Italy and Germany top criminalisation league, together creating 77 per cent of the total number of records;
- are new rules narrowing the scope of Article 96 needed?
Italy/Poland/EU: European Arrest Warrant: Italy has implemented the EAW and is the final EU member state to so. The Italian implementing legislation (link, in Italian) was adopted by parliament on 12 April 2005 and expected to enter into force on 30 April 2005. The Polish Constitutional Court has declared the provisions on the surrender of "own nationals" are incompatible with the Polish Constitution, which will be amended to allow the extradition of Polish citizens from Poland: Judgment of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal on EAW (pdf).
UK: Government bows to pressure and publishes Iraq war legal advice: Full-text of the Attorney General's advice on the legality of the Iraq war, dated 7 March 2003 (pdf). Ten days later the Attorney General infamously changed his advice in a one page written answer to parliament stating that the war was legal, see written answer dated 17 March 2003 (link, BBC).
EU: EP Rapporteur calls for rejection of proposed EU Framework Decision on data retention (pdf). In his draft opinion on the proposal, Alexander Nuno Alvaro MEP, the "rapporteur" appointed by the European Parliament's LIBE Committee (civil liberties), sets out three strong objections: (i) the measures have an inadequate legal basis; (ii) "the measures are neither appropriate nor necessary"; (iii) the proposal is incompatible with the right to privacy under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. If adopted by the LIBE Committee, the report will then be subject to an EP plenary vote.
See also previous Statewatch report: Data Retention proposal partly illegal, say Council and Commission lawyers The practical impact of the two Legal Services' opinions is that the proposed Framework Decision will have to be amended to take out all provisions relating to the obligations of telecom service providers - which will have to be covered by a separate parallel proposal.
USA: Rethink on RFID chips in US passports? (link). Wired.com reports that the US State department is the way contactless RFID computer chips will be used to store personal data in passports following widespread criticism from computer security professionals and civil libertarians. The same technology is to be used in EU passports. The question that remains is why use a contactless chip at all if there is a risk that data will be read surrepticiously? See also ACLU FOI request for results of US government testing of RFID chips in passports (link).
Statewatch special report: UK: Stop & search: Ethnic injustice continues unabated (pdf). Last month Hazel Blears, a home office minister, made the extraordinary statement that the new anti-terrorism legislation would be disproportionately used against the Muslim community. Statewatch analyses the latest stop-and-search figures which show that the Asian community has felt the the largest increase in the use of these powers and that black people are still much more likely to be stopped and searched - almost seven times more likely than white people.
This article was published at the end of March in Statewatch bulletin (vol 15 no 1): see contents and subscriptions.
"No-one is illegal" - international conference (programme, pdf), Manchester, UK, 25 June 2005.
Statewatch submission to European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE) hearing on the Fundamental Rights Agency on 25-26 April 2005. See also: Programme (pdf)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 14 April, Luxembourg: Press release (English, pdf) Press Release (French, pdf)
UK: Amnesty International urges judiciary not to partake in inquiry sham (link) Inquiries Act 2005 and the Inquries Bill and the murder of Pat Finucane (link)
20 April, 2005: Global coalition launch report and international surveillance campaign: London - Statewatch, with partner organisations the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Focus on the Global South, Friends Committee (US) and the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (Canada) today publishes an in-depth report on "The emergence of a global infrastructure for registration and surveillance".
With the support of around 100 civil liberties groups and NGOs from across the world, the report is backed by the launch of the International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance (ICAMS), calling on all national governments and intergovernmental organisations to turn away from anti-terrorism efforts that are oriented around mass surveillance:
1. Press release (pdf)
2. Executive Summary (English, pdf) French (link)
3. Full report (pdf)
4. Declaration (English, pdf) French (link) Spanish (link) Dutch (link)
5. List supporting organisations
6. Endorse the Declaration - sign-up (link)
Tony Bunyan, Director of Statewatch, said: "We are very pleased to be joining with so many civil liberties groups from around the world to oppose the introduction of mass surveillance on a global basis. There is a real danger that in trying to watch everyone you are actually watching no-one"
Press conferences - The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (Canada), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Friends' Committee on National Legislation (USA), Focus on the Global South (Bangkok) and Statewatch are launching an "International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance - the emergence of a global infrastructure for mass registration and surveillance". A 70 page report will be released at press conferences in Ottawa, Canada (pdf) and Manila, Philippines on Wednesday 20 April 2005 and put out simultaneously by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Statewatch. For more information on the European launch please contact email@example.com
US: Report on airline passenger screening from the US Congressional Research Service on highlights the different approaches being taken by the USA and the EU.
EU: Report from the UK House of Lords' European Union Committee on: Strengthening national parliamentary scrutiny of the EU - the Constitutions subsidiarity early warning mechanism (pdf)
EU-Italy: The European Parliament adopts resolution condemning the mass expulsion of migrants from Lampedusa and the "lowest common denominator approach" to asylum
EU: The European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE) is holding a public seminar on Monday, 25 April (3 pm to 6.30 pm) and Tuesday, 26 April 2005, (9 am to 12.30 pm) on "Promoting EU Fundamental Rights Policy: from words to deeds or how to make rights a reality?" At the centre of the discussion will be the proposal to create a Fundamental rights Agency: Draft programme (pdf)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 14 April, Luxembourg: Press Release (pdf) Main agenda, "B Points" (pdf). "A Points" Agenda (pdf) Background Note (French, pdf)
UK: Inquiries Act 2005 and the Inquries Bill and the murder of Pat Finucane (link)
A report from the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) finds that there is a lack of adequate data on the level of racist attacks in 15 member states which hides masking the scale of the problem. Racist violence going unreported and unchecked (pdf)
Statewatch announces an International project to stop Policy Laundering - EU liberties being undermined by the influence of secretive International fora (press release, pdf) Statewatch, which monitors civil liberties in the EU, with its partners the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the human rights group Privacy International - today announced the formation of a new international Policy Laundering Project to monitor and counter the increasing policymaking influence on civil liberties issues through international organizations such as G8. The project is being launched on Wednesday, 13 April, at the annual Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference in Seattle, Washington, USA:
In more and more areas we are seeing security and law enforcement agencies pushing measures through international fora which undermine and endanger civil liberties and privacy which are then introduced through the national political process, said Tony Bunyan Director of Statewatch. This is the strategy we call policy laundering. The security and law enforcement agencies have gone global and so must the protection of civil liberties.
EU: Twenty NGOs have written to the Justice and Home Council (meeting on 14 April) calling on the EU to defer cooperation with Libya until it has signed up to international conventions guaranteeing human rights and calls on the European Commission to make public the conclusions of its reports from diplomatic missions to Libya. EU about to negotiate with Libya on immigration matters, press release (pdf) Press release in French (link)
Talk by Edward Hasbrouck on "Travel ID and the Travel Panopticon" during today's workshop (13 April), "Keeping an Eye of the Panopticon: Vanishing Anonymity" at the Computers, Freedom, and Privacy 2005 conference in Seattle, USA.
European Court of Justice (ECJ): For the first time since the Regulation on access to EU documents came into force in December 2001 an applicant has won a case in the ECJ against the Commission. The Court found that the Commission failed to examine and give reasons for each of the documents refused and failed to assess whether partial access could be given. This decision will help other applicants for documents as it is the Commission's habit to simply refuse documents requested by citing a general exception to access without giving reasons of how this applies to each document: ECJ Press release (pdf) Judgement (link)
UK: The government is to use the Royal Prerogative (powers exercised by government on behalf of the Queen) to set up 70 new passport "processing centres" throughout the country to introduce compulsory finger-printing for new passports from "late in 2006". It had been thought that as the Identity Card Bill - which contained powers to take finger-prints for passports - fell in parliament with the announcement of the General Election that any move would have to wait for the re-introduction of the Bill, Guardian (link). In a related move the UK government is lodging a case in the European Court of Justice because it was excluded from taking part in the decision to introduce biometric passports throughout the EU - the other 23 governments argue that the UK (and Ireland) is not taking part in the immigration provisions of the Schengen agreement and therefore it cannot expect to be involved: UK court case document (pdf)
Spain: Highest ever number of dinghy deaths in 2004 - report by the Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de Andalucía
Sweden: Update: Parliamentary Ombudsman issues report criticising the role of the Security Police ( (SÄPO) in allowing inhuman treatment and the removal of two men to Egypt
Italy: The ECHR asks for information on Lampedusa deportations
EU: Data Retention proposal partly illegal, say Council and Commission lawyers The practical impact of the two Legal Services' opinions is that the proposed Framework Decision will have to be amended to take out all provisions relating to the obligations of telecom service providers - which will have to be covered by a separate parallel proposal.
The deportation machine: Europe, asylum and human rights by Liz Fekete (Institute of Race Relations, link). Citing over 200 detailed case studies, the report shows how opportunist political campaigning puts the lives of asylum seekers at risk.
UK: Intelligence and Security Committee, Annual Report 20042005 (pdf). It includes lots of "***" and the conclusion that: "We are concerned at the amount of intelligence on Iraqi WMD that has now had to be withdrawn by the SIS." And the revealing observation the only Cabinet Committee with an overview of the Agencies and the rest of the intelligence community, the Ministerial Committee on the Intelligence Services (CSI), has only met once (in December 2003) in the past nine years. It appears that the government leaves intelligence and security work to the agencies and exercises no oversight.
Italy: G8-Genoa trials of twenty-eight police officers begins: Amnesty International (link) Indymedia (link). See also: Statewatch's Observatory on EU plans to counter protests
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report on: Terrorism and Community Relations (pdf)
UK: Report from the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights: Review of International Human Rights Instruments (pdf)
US says deadline for "biometric" passports cannot be extended
UK: Report on ID Cards from the House of Commons Constitutional Affairs Committee (pdf)
UK: Special Advocates system must be changed says a report from the House of Commons Constitutional Affairs Committee (pdf) and it call for changes to the appeal system on "control orders" under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005. At present and under the new Act "special advocates" - security cleared lawyers - are not allowed to communicate with the defendant or their lawyers - the Committee says they should be able to. The evidence to the Committee is in Volume 2 (pdf)
EU: Report on biometrics dodges the real issues - "puts economics and profit above liberties and privacy"
Statewatch Timetable: March 2004 EU Anti-Terrorist Declaration [Updated 31 March 2005]
USA: General Accountability Office (GAO) report on the "Secure Flights" programme finds that that TSA is running well behind schedule and has accomplished only one of the ten issues considered critical to the development of the programme. The GAO report says that "It is uncertain how well Secure Flight will perform or whether it will be ready for operational deployment by August 2005". The "Secure Flight" programme checks passenger name records (PNR) against terrorist "watch-lists".
EU asks US to extend deadline for "biometric" passports
Conference - Louvain: "The future of free movement of persons in the EU" Analysis of the Directive 2004/38 of 29April 2004 on the right of citizens to move and reside freely Analyse de la directive 2004/38 du 29Avril 2004 (pdf)
UK: Home Office statement on UK "biometric" passports - only digitised normal passport photos by end of 2005. Interviews and taking of fingerprints not to start until "late 2006" and then only for first-time applicants, mainly young people reaching the age of 18 (but not for renewals, lost or stolen passports)
EU: Report from the European Union Committee of the UK's House of Lords on: The Hague Programme: a five
year agenda for EU justice and home affairs (pdf)
Italy: Regional elections, false signatures and the mass violation of data protection as right wing conflict spirals out of control
Does the EU need a Fundamental Rights Agency? Viewpoint: Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, looks at the proposal and wonders if it will be just another figleaf for inaction.
EU: Report of the panel of experts on space and security (pdf): "As Europe moves into a new era of responsibility concerning space activities, it is clear that security is a central issue for policy makers. This report reinforces the importance of space in achieving long-term European objectives in this critical area."
The desert front - EU refugee camps in North Africa? by Helmut Dietrich. This article first appeared in the German journal Konkret (issue 12/2004) and traces the implementation of the creation of migrant and refugee prisons, so called off-shore centres, in northern Africa, as part of the EU's globalisation of migration control.
Statewatch special report - updated 26 March: The exceptional and draconian become the norm - G8 and EU counter-terrorism plans (pdf): "Special investigative" techniques * "intelligence information" in court * new "preparatory" terrorist offences.
Italy expels boat-people, the EU turns a blind eye
Spain: New Foreigners' Law Regulation
UK: New report finds significant flaws with Identity Card scheme (LSE, link) A new report from the London School of Economics released on 21 March has found that the UK Government's ID Card Bill is 'too complex, technically unsafe, overly prescriptive and lack a foundation of public trust and confidence'.
Italy: Provisional immigration quota for 2005 fixed
UK: The Inquiries Bill: The Wrong Answer. A Joint Statement by:Amnesty International, British Irish Rights Watch, The Committee on the Administration of Justice, Human Rights First, The Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association, INQUEST, JUSTICE, Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, The Law Society of England and Wales, Pat Finucane Centre, Scottish Human Rights Centre
Belgium: European Journalists Welcome "Landmark Victory" in Belgium for Protection of Sources (link)
Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: Calls for more action to stop racist attacks
UK: Inquiries Bill: Full-text of the Inquiries Bill (as at 1.3.05, pdf) Explanatory Notes (link) UK: Joint Committee on Human Rights on the Inquiries Bill (link) "The Committee raises concerns about the capacity of the Bill to provide a framework for inquiries necessary to comply with the right to life, under Article 2 ECHR, where a death occurs in state custody or agents of the state are implicated in a death." The Inquiries Bill and the murder of Pat Finucane Analysis and Commentaries: Pat Finucane centre analysis (link) British Irish Rights Watch Briefing (pdf)
EU issues updated lists of "terrorist organisations and persons" (updated 17.3.05)
EU: The Commission has finally made its proposal on the mutual recognition of prior convictions in another Member State. It applies not just to sentencing, but also to the trial process (so presumably affecting the use of prior convictions as evidence against the accused): Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on taking account of convictions in the Member States of the European Union in the course of new criminal proceedings COM(2005)91 final
London - Conference: "Suspect communities - the real "war on terror" in Europe", 21 May 2005 (leaflet, pdf)
London - Conference: "How much freedom security and justice? Developments in EU Asylum and Immigration Law, Friday 13th May & Saturday 14th May 2005. Key speakers include: Tony Bunyan Statewatch, Professor Elspeth Guild University of Nijmegen & Kingsley Napley Solicitors, Andrew Nicol QC Doughty Street Chambers, Professor Steve Peers University of Essex. Conference leaflet (pdf)
UK: Government anti-terrorism figures do not add up (IRR, link)
EU-US: New EU-US row over all types of lighters being banned from planes - EU reject US demand as "unacceptable", the searching of all passengers would "paralyse airport operations in Europe"
EU: Europol report on: Terrorist activity in the European Union: Situation and trends report (TE-SAT) October 2003 - 17th October 2004 (pdf) This "non-confidential" report from Europol largely reflects the perspectives of police forces and criminal investigation departments at national level. Spain devotes more space to ETA than to international terrorism and France and Germany on Kurdish groups. Three and a bit pages, from six countries, are devoted to "leftwing extremism" and one paragraph, from Sweden, to "rightwing extemism". Europol report on terrorism 2003. Meanwhile the report from the EU's Counter-Terrorism Coordinator sets out the: Fight against terrorism: Programme and priorities for 2005 (pdf).
Council of Europe: draft Convention on terrorism, updated 7 March 2005 (pdf) Opinion of the Commissioner for Human Rights (pdf) For background on: "preparatory offences" see: Statewatch special report: The exceptional and draconian become the norm - G8 and EU counter-terrorism plans (pdf)
Report on "data-mining" by the Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, USA (pdf)
UK: Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 as enacted on 11 March introducing "control orders" for terrorist "suspects" - full-text (pdf). After an epic parliamentary battle between the House of Commons and the House of Lords this became law. The opposition to the Bill had called for a "sunset clause" (ie: that the Act fell in one year) and the government said they would only accept an "annual renewal" (where parliament traditional "nods" though renewal and without the chance to amend an Act). The government changed its mind and announced that a new Counter Terrorism Bill would be introduced in the autumn introducing "preparatory offences" for terrorist "suspects" and that this would allow the new PTA 2005 to be amended. See on "control orders" A stampede against injustice, article by lawyer Gareth Peirce on control orders and their effect on liberties and rights, and on "preparatory offences" and G8/EU counter-terrorism plans: Statewatch special report: The exceptional and draconian become the norm - G8 and EU counter-terrorism plans (pdf)
Iraq: Global public health experts say failure to count Iraqi casualties is irresponsible - statement (pdf) UK and US governments must monitor Iraq casualties (British Medical Journal, link) Counting the dead in Iraq (BMJ, link)
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor says exchange of criminal records proposal is not proportionate - will the Commission heed the Opinion?
UK: Intelligence and Security Committee: The Handling of Detainees by UK Intelligence Personnel in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and Iraq (pdf)
Ireland: Retention of traffic and location data. The Irish government yesterday passed amendments to the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Bill 2002 which will give the Garda (Police) Commissioner the power to issue a 'data retention request' to fixed and mobile operators in Ireland requiring the retention of traffic and location data for 3 years: The debate (link) See Privacy International coverage (link)
International Helsinki Federation: Report on "Intolerance and Discrimination Against Muslims in the EU - Developments Since September 11" (link)
UK: The Prevention of Terrorism Bill as amended by the House of Lords on 7 March 2005. Update: The House of Lords votes by 297 votes to 110 - a majority of 187 to introduce a "sunset clause" - that is, the Bill ceases to have effect after 30 November 2005. Lords amendments as agreed and passed by to the House of Commons on 9 March 2005 (link)
The Bill seeks to introduce "control orders" on those "suspected" of terrorist-related activity. The House of Lords voted to amend the Bill so that all control orders have to be decided by a judge (and not the Home Secretary) by 249 votes to 119, a majority of 130. They also voted to make control orders dependent on the "balance of probabilities" rather than reasonable suspicion - though this is still a much lower standard than the normal beyond reasonable doubt. As amended it still includes a new offence of "encouragement" or intention to "encourage" specific acts or terrorism in general and will still mean the defendant will not know the evidence against them (see analysis below).
Statewatch special report: The exceptional and draconian become the norm - G8 and EU counter-terrorism plans (pdf)
- "special investigative" techniques
- "intelligence information" in court
- new "preparatory" offences
"In a democracy when the rights and freedoms of the few are curtailed so too are the rights and freedoms of us all"
(Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor)
EU: After Madrid: the EUs response to terrorism: Report from the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union
A stampede against injustice, article by lawyer Gareth Peirce on control orders and their effect on liberties and rights
Civil society Declaration from 3rd Information Commissioners Conference in Cancun, Mexico (pdf)
UK: ID Cards Bill in trouble. Due to the short parliamentary timetable before the impending General Election and the fact that the government is in trouble over the Prevnetion of Terrorism Bill it is being suggested that the ID Card Bill may be ditched (and brought back again after the election in May), see No2ID (link)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 24 February 2005: Press release (French, pdf) Press release (English, pdf)
EU: Article 29 Data Protection Working Party Seventh report on the situation regarding the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and privacy in the European Union and in third countries covering the years 2002 and 2003. Extensive country reports (large pdf file 5.5 MB)
UK: The Prevention of Terrorism Bill: Report from the parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee including oral evidence hearing (4 March, pdf). Among its conclusions is: "In our view the unprecedented scope of the powers contained in the Bill, and the potentially drastic interference with Convention rights which they contemplate, warrant a greater degree of judicial control than access to an ex post supervisory jurisdiction." (ex parte, that is, without notice to the individual who is to be made the subject of the order). Report of the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights: Prevention of Terrorism Bill - preliminary report (pdf) Prevention of Terrorism Bill - full-text as it left the House of Commons, 28.2.05 (pdf) The Amendents tabled in the House of Lords (link)
UK: Identity Card Bill: Report from the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (pdf) Identity Card Bill - full-text as at 21 February 2005 (pdf)
UK: The Prevention of Terrorism Bill has moved - in just over a week - to the House of Lords. The Amendents tabled in the House of Lords (link) - the government amendments under each Clause are proposed by government Minister, Baroness Scotland. Prevention of Terrorism Bill - full-text as it left the House of Commons, 28.2.05 (pdf)
UK: Detainee 'abuse' uncovered by undercover BBC reporter at Oakington Detention Centre - programme on BBC1 today 2 March. Briefing from Campaign to Stop Arbitrary Detentions at Yarl's Wood (SADY) (pdf)
Morocco/Spain: Update: Appeal highlights the human rights implications of the transfer of responsibility for immigration controls to third countries - The situation in Beniunesh is critical
UK: Legal Opinion on the Prevention of Terrorism Bill by Ben Emmerson QC (Matrix Chambers):
"I am asked to advise on the compatibility of the provisions of the new Prevention of Terrorism Bill with the requirements of domestic and international human rights law. For the reasons set out...it is my view that the entire scheme established under the Bill as it stands is incompatible with the United Kingdoms international obligations, and would be vulnerable to challenge in the courts."
"A War on Terror or a War on Justice? Terrorism, War and the Rule of Law" by Geoffrey Bindman. Presented at London South Bank University, Tuesday 8 February 2005
UK: Report of the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights: Prevention of Terrorism Bill - preliminary report (pdf) See also: Prevention of Terrorism Bill - full-text (pdf) introducing "control orders" (including "house arrest") on "suspected" people for "terrorist-related" activities and Explanatory Notes (link).
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 24 February 2005: Press release (pdf)
EU: European Arrest Warrant, report from the European Commission on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States (pdf) and Annex (pdf) Statewatch analysis
UK: Prevention of Terrorism Bill - full-text (pdf) introducing "control orders" (including "house arrest") on "suspected" people for "terrorist-related" activities and Explanatory Notes (link). It is intended to rush this through parliament in just 14 days. The Home Office has also produced four short briefing papers intended to emphasis the need for this new law:
Paper One: International terrorism: The threat
Paper Two: International terrorism: The government's strategy
Paper Three: International terrorism: Reconciling liberty and security - the government's strategy to reduce the threat
Paper Four: International terrorism: Protect and prepare
Judicial confirmation does not constitute a fair trial (Liberty, link) Liberty Briefing on control orders (pdf) Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, Part IV, Section 28 - Review February 2004 by Lord Carlile (pdf)
Liberty 2nd Reading Briefing (link)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 24 February 2005. The main agenda includes the Council objection to the "naming of shaming" of member states in the Commission's report on Joint Investigation Teams. The meeting will also discuss Council Conclusions on biometric data in visas and residence permits - these confirm Statewatch's story that a visa chip in passport creates a "collision problem" so the Council is now seeking to advance the inclusion of biometrics in the Visa Information System to 2006.
1. JHA "B" Point agenda
2. JHA "A" Point agenda (adopted without discussion)
3. Background Note (French)
4 Council objects to Commission report which "names and shames" governments (6047/2/05)
5. Council conclusions on biometric data in visas and residence permits (6492/05)
6. EU biometric visa policy unworkable
Spain-Morocco: Appeal highlights the human rights implications of the transfer of responsibility for immigration controls to third countries
EU: Data Protection and RFIDs The EU's Article 29 Working Party is concerned that some applications may "violate human dignity as well as data protection rights"
"Room to roam - England's Irish Travellers", a report of research by Dr Colm Power."This brief historical perspective outlines recent Irish Traveller migration to Britain and explains the social, legal and administrative contexts that impact on Travellers lives underlining the necessity for this research report. Irish Travellers refer to themselves as Pavees or Minceir. They are an indigenous nomadic minority group in Ireland (south and north) and Britain."
France: Passengers to face trial for preventing a violent deportation
Italy: Play on prison life to be staged in Rome. The prisoners' cultural association Papillon which operates from Rebibbia prison in Rome has organised the staging of a play called La Gabbia. Il carcere come metafora della violenza quotidiana (The Cage. Prison as a metaphor of everyday violence) in Rome on 21 March 2005 in the Vittoria theatre. The play was written by a former inmate, Giulio Salierno, and will be performed by actors including former inmates, with the support of the Rome city council and Libera, an association concerned with prisoners' rights. It is the first step in a project for the establishment of a pilot multi-purpose social centre to be managed entirely by prisoners and former prisoners. Leaflet (pdf)
UK: The new "anti-terror" laws: Taking Liberties, public meeting, 7-9pm Wednesday 2nd March 2005, Committee Room 10, House of Commons, Westminster. Hosted by Jim Dobbin MP. Speakers include Gareth Peirce, solicitor; Gillian Slovo, South-African born novelist; James Welsh, Legal Director of Liberty; Simon Hughes MP; Richard Harvey, Chair of Haldane Society; Prof. Paddy Hillyard, Queens University Belfast, author of the book Suspect Communities Peoples Experience of the Prevention of Terrorism Acts in Britain, Saghir Hussein, lawyer and Stop Political Terror. Leaflet (pdf)
UK: Britain: A Failed State, public meeting with David Shayler, Paul Feldman & Corinna Lotz. 6pm Thursday February 24 Polis Seminars at London Metropolitan University, Staff Common Room, Ladbroke House, Highbury Grove, N5. Leaflet (pdf)
UK: Victory for McLibel 2 against UK Government in European Court of Human Rights - press statement from the McLibel campaign, ECHR press release and full-text of the judgment
EU: Council objects to Commission report which "names and shames" governments: "the habit has been not to "name and shame"" governments which fail to implement decisions correctly (Presidency, Council of the European Union)
UN: "A more secure world: our shared responsibility" Report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change (full-text, pdf)
UK: Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill - as amended by 8 February 2005
UK: Inquiries Bill: Amnesty International calls for: "The government must withdraw the Inquiries Bill" (link) Full-text of the Inquiries Bill (pdf) Explanatory Notes (link) Amendments proposed as at 18.1.05 (link)
Spain: Update: Order on the treatment of migrant minors as adults repealed
EU: A small victory for openness: The European Commission has finally made available a full list of its expert groups (2004) (pdf) and a list of "Joint entities resulting from international agreements" (2004) (pdf). Press release from Jens-Peter Bonde MEP
EU: The principle of availability takes over from the notion of privacy: what price data protection?
UK: ID Card Bill passed by House of Commons with 224 votes in favour and 64 against - more MPs abstained than voted: only 288 MPs voted and 368 MPs did not. The Bill now goes to the House of Lords: Guardian (link) Identity Card Bill as amended in Committee dated 27 January 2005 (pdf) List of amendments and votes - 10 February (link) Identity Card Bill: Report on the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights:
Czech Republic: Prompt and accomodating implementation of EU data retention proposal See also: EU: Survey on police powers to exchange personal data across member states (pdf) Most police forces in member states have extensive powers to "autonomously" access and exchange data on individuals.
Uphold Scotland's tradition of peaceful protest - Message from G8 alternatives
How I entered the hellish world of Guantanamo Bay Martin Mubanga went on holiday to Zambia, but ended up spending 33 months in Guantanamo Bay, some of the time in the feared Camp Echo. Free at last and still protesting his innocence, he tells the full story to David Rose and Britain's role in Guantanamo Observer links).
Ten European associations file a complaint with the European Commission against Italy's collective expulsion of hundreds of migrants to Lybia
EU: Survey on police powers to exchange personal data across member states (pdf) Most police forces in member states have extensive powers to "autonomously" access and exchange data on individuals. No data protection provision on individuals rights in draft Framework Decision
EU: Laws on Joint Investigation Teams in a mess - UK "not complying" with the EU Framework Decision
Statewatch's Timetable on progress of new measures resulting from the 25 March 2004 EU Anti-Terrorist Declaration: Updated 1 February 2005: Timetable (pdf) Statewatch's "Scoreboard" and analysis finding that 27 out of 57 EU proposals have little or nothing to do with tackling terrorism they deal with crime in general and surveillance: Statewatch Scoreboard (pdf)
Terrorist Designation with Regard to European and International Law:The Case of the PMOI (pdf) Joint Opinion by Prof. Bill Bowring, Director of Human Rights and Social Justice Research Institute, London Metropolitan University and Prof. Douwe Korff, Professor of International Law, London Metropolitan University. "This Joint Opinion concerns the following questions: first, what is the significance in law of the word "terrorist"; second, how is it that an organization may find itself designated as "terrorist"; and third, what can the organization concerned do about it."
UK: Identity Card Bill: Report on the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights: "The report raises concerns about the compatibility of provisions of the Bill with the right to respect for private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and the right to non-discrimination in the protection of the Convention rights under Article 14 ECHR."
Statewatch European Monitor published. Vol 4 no 7/8, September-December 2004 [double issue]: Contents:
Dutch Presidency & the EU institutions * "Tampere II" - The Hague programme * Policing & criminal law * Counter-terrorism, security and civil liberties * Surveillance: biometrics, data retention, 'PNR', SIS * Immigration & asylum * Civil law * Secrecy and openness * Resources on JHA issues
UK: "Stop and search". The Home Office has issued a "consultation" report on stop and search this is accompanied by a Powerpoint presentation. Current practice is set out in: Stop and Search Action Team - Interim Guidance and Stop and Search Action Team - Strategy 2004-5
UK: Full-text of statement by the Home Secretary on the introduction of control orders for terrorist "suspects" Statement on the use of intercepts as evidence and Comments in the weekend press (link)
UK: Joint Committee on Human Rights on the Inquiries Bill (link) "The Committee raises concerns about the capacity of the Bill to provide a framework for inquiries necessary to comply with the right to life, under Article 2 ECHR, where a death occurs in state custody or agents of the state are implicated in a death." Full-text of the Inquiries Bill (pdf) Explanatory Notes (link) and Joint Committee on Human Rights on the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill (link) "The Committee raises a number of concerns about the compliance with Article 8 ECHR (right to respect for private and family life) of provisions in Part 1 of the Bill concerning the powers of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) in relation to the gathering, storage, use and disclosure of information." Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill (full-text, pdf) Explanatory Note (link)
Statewatch bulletin published: Full contents of latest bulletin
The Inquiries Bill and the murder of Pat Finucane Analysis and Commentaries: Pat Finucane centre analysis (link) Full-text of the Inquiries Bill (pdf) Explanatory Notes (link) Amendments proposed as at 18.1.05 (link)
UK: Government plans to bring in "control orders" including "home arrests" by executive action for "suspected" terrorists: Amnesty International (link) Guardian (link) and The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission criticises new home new home arrest controls
EU: European Commission: Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on the fight against organised crime COM(2005) 6 final
Northern Ireland: Lord Carlile review of Part VII of the Terrorism Act 2000 (pdf)
EU: European Commission White Paper on exchanges of information on convictions and the effect of such convictions in the European Union COM(2005) 10 final
UK: European Union Bill - setting up the referendum on the EU Constitution (pdf) Explanatory Note (link)
Canada/US/FATF/UK: Charities and NGOs targeted in "war on terror"
EU-Canada: Article 29 Data Protection Working Party clears the exchange of PNR (passenger name records) with Canada (pdf)
EU: Anti-terrorism legitimises sweeping new internal security complex
Ireland: NGO Alliance Shadow Report: In Response to the Irish Governments First National Report to CERD under the United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (pdf)
"To date, little real attempt has been made by the Government to curb racism in the media and to prohibit incitement to hatred... Debate on some Government policies has been conducted in a manner that has fuelled racism in Ireland, and little attempt has been made to censure politicians whose statements"
UK: Inquiries Bill: "The Inquiries Bill removes in one fell swoop the notion of independent scrutiny over the actions of government and government departments and agencies" (British Irish Rights Watch). Full-text of the Inquiries Bill (pdf) Explanatory Notes (link) Amendments proposed as at 18.1.05 (link) British Irish Rights Watch Briefing (pdf) BIRW press release (pdf) Pat Finucane centre analysis (link)
EU: European Parliament's Transport Committee agrees report on the introduction of 10 years driving licences: Draft EP report See also Statewatch report: EU driving licences to be renewed every 10 years and new security features added each time
'How can I leave? I have no legs' - a Greek campaign for mine survivors: At least sixty overland would-be migrants to Europe have lost their lives to the landmines on Greece's borders. A campaigner against the mines writes of one small victory in the long struggle for the rights of maimed mine survivors: IRR News Service (link)
EU-USA: US Secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, announced on 13 January that that the United States will establish a full-time attache from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to the European Union. "This new position is not only symbolic of our commitment to increased cooperation, but, by having a direct link between the Secretary and negotiating partners across Europe, it will allow for constant communication on an operational level," he said. Ridge announcement (link)
EU: The European Commission has published its proposal for a:
1. Visa Information System (VIS - COM (2004) 835)
2. Extended impact assessment (VIS)
3. Study for the extended impact assessment (VIS)
This is seen by some, but not all, EU member states as alternative to the a biometric visa sticker scheme: EU: Biometric visa policy unworkable - Council Presidency recommending current proposal be abandoned due to "collision" of chips and Commission asked to amend its proposal
Spain: Figures on anti-terrorist operations released
UK: Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, is seeking to negotiate agreements so that some Belmarsh detainees could be deported. BBC report (link) The Home Secretary told the Times newspaper that following the law lords judgement in December - which declared their detention unlawful - that he and the Foreign Secretary were seeking to get "memorandum of understandings" that people would not be subject to torture or the death penalty on their return. However, he admitted that this could only partially meet the law lords ruling. The 12 men affected by the law lords ruling are from Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan: Times (link). Law Lords judgement: Full-text of judgement (pdf)
Whether Egypt for one will agree is an open question having refused to agree to such terms last year, see: Statewatch Special Report: UK: Egyptian national unlawfully detained after intervention by Prime Minister (16.11.04) Target of Blair deportation intervention gets substantial compensation
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee: report on The Rehabiliation of Prisoners (pdf)
EU: European Commission: Green Paper an EU approach to managing economic migration (pdf)
UK: Genewatch report on: Police DNA database needs stronger safeguards for privacy and human rights (pdf) Press release and Briefings for MPs See also: UK: Police can keep DNA of innocent people indefinitely
The European Parliament has voted to re-elect P. Nikiforos Diamandouros as European Ombudsman with 564 votes out of a total of 643 votes cast. Mr Diamandouros said, "I look forward to continuing to serve EU citizens diligently, dynamically, effectively and, most importantly, fairly and impartially.": Statement to the Petitions Committee (pdf)
UK: Special Immigration Appeals Commission new website contains the "Outcomes" of their decisions with some detail on each (link)
Spain: Migrants death toll surges (Guardian, link). See also: "Nothing is true, nor is it a lie?" by Nieves Garcia Benito. A powerful and moving essay on the indifference of Europe to dead migrants whose lives end on Spain's beaches (Special report): "Nothing is true, nor is it a lie?"
Update: 5 January 2005: EU: Biometric visa policy unworkable - Council Presidency recommending current proposal be abandoned due to "collision" of chips and Commission asked to amend its proposal
Greece: European Court of Human Rights - finds against police handling of shooting
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