Statewatch News online: Archive for year 2006



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December 2006

EU: Documentation - update: Visas, trafficking and policing football matches

- Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the Visa Information System (VIS) and the exchange of data between Member States on short-stay visas (as at 20 December 2006)

- Action Plan on trafficking in human beings (December 2006)

- Revised policing-football handbook adopted (OJ) (full-text, pdf) Defines: "A person, known or not, who can be regarded as posing a possible risk to public order or anti social behaviour, whether planned or spontaneous, at or in connection with a football event" Point 4.7 ask for information on fans' "Reactions to decisions of the referee" and 6.8 asks for information on fans: "Political way of thinking"

Portugal: CIA renditions: Authorities accused of not cooperating with EP committee as details surface of more Guántanamo flights

EU: German Council Presidency:

- Council meetings timetable
- Provisional agendas for Council of ministers meetings - Justice and Home Affairs, pages 24-30
-
Programme on Police and Judicial Co-operation

Greece: Council of Europe Anti-Torture Committee (CPT): Report on Greece (pdf) The CPT has recommended various measures to stamp out ill-treatment by law enforcement officials; they include investigating allegations of ill-treatment thoroughly and, where appropriate, imposing disciplinary and/or criminal sanctions on the officers concerned... and the establishment of an independent police inspectorate. The conditions in the detention facilities for illegal migrants in Athens, in the Evros region and on the islands of Chios and Mytilini were of particular concern to the Committee. Most of the facilities visited were in a poor state of repair, unhygienic and lacking in basic amenities. The CPT noted that prisons in Greece remain overcrowded and offer only an impoverished regime for prisoners.

- Appendices to the Greece report on prisons and detention centres
- Press release on Greece report
- Government response to the report

EU: Driving licence Directive agreed: Full-text (pdf) with following: Amendments (pdf). This will introduce a uniform credit-card-like licence valid for only 10 years. A number of countries issue licences for life - Germany, Austria, France, Belgium and, until recently, the UK where licences for most holders are still valid up to the age of 70 years old. Now the UK only issues 10 year card licences because: "Your photocard driving licence is valid for a maximum of 10 years, to ensure that your photograph is kept up to date with your true likeness."

Two other significant changes will allow member states to require medical checks from the age of 50 years old and the introduction of a microchip containing additional data is "optional". The danger is that as new technology becomes cheaply available the microchip will become the norm and the data held on it extended.

UK: Government caves in on NHS patient database: Patients to be allowed to request that their personal medical records are not put on national database: Minister admits U-turn on NHS database amid privacy fears and How patients' protests forced a rethink on NHS computer records (Guardian, links). See: Campaign: The Big Opt Out (link)

EU-CIA Inquiry: Furious exchange of letters between Mr Solana (Council of the European Union) and the European Parliament's Inquiry chair (French) and Statewatch translation (English, pdf)

EU: Update (the first for several years) concerning Member States' application of the EC's visa list Regulation (pdf)

EU: European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia report on: Muslims in the EU: Discrimination and Islamophobia

EU: Commission Recommendation establishing a common "Practical Handbook for Border Guards (Schengen Handbook)" to be used by Member States' competent authorities when carrying out the border control of persons (COM 5186/2006, 81 pages)

UK: The police National DNA Database - Now is the time to have your say (from Genewatch, pdf)

EU: Council Presidency admits that the Council of the European Union (25 governments) and the European Commission have known about the US's "Automated Targeting System" (ATS) profiling all visitors since "September 2005": Full-text of EU Presidency statement to the European Parliament.The ATS issues computer-generated risk-scores in related to terrorism and crime on everyone going in and out of the USA for at least four years - this can result in refusal to allow travel, questioning, searches and surveillance

The ATS came to public attention in the USA when the Homeland Security Department posted a Notice on the Federal Register in November 2006 - showing that "targeting" extended beyond cargo to people. US General Accountability Office report on cargo The Federal Notice shows that Passenger Name Record (PNR) data on travellers from the EU is included in the ATS together with data from public and private sources. Moreover it states that ATS data can be shared with a multitude of federal, state and local agencies and foreign governments. The Homeland Security Department also issues a: Privacy Impact Assessment for the Automated Targeting System on 22 November 2006.

US privacy and civil liberties groups in the USA says that the ATS is illegal. Travellers are not allowed to see their records nor can they "contest the contents": Comments of 30 organisations and 16 experts

See also: Statewatch's Observatory on the exchange of data on passengers (PNR) with USA

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"The EU Presidency statement that the Council and Commission have know about the ATS for over a year is quite extraordinary. During this period they renegotiated the EU-USA PNR agreement claiming it was on the same terms as that agreed in 2004 when they clearly knew it was not. The Council and the Commission knew about it but did nothing until the existence of the ATS was made public and now they have asked for "clarification". What is required is the suspension of the PNR agreement until the situation is clarified".

EU: European Data Protection Supervisor Opinion on: Common Consular Instructions (pdf) The EDPS underlines that it is a political decision rather than a purely technical one to determine from which age fingerprints shall be collected. This should not be based entirely on arguments of feasibility. Especially the mandatory fingerprinting of all children aged 6+ raises also ethical questions. The EDPS moreover recalls that all biometric identification systems are inherently imperfect and that the system therefore must provide for adequate fallback solutions. See: Statewatch coverage: EU:Fingerprinting of children - the debate goes on: Spain taking fingerprints and facial images from children at birth; Czech Republic taking fingerprints from 5 and facial images from birth; Latvia and France in favour of fingerprints from 6 and facial images from birth. EU states will be free to fingerprint children from day one of their life as soon as it is technologically possible: Council Presidency proposed in June 2006 that there should be the compulsory fingerprinting of children from the age of 12 year old.

UK: Court victory for Fairford protesters. The House of Lords Appeal Court ruled that the police were were wrong to detain two coachloads of 120 people on their way to protest at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire in March 2003. Their lawyer told the Law Lords that people had the right to demonstrate peacefully on matter of great public interest. Law Lords judgment (full-text, pdf) Statement from Fairford Coach Action campaign (pdf) Statement from Bindmans (pdf)

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: "This is a very important ruling. The police have taken upon themselves the power to stop demonstrators assembling on a number of occasions and have got away with it. It is not for the police to decide who can protest and who cannot, their job is to uphold the law when it is breached and not to pre-emptively curtail a basic right in a democratic society".

EU-ECJ: The Court of First Instance has found against the Council of the European Union on the inclusion of OMPI on the EU's list of groups subject to the freezing of funds: Court judgment (pdf) Council "Factsheet" (pdf)

EU: The “principle of availability” Statewatch analysis by Tony Bunyan. The free market in access to data/intelligence will rely on “self-regulation” by the law enforcement agencies and make accountability almost meaningless.

EU: Draft Council Resolution on "information exchange on the expulsion of radical preachers inciting violence and racial hatred" (EU doc no: 15664/06). While the title of the Council document speaks of "radical preachers" the text in clause 1 refers to an "expelled third country national(s)" who are to be denied re-entry by all EU states. This covers people expelled: "on the grounds of behaviour linked to terrorist activities or constituting acts of explicit and deliberate provocation of discrimination, hatred or violence" against specific groups - clearly this is intended to exclude permanently those expelled against whom criminal charges could not be brought.

New Statewatch publication: Border Wars and Asylum Crimes by Frances Webber. When the Statewatch pamphlet "Crimes of Arrival" by the same author was written, in 1995, the title was a metaphor for the way the British government, in common with other European governments, treated migrants and especially, asylum seekers. Now, a decade on, that title describes a literal truth: Order publication (£10, 36 pages, A4)

"The exclusionary imperatives of reduction of numbers arriving and an increase in those removed are driving European asylum policy steadily to a penal model. This had its beginnings in the early 1980s, and in 1992, the Ad Hoc Committee formulating EU asylum policy pre-Maastricht stated its view that intercontinental movement to seek asylum was 'unlawful'. Now, the whole panoply of criminal powers, including the regular use of the criminal law, segregation from society, mass detention, fingerprinting and electronic tagging, is brought to bear on asylum claimants. Immigration police have all the powers and none of the accountability of 'normal' police. Private sector guards on minimum wages are recruited to keep asylum claimants in order and to deport them, and may use 'reasonable force' in doing so.

There is a frightening continuity between the treatment of asylum claimants and that of terrorist suspects. In the name of the defence of our way of life and our enlightenment values from attack by terrorists or by poor migrants, that way of life is being destroyed by creeping authoritarianism, and those values - amongst which the most important is the universality of human rights - betrayed."

The War on Freedom and Democracy, edited by Tony Bunyan. Published in 2006 by Spokesman books. Order publication (Paperback, £10.99). These essays were prepared for the launch of the European Civil Liberties Network in October 2005. The passage of time since then had served to emphasise the relevance of the issues raised and the analyses provided. Contributors: Tony Bunyan, Heiner Busch, Deirdre Curtin, Liz Fekete, Balthasar Glatti, Ben Hayes, Paddy Hillyard, Gus Hosein, Gergana Jouleva, Alexander Kashumov, Virginia Mantouvalou, Thomas Mathiesen, Steve Peers, Max Rowlands, Phil Scraton, A. Sivanandan, Lorenzo Trucco and Aidan White. Order Publication

Friends of Statewatch launched - support our work A message from our chair, Gareth Peirce:

"In routinely placing complex policies and increased state powers in the public domain, Statewatch performs a function that no other organisation fulfils. One is driven to wonder what it could have accomplished, and could accomplish in the future, were it to have even a tiny percentage of the resources enjoyed by other organisations.

It is clear that Statewatch's only and continuing priority is to remain faithful to its raison d'etré, namely to be principled, proactive and honest. In this age of heightened and increasingly repressive consolidation of state powers, there is no alternative than to have in place an experienced organisation which regards its duty to monitor and to give voice, constantly, to what it observes."

EU: Commission Green Paper on: Diplomatic and consular protection of Union citizens in third countries COM (2006) 712

EU: Commission Communication on: Reinforcing the management of the European Union's Southern Maritime Borders COM(2006) 733 final

EU: Council Presidency report on: Report on the review of The Hague Programme

EU: Commission Communication on: The Global Approach to Migration one year on: Towards a comprehensive European migration policy COM(2006) 735

Council of Europe: Report of the Group of Wise Persons to the Committee of Ministers on the long-term effectiveness of the ECHR control mechanism

Scotland-Special Branch: Tayside Special Branch Community Contact Unit - a Briefing from Scotland Against Criminalising Communities See: Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (link)

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, Brussels, 4-5 December 2006: Press release (pdf)

Background Note (pdf) "A" Point agenda (adopted without discussion) plus:

-
Council draft proposal on the Fundamental Human Rights Agency (29 November), Draft proposal (10 November with member state positions) and see: European Voice (link)
-
Draft conclusions on the Hague programme
- Visa list amendments

EU: Three EU Council Presidencies programme: 18-month programme on asylum, immigration, visa and border policy

EU: Biometric EU ID cards by the back door: The Justice and Home Affairs Council on 4-5 December is to adopt - without debate - a Resolution on "security standards" for national identity cards across the EU: Draft Resolution: EU doc no: 15356/06 The EU does not have the legal power to impose "security standards" and biometrics on national ID cards. However, this "non-binding" Resolution opens the way (enables) for biometrics to be taken (with the same standards as already agreed for EU passports, that is, fingerprints) and be added to ID cards (together with other "optional" biometrics) where the ID cards are used for "travel purposes", which they are throughout the Schengen area. As this is a so-called "non-binding" ("soft law") measure national and European parliaments (let alone civil society) have no say.

See also: previous report: EU: Biometrics and national ID cards back on the table: despite admitting that "there is no legal basis in the Treaty governing these issues" the EU is still pushing for harmonisation on this highly contentious issue.

EU-CIA-RENDITION - European Parliament Inquiry: Draft report of the year-long inquiry (pdf)

This is backed by two substantive working documents from the European Parliament committee of inquiry: On extraordinary rendition (Working documents no 7, including details of cases considered) and On the companies linked to the CIA, aircraft used by the CIA and the European countries in which CIA aircraft have made stopovers (Working document no 8, 64 pages) See for full background and documentation: Statewatch's Observatory on CIA rendition

November 2006

EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) issues a 2nd, critical, Opinion on the Council's draft proposal on data protection on police and judicial issues: Full-text of opinion (pdf)

"The texts currently being discussed within the Council do not incorporate the amendments proposed by the European Parliament, nor the opinions of the EDPS and of the Conference of European Data Protection Authorities. On the contrary, in quite a few cases provisions in the Commission proposal, offering safeguards to the citizens, are deleted or substantially weakened.

As a result, there is a substantial risk that the level of protection will be lower than the level of protection afforded under Directive 95/46/EC or even under the more generally formulated Council of Europe Convention No 108 which is binding on the Member States" (emphasis in original)

For full background and documentation see Statewatch's: Observatory on data protection in police and judicial matters

UK: Damning report on Harmondsworth detention centre by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (pdf)

Northern Ireland: Report of the independent international panel on alleged collusion in sectarian killings in Northern Ireland (Pat Finucane Centre, link)

EU: Implementation of EU Action Plan to combat terrorism: 1) A useful summary of the: Implementation of the legislative instruments as at 24 November 2006 and 2) Six monthly report on the Action Plan to combat terrorism this is a commentary and includes the following: a) progress on implementing the European arrest warrant has been "slow and uneven" and progress "slow and uncertain" on the European Evidence Warrant proposal and on cross-border police cooperation - noting that these proposals "have a wider application than counter terrorism"; b) Eighteen member states, plus Norway, Iceland and Switzerland, have started introducing RFID chips with a copy of the normal passport photo (not, as stated, a "biometric passport"); c) a budget of 1400 million euro has been earmarked for "security-related research"; and d) discussions in the Council on the "principle of availability" have been "suspended" as the incoming German Council Presidency wants to incorporate "aspects of the Prum Treaty into the Union framework" - Comment: discussion on the Commission proposal for the "principle of availability" may have been suspended but is it contaminating a whole series of individual measures.

EU-Brussels seminar organised by the Government of Quebec on: Transparency, Institutions and Journalism: Information access in Québec and in the European Institutions - programme (pdf) To register (link) Speakers: Paul-André Comeau (École nationale d’administration publique, Québec), Jacques Saint-Laurent (Commission d’accès à l’information du Québec), Jakob Thomsen (European Commission General Secretariat), Kathleen Lévesque (journalist at the Daily Le Devoir,(Montréal), Marc Gruber (International Federation of Journalists), Jean Quatremer (European correspondent for Libération in Brussels), Tony Bunyan (Statewatch), Christos Sirros (Délégué général du Québec à Bruxelles)

EU-SWIFT: Article 29 Data Protection Working Party has ruled that SWIFT operated in breach of EU privacy law by passing financial data to the USA: Adopted Opinion (pdf) Press release (pdf)

EU: Ten Years after the Geneva Appeal: what are the prospects for European judicial cooperation on in criminal matters?

Australia: The report of the People's Inquiry into immigration detention in Australia (link, pdf)

EU: Observatory on data protection in police and judicial matters - updated with the latest draft (22 November) plus Declaration by the European Data Protection Authorities, 2 November 2006 call on: "the Member States to respect and strengthen the civil liberties of the citizens living in the EU to establish an adequate system of data protection arrangements guaranteeing a high and equivalent standard of data protection applicable to all data processing for law enforcement purposes."

EU-CIA-Inquiry: Former Guantanamo detainee meets MEPs investigating CIA renditions (European Parliament press release). "When Murat Kurnaz - a German resident of Turkish origin - travelled to Pakistan in late 2001 to "find himself and deepen his faith", he told MEPs on Wednesday, he was arrested by the Pakistani police. "They caught me and sold me to the Americans for 3,000 or 5,000 dollars," he said. Mr Kurnaz was transferred to a prison in Afghanistan and later flown to Guantanamo, where he remained until August this year when he was released without charge. See also: Statewatch's Observatory on CIA rendition

UK: Protecting Children’s Personal Information: ICO Issues Paper (Information Commissioner's Office, pdf). Child database "will ruin family privacy" (Daily Telegraph, link) Databases could be danger to young, says study (Guardian, link)

Poland: Report on detention centres (International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights)

EU: The European Commission adopted changes to the SIRENE manual on 22 September. This governs the transfer of data/files from national Sirene offices after a search on the Schengen Information System (SIS):

Commission Decision: 757/2006
Commission Decision: 758/2007

A Belgian weekly magazine published last week the testimony of 4 guards working in a Belgian detention centre. They report very serious practices which qualify as inhuman or degrading treatments: Full report (French, pdf)

EU: Observatory on data protection in police and judicial matters - updated with the latest drafts (17 November) and questions

UK: Article 19 meeting: Panel discussion: Tuesday, 21 November 2006: The Forbidden Zone: Environmental Information denied in Russia: A discussion about environmental secrecy in Russia in the context of declining freedom of information and expression (pdf)

Shetland: An accolade for the local community (Shetland News, link) 17 November 2006. The community led campaign to prevent the deportation of Lerwick man Sakchai Makao back to his native Thailand was honoured last night at a ceremony in Glasgow. See also: Young Shetland man of Thai origin wins appeal against deportation under Home Office crackdown: Shetland News (link)

Malta: British High Commission issues first (real) biometric visa (press release) Background

Ottawa Principles on Anti-terrorism and Human Rights (full-text, pdf) In June 2006, experts on human rights and terrorism met in their individual capacities at the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada to develop the following Principles on Anti-terrorism and Human Rights. They shared a common view that the preservation of human rights – not least the right to life – is the central motivator of anti-terrorism. They also believed that human rights constitute an elemental and immutable constraint on how anti-terrorism is conducted. The struggle for collective security must not be an assault on the individual’s life, liberty and security of the person. This document is the product of their deliberations

UK: Joint Human Right Committee report: The Human Rights Act: the Department of Constitutional Affairs and Home Office Reviews (pdf).

EU-CIA-RENDITION: What happened at dinner?

EU: European Commission: Recommendation establishing a common "Practical Handbook for Border Guards (Schengen Handbook)" to be used by Member States' competent authorities when carrying out the border control of persons (pdf, COM 5186)

UK: The Rules of the Game - Terrorism, Community and Human Rights by Andrew Blick, Tufyal Choudhury and Stuart Weir. A report by Democratic Audit for the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust

Denmark: Rebellion: Copenhagen International Conference: Anti-terrorism legislation, political rights and international solidarity Saturday 18 November 2006

Declaration of the Copenhagen international conference ‘Antiterrorism legislation, political rights and international solidarity’, convened by ‘Rebellion’ (Denmark), November 2006

Rebellion in Denmark – an overview

Arms without borders - report from Amnesty Interntional, IANSA and Oxfam on: Why a globalised trade needs global controls

Germany: Bundesrat gives the green light to identity number (link, Heise online) "All citizens of the Federal Republic, toddlers and octogenarians included, will hence from July 2007 onwards be assigned an identity number by the Federal Central Tax Office. The hitherto dispersed data stocks at some 5,500 registration offices encompassing the approximately 80 million persons registered in Germany will thereafter for the first time be managed centrally"

UK: Speech by Sir Ian Blair, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, 11 November 2006 in Berlin: Urban Age Summit Speech on terrorism and crime

UK: Campaigner Against American Bases Walks Free

Speech by the Director-General of MI5 (the Security Service) on: "The international terrorist threat to the UK" on 9 November 2006: Full-text of speech (pdf) Commentary: MI5: 30 terror plots being planned in UK - Intelligence chief says 200 networks currently under surveillance, Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian, link)

UK: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006 becomes law (pdf)

Sweden: UN Human Rights Committee finds that Sweden broke the international prohibition against torture. The case concerned the rendition of two Egyptians from Sweden 2001 by undercover US and Egyptian agents. The UN Committee also states that the treatment of the two men on Swedish soil (Bromma Airport in Sweden) in connection with the rendition was a breach of the ban on torture and inhuman treatment.

Full text of: UN Human Rights Committee Decision, 6 November 2006

Statewatch coverage: Sweden: Expulsions carried out by US agents, men tortured in Egypt and Update

Nuffield Council on Bioethics: Launch of consultation on forensic use of bioinformation (pdf) The Council would like to hear about your views on a number of questions raised by the ethical issues surrounding the forensic use of bioinformation.

CIA-Rendition: European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) “Extraordinary rendition - a European Perspective" speech by Olivier Dutheillet de Lamothe (Substitute member, France) (Cardozo School of Law, 25 September 2006 - "Bauer Lecture")

EU: Annual report of the UK House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union

‘Seeking asylum alone’ – Unaccompanied Children and Refugee Protection in the UK (press release)

EU: Directive on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing (pdf) Press release (pdf). This measure is intended to combat money-laundering and terrorist financing. It covers many forms of financial transactions including those over 15,000 euros which raise suspicions of financial institutions and for which there is no plausible explanation.

There are no data protection provisions but the Directive comes under the 1995 EC Directive on data protection. However, Article 28 which says: "The institutions and persons covered by this Directive and their directors and employees shall not disclose to the customer concerned or to other third persons the fact that information has been transmitted..." is contrary to the rights set out in Articles 10 and 11 of the 1995 Directive on the right of the individual to be informed. Article 27 allows data to be passed to: "a third country which imposes requirements equivalent to those laid down in this Directive, and that they are from the same professional category and are subject to equivalent obligations as regards professional secrecy and personal data protection." - which, theoretically, would prohibit data being passed to the USA.

EU: Data protection proposal in a muddle - member states divided on the scope of the draft Council Framework Decision on the protection of personal data in police and judicial matters

Italy: Documents sent to European Parliament committee on renditions allege other renditions and details of Abu Omar cover-up and the Britel rendition

Handicap International: Fatal: Footprint: The Global Human Impact of Cluster Munitions and Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional cluster sample survey (Lancet)

Waking up in the surveillance society: Richard Thomas, the UK Information Commissioner, speaking today (2.11.06) at the 28th International Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners' Conference in London said:

“Two years ago I warned that we were in danger of sleepwalking into a surveillance society. Today I fear that we are in fact waking up to a surveillance society that is already all around us."

Press release (pdf)
A Report on the Surveillance Society: For the Information Commissioner by the Surveillance Studies Network, 2006 (pdf, 102 pages)
see also:
While Europe sleeps... by Tony Bunyan

EU-G6 Conclusions of Interior Ministers meeting 25-26 October 2006. G6 is comprised of France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK. For background see: G6-G8-Prum: Behind closed doors - policy-making in secret intergovernmental and international fora and "Behind Closed Doors: the meeting of the G6 Interior Ministers at Heiligendamm": House of Lords EU Committee report

UK: National Health Database: National Health Warning over privacy of 50m patient files - Call for boycott of medical database accessible by up to 250,000 NHS staff (Guardian, link) From cradle to grave, your files available to a cast of thousands (link) 'A national database is not essential' What health professionals say about the new NHS database (link) What can patients do? (link)

UK: DNA database: The Independent reports: Growing DNA database 'turning Britain into a nation of suspects' and DNA pioneer's civil rights fears (BBC, link): DNA fingerprinting inventor Prof Jeffreys told BBC Radio Four's Today programme:

"The real concern I have in the UK is what I see as a sort of 'mission creep'. "When the DNA database was initially established, it was to database DNA from criminals so if they re-offended, they could be picked up.

"Now hundreds of thousands of entirely innocent people are now populating that database, people who have come to the police's attention, for example by being charged with a crime and subsequently released."

He went to say that the samples were "skewed socio-economically and ethnically", adding: "My view is that that is discriminatory."

EU: Council of the European Union to back down - for now - on its demand extending agencies to have access to the SIS II (Schengen Information System)? A Presidency Note to the Mixed Committee of Senior Officials (mixed, includes Norway, Iceland and Switzerland): EU doc no: 14490/06, 30 October 2006 says the package of three measures is agreed with the European Parliament except for giving access to internal security agencies. The Note says that the "important issue" of which agencies have access to VIS "will require further examination, including the possibility to submit.new legislative proposals on this subject".

October 2006

EU: The age at which childrens' fingerprints will be compulsorily taken for visas has been lowered from 12 year olds - as proposed by the Council Presidency in June - to 6 year olds and above under the latest draft of the EU Regulation on Common Consular Instructions (CCI) - this sets the standards for issuing visas to visit the EU under the proposed Regulation on the Visa Information System (VIS) database.

Source: Draft Regulation amending the Common Consular Instructions (CCI) on visas for diplomatic and consular posts in relation to the introduction of biometrics including provisions on the organisation of the reception and processing of visa applications (EU doc no: 13610/06, dated 23 October 2006).

Statewatch coverage: EU:Fingerprinting of children - the debate goes on: Spain taking fingerprints and facial images from children at birth; Czech Republic taking fingerprints from 5 and facial images from birth; Latvia and France in favour of fingerprints from 6 and facial images from birth. EU states will be free to fingerprint children from day one of their life as soon as it is technologically possible: Council Presidency proposed in June 2006 that there should be the compulsory fingerprinting of children from the age of 12 year old.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"All the discussions by EU governments in the Council about the age at which children should be subject to compulsory fingerprinting to get a visa are based on the technological possibilities - not on the moral and political questions of whether it is right or desirable.

In special cases the taking of fingerprints where a child is "at risk" in order to ensure their safety is necessary. But this does not in any way justify submitting all young children to this intrusive process.

There was a big, and public, debate over the age for taking the fingerprints of children for EURODAC of asylum-seekers and 14 years olds and above was agreed. If it becomes technologically possible to take the fingerprints of children at birth will this become the norm for EU visas, passports and identity cards?"

Visa Information System (VIS): Latest draft of the Regulation showing the original Commission proposal and the current draft Council positions: EU doc no 14359/06, dated 25 October 2006. VIS will become one of the world's biggest fingerprint database growing to an estimated 70 million people in the first ten years. The Commission has adopted an implementing decision which sets out Strasbourg and an Austrian town as sites for the VIS. This follows a decision to place the VIS in the same location as the SIS, and to provide also for the creation of an agency to manage the VIS in future (just like the SIS).

Standing committee of experts on international immigration, refugee and criminal law (Meijers Committee): Note on the recent proposal by the Commission to amend the EC Visa Regulation (pdf) Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor, January 2006 and EU Data protection working party criticise proposals on VIS

G6 meeting in Stratford upon Avon, UK - all spin no Conclusions - The UK Home Office has put out a press release on the G6 meeting in the UK last week - Meeting of the interior ministers of France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom

War on Want report: Corporate Mercenaries: The threat of private military and security companies (link) "Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) sell security and military services at home and overseas. Over the last 10 years these companies have moved from the periphery of international politics into the corporate boardroom, becoming a ‘normal’ part of the military sector."

EU: Statewatch analysis: “The Future of Europol” - more powers, less regulation, precious little debate by Ben Hayes. The EU is currently discussing the future of Europol but is ignoring critical issues in favour of giving the agency more powers and a more “flexible” legal framework

See background: Draft Council Conclusions on the future of Europol JHA Council December 2006 and "Friends of the Presidency" report on the future of Europol

EU: Standing committee of experts on international immigration, refugee and criminal law (Meijers Committee): Proposal for a Regulation establishing a mechanism for the creation of Rapid Border Intervention Teams and amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 as regards that mechanism (COM (2006) 401 final) See background: Council discussions on Articles 1-4 First Council discussion: EU doc no 13137/06 and Commission proposal

EU: Draft Council proposal on a Framework Decision on data protection on police and judicial cooperation - New draft and new questions: 13246/2/06, dated 25 October 2006: Contains revisions by the Presidency and puts substantial issues to the Articles 36 Committee meeting on 10 November.

See Statewatch Analysis by Tony Bunyan: EU data protection in police and judicial cooperation matters: Rights of suspects and defendants under attack by law enforcement demands (pdf) and Full-text documentation is available on Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU

EU: Status of ratification of EU-US Agreements of 25 June 2003 on extradition and of bilateral instruments

It is interesting to note that the conclusion of these agreements requires all EU member states to effectively replace the many bilateral agreements they have with the USA - but when it comes to data protection (see story above) all bilateral agreements with member states and the EU with the USA on passing over data and intelligence on individuals are to remain untouched as to do so would: "jeopardise the informal excellent contacts developed over time by the US law enforcement agencies with their opposite numbers in the Member States" (EU-US JHA High level meeting in Helsinki on 18 July 2006).

EU-USA: Today, 26 October 2006, the USA requirement that EU passports - to qualify for the Visa Waiver Scheme - have to have "biometrics" came into force. In fact, the "requirement" means that all new passports issued from today have to have the normal passport photo "digitised", that is copied onto an RFID chip (radio frequency identity) - so-called "face-mapping technology". This is not a biometric. Digitised photos are only useful for "one-to-one" checks, not "one-to-many" (ie: against a large database).

The taking of a biometric requires the individual to be present in person at an enrolment centre where biometrics are taken from them - fingerprints, iris scan or facial scan (1,840 unique points on their face). The taking of real biometrics will start next year in some member states (for new applicants, then renewals) and will be in force throughout the EU from 2008. With this in mind it is interesting that in the UK in the last year the number of new passports issued has risen from the norm of 5 million per annum to 6.5 million for 10-year passports.

In order to confirm the EU's compliance with US demands the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union put out a document on 24 October listing the EU states who have introduced these so-called "biometric passports": EU doc no: 14356/06 (pdf) See also: BBC News (link)

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"The notion that "biometric" passports are being introduced is plain "spin". All that is happening is the digitisation of the normal passport photo which meets the standards agreed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) - these standards do not require the taking of finger-prints which are optional.

It is ironic is that the EU will introduce the taking of fingerprints across Europe for all new passports - but the USA has no plans to asks its citizens to do the same"

Still unresolved is the USA's acceptance of 10 EU member states citizens into the Waiver Scheme: Report from the European Commission damning on US intransigence on visa reciprocity.(full-text: COM 568, 3.10.06) It shows that progress has been made with nine countries but none at all with the USA - the USA refuses to include Greece and nine new member states: Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland and Slovakia in the "Visa Waiver Scheme". The report says there are "no signs of tangible progress" and it questions the data used by the US side to support its position: no information is supplied on the reasons for refusing visa from the 10 EU states and no accurate figures on overstaying are available. It concludes that the Commission believes that steps should now be taken to restore visa requirements on US "nationals holding diplomatic and duty/official passports".

Amnesty International: Report on Ceuta and Melilla: Spain and Morocco: Failure to protect the rights of migrants - one year on (report, pdf) Letter (pdf)

EU: CIA tried to silence EU on torture flights - Germany offered access to prisoner in Morocco if it quelled opposition (Guardian, link)

EU: Update: Draft Framework Decision on data protection on police and judicial matters (DPFD) : 13918/06, dated 13 October 2006: Question on scope: Note to Article 36 Committee on the draft Framework Decision should cover only exchanges between member states (international) or domestic (national) processing as well. Six member states "have expressed doubts" as the measure covering domestic processing - Switzerland, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden and UK. And:

- 13958/06, dated 16 October 2006: List provided by the General Secretariat of the Council on data protection provisions in other third pillar instruments. It does not cover the Schengen agreement whose provisions are stricter than the draft proposal. Most importantly, provisions in all other measures and proposals which refer to the Council of Europe Convention 1981 and Recommendation (87) 15 on the use of personal data in the police sector would automatically be replaced by the new DPFD (see Recital 25) - which, on the evidence of the current Council draft, will set far lower standards for those member states who sought to implement CoE standards.

See Statewatch Analysis by Tony Bunyan: EU data protection in police and judicial cooperation matters: Rights of suspects and defendants under attack by law enforcement demands (pdf)

Full-text documentation is available on Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU

EU: High Level Meeting on Prum Treaty: "a high level conference will be organised on 16 November 2006 in Vienna by Austrian and German authorities on the possible relevance and integration of the provisions of the Prum Treaty in the European Union framework" (from minutes of the Police Chiefs Task Force). For background see: G6-G8-Prum: Behind closed doors - policy-making in secret intergovernmental and international fora and "Behind Closed Doors: the meeting of the G6 Interior Ministers at Heiligendamm": House of Lords EU Committee report. Informal Meeting of European Data Protection Authorities, Bonn, 27 July 2006: Opinion on the data protection aspects of the Prum Convention and Opinion of CNIL (Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertes The Prum Treaty was signed on 27 May 2005 by Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Austria - Italy has since indicated it wants to join: Prum Treaty - full-text (pdf)

Northern Ireland: DNA data held on 1,119 innocent children

EU: Police Football Handbook (pdf) Defines: "A person, known or not, who can be regarded as posing a possible risk to public order or anti social behaviour, whether planned or spontaneous, at or in connection with a football event" Point 4.7 ask for information on fans' "Reactions to decisions of the referee" and 6.8 asks for information on fans: "Political way of thinking"

EU: Visa Information System (VIS) - "EU VISIT system" takes shape

UPDATED: Draft Regulation on VIS and the exchange of data between Member States on short-stay visas (doc no 13861/06, dated 12 October 2006) This document compares the Commission proposal to the current "compromise" draft and sets out outstanding questions.

The EU is currently deciding on the purpose, function and scope of the VIS and law enforcement access to it. The personal data of everyone who applies for an EU short-stay visa, including their photograph and fingerprints, will be recorded in the VIS (this includes persons whose applications for a visa are rejected). As with the "US VISIT system", this data will ultimately be used to facilitate identity checks and verify entry to and exit from the EU. In addition, the "internal security" agencies of the member states and Europol will have access to the data. See:

- Previous: Draft Regulation on VIS and the exchange of data between Member States on short-stay visas (12190/06, 7 September 2006 - shows original proposal, proposed European Parliament amendments and suggested "presidency compromise")

- Council Decision establishing the Visa Information System (June 2004)

Draft Decision on access to VIS by internal security agencies and Europol:
- Commission proposal (COM (2005) 600, 24 November 2005)
- Police cooperation working party (9641/06, 7 June 2006)
- Proposals for redrafting and outstanding questions (10627/06, 27 June 2006)
- Proposals for redrafting (11405/06, 3 August 2006)
- Proposals as at 16 October 2005 (EU doc no: 11405/1/06)
- UPDATED: Proposal as at 19 October 2006 (EU doc no: 14196/06)

- Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor (20 January 2006), including the following remarks:

"One must bear in mind that the VIS is an information system developed in view of the application of the European visa policy and not as a law enforcement tool. Routine access would indeed represent a serious violation of the principle of purpose limitation. It would entail a disproportionate intrusion in the privacy of travellers who agreed to their data being processed in order to obtain a visa, and expect their data to be collected, consulted and transmitted, only for that purpose."

EU-USA PNR formal adoption of agreement: Press release and Report on debate in the European Parliament

For full background documentation and history, see Statewatch's Observatory on the exchange of data on passengers (PNR) with the USA

EU: Council of the European Union (25 governments) adopts new: Rules of Procedure and Council Decision amending comitology" procedures: implementing powers conferred on the Commission

EU-Norway and Iceland now covered by European Arrest Warrant (EAW): Council Decision and Agreement

UK: Conference: "Reclaiming our rights", Saturday 2nd December 2006, 10:00 - 17:00. The Graduate Centre (Libeskind Building), London Metropolitan University

Copenhagen: Conference: The Danish association ’Rebellion’ invites you to participate in and contribute to: Copenhagen International Conference Anti-terrorism legislation, political rights and international solidarity, Saturday 18 November 2006

UK: The Case Against Vetting: How the child protection industry is poisoning adult-child relations (Manifesto Club report, pdf). The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill will mean that one third of the adult working population will be subject to ongoing criminal checks. Those now routinely vetted include: 16-year-olds who teach younger kids to read; hospital secretaries who rarely meet children; foster carers’ friends; school governors; parent volunteers in schools; cricket umpires; private music tutors; university lecturers who teach 17-year-olds; students who help out on university open days; plumbers who check the school radiators; grandmothers who volunteer in schools; child psychologists who review adoption applications; teenagers whose parents are childminding a younger child. Running an after-school club is now subject to more stringent tests than selling explosives, or practising law. See also: Manifesto Club: Vetting Campaign (link)

EU: Statewatch briefing papers: Schengen Information System (SIS) II - legislation agreed

Immigration Regulation: The Commission's ambitions to amend the existing SIS rules in order to harmonize the grounds for listing, to remove expressly family members of EU citizens from the SIS blacklist, to alter the rules concerning access by authorities, to extend the management period for alerts and to take over management of the system have all been rebuffed by the Council. See: Statewatch briefing paper: SIS II Regulation

Policing and Criminal Law Decision: The new Decision will differ from the current Schengen rules as regards the inclusion of biometric data. The rules on types of alerts will also be amended to include copies of European Arrest Warrants and connected data, and a lower threshold to issue alerts relating to surveillance. Access to SIS data would also be widened for Eurojust and (if the Council's text is accepted) security agencies. See: Statewatch briefing paper: SIS II Decision

Adopted texts, European Parliament report and background documentation: see
SIS II: key texts

UK: Joint Committee on human rights: Human trafficking - report

Italy: Renditions: Judge notifies defendants of the state of play in investigations into Abu Omar rendition: High-level SISMI and CIA officials involved

EU: Schengen Convention: Rules governing the Schengen Information System revised (pdf)

UK-Guantanamo: Court judgment goes against British people held in Guantanamo Bay. See Save Omar website

EU-USA PNR: the Council of the European Union has now produced the separate texts on passenger name record (PNR) access by the USA.

1. New Council Decision on EU-USA PNR deal
This replaces the previous Decision which the EU court ruled was on the wrong legal basis.

2. New Council Agreement on EU-USA PNR deal
This replaces the previous Agreement which the EU court ruled was on the wrong legal basis

3. Text of letter from the US Department of Homeland Security on their "interpretation" of "certain provisions" of the "Undertakings" of 11 May 2004
This letter from the USA re-interprets parts of the "Undertakings" agreed in 2004 and which still form part of the Agreement.

See: Statewatch critique:
EU-USA PNR agreement renegotiated to meet US demands - when the law changes in the USA so too does access to data and how it is processed

4. Council reply to the US letter
The Council's reply to the US Department of Homeland Security says that the USA's "commitments" to implement the "Undertakings" allows the EU to declare there is an "adequate level of data protection" - but is this statement based on the 2004 "Undertakings" or their new "interpretation" by the USA?

5. US Undertakings attached to agreement, 2004

6. On 11 October the European Parliament plenary session debated the new Decision and Agreement: Abstracts from speakers who intervened on behalf of their groups

For full background documentation and history, see Statewatch's Observatory on the exchange of data on passengers (PNR) with the USA

Denmark: Terror case against the association "Oproer" (Rebellion)

UK-ALGERIA agreements signed in July now published, including the one on extradition of people who are in danger of facing torture and ill-treatment:

1. Convention between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria on Extradition

2. The Convention between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters London, 11 July 2006

3.
Convention between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria on Judicial Co-operation in Civil and Commercial Matters

4.
Agreement on the Circulation of Persons and Readmission between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria

See: Amnesty International - Algeria (link)
and Statewatch's
Observatory on "Terrorists" lists

EU: Report from the LIBE Committee Delegation on the Visit to Tenerife and Fuerteventura (ES) Rapporteur: Ms Jean Lambert (pdf)

EU: ECRE (European Council on Refugees and Exiles) on the asylum procedures directive: ECRE Information Note on the Council Directive 2005/85/EC of 1 December 2005 on minimum standards on procedures in Member States for granting and withdrawing refugee status

Full-text of the Directive (pdf)
Statewatch analysis: EU law on asylum procedures: An assault on human rights? (November 2003)

EU-US PNR deal: Sophie In't Veld (D66, Netherlands, ALDE group), the EP rapporteur, has got the parliament to agree to hold a public debate on the matter tomorrow afternoon during the Brussels plenary session (11 October).
Letter from Sophie In't Veld to Commissioner Frattini asking a series of questions on the agreement (pdf).

For full background documentation and history, see Statewatch's Observatory on the exchange of data on passengers (PNR) with the USA

EU: Latest Council draft of the Framework Decision on data protection in police and judicial matters: Full-text: EU doc no: 13246/1/06 REV1, 9 October 2006. It will be seen in the introduction (p2, pt 4) that the draft "departs from the point of view that the FD will also be applicable to domestic data processing"

See Statewatch 18-page analysis:
EU data protection in police and judicial cooperation matters: Rights of suspects and defendants under attack by law enforcement demands (pdf) and full-text documentation on Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU

EU: Evidence submitted by Masaad Omer Behari (German., pdf) alleged victim of extraordinary rendition (Sudanese, residing in Vienna) to the European Parliament's Temporary Committee on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners on 10 October 2006. See also: Statewatch's Observatory on CIA rendition

EU-USA PNR agreement renegotiated to meet US demands - when the law changes in the USA so too does access to data and how it is processed

EU-USA PNR (passenger name record) agreement of 6 October 2006: Full-text
Original agreement of 17 May 2004 (pdf)
US Undertakings attached to agreement, 2004 (pdf)

Spain/Morocco: Another migrant shot dead in Melilla in July

Portugal: Renditions continue: Algerian prisoner abducted and deported

Portugal: Evidence of illegal CIA rendition flights surfacing

EU/Africa: 1st anniversary of the shooting of migrants in Ceuta and Melilla : Events, account and an excellent publication "The Black Book of Ceuta and Melilla", by Migreurop (108 pages, French, pdf). A number of initiatives have been organised throughout Europe and in several African countries (Benin, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia) as part of the transnational day of action against migration controls on 7 October, which also marks the first anniversary of the shooting of migrants at the Spanish-Moroccan border fences of the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in late September and early October 2005.

Updated: EU: Council list of international fora "dealing with illegal immigration" (pdf)

EU-USA PNR (passenger name record) agreement reached: Joint press release (dated 6 October 2006, pdf) The press release tells us nothing of its actual content nor of any changes to the agreement.

Council of Europe: Report: European Judicial Systems (2006 edition, 2004 data) (link to full report) Summary (link) Country replies (link)

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 5-6 October 2006 in Luxembourg: Updated: Press release for 5-6 October (pdf)

5 October 2006: JHA Council adopts Conclusions on SIS II and SIS These confirm the long delay in implementing the Schengen Information System (SIS II) with the new hoped for date being June 2008 - such is the delay that the Commission's mandate has had to be extended "beyond 31 December 2006". The "re-scheduling" is set out in EU doc no 12379/06 (pdf). The Conclusions gloss over what has been months of very heated comment directed at the Commission - this is reflected in EU do no 12835/06 (18 September 2006). The delay most affects the ten new member states as "the lifting of controls at the internal land, sea and air borders" for the Schengen area cannot happen until they are taking part in the SIS.

B-points agenda
A-points agenda
Background paper
Draft Council Conclusions on reinforcing the southern external maritime border (pdf)

Statewatch publishes an 18-page analysis on:

EU data protection in police and judicial cooperation matters: Rights of suspects and defendants under attack by law enforcement demands (pdf)

backed by full-text documentation on Statewatch's Observatory on data protection in the EU

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor who prepared this analysis, comments:

"This is going to be a momentous decision affecting existing national laws on data protection, and the exchange of data within the EU and around the globe. It is also going to the the foundation of the right of data protection in a host of planned and future EU measures, including the new Schengen Information System (SIS II).

The Commission draft proposal is being substantially re-written by the Council's Multidisciplinary Group on Organised Crime including removing the rights of data subjects and obstacles to the passing of data to third countries outside the EU.

Until the Council finishes its so-called "second reading" the final text will not been known - when they are intending to simply "nod" it through. If it does so without the opportunity for national and European parliaments and civil society to express their views it will utterly lack legitimacy”


Updated: 5 October 2006: EU-NATO: Classified information: NATO 2005 added:

a) Exchange of EU classified information (EUCI) with third countries and organisations (8 September 2006)
b) EU:
Council Decision adopting the Council's security regulations (28 February 2001)
c) NATO:
Security within NATO (17 June 2002) Thanks to Hungarian Civil Liberties Union
d) NATO:
NATO Security Committee: Directive on the Security of Information Second revision of 2002 version (4 February 2005) Thanks to Hungarian Civil Liberties Union

EU-USA: Report from the European Commission damning on US intransigence on visa reciprocity.(full-text: COM 568, 3.10.06) It shows that progress has been made with nine countries but none at all with the USA - the USA refuses to include Greece and nine new member states: Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland and Slovakia in the "Visa Waiver Scheme". The report says there are "no signs of tangible progress" and it questions the data used by the US side to support its position: no information is supplied on the reasons for refusing visa from the 10 EU states and no accurate figures on overstaying are available. It concludes that the Commission believes that steps should now be taken to restore visa requirements on US "nationals holding diplomatic and duty/official passports".

UK: Inquiry into the quality of healthcare at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre, 20 – 24 February 2006 by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons The Chief Inspector of Prisons, Anne Owers, published today the inquiry into how Sophie Odogo, a Ugandan asylum seeker, was reduced to a state of mental collapse at Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre and the healthcare provided there. See: Medical Justice Network

EU: Statewatch launches Observatory on data protection in the EU
- the protection of personal data in police and judicial matters
- full-text documentation on all the secret discussions in the Council

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"This is going to be a momentous decision affecting existing national laws on data protection, and the exchange of data within the EU and around the globe. It is also going to the the foundation of the right of data protection in a host of planned and future EU measures, including the new Schengen Information System (SIS II).

The Commission draft proposal is being substantially re-written by the Council's Multidisciplinary Group on Organised Crime including removing the rights of data subjects and obstacles to the passing of data to third countries outside the EU.

Until the Council finishes its so-called "second reading" the final text will not been known - when they are intending to simply "nod" it through. Unless the European Parliament recalls this text for further consideration there will be no time at all for an informed debate in national parliaments or civil society"

EU: Advocate General calls for CFI ruling on PKK to be set aside If the ECJ follows the opinion of its Advocate General the PKK will at last be able to challenge the substance of the EU decision to designate it as "terrorist". Kadek and Kongra-Gel, who are listed by the EU as aliases of the PKK will also be able to challenge their inclusion.

EU-Court of Justice: interesting paper from the Court on possible special treatment of JHA cases: Treatment of questions referred for a preliminary ruling concerning the area of freedom, security and justice

EU: Standing committee of experts on international immigration, refugee and criminal law (Meijers Committee): Letter to Commissioner Frattini: Comments on Proposal to amend EC Visa Regulation (EC) No. 539/2001 (COM(2006) 84 final) to amend the list of those requiring visas to enter the EU: "the European Commission should seriously consider using its powers under Article 250(2) of the EC Treaty to amend its proposal to make it compatible with international human rights law"

Statewatch's Observatory on EU Freedom of Information - Case Law now has a list and summaries of "Pending cases" in the Court of First Instance/European Court of Justice. As at the end of September there were 25 cases pending. Pending cases list

EU: It is reported that the EU and the USA have failed to reach a new agreement on access to PNR (passenger name records) by the the deadline of 30 September 2006 ("EU-US airline data talks collapse", BBC link).

In June we reported that: EU-US: New PNR agreement a "technicality" say EU and US officials (eupolitix.com, 31.5.06, link) Following the annulment by the European Court of Justice of the EU-US agreement on the exchange of data on air travellers ("passenger name records") officials from the European Commission and their counterparts in Washington have quickly moved to play down the significance of the ruling, suggesting that replacing the treaty with a "Third Pillar" instrument will be a mere "technicality".

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"It seems very strange that a new agreement cannot be reached if all that is required is the same text placed on a different legal basis. On the other hand if the USA is trying to change the text of the agreement that would require a series of procedures in the EU and re-open the public debate"

See Statewatch's Observatory on the exchange of data on passengers (PNR) with USA

September 2006

EU-Brussels: European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee to hold a hearing on 4 October into the SWIFT scandal: The interception of bank transfer data from the SWIFT system by US secret services:

Programme of hearing (pdf)
Poster
Opinion of the Belgium Commission de la protection de la privee (summary in English) which finds the transfer contrary to Belgian and EU law
Full Opinion in French

Analysis: Detection technologies and democracy by Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor:

“This Commission initiative is entirely directed at the “needs” of the agencies not the “needs” of the people. It presumes that multinationals and state agencies can be trusted to know what is best for us.

The quality of democratic life is too important to be decided by multinationals and the law enforcement and security agencies”

Commission Green Paper:
on detection technologies in the work of law enforcement, customs and other security authorities

EU: Eurodac Annual Report for 2005 (this database holds the fingerprints of asylum applicants):

2005 Annual Report (pdf)
Annex 1 (country-by-country figures)
Annexes 2 & 3 (country-by-country figures)

USA: Three reports: a) CRS report on undisclosed US detention centres overseas; b) National Strategy for combating terrorism; c) Summary of the "high value detainee programme. See:Statewatch's Observatory on CIA rendition and flights

Canada: Report of the Commissioner investigating the Maher Arar case. Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen was detained while passing through John F Kennedy airport in the USA, was deported via Jordan to Syria where he was "interrogated, tortured and held in degrading and inhumane conditions. He returned to Canada after his release on October 5, 2003." The Commissioner's report says "categorically" Arar committed no offence and was no threat to security. He also found that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) gave information to the USA that was "inaccurate, portrayed him in an unfair fashion and overstated his importance to the investigation." Canadian agencies relied on information "received from the Syrians which was likely the product of torture" and Canadian officials, after his return to Canada: "leaked confidential and sometimes inaccurate information about the case to the media for the purpose of damaging Mr. Arar’s reputation or protecting their self-interest or government interests."

For the press release and full-text of the report see:
Statewatch's Observatory on CIA rendition and flights

France: Vol de la CIA au Bourget : pas de suites (pdf) CIA flight in Bourget airport : no judicial follow-up (English)

UK: Driven to desparate measure - report by Harmit Athwal, Institute of Race Relations (link). No section of our society is more vulnerable than asylum seekers and undocumented migrants. Forced by circumstances beyond their control to seek a life outside their home countries, prevented by our laws from entering legally and from working, denied a fair hearing by the asylum system, excluded from health and safety protection at work, kept from social care and welfare, unhoused and destitute, vilified by the media and therefore dehumanised in the popular imagination, their hopes of another life are finally extinguished. The IRR has catalogued a roll call of death of the 221 asylum seekers and migrants who have died either in the UK or attempting to reach the UK in the past seventeen years.

UK: Home Office report: "Addressing lessons from the emergency response to the 7 July 2005 London bombings - What we learned and what we are doing about it", 22 September 2006

EU: Provisional agenda for the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 5-6 October 2006

EU: Prum Treaty: Informal Meeting of European Data Protection Authorities, Bonn, 27 July 2006: Opinion on the data protection aspects of the Prum Convention and Opinion of CNIL (Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertes The Prum Treaty was signed on 27 May 2005 by Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Austria - Italy has since indicated it wants to join: Prum Treaty - full-text (pdf)

EU: Commission working document on the feasibility of an index of third-country national convicted in the EU (pdf) A Council Decision on the exchange of information extraction from the criminal record between EU member states was adopted in November 2005: Full-text (pdf) Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor comments: "This proposed measure singles out resident third country nationals for special attention by the creation of an index of all convictions for any crime however minor"

Attacks on multicultural Britain pave the way for enforced assimilation: The backward cultural discourse of mainland Europe, in which difference is decried, is infecting our thinking by A Sivanandan, Director of the Institute of Race Relations (Guardian, link)

Privacy International Releases Global Freedom of Information Survey (link) Privacy International has released the Freedom of Information Around the World 2006 Global Survey of Access to Government Information Laws. The Survey provides a comprehensive review of Freedom of Information Laws and practices in nearly 70 countries around the world.

Racism, Liberty and the War on Terror, keynote address by A. Sivanandan, director of the Institute of Race Relations, to the conference held on 16 September at Conway Hall, London (link)

EU: Amnesty International recommendations on the Informal Justice and Home Affairs Ministers meeting in Tampere, 20-22 September (see below for Agenda and background documents)

G6-G8-Prum: Behind closed doors - policy-making in secret intergovernmental and international fora

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: "Accountability in a democracy means parliaments and people knowing in advance the agenda and the documents circulated for discussion so that they can make their views known before the meetings takes place."

Updated: 19 September: EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council, Tampere, Finland, 20-22 September 2006: Agenda and Background documents:

1) Fight against terrorism: The EU response to the terror plot disrupted in the UK Includes "tracking of the movements of "jihadists" and other persons involved in radicalisation and recruitment" and storing data from "the video surveillance of major traffic junctions"

2)
Next steps in the development of the common European asylum system Includes a proposal that Eurodac - databases of the finger-prints of asylum applicants - should be applied in full and also cover all foreign nationals apprehended as "illegally crossing the border of a member states and are not turned back". This is a reference to the large discrepancy between national statistics and the number of peoples' fingerprints held on Eurodac

3)
Migration management: Extended European Solidarity in immigration, border control and asylum policies

4)
Development of the EU's integrated management system for external borders: Border management See also: A "Non-Paper" from the Finnish Council Presidency circulated in July as a: "Room document: SCIFA 12/06" (pdf)

The latter is more explicit and states that: "First and foremost border management is an area of policing" which reflected in the proposed "Definition of Integrated Border Management" which says: Integrated Border Management shall cover all relevant threats met at the border". Thus it includes not just "checks and surveillance" but also "the investigation of cross border crime" and a "four-tier access control model" - third countries, neighbouring countries, border control and "control measures within the area of free movement". The Presidency note does contain a new proposal for: the establishment of a common entry-exit register of third country nationals"

5) Improvement of decision-making in justice and home affairs Confronts the issue of whether police and judicial cooperation should be moved from Title VI of the TEU (with unanimity needed and the European Parliament only "consulted") to Title IV of the TEC (with qualified majority voting by the governments and co-decision with the European Parliament). The Note raises the issue that some "particularly sensitive" issues might not be transferred. The Finnish Presidency notes that this transfer requires unanimity among the member state but "does not require ratification at the national level"

6) Combating terrorism and organised crime - Enhancing operational activities and multidisciplinary law enforcement cooperation Refers to the discussion on the "internal security architecture". It also calls for "central forms" of tackling organised crime and terrorism "such as common monitoring and surveillance operations, intelligence-led policing, operations directed at commonly defined targets"

7) Difficulties in negotiating legislative instruments on the mutual recognition of judicial decisions in criminal matters, and possible solutions Refers to the problems of member states agreeing on proposals currently under discussion in the Council on: the transfer of sentenced people, exchange of information on criminal records and taking account of convictions in the course of new criminal proceedings

8) Facilitating access to justice and better regulation in civil justice

Italy: 21st-century slavery in Apulia's tomato fields

USA: General Accountability Office Reports on Visa Waiver Scheme: Two reports:

Stronger Actions Needed to Assess and Mitigate Risks of the Visa Waiver Program
Process for Admitting Additional Countries into the Visa Waiver Program

At present citizens of 10 EU member states (the 10 new members minus Slovenia plus Greece) have to apply for visas to enter the USA - those from the other 15 member states come under the "Visa Waiver Scheme". The USA is refusing to budge on the issue - see the background reports above - and the EU is threatening to take retaliatory action by requiring US diplomatic personnel to apply for visas. A European Commission spokesperson said there cannot be a "second or third division" of EU countries.

EU: How to Balance Rights and Responsibilities on Asylum at the EU’s Southern Border of Italy and Libya, Rutvica Andrijasevic. Centre on Migration, Policy and Society : Compass: Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, Working Paper no 27

Denmark: "War on terrorism should not kill our civil liberties"

Brussels: European Security Research: Arming Big Brother hearing organised by the Intergroup for Peace Initiatives. Tuesday, 12 September 2006. European Parliament, Paul Henri Spaak Buidling Room 1C51 - 13.00 - 15.00. Speakers: Ben Hayes, Statewatch, author of the recent report: "Arming Big Brother", Francisco Gaxtelu Mezquiriz, Member of the Cabinet of Commissioner Verheugen. Co - Chairs: Tobias Pflüger, MEP and Caroline Lucas, MEP: Agenda

US-CIA:
Renditions: Portuguese government admits knowledge of CIA flights

EU-Africa: Immigration round-up: carnage continues as EU border moves south (Statewatch analysis, pdf)

Spain: critical reports:

Between moral cowardice and illegality: the Government takes another step to consolidate the Spanish model of impunity (Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights)

Perfil racial en España: Investigaciones y recomendaciones (Racial profiling in Spain: investigations and recommendations, Grupo de Estudios y Alternativas 21 & Open Society Justice Initiative)

From European Civil Liberties Network, see ECLN noticeboard

August 2006

EU: Europol seeking cooperation agreement with China despite human rights "constraints"
(11693/06, 2.8.06, pdf):

"The human rights situation in China is evaluated twice a year via the instrument of a EU-China political dialogue, but the serious EU concerns remain since the level of civil and political rights do not correspond to EU standards (e.g. re-education and death penalty persist, freedom of expression, religion and association are still not fully assured)."

Hungary: Threat to journalists and freedom of information from draft secrecy law (Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, pdf)

EU: Data protection proposal on police and judicial matters: Germany, Denmark, Spain, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and UK back dropping the need for "adequate" data protection when exchanging personal data with third states following complaint by the USA. The USA is on record - in secret High-Level meetings - as saying that Article 15 (exchange of data with third countries) would:

"jeopardise the informal excellent contacts developed over time by the US law enforcement agencies with their opposite numbers in the Member States" (EU-US JHA High level meeting in Helsinki on 18 July 2006)

The current draft says that data can only be exchanged with non-EU states if:

"An adequate level of data protection is ensured in the third country or by the international body to which the data concerned shall be transferred"

Five member states support this "adequacy" test (Czech Republic Switzerland, Finland, Greece and Portugal) but seven - backing the US complaint - are opposed to its inclusion (Germany, Denmark, Spain, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and UK)

- latest draft of the Council's amendments (24 August 2006): EU doc no: 11547-rev2-06
-
Report adopted by European Parliament plenary session - under the consultation procedure (link)
-
Report by rapporteur Martine Roure in Committee on Civil Liberties
-
Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor
- and original
Commission proposal (pdf)

EU-USA PNR (passenger name record) agreement: Letter from the chair of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee and the rapporteur to the Council complaining that the parliament has not been consulted as agreed.

European Civil Liberties Network (ECLN) Recent items added to the "ECLN Noticeboard":

- Kurdish Asylum Seekers from Iraq are in danger of deportation
- From facts to action: Report on the attacks against Filipino lawyers and judges
- Antifaschistisches Infoblatt: anti-fasism in Germany
- Informationen: Monthly newsletter of the German civil liberties organisation
- 10 Years Advocacy for Access to Information: Access to Information Programme, Sofia, Bulgaria Conference on October 27, 2006.
- Human Rights Tools e-library: Direct links to 300+ carefully selected resources

EU: European campaign for shutting down of all detention centres in Europe - "No Fortress Europe": 1) Website 2) Sign the petition (pdf) 3) European holding centres map (link)

UK: Special Immigration Appeals Tribunal says defendant can be sent back to Algeria: Guardian coverage (1)  and Y, the bookshop worker held to be a national security threat - Jurors angry at treatment of man cleared of ricin plot (link) His lawyer, Gareth Peirce, comments:

"A year ago Tony Blair said the rules of the game had changed and they would deport refugees to countries that they knew used torture, but they would not do it unless we have a memorandum of understanding and an independent monitoring group. Now one year later, there is no memorandum of understanding and no monitoring group in place. The government are saying they are not necessary and today the court has endorsed that."   Amnesty press release on decision (link) Amnesty International on memorandums of understanding with third countries (link)

Spain-France: Journalist mistreated in Madrid airport  Magatte Mbengue, a freelance journalist who is a black French national of Senegalese origin, recounted the ill-treatment that she suffered at the hand of the Spanish police while she was in transit in Madrid's Barajas airport on an Iberia flight taking her from Dakar to Paris.

UK: Asian students tell of ejection from airliner (Guardian, link)

EU-PNR (passenger name record) scheme proposed: A spokesperson for Justice and home affairs European Commissioner, Franco Frattini, is quoted as saying that the Commissioner "came up with the idea in London last week where he was discussing terrorism", see euractiv (link) and out-law.com (link). Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"I find it very strange that the Commissioner came up with this idea last week when the measure to introduce an EU-PNR scheme was adopted in April 2004 and is due to come into effect in 12 days time"

The EU-PNR Council Directive (2004/82/EC) on the obligation of carriers to communicate passenger data was adopted on 29 April 2004: Official Journal: Text (pdf) Article 7 says: Member States shall take the necessary measures to comply with this Directive not later than 5 September 2006". Article 3 says that all EU governments shall pass legislation to oblige carriers to send to border control/immigration authorities "by the end of check-in" information on all passengers who are to enter the EU - this covers both those visiting with visas and all EU citizens and residents. See for full background Statewatch's Observatory: EU surveillance of passengers (PNR)

EU-Africa: Rabat conference 10-11 July 2006: Full text of Action Plan (pdf) on migration and development

Data protection and access to documents:Transcript from the 4th International Conference of Information Commissioners (May 2006, pdf). Speeches by: Richard Thomas, UK Information Commissioner, Nikiforos Diamandouros – European Ombudsman, Secretary of the (UK) Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee, Daniel J Metcalfe, Director, Office of Information and Privacy, United States Department of Justice, Helen Darbishire, Chair FOIANet, Tony Bunyan, Director, Statewatch and Peter Hustinx, European Data Protection Supervisor

USA: Judge rules that wire-tapping is illegal -
Judgment (thanks to Cryptome)

EU-UK: Informal London meeting on counter-terrorism - 16 August 2006: Joint Press Statement (pdf) The statement contains no explicit references to the "profiling" of airline passenger which is mentioned in press coverage: see Guardian (link) and Guardian - security net (link) and New York Times (link).

Background on "profiling": 1)
Profiling in Germany (Statewatch bulletin, pdf); 2) A Failure to Regulate: Data Protection and Ethnic Profiling in the Police Sector in Europe; 3) Ethnic Profiling and Counter-Terrorism: Trends, Dangers and Alternatives: Open Society Justice Initiative and 4) Racial profiling and anti-terror stop and search (IRR News Service, link)

EU: Fingerprinting of children - the debate goes on
- Spain taking fingerprints and facial images from children at birth
- Czech Republic taking fingerprints from 5 and facial images from birth
- Latvia and France in favour of fingerprints from 6 and facial images from birth

UK: Tax and Customs want new crime powers. Consultation document: Modernising Powers, Deterrents and Safeguards (pdf)

Human Trafficking: Report by the General Accountability Office (GAO) in the USA (pdf) casts doubt on the accuracy of the figures and methodology. It says:

"Doubt on U.S. and International Estimates: The U.S. government and three international organizations have gathered data on global human trafficking. However, these organizations face methodological weaknesses and institutional constraints that cast doubt on the accuracy of the collected data. The four organizations with databases on global trafficking in persons are the U.S. government, International Labor Organization (ILO), IOM,10 and UNODC".
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor:
Annual Report for 2005 (pdf)

UK: Report by the Joint Human Rights Committee in parliament on future working practices (pdf) Based on a report prepared by Francesca Klug, Professorial Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the LSE it proposes extended pre-legislative and post-legislative scrutiny.

EU: European Commission extends security code and vetting to private sector contracts and agreements (pdf) The main security code, adopted in 2001, covers classified documents handled by Commission and member state officials and external contractors in member states (2001 security code, pdf). This new measure extends the scope to cover contract or agreement made by the Commission itself. It will cover industry and universities where they handle classified documents ("Confidential" and above, or as decided at national level "Restricted" or above). Each member state will designate a "National Security Authority" (NSA) and all staff involved in a contract (or bid) will be subject to "Personnel Security Clearance" (PSC). The timing of this measure may have something to do with EU plans for developing a industrial-security complex, see: Arming Big Brother: new research reveals the European security-industrial complex (pdf)

EU criminal records to be exchanged: A simple question or is there more to it? - Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor - considered and received little "support"

EU-USA: Status of ratifications on EU-USA Agreements on extradition and mutual legal assistance and bilateral instruments (pdf) Full-text of the Agreements (pdf) Statewatch analysis The two Agreements signed by the EU and USA on 25 June 2003 still have to be ratified by both sides - the US side will not start until the procedures in the EU member states are completed. Twelve of the member states in the old EU of 15 had to go through constitutional procedures as did the ten new states. Twelve member states still have to complete constitutional procedures. And although all 25 member states have signed the accompanying bilateral instruments with the USA the majority still have to ratify these. It is interesting to note that had the agreement on extradition been in place EU government could request the extradition of suspected CIA agents operating in the EU.

EU: EU Action Plan on combating terrorism (dated 20 July 2006, pdf)

UK: Chief Surveillance Commissioner: Annual report for 2005-6 (pdf). Includes figures on the number of CHIS (Covert Human Information Sources): 4,559 were "recruited by law enforcement agencies during the year" and 5,211 were "cancelled" - giving a minimum of 9,770 used during the 12 months. There was a "significant" increase in the number of CHIS used by local authorities, from 308 recruited in 2004-5 and 437 in 2005-6.

Dutch researchers develop anti-RFID device (link)

UK: ID card plans criticised by House of Commons Committee (Science and Technology): Identity Card Technologies: Scientific Advice, Risk and Evidence (pdf)

EU: European Commission: Strategy on children's rights (English, pdf) Strategy on children's rights (French, pdf) Impact Assessment (SEC 888, English, pdf) Preliminary Inventory (SEC 889, English, pdf)

UK: Report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights: Terrorism: prosecution, detention and evidence (pdf)

EU: European Committee of the UK House of Lords report: The Criminal Law Competence of the European Community (pdf)

UK: Research project by Bail for Immigration Detainees: Working against the clock: inadequacy and injustice in the fast track system (report, pdf)  Executive Summary  Press release

EU-USA PNR scheme: 1) Legislative act withdrawing the existing agreement 2) Letter from the President of the European Parliament, Mr Borrell to Mr Barossi, President of the European Commission

USA: General Accountability Office report on human rights implications for security aid to Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia in the "war on terrorism" (pdf)

UK: Control orders illegal - Court of Appeal rules: Judgment, full-text (pdf) Reid's curfew orders on six terror suspects are illegal, say judges (Guardian, link)

UN: Damning report on USA human rights record (pdf) Among the UN Human Right's Committee's concerns are the use of secret detention centres, rendition, torture and NSA spying. See also ACLU press release (link).

July 2006

EU: Biometrics and national ID cards back on the table: despite admitting that "there is no legal basis in the Treaty governing these issues" the EU is still pushing for harmonisation on this highly contentious issue.

The Implications of the Introduction of Biometrics and Identity Management (report, pdf) A fine report by Julian Ashbourn that concludes:

The current focus upon identity management and the globalisation of identity management is somewhat bizarre. It is out of all proportion to the claimed benefits and clearly politically inspired. This is somewhat distressing to see, particularly within European Union member states who, typically, one would like to think would adopt a more societally sympathetic stance. Proposals are consequently being rushed through without proper debate, without an understanding of the societal implications and without reference to an agreed longer term strategy... The problem is we have an ‘emperors new clothes’ syndrome, whereby there are few who are prepared to stand up and take an objective view of things, and even fewer who are prepared to listen. This situation must change if we are to avoid the more negative associations of identity management.

EU proposals would allow the fingerprinting of children at birth as soon as it is technologically possible

"scanning of fingerprints: up to 12 years of age.. if provided for by national legislation... from 12 years of age: Compulsory" (EU doc no: 9403/1/06)

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"All the discussions by EU governments in the Council about the age at which children should be subject to compulsory fingerprinting are based on the technological possibilities - not on the moral and political questions of whether it is right or desirable. There will be special cases for the taking of fingerprints where a child is "at risk" in order to ensure their safety. But this does not in any way justify submitting all young children to this intrusive process.

The decisions are being made in secret meetings based on secret documents - people and parliaments are to have no say in the decision. Under this proposal EU states will be free to fingerprint children from day one of their life as soon as it is technologically possible"

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Appeals Case of German Man (Khaled El-Masri) Kidnapped by CIA

Malta: Disobedient migrants put in "confinement" (Sunday Times, link) UNHCR appalled at 11 migrants being held for 3-5 days in a room three metres by two-and-a-half metres with no window, no light source and no toilet. The 11 men had allegedly tried to escape and were from a group of 51 migrants who had been stranded at sea on a Spanish trawler because Malta refused them permission to land.

EU: Joint Supervisory Authority of Europol: Opinion on Europol access to VIS (Visa Information System). It recommends a number of changes to meet data protection standards

UK: The Home Office has published: "Fair, effective, transparent and trusted: Rebuilding confidence in our immigration system" (pdf) While promising a "crackdown" on "illegal" immigrants backs "boosting Britain's economy by bringing the right skills here from around the world". It promises compulsory biometric identity cards "starting with foreign nationals staying here from 2008". Plus the re-introduction of "exit controls" (ie: passports checks when leaving the country) - abolished 10 years ago - by 2014 (eight years time).

It reiterates the intention of changing the law to "make deportation the presumption for foreign national prisoners" See: Shetland: Young Shetland man of Thai origin wins appeal against deportation under Home Office crackdown: Shetland News (link). Further to remove the need for a prisoner to "consent" to their removal back to their country of origin to serve the sentence and to challenge in the European Court of Human Rights (by joining the Netherlands case: Ramzy) its ruling that a person (against whom there is insufficient evidence to bring to court in the UK) cannot be sent back to a country where they risk being subject to torture or inhuman treatment.

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 24 July 2006: Press release (pdf) Background Note  Main agenda  "A" Points agenda (adopted without discussion)

The Boundaries of Belonging: reflections on Migration Policies into the 21st Century (pdf) by Alison Crosby, Inter Pares, Canada. "This paper examines the politics of categorization that defines people who move, as well as the migration containment policies that set and maintain the boundaries of these categories. The paper explains why “the problem” is not migration per se, but rather the way the powerful seek to control and contain the movement of people. Migration policies are a form of population control; the issue is who is controlled, and how. and because of the who, and the how, migration policy is a justice issue. indeed, it is one of the most pressing justice issues of our time, and requires the consolidated and coordinated attention of all of us concerned with issues of human rights and social justice. it cannot be ignored."

Northern Ireland: The Pat Finucane Centre have compiled a: MI5 internet bibliography (link) "In August 2007 the British Security Service, MI5,will assume lead responsiblity for 'national securityintelligence work' in the North. MI5 has a long history of involvement here and an equally long history of involvement in illegal activities. MI5 for instance was aware inadvance that Pat Finucane was to be murdered but did not intervene, it allowed the 1998 Omagh bombing to proceed, it destroyed covert recordings in the shoot-to-kill cases, ran agents involved in multiple murders and sought to undermine opposition groups in Britain itself."

EU-SIS II: Standing Committee of experts in international immigration, refugee and criminal law (Meijers Committee, Utrecht) on the development of the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II)

EU-Dublin II: Standing Committee of experts in international immigration, refugee and criminal law (Meijers Committee, Utrecht) on: Comments on Council Regulation (EC) No. 343/2003 (the Dublin II Regulation)

 UK: Report from the Joint Human Rights Committee on the Armed Forces Bill - particularly concerning court martials

EU: Report adopted in the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties on the EU-USA PNR (Passenger name record) agreement.

Barcelona: International Seminar: A New Open Europe: Public access to documents and data protection
Barcelona (ES), 14-15 September 2006
- European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA)

EU: Series of Communications from the European Commission on the creation of "Rapid Border Intervention Teams":

Proposal for a Regulation establishing a mechanism for the creation of Rapid Border Intervention Teams and amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 as regards that mechanism (COM 401)

Commission Staff Working Document: Accompanying the Proposal for a Regulation establishing a mechanism for the creation of Rapid Border Intervention Teams and amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 as regards that mechanism (SEC 953)

Document de Travail des Services de la Commission: Accompagnant la Proposition de Reglement établissant un mécanisme pour la création d'équipes de réaction rapide aux frontières et modifiant le règlement (CE) n° 2007/2004 du Conseil en ce qui concerne ce mécanisme - Analyse d'Impact (SEC 954, French)

Commission Staff Working Document: Annex to the Proposal for a Regulation establishing a mechanism for the creation of Rapid Border Intervention Teams and amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 as regards that
mechanism - Summary of the Impact Assessment
(SEC 955, 2 pages)

plus

Communication from the Commission on Policy priorities in the fight against illegal immigration of third-country nationals (COM 402)

Commission Staff Working Document: Accompanying the Communication from the Commission on Policy priorities in the fight against illegal immigration of third-country nationals (SEC 1010)

Commission Staff Working Document: the Commuication on policy priorities in the fight against illegal immigration of third-country nationals - Impact Assessment (SEC 964)

Commission Staff Working Document: Accompanying the Communication on Policy priorities in the fight against illegal immigration of third-country nationals - Summary Impact Assessment (SEC 965)

and

Draft proposal for a Regulation establishing a Community Code on Visas (COM 403)

Commission Staff Working Document: Second Annual Report on Migration and Integration (SEC 892)

Communication from the Commission to the Council: Contribution to the EU Position for the United Nations' High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development (COM 409)

EU: Behind Closed Doors: the meeting of the G6 Interior Ministers at Heiligendamm (pdf) House of lords European Union Committee report. In March 2006 Statewatch obtained and put online the Conclusions of this G6 meeting - this prompted the Committee to carry out an inquiry. Tony Bunyan,Statewatch editor, told the Committee that:

“there is no formal requirement to publish an agenda or minutes, there is no system of access to documents, there is no process of public consultation or impact assessment, and the existence or activity of any working groups…is unclear [and] it is utterly lacking in the rudiments of accountability as understood at national or EU level.”

'Secret' Euro meetings under fire (BBC link)

UK: First groups to be proscribed for "glorification of terrorism"; two new "foreign terrorist organisations" and two PKK "aliases" will also be banned (Statewatch "terrorist lists" observatory). The Home Secretary has drafted two "Orders in Parliament" extending its proscription regime. The first Order will ban UK-based organisations "Al-Ghurabaa" and the "Saved Sect", said to be "offshoots of Al-Muhajiroun", for "glorifying terrorism". "Teyrebazen Azadiya Kurdistan" (TAK, or the "Kurdistan Liberation Hawks") and the "Baluchistan Liberation Army" (BLA), based in western Pakistan, will also be proscribed under the Order as "foreign terrorist organisations". The second Order adds "Kongra Gele Kurdistan" and "Kadek" to the UK "terrorist list" on the grounds that they are "alternative names for the PKK" (both have already been proscribed by the EU). This is the first time the new proscription provisions in the Terrorism Act 2006 (pdf) have been used by the UK government.

EU: "biometric passports": We will not just have to be finger-printed once but over and over again

EU: European Commission proposal to amend list of third countries whose nationals need a visa to enter the EU (COM 84, 13 July 2006, pdf) This proposes transferring Bolivia from Annex II (the "white-list" of countries whose nationals do not need a visa) to Annex I ("black-list", countries whose nationals need a visa). Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Mauritius,Saint Kitts and Nevis and the Seychelles would be moved from Annex I to Annex II. All members of the armed forces of NATO are to be exempted from needing a visa. So too are refugees and stateless people resident in the EU. British Nationals (Overseas) are to go in Annex II but British Overseas Territories Citizens (BOTC), British Overseas Citizens (BOC), British Subjects and British Protected Persons (BPP) are to go in Annex II because they only have a "tenuous link" with the UK and present "risk of illegal immigration" moreover they will be a specific category as "they do not have the nationality of a third country". Background: Regulation 539/2001  Amendment in 2003  Amendment in 2005

UK: Freedom of Information: Cabinet Office refuses to reveal "personal and political contacts" between the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and Rupert Murdoch. Lord Eric Avebury is challenging the decision of the Information Commissioner to only list one "official" telephone conversation between the two. He is also questioning "unspecified amendments" to the Commissioner's decision made at the request of the Cabinet Office. Press release  Decision of the Information Commissioner  Letter from the Cabinet Office

European Parliament: MEPs want to participate as observers in negotiations of passenger data agreement with USA - press release (pdf)

The fallacies of the EU-Africa dialogue on immigration: EU-African ministerial conference on immigration, 10 and 11 July 2006 - introduction and commentaries

Italy: Speech by the president of the ombudsman's authority for the protection of personal data, Francesco Pizzetti, to illustrate the Annual report for 2005 and Full-text of the annual report "Relazione annuale 2005" (pdf, broken up into sections)

Enron 3 to be extradited to USA on 13 July. Full-background on extradition to USA: UK applies new simplified extradition procedures to USA and over a hundred other countries and Statewatch analysis: The UK-US Extradition Treaty (pdf) - removes or restricts key protections for defendants and signed and adopted with no parliamentary scrutiny

European Court of Justice: Judgment in case of right to appeal against having funds frozen because of UN (and EU) terrorist sanctions list (press release) Ben Hayes of Statewatch comments: “With respect, the repeated rulings by the CFI that being listed by the UN Security Council as a supporter or associate of Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda or the Taleban "does not prevent the individuals concerned from leading a satisfactory personal, family and social life" is plainly wrong. In today’s political climate it is hard to think of a more serious allegation than being publicly branded a “terrorist” – whether by the UN, EU or national governments – never mind the crippling effect of the sanctions themselves. The fact remains that these regimes are a recipe for arbitrary, secretive and unjust decision-making. Unless procedures are introduced allowing affected parties to know and challenge the allegations against them in a court of law the “terrorist lists” will continue to lack legitimacy.”

EU: European Parliament Press Release: German prosecutor tells MEPs he has no evidence contradicting El-Masri abduction claim For full background see: Statewatch's Observatory on CIA rendition and flights

UK: Home Office: Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System - 2005 (pdf) and Proportion (%) of ethnic groups at different stages of the criminal justice process, England and Wales, 2004/5 - Chart (pdf) See BBC News (link)

EU: Provisional agenda for Justice and Home Affairs Council on 24 July 2006

EU: Council of the European Union amends its Rules of Procedure (pdf) They have only made the minimum changes necessary to comply with the recent agreement on open meetings (art 8). The other two changes concern an 18-month agenda for the Council (art 2(4)) and the use of simplified written procedure (art 12).

EU:
New agreement between the Council and the European Parliament on scrutiny of implementation measures (pdf) For commentary see: euobserver (link)

Shetland: Young Shetland man of Thai origin wins appeal against deportation under Home Office crackdown. Sakchai Makao had been snatched from his home in Shetland and taken to a jail in Scotland where he was held until released on bail after major protests from Shetlanders including a petition with around 9,000 signatures from islanders - the population is just over 20,000. A parliamentary motion by the local MP was signed by more than 100 MPs. At the immigration appeals tribunal on 7 July in North Shields Judge John Aitken, who chaired the panel of three judges, said: "The appeal is allowed, you are free to go". Sakchai Makao said:

"there are a lot of people to thank for a lot of hard work in the Shetland community, and without them this could not have happened"

See: Shetland News (link) Scotsman (link) This is North Scotland (link) BBC News - Scotland (link)

European Parliament: Transfer of financial data to USA from SWIFT: The parliament adopted a Resolution on 6 July calling on EU governments, the Commission and the European Central Bank "to explain fully the extent to which they were aware of the secret agreement" between the Belgium-based SWIFT ('Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication') and the United States. Full-text of Resolution (pdf) Text of the debate - in original languages (pdf)

The Resolution was proposed by an alliance of the PSE (Socialist group), ALDE (Liberals), GUE/NGL (United Left) and Green/EFA group. It was agreed by 302 votes with 219 votes against from the PPE-DE (Conservatives) and UEN groups.

See: European Digital Rights (link)
and:
Privacy International: complaints in 33 countries on transfer of financial data to the US by SWIFT (link)

European Parliament: Interim report on alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners approved in plenary session by a majority of 389 members against 137 with 55 MEPs abstaining (6 July 2006). Press release (pdf) Full-text of Interim report (pdf)

EU: Policy shift as Italy signs up to the Prüm Treaty

EU: Series of Communications from the European Commission:

1. Evaluation of EU Policies on Freedom, Security and Justice (COM 332)
2.
Implementing the Hague Programme: the way forward (COM 331)
3.
Report on the implementation of the Hague programme for 2005 (COM 333)

4. Hague programme: 2005 implementation scoreboard - Table 2 (SEC 813)
5.
Hague programme: 2005 Institutional scoreboard - Table 1 (SEC 814)
6.
Evaluation of EU Policies on Freedom, Security and Justice - Impact Assessment (SEC 815)

UK: Home Office consultation on: Acquisition and Disclosure of Communications Data A public consultation (pdf) and Investigation of Protected Electronic Information: A public consultation (pdf): Deadline: 30 August 2006

UK: 28 days detention in terrorist suspect cases comes into effect on 25 July 2006. The Commons and Lords (5 July) agreed a new code of practice: Draft code of practice on detention adopted (pdf)

EU: Italy: Extraordinary renditions: Military intelligence officials arrested for collusion in Abu Omar kidnapping The no 2 of the SISMI (the IT military intelligence service), Mauro Mancini, Director of the foreign "clandestine operations" section, has been arrested in connection with the CIA kidnapping of Abu Omar in Milan in 2003 - Abu Omar was flown by the CIA to Germany and then to Egypt where he was tortured. For full background see: Statewatch's Observatory on CIA rendition and flights which includes under Documents the court documents (nos 136-143)

G8 Ministers of Justice and Interior: Press Conference on the Results of the G8 Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial, Moscow, 16 June 2006 It was agreed that: the proposals adopted should be implemented "not only in G8 countries themselves but far beyond their borders"; DNA evidence should be shared "when it comes to investigating acts of terrorism and other criminal acts" (emphasis added); and that: "Illegal migration.. is a source of hiring mercenaries, extremists, a channel for selling weapons, drugs and human trafficking"

EU: European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties report on their response on proposed plan to replace the EU-USA passenger name record (PNR) agreement on access to personal data: Draft report (pdf) PNR hearing (pdf)

EU: European Commission proposal Adapting Title VI (TEC) relating to the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice (COM, 346, 2006, pdf)

EU: Research study: Analysis of the external dimension of the EU’s asylum and immigration policies’ –
summary and recommendations for the European Parliament
for the European Parliament by Claire Rodier (pdf)

Europol-USA agreement: Was it really needed? Analysis and full-text of evaluation report. The report shows that there is no record of data transfers recorded by USA. 2005 evaluation report still secret

EU: Finnish Presidency agenda in Justice and Home Affairs (JHA): the outlook from the point of view of the work of the Article 36 Committee (pdf) plus Provisional agendas for JHA Councils on 24 July, 5-6 October and 4-5 December 2006 (pdf)

UK: Foreign Affairs Select Committee report on: Foreign Policy Aspects of the War against Terrorism (pdf) It includes:

"We conclude that the dispersal and fragmentation of al Qaeda into more autonomous local cells mainly linked together by a common ideology will make it more difficult to tackle the threat of international terrorism. We further conclude that the situation in Iraq has provided both a powerful source of propaganda for Islamist extremists and also a crucial training ground for international terrorists associated with al Qaeda."

European Court of Justice judgment, 28 June 2006: Right to family reunification of minor children of third country nationals The judgment of the Court of Justice on the validity of three provisions of the family reunion directive (Case C-540/03 European Parliament v Council). Press release (pdf) The Court does not address the 'severability' argument but rules against the European Parliament on the merits of the human rights arguments. Although technically a defeat for the EP in some respects the judgment constitutes a victory due to the important principles established (many of them relevant to other EC immigration and asylum legislation).

UK: Home Affairs Select Committee on:
Terrorism Detention Powers (Vol I, Report) Vol 2: Evidence and minutes (pdf)

UK: Racism, liberty and the war on terror: A conference organised by the Institute of Race Relations, Saturday 16 September 2006, Conway Hall, central London. How should we respond to the attacks on our civil rights, refugee rights and our multicultural society - carried out in the name of national security? Join leading campaigners, lawyers and thinkers in debating how we can defend our liberties and our communities. With plenary speakers Moazzam Begg, Jeremy Corbyn, Gareth Peirce, Colin Prescod, A. Sivanandan and Salma Yaqoob.Programme and booking form (pdf)

Spain: 59 held after demonstration against detention centres

June 2006

Privacy International files complaints in 33 countries against the transfer of financial transactional data to the US by banking giant SWIFT (link) PI filed the complaints with privacy commissioners around the world following revelations in the New York Times that the US government is running an international financial surveillance programme in conjunction with SWIFT (The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), a Belgian-based industry-owned co-operative that supplies a messaging infrastructure to the global banking community. See also PI analysis: Pulling a Swift one?

UK: "Control orders" ruled unlawful: judge who described the system as an "affront to justice" quashes six orders. The High Court ruling is the second by the same judge against the control orders legislation. The government will try to overturn the decision at the Court of Appeal on Monday 3 July. It has again blamed the Human Rights Act although the legislation is widely viewed as incompatible with basic principles of British justice. At least 14 control orders have been issued so far on the basis of secret evidence from the intelligence services. The recipients have not been charged with any related offences and can only challenge the orders through "special advocates" who may not disclose the allegations against them.

See: "A stampede against justice" by Gareth Peirce and the Prevention of Terrorism Act - full-text (pdf) introducing the "control orders". See also Explanatory Notes (link).

EU-USA PNR (passenger name record) deal: 1) Commission negotiation proposal for new deal 2) Commission review on the operation of the agreement 3) Termination of present agreement 4) Current US "undertakings" 5) Opinion of the Article 36 Working Party of Data Protection Commissioners (pdf)

PNR (passenger name record) Treaty annulled by Court of Justice in case brought by the European Parliament: Full-text of Judgment (pdf) and European Data Protection Supervisor: Comments on ECJ judgment on PNR: "seems to create a loophole in the protection of the European citizen since it is no longer assured that data collected for commercial purposes but used by police are protected by the data protection directive"

Shetland: Campaign by islanders succeeds: Emotional scenes as Sakchai returns home: "A young Shetland man of Thai origin threatened with deportation arrived home in the isles to a hero’s welcome after a two week ordeal in a high security prison in the northeast of England. Sakchai Makao was released on bail from Durham high security prison on Tuesday pending a hearing of his deportation case": Full story, Shetland Times (link)

UNITED: New edition European Address Book Against Racism - searchable CDrom version See UNITED's list of 7,182 documented refugee deaths through Fortress Europe (pdf)

UK: The UK Government has responded to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee's First Report of Session 2005-06, which raised concerns about the Government's commitment to inquiring into reported instances of extraordinary rendition. The relevant paragraphs of the response are nos 26 to 33, though the Government's responses on Guantanamo (para 25) and the use of information derived from torture (paras 34-43) may also be of interest: UK government response to Committee report (pdf).

EU: Statewatch Summary - Schengen Information System II (SIS II) by Professor Steve Peers. Essential background document: EU doc no: 5706/6/06 (6 June 2006, pdf)

The "assault" on "sub-Saharan immigrants" in the media by Peio M. Aierbe, Mugak/SOS Arrazakeria

EU: Statewatch analysis: Openness and transparency in the Council by Professor Steve Peers

EU: Commission proposal on terminating the current agreement with the USA on PNR (passenger name records). A second proposal will invite the Council of the European Union (25 governments) to reach a new agreement based on Article 38 of Title VI of the Treaty on European Union. See for comment: MEPs to be sidelined in revived airline data deal: euobserver (link) and MEPs to be snubbed in new EU-US air data deal: eupolotix (link)

PNR (passenger name record) Treaty annulled by Court of Justice in case brought by the European Parliament: Full-text of Judgment (pdf) and European Data Protection Supervisor: Comments on ECJ judgment on PNR: "seems to create a loophole in the protection of the European citizen since it is no longer assured that data collected for commercial purposes but used by police are protected by the data protection directive"

Italy: Big Brother Awards 2006

EU: International Federation of Journalists call for journalists to be protected: Letter to the Commission Letter to the European Parliament  Dutch spies allowed to tap journalists' calls (link, Expatica) Germany: Press freedom law to protect journalists after raids (Statewatch bulletin)

USA: General Accountability Office slates "Secure Flight" plans to check air travel See also Edward Hasbrouck's comments (link)

EU: European Council (25 governments) 15-16 June: Agreed Conclusions (pdf) See pages 3-8 on justice and home affairs matters

EU: European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (FRONTEX): FRONTEX Annual Report for 2005 (pdf)

EU: Data protection proposal on police and judicial matters: Report adopted by European Parliament plenary session - under the consultation procedure (link) Report by rapporteur Martine Roure in Committee on Civil Liberties and Commission proposal (pdf)

Freedom of Information: The Manchester Declaration (pdf) Civil Society Organisations meeting in Manchester on the occasion of the 4th International Conference of Information Commissioners agreed this Declaration. It is signed by 28 NGOs.

Shetland: Latest: Huge turnout for Sakchai rally - 800 people at protest meeting

Pressure is growing on the Immigration Nationality Directorate to justify their treatment of a Thai born Shetlander who was arrested by immigration officers (Shetland Times, link) Church of Scotland kirk's presbytery clerk in Lerwick, Reverend Charles Greig, wrote: "I hesitate to use the phrase but I will - this was nothing short of a 'terrorist attack' carried out in a dawn raid. A 'terrorist' is surely one who terrorises - is there any other term for what was done to this unsuspecting young man?" Follow-up coverage  Petition  Shetland for Sakchia

EU: CIA flights/rendition: New report from the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe:Supplementary report by the Secretary General on people detained or removed (pdf) CoE press release: 14 June 2006 (link) Additional information from CoE member states (link) See for full background Statewatch's Observatory - full-text reports and 188 documents

Amnesty International report: Partners in Crime: Europe's role in US renditions (pdf)

MEPs: CIA "directly responsible" for abduction, detention and extraordinary renditions in Europe: European Parliament inquiry adopts interim report on CIA flights and rendtion Text of the Interim report NEW: Contribution of the Rapporteur: Research on the planes used by the CIA - highly detailed 72 page report (pdf). See for full background Statewatch's Observatory - full-text reports and 185 documents

EU: European Council (25 governments) 15-16 June: Draft Conclusions (pdf)

UK-London: Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC) statement, 9 June 2006: Police invasion of Forest Gate: "anti-terror raid" or psychological warfare?

EU-USA PNR agreement: Letters sent by President Borrell of the European Parliament Mr Barroso, President of the Commission and the EU Council Presidency on the consequences of the Court case of 30 May on passenger name records (PNR)

EU: Annual Report of the Network of Experts on Fundamental Rights on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union in 2005 (292pp, pdf) Another excellent annual report which comes amid uncertainty over the future of the Network itself. As the report observes:

"it is a shame neither the Commission, nor the Parliament, have realised [its] potential... more is required than to ... receive its reports, and then refer to those reports on a purely ad hoc basis, in a way in which external observers could perceive as being purely selective. Such reports should be analysed and followed upon. Answers should be provided to the questions raised..."

Executive summary
Individual country reports are on:
http://www.cpdr.ucl.ac.be/cridho

London: Lunchtime seminar at the Institute of Race Relations: Abu Ghraib, imprisonment and the war on terror (link) Monday, 26 June 2006 at 1pm. Speaker: Avery Gordon (Professor of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara and author of Keeping Good Time: Knowledge, Power and People, Ghostly Matters: Haunting the Sociological Imagination and Mapping Multiculturalism). Chair: Jeremy Corbyn MP

UK: Report from the Consitutional Affairs Committee of the House of Lords on the Legialative and Regulatory Powers Bill (pdf) Lord Holme, the chairman of the committee, said:

"The simple fact that ministers failed to recognise the profound constitutional importance of the legislative and regulatory reform bill does not inspire confidence that they would not use delegated powers to introduce constitutional change in the future, without even realising what they are doing.

"The way this bill has been handled shows that with our unwritten constitution, simple legislative proposals can drastically affect our law making system and the fundamental relationship between parliament and ministers."

Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (as at 17 May 2006, pdf) Explanatory Note (pdf)

London: Children: Over Surveilled, Under Protected. Conference to be held at the London School of Economics, 27 June 2006, 2.00 p.m - 5.00 p.m (link)

European Data Protection Supervisor: Comments on ECJ judgment on PNR: "seems to create a loophole in the protection of the European citizen since it is no longer assured that data collected for commercial purposes but used by police are protected by the data protection directive"

Council of Europe: 14 European countries colluded in CIA renditions, 7 accused of rights violations (COE report, pdf). The latest report by the Council of Europe on "Alleged secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers involving Council of Europe member states" has said that 7 countries - Sweden, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Britain, Italy, Macedonia, Germany and Turkey - could be held responsible for "violations of the rights of specific persons" in connection with the CIA's rendition programme. Spain, Cyprus, Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Romania and Poland are also accused of "collusion" with the United States. Rapporteur Dick Marty said there were also corroborated facts to suggest that Romania and Poland were detainee drop-off points near to secret detention centres:

Even if proof, in the classical meaning of the term, is not as yet available, a number of coherent and converging elements indicate that such secret detention centres did indeed exist in Europe".

The COE has produced a map showing stopover points, staging points, pick-up points and detainee transfer/drop off points: Global ''spiders web'' of secret detentions and unlawful "renditions"

See also Statewatch Statewatch Observatory on CIA rendition

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 1-2 June: press release (pdf)

EU: Commission proposal on joint visa processing centres in third countries (COM (2006) 269, 31.5.06, pdf) The EU is to fingerprint every visa applicant in their country of origin. In order to avoid all member states having to install the costly equipment for collecting biometric identifiers in every consular office, the EU is to establish "Common Application Centres" ("CACs") where facial images and all ten fingerprints will be taken. The CACs are seen as a step toward the establishment of common EU Visa Offices in the future. The member states are also looking at other ways "to reduce the costs of the use of biometrics" and considering "outsourcing in locations where consular posts are faced with particularly high numbers of applications".

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 1-2 June: Agenda (pdf), "A points" (adopted without debate, pdf) and revised background note (pdf).

May 2006

EU: "Tamil Tigers" added to EU "terrorist" list (Statewatch "terrorist" list site). The formal EU decision was taken on 29 May 2006, following earlier threats to do so. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have already been proscribed by the UK, US and Canada. Anton Balasingham, the Tamil Tigers' chief negotiator, commented:

"Further proscriptions will invigorate the hardline [Sinhalese] elements in the south, including those in the present Sri Lankan government urging the military defeat of the LTTE and silence those advocating a negotiated solution... The more the international community alienates the LTTE, the more the LTTE will be compelled to tread a hardline individualist path.''

The EU declares itself "fully committed to the peace process in Sri Lanka" and recognises that the "upsurge in violence is not caused by the LTTE alone". It sees no contradiction in banning the LTTE, freezing its funds and assets and prohibiting financial support while only "strongly urging the Sri Lankan authorities to curb violence in Government controlled areas".

London: "The uses and abuses of intelligence in the global war on terror", Monday 5 June at 1pm. Speaker: David Rose (investigative journalist and author of Guantanamo: America¹s War on Human Rights). Chair: Frances Webber (Immigration barrister, Garden Court Chambers). The seminar will be a discussion ­ not a debate ­ aimed at facilitating a genuine exchange of views and ideas between speakers and participants.

EU-US PNR (passenger name record) Treaty annulled by Court of Justice in case brought by the European Parliament - but is it a "pyrrhic" victory? Full-text of Judgment (pdf) Court of Justice press release (pdf) The treaty conclusion and Commission decision have clearly been annulled because (following the opinion of the Advocate-General, see below) their subject-matter fell outside the scope of the data protection directive, as they concerned essentially the processing of data by law enforcement authorities. The other pleas by the EP, in particular the privacy plea, are therefore not considered at all (the Advocate-General had considered them for the sake of argument, but rejected them). The EP has therefore won a "pyrrhic" victory, as the agreement will now be replaced either by national agreements, or by a third pillar agreement with the US. Either way the EP has no power over approval of the treaty/treaties or even the power to bring legal proceedings against them. The press may describe this as a victory for the EP or for privacy but they will be mistaken.

Moreover, there is a risk that if an EU treaty or purely national treaties are signed with the US that the standard of privacy protection could actually be worse than in the original PNR deal. The treaty is still valid for 3 months after being denounced, so access to the airline reservation databases would only be illegal if there are no replacement measures by that point.

1. Opinion of the Advocate-General of the European Court of Justice (delivered on 22 November 2005)
2. See Statewatch's
Observatory on the exchange of data on passengers (PNR) with USA

EU: Opinion of the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights on: The Human Rights Responsibilities of EU Member States in the context of CIA activities in Europe ("Extraordinary rendition")" sent the European Parliament's Inquiry, see: Observatory on "rendition

EU: Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor on the draft Directive on the exchange of criminal records

EU: The Odysseus Academic Network has been selected by the European Commission to conduct in partnership with UNHCR the comparative study on the implementation by the Member States of the directive on reception conditions for asylum seekers. Practitioners who are interested can contribute to this study by completing a practical questionnaire. The final conference will take place in Brussels on Tuesday 26 September. Interested persons can send an email to odysseus@ulb.ac.be or consult our website http://www.ulb.ac.be/assoc/odysseus/ to get more information. Call for contributions

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 1-2 June 2006: Background Note (pdf) Draft agenda

Crete: International Workshop: "State and civil society - national, European and global challenges", 2-3 June, 2006 "Xenia Cultural Student Centre, Rethymno, Crete, Greece. Agenda (pdf)

EU: The Future of Europol - Options paper: reflecting the outcome of the discussion on the future of Europol held during the Austrian Presidency May 2006. Plus - revised version: Draft Council Conclusions - which are only comprehensible if you read the first document

Turkey: New proposals to amend anti-terrorism law (antennae-hr, link) and A note (link)

UK: Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights has issued highly critical comments on "extraordinary rendition" in its report on UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT): JCHR extraordinary rendition (pdf). The report concludes that:

"we do not accept the Government's view that... it has adequately demonstrated that it has satisfied the obligation under domestic and international human rights law to investigate credible allegations of renditions of suspects through the UK to face torture abroad" and that:

"Where there are credible allegations arising from previous records that a particular civil aircraft transiting UK airspace has been involved in renditions, and where the aircraft is travelling to or from a country known to practise torture or inhuman or degrading treatment, it should be required to land. Where such an aircraft lands at a UK airport for refuelling or similar purposes, it should be required to provide a full list of all those on board, both staff and passengers. On landing, it should be boarded and searched by the police, and the identity of all those on board verified. Wherever appropriate, a criminal investigation should be initiated."

See also:
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, speech to the European Parliament hearing in Brussels on 23 January 2006

EU: Counter-Terrorism Coordinator report on:
Implementation of the Action Plan to Combat Terrorism Useful summary on implementation by member states and Six month report on counter-terrorism

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: Commission criticises government attack on human rights culture

EU: It is reported that European Commissionners are divided over which states should be on the list of "safe countries of origin" to which people can automatically be returned (euobserver, eupolitix links). The list under discussion covers seven African countries: Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Ghana, Senegal, Mali and Mauritius - the same seven countries discussed by the Council of the European Union in 2004. See for full background:

1. Statewatch Analysis: EU divided over list of "safe countries of origin" - the list should be scrapped (pdf)
2.
Appendix to this report with full details of all the EU member state responses (pdf)
3. Sources/documents, including member state responses
4. The Council's amended proposal of September 2004 - which despite all the evidence declares all seven "safe" to send people back to: EU doc no: 12118/04 (pdf)
5. The Council's decision to put off agreeing a list under the aslyum procedures Directive was in place: 14383/04
(pdf)

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"To determine the fate of people fleeing from poverty and persecution on the basis of such a shallow process by the Council was an insult to any sense of humanity or moral responsibility, let alone legal obligations. In 2004 the Commission opposed the inclusion of these countries - what has changed, where is the evidence that they are now safe?"

EU: Europol: Terrorist activity in the European union: Situation and trends report (TE-SAT) - October 2004 October 2005 (pdf)

EU: European Commission published Green Paper on: The presumption of innocence (pdf)

EU: Declaration by the Conference of European Data Protection Authorities in Budapest (pdf) Opinion of the Conference of European Data Protection Authorities on the proposal for a Council Framework Decision on the protection of personal data processed in the framework of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters

UN: Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture: United States of America - Guantanamo Bay report

Statewatch launches a new "Observatory" on CIA "rendition"

The Observatory includes extensive documentation with the full-text of 173 documents submitted so far to the ongoing European Parliament inquiry (TDIP) into these matters - many of them published for the first time. Among the documents are detailed submissions on the inquiries in Italy (the Milan abduction), Spain (rendition flights), Canada (the Meher Arar public inquiry) and Ireland (the use of Shannon airport) as well as submissions from 26 national parliaments in Europe. Also included are reports issued by the European Parliament, Council of Europe and NGOs. Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Editor, comments:

"The European Parliament inquiry is a very important initiative in trying to establish the truth about the CIA's activities in Europe. However, EU governments and officials continue to close their eyes and have failed to act as custodians of fundamental rights and accountability.

The publication of these documents is an essential contribution to the work of those trying to establish the truth in the face of institutional intransigence and secrecy."

EU: Sison blacklisting case to be heard in EU court on 30 May 2006: Briefing (English, French and Dutch, pdf)

Northern Ireland: Subversion in the UDR document now online - Pat Finucane Centre

EU: European Arrest Warrants figures for 2005 (pdf) Only 12 out of the 25 EU member states have provided figures. The 12 issued 2.428 EAWs: 1,448 by Poland, 373 by Netherlands, 131 by UK and 121 by Italy, however, only 112 were surrendered from the Polish list, 30 for the Netherlands, 43 for UK and 57 for Italy. The most marked finding is that the UK tops the list of the countries to whom EAWs were issued with 5,986 received (434 Netherlands, 218 Poland and 69 Italy) - but the numbers for the people arrested in response to an EAW was: UK only 154, Netherlands 164, Poland 100 and Italy: no answer. A large number of EAWs received by the UK would appear to have come from the 13 EU states which did not respond to the evaluation.

EU-US: 30 to 50 extraordinary renditions undertaken according to intelligence sources, say MEPs

Denmark: Racism in Denmark ENAR Shadow Report 2005 (European Netowkr Against Racism)

EU: Illegal Migrants: proposals for a common EU returns policy - report House of Lords, Select Committee on the European Union

Greece: First violation of ICCPR found by UN HRC against Greece - 28 03 06 (pdf)

Statewatch analysis: Transferring the Third Pillar by Professor Steve Peers, Department of Law, University of Essex. Background documents: 1) European Commission Communication: Citizens' Agenda: Delivering results for Europe; 2) Current Title VI of the TEU (third pillar) and 3) Articles III-270 to III-277 of the proposed EU Constitution

Greece: Minister urged to quit over "abduction" of Pakistani immigrants (Independent on Sunday, link). See also: Greece: 5,432 immigrants questioned in massive security sweep in July-August 2005 at request of MI6 - 28 Pakistani men abducted, held in secret houses, questioned and subjected to violence

EU-USA: MEPs say Washington visit shows CIA investigation must continue - press statement 12 May 2006 from the delegation from the Committee of Inquiry into flights and detention (TDIP)

EU: Communication from the Commission to the European Council: The Period of reflection and Plan (COM 212) (pdf)

Libya-Lampedusa: Report from the Central European University Centre, Open Society Institute, by Rutvica Andrijasevic: How to Balance Rights and Responsibilities on Asylum at the EU's Southern Border of Italy and Libya

UK: Two reports on the London bombings on 7 July 2005: Intelligence and Secuiity Committee: Report into the London Terrorist Attacks on 7 July 2005 (pdf) and Report of the Official Account of the Bombings in London on 7th July 2005 (pdf)

Italy: Extraordinary renditions: Collusion by Italian personnel in CIA kidnapping

No Fortress Europe - Appeal: Join the campaign to shut down temporary holding centres for migrants in Europe by signing this petition The campaign will be officially launched in Stasbourg on 17 May 2006

EU: A Ministerial Conference on the "Role of Internal Security in Relations between the EU and its Neighbours" was held on 4-5 May 2006 in Vienna, Austria: Vienna Declaration on Security Partnership

London: "Non-refoulement under threat" - Joint Redress/Immigration Law Practitioners Association (ILPA) Seminar Matrix Chambers, 16 May 2006 (pdf)

European Parliament: Interim report on CIA alleged flights, rendition and secret prisons in the EU: English French German Italian Polish (pdf)

EU: Draft Common Manual for Immigration Liaison Officers (ILOs) posted abroad by the Member States of the European Union (132 pages)

EU: European Commission evaluation of on combating trafficking in human beings (pdf)

EU: European Commission proposal on on criminal measures aimed at ensuring the enforcement of intellectual property rights

EU: Article 29 Working Party on Data Protection calls for proper safeguards and controls on the national implementation of the EU Directive on mandatory data retention: WP 119 (pdf) For full background and documentation see Statewatch's Observatory on the Surveillance of telecommunications in the EU

April 2006

European Commission: Amended proposal on criminal measures aimed at ensuring the enforcement of intellectual property rights (COM 168, 2006)

European Commission: A report on application of the Common Position on exchange of data with Interpol (COM 167, 2006)

European Ombudsman Annual Report for 2005 (pdf) Statistical Annex (pdf)

UK: Sixty-eight racist murders since Stephen Lawrence (IRR News Service, link) More details (link)

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 27-28 April 2006 in Luxembourg: Press release (pdf)

B Points agenda (pdf)
A Points agenda (adopted without debate, pdf)
Background Note (pdf)

The agenda for discussion includes a number of issues on which there appears to be no agreement between the EU governments. For example, an amendment to the Schengen Agreement on police cooperation: EU doc no 8459/06 and an extraordinary Declaration by the Czech Republic, Latvia, Hungary, Estonia, Lithuania and Slovakia delegations backing the "use of biometrics" to "promote EU security" and for "flexibility" on the contested legal basis for SIS II: EU doc no: 8610/06 see EU doc no 8537/06 for the substantive issues. The same goes for the proposed Framework Decision on procedural rights in criminal proceedings, such are the differences that some governments (UK, Czech Republic, Ireland, Malta, Cyprus and Slovakia) are suggesting a non-binding measure be adopted instead: EU doc no 8466/06 And for the mutual recognition to judgments in criminal matters imposing custodial sentences: EU doc no: 8426/06 Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: "All of these measures concern substantive differences on fundamental issues yet all of these documents are secret, surely we have a right to know what is being decided in our name?"

European Parliament: ALDE (Liberal group) welcomes draft report on CIA alleged flights and secret prisons in the EU: Press statement (English) Press statement (French) Interim report from the inquiry into on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners (French)

Denmark: "Rebellion" case goes to Supreme Court See also Statewatch's: "Terrorist" lists: monitoring proscription, designation and asset-freezing

EU: New Statewatch Report: Tuesday 25 April 2006: Arming Big Brother: new research reveals the true costs of Europe's security-industrial complex (pdf)

The European Union is preparing to spend up to ¬1 billion per year on new research into surveillance and control technologies, according to Arming Big Brother, a new report by the Transnational Institute (TNI) and Statewatch. Arms industry lobbying is leading to the creation of a powerful new internal security-industrial complex, says Ben Hayes, author of the report. Arming Big Brother lifts the lid on the secretive committees and arms industry lobbying that led to the creation of the European Security Research Programme (ESRP).

The EU is basically funding the diversification of the military-industrial complex into the highly profitable internal security field, said Hayes. The militarisation of policing and border controls will not prevent crime or terrorism, it does nothing to address root causes while posing a massive threat to civil liberties.

Press release (English) Press release (Spanish, link)
Five page Summary
Copy of full report (English, pdf) Copy of full report (Spanish, pdf)

Hard copies of Arming Big Brother can be obtained from: The Transnational Institute, please send an e-mail to: wilbert@tni.org with your request.

UK: This all-powerful government is prone to creeping authoritarianism: History shows majority rule is no guarantee against tyranny. Post-9/11, the portents for our democracy are alarming Article by Lord Steyn (Guardian, link)

UK: "Renew for freedom" campaign launched - urging people to get a new passport now to avoid the fingerprinting ID card for 10 years. How to do it Factsheet (pdf) "Renew for freedom" website ((link)

EU: Data Protection Commissioners calls for harmonised safeguards on the use of mandatory data retention

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"Time and time again EU governments are "harmonising" the powers of the state to place individuals under surveillance, when are they going to "harmonise" the right of the individuals against the misuse and abuse of state power?"

EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) writes to the Chair of the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties expressing concern at the planned delegation of its management to France for the Central Unit and to Austria for the back-up central unit. He calls for the Commission to ensure that the legislation allows for "checks on the spot" and the full exercise of his powers. This is perhaps alluding to the time, years ago, when the Schengen Joint Supervisory Authority turned up at Strasbourg to check on the Central Unit to be told to get lost by the French officials running the SIS. Full-text of EDPS letter (pdf)

UK: Torture & Security Agencies in the War on Terror (pdf) Seminar on the complicity of security agencies in global torture, including extraordinary rendition, Saturday 22nd April 2006, 1pm to 5.30pm. Sponsored by: Human Rights & Social Justice Research Institute, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities, Garden Court Chambers, the Muslim Parliament, Statewatch, Redress and Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers

Council of Europe: "I am now in position to say that we no longer need to speak about alleged cases of rendition", Terry Davis, Secretary-General Council of Europe. Text of press release (link)

EU: Still a total of 414 EU citizens wrongly put on the Schengen Information System (SIS) - Switzerland tops the list by a mile. Under Article 96 which allows aliens to be refused entry. Article 96 concerns data placed on the SIS "relating to aliens who are reported for the purpose of being refused entry" by a member state (from its own state or other EU states). The grounds include "a threat to public order or national security" (Art 96.2). In April 2005 the Heads of national units (SIRENE Bureaux) "were kindly requested to check their national data and to delete the respective data from the system". In June 2005 a report from the Schengen Joint Supervisory Authority recommended that member states: "prevent Article 96 alerts on nationals from EU Member States."

Yet a check on 31 March 2006 found 414 (previously 503) citizens from the EU and associated countries (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland) register under Article 96. Top of the list is Switzerland with 356 (389) people registered - which perhaps begs the question whether the people registered are protesters at the World Economic Forums held in Davros, Switzerland? For the full list see: EU doc no: 8281(pdf) (previous: EU doc 7005/05 (pdf).

Article 96 is primarily used to exclude from entry "illegal aliens" including refugees deported from the EU, See: Three-quarters of a million "illegal aliens" banned from Schengen area and Report of the Schengen Joint Supervisory Authority on an inspection of the use of Article 96 alerts in the Schengen Information System (pdf). See also: SIS II fait accompli? Construction of EU's Big Brother database underway

Euro-Med: Barcelona Process: Follow-up to the Barcelona Conference: Euromed Committee and Senior Officials meetings summary records (2003-2006, pdf)

Europol: The Council of the European Union (25 governments) is planning to replace the Europol Convention - which had to be ratified by all national parliaments - with a Council Decision (and to turn it into an EU agency). The replacement of the Convention by a Decision would circumvent national parliaments, including for future amendments.

Europol : the way forward towards more efficiency and accountability- draft Council conclusions

Chairman's Summary of the High Level Conference on the Future of Europol (23 and 24 February 2006) This includes the consensual positions that: "ways should be found to enable Europol to exchange information also with countries that do not have the same data protection standards as those that are applicable within the European Union" "the present legal framework allows for sufficient parliamentary control."

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"In other words, data protection should be abandoned so that countries like the USA can get whatever information or intelligence they want and use it as they want without fundamental safeguards. As to "parliamentary control", this is non-existent in practice. The Council is alone in thinking the existing framework for accountability is "sufficient"".

Europol Annual Report for 2005 (pdf)
Europol Work Programme for 2007
Europol Budget for 2007

UK: Statewatch's Observatory on UK Acts of Parliament (1988 and ongoing) updated

UK: Identity Card Act 2006: full-text (pdf) Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 - full-text (pdf) Terrorism Act 2006: full-text (pdf). The Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, said: "This new legislation together will allow us to uphold our democratic right to freedom of speech and to free movement within the United Kingdom"

UK: Terror law an affront to justice - judge. Control orders breach human rights (Guardian, link) The Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (link)

EU: Council of the European Union to call for an increase in removals from the EU by "a further increase in the use of joint flights" and for the EU-wide FRONTEX (European Border Agency) to be given a coordinating role where "special attention should be paid in particular to criteria of economic efficiency and to the need to accelerate and facilitate the relevant procedures" (emphasis added). Draft Council Conclusions (for JHA Council on 27-28 April) on: - Draft Council Conclusions on improved operational cooperation on joint return operations by air (EU doc no: 8246/06, pdf)

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"How many flights have taken place, how many people were removed and from which countries and to which countries, were they voluntary or forced removals, what conditions are those removed now living in? So-called "efficiency", needs to be matched by public accountability. We have a right to know what is being done in our name."

Spain: 11-M judge charges 29 suspects

Draft Council Conclusions (for JHA Council on 27-28 April) - Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on strengthened practical cooperation New structures, new approaches : improving the quality of decision making in the common European asylum system - Draft Council Conclusions (EU doc no: 8240/06, pdf)

EU commitments vis-à-vis third countries (pdf) (50 pages, EU doc no: 8146/06). Useful summary of external agreements

EU: Responses to the Commission's Green Paper on Conflicts of Jurisdiction and the Principle of ne bis in idem in Criminal Proceedings:
European Criminal Bar Association (pdf) The Standing Committee of experts, the Meijers Committee (pdf)

EU: Provisional agenda for the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 27/28 April 2006 (pdf)

Spain: January-February 2006 statistics from the Oficina de asilo y refugio (Asylum and Refuge Office)

Spain: Policeman involved in reporting police abuses against migrants

EU: UK House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union: European Arrest Warrant - recent developments (pdf)

EU: UK House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union: Human rights protection in Europe: the Fundamental Rights Agency (pdf)

Amnesty International: USA - Below the radar: Secret flights to torture and disappearance (report, pdf)

Italy: Text of the new drugs law: Chart detailing quantities of drugs to be considered a criminal offence published

EU-CIA: Highly detailed Working Table on alleged CIA flights/secret prisons prepared for the European Parliament's inquiry (pdf) prepared by the ALDE/CIA team

EU-US Informal High Level meeting on freedom, security and justice on 2-3 March in Vienna - full-text (pdf) The minutes of this high-level meeting show the US input/interest on substantial issues of EU policy-making. Of particular interest are:

1. "US side indicated that it was considering approaching each [EU] Member State to ensure that the data collected on the basis of the recently adopted Directive on data retention be accessible to them". This is the measure which will enable the surveillance of all phone-calls, e-mails, faxes, mobile phone-calls and internet usage.

2. "US side expressed serious concern about the negative impact that the draft Framework Decision on data protection would have on its bilateral relations with Member states if it was to be adopted in its present form". This is a reference to Article 15 of the proposed measure referring to "an adequate level of protection is ensured in the third country" - which raises yet again the fact that there is no protection for non-US citizens. The EU side at the meeting clearly sought to meet this point by saying that: "Member States were divided on the need for such a provision".

UK: Minister of Defence wants changes in international law to help UK troops - on treatment of prisoners and pre-emptive strikes: Text of speech (MOD, link). Commentary (Guardian, link)

EU: Corporate Observatory Europe: imaginative tour of Brussels lobbyists

March 2006

UK: The Terrorism Act 2006, the Identity Cards Act and the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act all received royal assent on 30 March 2006, becoming law. Terrorism Act 2006: full-text (pdf). The Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, said: "This new legislation together will allow us to uphold our democratic right to freedom of speech and to free movement within the United Kingdom"

EU: Legislative update - latest Council texts:

- Schengen Information System II, EU doc no 5709/1/06 REV 1, 24 March 2006
-
Refugee Fund and management of migration flows, EU doc no 7723/06, dated 28 March 2006
-
Framework Decision on procedural rights in criminal proceedings in the EU, EU doc no 7527/06, dated 27 March 2006
-
Data Protection, EU doc no 6450/1/06, REV 1, dated 23 March 2006
-
High Level Conference on the future of Europol, EU doc no 7868/06, dated 29 March 2006

UK: Statistics on race and criminal justice system (pdf) and Overview (pdf) "Black people were six times more likely to be stopped and searched under these powers than White people, a similar rate to 2003/4. Asian people were twice as more likely to be stopped and searched than were White people; again a similar rate to the previous year" - in other words nothing has changed.

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: Commission concerned about introduction of the TASER (pdf)

Fabricating terrorism report: British complicity in renditions and torture- (caged-prisoners, link)

MI5 tip-off to CIA led to men's rendition (Guardian, link)

Greece: Immigration news digest (3 March - 23 March 2006)

UK: Inquest press release: Daming report on the death of Christopher Alder falls short of family's demand for public inquiry (pdf). Report from the Indpendent Police Complaints Commission (link) Press release from IPCC (link)

EU: Agreement in the Council of Ministers on 10 year driving licences: Press release (pdf). Compromise report, Proposal (pdf) Background document (pdf) Statewatch coverage and UK demand for fingerprints to be included A plastic card with "optional use of a microchip" provided that this does not interfere with commonly accessible data will be obligatory as from 2012. At the latest 20 years after the date of application (i.e. in 2032), all driving licences issued or in circulation must fulfil all its requirements. The new licences for automobiles and motorcycles will be limited to 10 years, although Member States may extend the period to 15 years. For the UK lifetime licences (from 17-70 years old) will have to be replaced five times up to 70 years old, no doubt each with a new level of technology and legal requirements. See the Register coverage (link)

EU: Study of the Laws of Evidence in Criminal Proceedings throughout the EU (as this 399 page report is a very large 9MB pdf it is here as a 3.24MB zip file) This report was written by Roger Ede and compiled by Charlotte Ford. The study was conducted by the International Department of the Law Society of England and Wales and was funded by the European Commission.

Italy: Appeal by journalists: CPT, the denial of information - refused access to detention centres

EU: G5 Group on Interior Ministers becomes G6: Meeting of the Interior Ministers of France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom, Heiligendamm, 22 and 23 March 2006 - Full-text of Conclusions

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"This self-appointed governmental pressure group sees itself as leading the way on justice and home affairs - but have they consulted their people or parliaments on the measures they are putting forward?

A classic instance is their position on the so-called "principle of availability" whereby all information and intelligence (often guesswork or supposition) on individuals held by a national law enforcement agency (police, immigration, customs) can be accessed by any of the hundreds of agencies across the EU (where it can added to with more information and "intelligence" and passed on again, inside or outside the EU).

Their conclusion is that the "rapid implementation of the availability principle must not depend on the adoption of a framework decision on data protection" - in other words state agencies should be allowed to exchange information and "intelligence" without any data protection rights for the individual being in place."

EU: Belgium government loses free movement court case: Judgment European Court of Justice (link)

Spain/Euskadi: ETA issues second ceasefire statement

Spain / Euskadi: ETA declares "permanent ceasefire": Message from Euskadita Ta Askatasuna to the Basque people

EU: Report from European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) Opinion on the International legal obligations of Council of Europe Member States in respect of secret detention facilities and inter-state transport of prisoners (adopted at the Plenary session on 17-18 March 2006, pdf)

UK: British airports handled 73 CIA flights - details

Purging Greece of landmine scourge, by Louisa O'Brien from the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Link to article from Katherimini newspaper, 1 March 2006

Brussels: Journalists at Your Service - Press Conference: For the publication of the results of a Europe-wide research project on the harmonisation of statistical data on international migration and asylum. Michel Poulain (University of Louvain), Ann Singleton (University of Bristol) and Nicolas Perrin (UCL) present the current situation on international migration in Europe and in Belgium. Thursday 30th March at 10h30am In the Résidence Palace, rue de la Loi 155, Brussels (Reading Room, ground floor) Press Conference Calling Notice: English and French (pdf)

The Regulation of migration, asylum and movement in the "new Europe" (Call, pdf): 34th Annual Conference of the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control, 31 August to 3 September 2006, Corinth, Peloponnese, Greece

MEPs demand that the report on EU-US PNR (passenger name records) is de-classified: Letter to US from Liberal group MEPs (pdf). For full background see Statewatch's Observatory on the exchange of data on passengers (PNR) with USA

Dutch Government will not approve European Fundamental Rights Agency unless conditions of Dutch Senate are met (press release, pdf)

EU: "The collision of chips": European Commission: Modified proposal for a Regulation on Amending Regulation (EC) 1030/2002 laying down a uniform format for residence permits for third-country nationals (pdf). This modified proposal says that it is "optional" for member state to insert a chip with biometrics (fingerprints) into residence permits. It also announces that the plan to insert biometric chips into visas is being withdrawn - this is due to the fact that no technological fix has been found to the "clash of chips", that is, between a biometric chip inserted by the third country in its passport clashing with the EU visa chip. Now "biometric identifiers will only be stored in the Visa Information System". Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"Only storing biometrics (fingerprints) on the central VIS system, would seem to present an obvious problem (just about as obvious as the "collision problem" was back in 2003). If the biometric data is not in the visa the only way to carry out a check will be to take the fingerprints of people entering the EU with a visa on entry, either at an airport, seaport or land border. This would be very time-consuming, costly and in some cases lead to long queues while peoples' details are checked and cleared"

For full background: Statewatch analysis: EU biometric visa policy unworkable (January 2005)

EU: European Data Protection Supervisor issues highly critical report on: Communication of the Commission on interoperability of European data bases (pdf) He says that the linking of databases raises legal and political issues not just "technical" ones as suggested by the Commission. Moreover, the EDPS concludes that the:

"aggregation of databases also increases the risk of "function creep" when the interlinking of two databases designed for two distinct purposes will provide a third one for which they have not been built, a result which is in a clear contradiction of the purpose limitation principle."

EU: Viewpoint: Our freedom, their labour: a tradesmans entrance for Fortress Europe by Ben Hayes (pdf) Commission proposal on legal migration COM 669 (pdf)

UK: IRR News Service: Update: Racial violence round-up (9 March 2006) Incidents of racial violence and harassment that have taken place in the first few months of 2006 and note the results of court proceedings against perpetrators of attacks that took place after 7 July 2005.

EU: European Data Protection Supervisor press release on Eurodac (pdf) The press release states that: "Because of the sensitivity of some information in the report, it is not publicly available"

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: "This sets a very bad precedent. If this principle is extended to the Visa Information System, SIS II and in time the EU PNR and fingerprint databases all we will get is a one page press release. The very minimum should be a "partially accessible" report with any "sensitive information" deleted."

EU: Report from the Select Committee on the European Union of the House of Lords: The European Ombudsman (pdf)

UK-EU: Joint Committee on Human Rights report: Implementation of Strasbourg Judgments (pdf)

EU-USA: The agreements on extradition and mutual legal assistance agreed in June 2003 still have some way to go before they come into effect. Twenty-two Member States are in the process of amending their constitutions to give effect to the agreements - a few of these have completed this process: EU doc no: 5848/06 (pdf). For full background and texts of the agreements see: Statewatch's analysis

Spain/Euskadi: Three years on from the closure of Egunkaria newspaper

Greece: Immigration news digest (15 February - 2 March 2006)

UK: Conference - Crime, Justice and Surveillance, Sheffield, 5-6 April 2006 (flyer, pdf). Two interesting articles from the current issue of Surveillance and Society: Studying Surveillance in Greece: Methodological and Other Problems Related to an Authoritarian Surveillance Culture by Minas Samatas and The ECHELON Trail: An Illegal Vision by Steve Wright

EU: Statewatch analysis by Tony Bunyan: The EUs Police Chief Task Force (PCTF) and Police Chiefs Committee (pdf)

- a tale of self-regulation and self-definition by a body with no legal or constitutional basis
- Police Chiefs Committee created

Council of Europe: Damning report on secret detentions and transport of detainees by foreign agencies (full-text, pdf). The report concludes that: Europe has next to no safeguards to monitor or control foreign intelligence agents nor any way of monitoring that its airports and airspace were not used for illegal abductions. For a: Full list of the replies given by each European government to the CoE's questions (link)

CIA-renditions-flights: Speech by Tony Bunyan, Statewatch, to the European Parliament hearing on 23 February 2006 (pdf)

UK: House of Commons Research Library: Briefing on Police and Justice Bill (pdf) Police and Justice Bill (pdf) Explanatory Notes (pdf). The Bill includes powers to collect PNR (Passenger Name Records) on everyone on domestic flights and ferries (powers to get similar personal data on those flying in and out of the country are included in the Immigration Bill). Plus allowing "community support officers" to take part in "truancy sweeps", power to court to remand in custody those breaching ASBOs until hearing, and police force mergers.

February 2006

London: Meeting: Is it time to repeal the anti-terrorism laws? (pdf) Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers in association with Tooks Chambers Thursday 9th March 2006 Speakers: Michael Mansfield QC from Tooks Chambers, Gareth Pierce from Birnberg Pierce Solicitors, Solicitor for Moazzam Begg

EU-UN: Council discussions on the: Protocol Against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime and Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women And Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime (pdf)

EU: Council discussions on: Directive on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals (pdf)

UK: An extraordinary Bill being put through by the government would allow them to "amend, repeal or replace" any legislation by the statutory instrument procedure (ie: that used to implement Acts): Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (pdf) Explanatory Note (pdf) Article by Daniel Finkelstein in the Times: How I woke up to a nightmare plot to steal centuries of law and liberty (link)

UK: House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee: Human Rights Annual Report 2005 (pdf) It includes the following conclusion: "We conclude that the Government has a duty to enquire into the allegations of extraordinary rendition and black sites under the Convention against Torture, and to make clear to the USA that any extraordinary rendition to states where suspects may be tortured is completely unacceptable."

Denmark: Documents confiscated and criminal charges brought against Danish association Oproer (Rebellion)

UK: Amnesty International report: Human rights: a broken promise (pdf) "Since 11 September 2001, the UK authorities have passed a series of new laws, even though the UK already had some of the toughest anti-terrorism laws in Europe. These laws contain sweeping provisions that contravene human rights law, and their implementation has led to serious abuses of human rights."

Italy/Iraq: Hooded Abu Ghraib prisoner claims Italian contractors took part in interrogations and details abuses

France: Text of the new anti-terrorist law

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, Brussels, 21 February 2006: Press release (pdf)
A Point agenda (adopted without discussion)
B Point Agenda
Background Note (pdf)
Discussion includes the
European Evidence Warrant (doc no: 15957/05)
See also updated
Terrorism Action Plan, 13 February 2006

European Parliament: Meeting of the Temporary Committee on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners: Hearing Thursday 23 February 2005 (pdf). NGOs: Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Statewatch followed by Dick Marty - President of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, rapporteur on alleged secret detentions in Council of Europe member states

UK: Text of the Identity Card Bill as agreed by the House of Commons and sent back to the House of Lords, 14 February 2006 and Text of the Terrorism Bill as agreed by the House of Commons and sent back to the House of lords, 16 February 2006 (the Commons rejected the HoL amendment on "glorification")

EU: Opinion from the Article 29 Working Party on the application of EU data protection rules to internal whistleblowing schemes in the fields of accounting, internal accounting controls, auditing matters, fight against bribery, banking and financial crime: WP 117 (pdf)

EU: Updated map of detention camps for foreigners in Europe and Mediterranean countries

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, Brussels, 21 February 2006: Background Note (pdf)

UK: Report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights on the human rights implications of the operation of the control orders regime under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (PoTA 2005) (101 pages, pdf), in the context of the Home Secretarys decision to lay before Parliament a draft Order which, if approved by both Houses, will continue the regime in force for a further year from 11 March 2006.

House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union: Report on Proposed European Institute for Gender
Equality
(pdf)

UN: Report on Guantanamo Bay detainees (February 2006)

Italy: Decree to implement electronic passports containing biometric data - biometric data collected "will not be stored in databases"

France: Council of Europe human rights commissioner presents damning report

US: The Quadrennial Review for the US Department of Defence envisages an on-going "war on terrorism" across the globe with the help of "willing" allies. Among the shift envisage is a move from bombing or troops on the ground to extensive use of unmanned drones (up to 45% of its long-range strike force) whih could bomb or assasination at the touch of a computer button thousands of miles away: Quadrennial Defense Review Report - full-text (pdf) See: Guardian: Special report: America's Long War - US introduces radical new strategy (link) and A close ally, but no influence, Richard Norton-Taylor (link)

Greece: Immigration news digest (10 January - 8 February 2006)

Freedom of speech is not an absolute: an interview with A. Sivanandan, Director of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR News Service, link)

EU: Commission to resurrect biometric ID cards?
- Belgium and Czech Republic insist that biometrics are not automatically added to national ID cards
- European Commission admits "there are doubts about the legal bases"
- Attempt to treat introduction of biometrics as a "technical" issue

EU: European Commission work programme for 2006: Justice and home affairs issues (or JLS as they call them, 17 pages, pdf) Full programme (128 pages, pdf). Most initiatives could be predicted including the forgotten EU PNR (passenger name record) system which will give law enforcement agencies access to personal data for flights "to, through, or from the EU". The proposal to allow for the exchange of information in national registers (JLS 116) would appear to extend the so-called "principle of availability" to non-police databases (such as vehicles, residence and so on). See also: Biometric ID cards (above)

UK: ID cards in two years as rebellion fails (Guardian, link)

Swiss Police face jail for nearly killing two activists in Evian 2003

Report from an Autistic Country by Dennis Tollborg, Sweden (pdf) Far-ranging lecture on the use and abuse of national security, the role of intelligence agencies and how the lives of people targeted can be ruined.

USA: General Accountability Office (GAO) report on the "Secure Flight" programme which monitors domestic flights finds that the: "lack of progress indicates that the program has not been effectively managed and is at risk of failure" (p43). For example, none of the privacy and redress protections have ben put in place. International flights are to be monitored through the Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) and Passenger Name Record (PNR) scheme. See also EPIC's Secure Flight page

UK: Harry Stanley family disgust at decision not to discipline police: Press release (pdf)

EU-ECJ: Opinion of the Advocate-General of the European Court of Justice (delivered on 22 November 2005) Now avaiable in English (pdf). Case C-317/04: European Parliament v Council of the European Union on the transfer of PNR (passenger name record data) to the USA.

London: 'Cover-ups, lies and censorship', 20 February, 6.30pm at NUJ 308/312 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1. Speakers: Steve Bell (Cartoonist) Martin Bright (Journalist), Jeremy Corbyn MP, Katharine Gun, Mark Stephens (solicitor representing Al-jazeera). Chair Tim Gopsill (Joint chair Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freddom, CPBF).

Brief background to OSA trial: On 25 April two men will appear in court charged under the official secrets Act. David Keogh is accused of passing a document to Leo O'Connor, who used to work for the former Labour Northampton South MP Anthony Clarke, in 2004. Mr O'Connor is charged under Section 5 of the act with receiving a document without lawful authority. The trial follows the report by the Daily Mirror on 22 November 2005, of a memo of a meeting between Blair and Bush in 2004. The Mirror claimed that Bush proposed bombing Al-jazerra. The prosecution wants the trial held in secret and has made application to foreign secretary, Jack Straw.

Spain: The number of migrant deaths rises again

Amnesty International report: Guantánamo: Lives torn apart The impact of indefinite detention on detainees and their families (link)

UK: Joint Committee on Human Rights: Government response to report on the Terrorism Bill, Deportation and exclusion and the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill (pdf) The Committee's report, December 2005 (pdf)

Freedom of Information: Overview of FOIA Countries Worldwide 1, February 2006. Excellent overview compiled by Roger Vleugels with help from the Freedom of Information Advocates Network (FOIA Network)

UK: Racial profiling and anti-terror stop and search (IRR News Service, link)

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 21 February, Brussels: B Point agenda (pdf). Note no document number are included.

EU: Final text of Data retention Directive (Council doc. 3677/05, 3.2.06, pdf). For background see Statewatch Observatory on the surveillance of telecommunications in the EU.

UK: First official review of Terrorism Act 2005 calls for release of 8 men held pending "security deportation" (pdf) In his first annual review of the PTA 2005, Lord Carlisle, the UK's "independent" reviewer of terrorism legislation, has expressed "real concern about the detention under deportation procedures (even where bail has been granted) of persons who in practice cannot be deported at present and are unlikely to be capable of legally compliant deportation within a reasonable time". Calling for the release of 8 men under "control orders", Lord Carlile also recorded his "anxiety about the duration of control orders in relation to individual controlees, if the system is (as I expect) continued".

Greece: Prime minister and top officials' phones tapped by "unknown individuals" (Guardian, 3.2.04, link) The mobile phones of Greek prime minister Costas Caramanlis and top government and security officials were tapped by unknown individuals during the Athens 2004 Olympics and for nearly a year after, the government said yesterday. The list of about 100 people whose telephones were tapped included the ministers of foreign affairs, defence, public order and justice. Most of Greece's top military and police officers were also targeted, as were foreign ministry officials. The phone tappers used interceptors traced to the vicinity of the US embassy.

EU: Commission: White Paper on a European Communication Policy (pdf) COM(2006) 35 final

ECJ rule against Spain on refusal of entry based on SIS alert - judgment

January 2006

EU: Commission Communication on Thematic programme for the cooperation with third countries in the areas of migration and asylum COM(2006) 26 final

EU: European Commission Proposal Establishing a Community civil protection mechanism (recast) (pdf)

USA: General Accountability Office (GAO) Report on US-VISIT programme (pdf). This is little detail in this report on the US-VISIT programme which is intended to keep a life-long history of everyone entering and leaving the USA. However, it does says that since the scheme was started in 2003 and millions of passengers checked only 450 people with "criminal or immigration violations" have been prevented from entering. It also appears that checks on those leaving the country only cover 24% of people - which renders the scheme pretty ineffectual as they do do know whether most people have left or are still in the country.

UK leads the world in the collection of individual DNA records with over 2.5 million collected by March 2004. 5.24% of the UK population have had their DNA taken from them, this compares to 0.98% in Austria, 0.83% in Switzerland, 0.50% in the USA and 0.41% in Germany. UK figures are set to increase substantially as a change in the law says that DNA and fingerprints can be compulsorily be taken by police from anyone arrested for any offence - DNA and fingerprints can be kept on the National DNA Database (NDNAD) even if the person is not charged with any offence or has been acquitted of an alleged offence. Report on UK DNA database (pdf)

Greece: 5,432 immigrants questioned in massive security sweep in July-August 2005 at request of MI6 - 28 Pakistani men abducted, held in secret houses, questioned and subjected to violence

Northern Ireland: Bloody Sunday Programme 2006 (link to Pat Finucane Centre)

UK-PNR scheme: Security services and police to get UK air passenger details in advance (Guardian, link). Statewatch briefing: e-Borders plan to tackle threats - the scheme is one of the most advanced in the world - but will not be fully in place until at least 2018 (pdf)

European Data Protection Supervisor Opinion on access by internal security agencies to the Visa Information System (VIS) Commission proposal for a Council Decision (COM 600, 2005). The EDPS calls for a number of changes to strengthen the proposal. However, there is no right for the individual to be told of access to their data or of how it is further processed by the "internal security" agencies (anti-terrorist and law enforcement).

Council of Europe: Rendition and camps: According to Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly investigator Dick Marty it is highly likely that European governments were aware of rendition affecting Europe: CoE Interim Report - full-text (pdf)

European Civil Liberties Network (ECLN): Noticeboard - latest updates (23 January) include: Italy: appeal to oppose new law on drugs; Europe: European Association for the protection of Human Rights (EAHR); Mother Earth press release; Crime and punishment in a market society: how just is the criminal justice system? Speech by Vivien Stern (British Institute of Human Rights, BIHR); European-wide Action Week Against Racism 2006 (UNITED); People's Actions for Human Security in Asia and Europe, Asem People's Forum 5 / Transnational Institute (TNI); Will it Work? An Open Debate on Wallströms White Paper on Information and European Democracy, Brussels; Bloody Sunday Programme 2006, Derry; War on Terror, Amnesty International Annual Lecture, Professor Noam Chomsky; Human Rights Watch World Report 2006; Derechos Humanos en la Frontera Sur 2006. Informe sobre la inmigración clandestina durante el año 2005, Asociación pro Derechos Humanos de Andalucía.

International Federation of Journalists: IFJ Slams Culture of Indifference Over Killings of Journalists as Media Death Tolls Tops 150 (link) IFJ report Part 1 (pdf) Part 2, Part 3

Russia-UK: Foreign Office rejects espionage claims against British diplomats - agents named (link) Moscow names British 'spies' in NGO row: TV alleges transmitter was hidden in stone block: Embassy staff accused of funding Russian groups (Guardian, link)

Greece: Protest march on 28 Pakistani men abducted at behest of MI6 - lawyer said the men are under great pressure from the Pakistan Embassy at a packed meeting in Athens on 19 January and that they have been offered bribes to withdraw their allegations. Background: 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)

Italy: Interior Minister details reservations on the Prüm Convention (Schengen III)

EU: Rendition: the cover-up by Martin Bright (New Statesman, link) Full-text of secret memo from the Foreign Office to No 10 (pdf)

EU: Council of Europe: An interim report is expected on Tuesday from CoE Senator, Dick Marty, who was quoted last week as saying that "some countries actively collaborated, some tolerated, while others simply looked away", see Malta Indpendent, link)

Concerns grow in Ireland over use of Shannon airport as US military stopover (Guardian, link)

European Parliament:

a.
Resolution setting up temporary committee to investigate flights and detention centres (link)
b.
Membership of the Committee - list of MEPs

Understanding the riots in France, IRR News Service (link)

European Ombudsman says Council does not go far enough in opening up its meetings

Germany's secret aid for America's war (Spiegel Online, link)

EU: Commission proposal for a Council Decision on the transmission of information resulting from the activities of security and intelligence services with respect to terrorist offences (COM(2005) 695)

Europol may be given new investigative powers (euactiv, link)

The war on terrorism: What is "Camolin"? An intelligence operation involving agencies from the USA, Germany, France, UK, Canada and Australia

Germany: Government complicit in Iraq war - Secret service BND remained in Baghdad and supported US military in "identification of targets", Panorama programme reveals

CIA case investigator accuses Europe of hypocrisy (euactiv, link)

UK: New LSE report on Identity Cards (full report, pdf) Press release (link). Liberty briefing on House of Lords' Report stage (link)

European Parliament have set up an investigation into the transport and illegal detention of prisoners in Europe by CIA (EP, link)

European Gendarmerie Force (EGF) to be launched in Italy on 19 January - and EU discussing the creation of cross-border law enforcement "Special Task Forces"

EU: Report from the European Commission on: Visa waiver reciprocity (pdf) with certain third countriesthe third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt.

Racial violence round-up, by IRR News Team (12 January 2006) Incidents of racial violence and harassment that have taken place in the last months of 2005 and also note the results of court proceedings against perpetrators of attacks that took place after 7 July 2005.

Italy: Teenager beaten to death by police in Ferrara?

EU-USA: "Frank and non-diplomatic language" censored - Statewatch denied access to document to hide EU views on US demands

UK: Arrest and stop and search figures for 2004-5 (pdf). Over the year there were 851,200 "stop and searches" under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (14% more than in 2003/4). Only 11% of those stopped were arrested (13% in 2003/4). In addition there were 41,300 stop and searches under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, with only 3% leading to an arrest, while another 35,800 were stopped and searched under S.44(1) and (2) of the Terrorism Act 2000, 1.3% leading to an arrest. See also: Surge in stop and search of Asian people after July 7 (Guardian link)

EU: Mandatory data retention vote in the European Parliament on 14 December 2005 The final vote on the legislative resolution was 378 in favour, 197 against with 30 abstentions. The Green/EFA and GUE (left group) voted against while the ALDE (liberal group) split with 25 MEPs voting in favour and 37 against (including Mr Alvaro, the rapporteur). The two biggest parties, the PSE (socialist group) and PPE (conservative group) overwhelmingly voted in favour - 39 PPE MEPs voted against (10 abstained) and 24 PSE MEPs voted against (2 abstained). See: Statewatch's Observatory on the surveillance of telecommunications in the EU

Swiss claim proof that CIA ran Europe jails (Guardian, link)

European Federation of Journalists: Protecting our sources of information - why journalists need to resist legal attacks (pdf)

EU: Commission proposal for a Framework Decision on: The organisation and content of the exchange of information extracted from criminal records between Member States (pdf)

EU: Policy Plan on Legal Migration (pdf) Communication from the European Commission COM (2005) 669 and Commission Staff Working Paper: Annex to Policy Plan on Legal Migration (pdf). See also European Commission proposals on: Priority actions for responding to the challenges of migration: First follow-up to Hampton Court (pdf)

EU: Green Paper from the European Commission:
On conflicts of jurisdiction and the principles of ne bis in idem in criminal proceedings (pdf) and Annex: Commission Staff Working Document (pdf)

Norway-EU: The Norwegian government has decided it will "no longer align itself with any other [terrorist] list than that published by the UN". In doing so it will not "align itself" with the EU lists as this "could cause difficulties for Norway in its role as neutral facilitator in certain peace processes. The government further notes that "it does not take part in the internal assessments that lead to revisions of the EU list": Press release: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (pdf). See: Statewatch Observatory: "Terrorist" lists: monitoring proscription, designation and asset-freezing Updated, 3 January 2006

UK: Terrorism Bill - as amended - 20 December 2005 in Committee in the House of Lords

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