What's New on the Statewatch website - archive: 2009
"What New" archive for year: 2000 , 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 back to Statewatch Home page
LIBYA: Jesuit Refugee Service report: Do they know? Asylum-seekers testify to life in Libya (pdf)
LIBYA: 'Go back and die in your own country, hospital is only for Libyans' (Times of Malta, link)
Lithuania hosted secret CIA prisons (BBC News, link), Lithuania: Discovery of CIA prisons should prompt further investigation (Amnesty International, link) and Panel: Lithuanian security approved CIA prisons (AP, link)
The EU's murderous borders: four poles of suffering and denial of rights
"A report published by Migreurop (a Euro-African network of 40 organisations from 13 countries working on issues of immigration policy, externalisation and their consequences within and beyond the EU's borders) in October 2009 paints a vivid picture of the effects of the EU's migration policies by focussing on three regions in which a number of common denominators are identified in spite of the significant difference between them (the Calais region and the north of France, the Greek-Turkish border and the Oujda region in eastern Morocco). These are added to by a case study on events on the Italian island of Lampedusa, where practices have been adopted for the sake of expediency that confirm the suspicion that legal guarantees and human rights conceived as minimum standards for the treatment of all human beings are becoming a luxury that is not meant for migrants who have been criminalised and de-humanised as "illegals"."
UK: Names of innocent people will stay on police database - Human rights groups say those not convicted of any crime could lose out on jobs (Observer, link)
GREECE: Border crackdown on migrants (Kathimerini, link): "Citizens Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis yesterday heralded a major border crackdown aimed at significantly curbing the influx of undocumented immigrants into the country, noting that the majority of would-be migrants are trying to access the European Union from Turkey via Greece."
European Parliament: Regulation on access to EU documents: Access to EU documents: urgent update of rules needed (Press release, pdf) and Full-text of Resolution (pdf). The Resolution was tabled by the S&D, ALDE, Greens/EFA, ECR and GUE/NGL groups and adopted today by 341 votes to 206, with 20 abstentions. Greens/EFA Shadow Rapporteur, Heidi Hautala MEP said: "if the Council and the Commission do not budge from their positions, Parliament should reject the whole proposal".
The Commission put forward proposals to amend the Regulation on access to EU documents in April 2008. The European Parliament prepared a series of amendments, some amending the Commission's proposals and some additional ones seeking to extend the right of access. The Council and its Legal Service said that the parliament could not put forward new proposals not covered by the Commission draft and declared "inadmissible" 27 of the parliament's amendments. The European Parliament, and its Legal Service, disagreed and refused to adopt its 1st reading position. The Commission said it could not consider any changes until the parliament and Council agreed their initial positions. Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, commented: "We have an institutional impasse"
For full documentation and background see: Statewatch's Observatory: Regulation on access to EU documents: 2008-2010
EU: Council of the European Union: International agreements with third countries: Applicable procedures with the European Parliament on Agreements signed on the basis of Articles 24 and 38 of the Amsterdam Treaty (pdf). The Council has reluctantly agreed, following advice from its Legal Service, that agreements signed but not concluded with third states (eg the USA) will require the consent of the European Parliament. This affects three agreements concerning Norway and two with the USA (PNR and SWIFT). Some Member States are insisting that they would still have to go through national constitutional procedures for agreements signed before the Lisbon Treaty came into effect on 1 December 2009.
EU: Council of the European Union: "Article 36 Committee" renamed "CATS": Proposal for a new denomination for the Coordinating Committee in the area of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (CATS) (pdf) and EU doc no: 16070/09 (pdf). The Article 36 Committee was set up under the Amsterdam Treaty but is not mentioned in the Lisbon Treaty. It will deal, as before, with legislative and implementing measures discussed in Council Working Parties until 2012 when its role will be reviewed.
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report on: E-borders" project to digitise immigration control "will be illegal in EU", says Committee (Press release, pdf) and Full report (pdf)
EU: Calls for Justice to have a separate Commission Directorate-General (DG): Questions for Commissioner Reding from the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe: CCBE Recommendations (pdf). It includes the following question to the new Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship at the parliamentary hearings in January:
"Internal organisation at the Commission: Now that Justice and Home Affairs have their own Commissioners, should Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship not have its own Directorate-General, separate from Home Affairs?"
This is backed up by separate questions submitted by the German Bar Association:
"we believe that only a separate DG would have the effect of truly strengthening liberty rights as opposed to interests of security having as its sole purpose the defense of the rule of law:
1. How will Mrs Reding ensure that her office will not suffer from the fact that she will not have a separate Directorate-General?
2. How will Mrs Reding ensure in practice that Justice issues will have a weight in the collaboration of different DGs and also within DG JLS?
This follows on from the comments made earlier by Statewatch editor, Tony Bunyan:
"So there is to be a single Justice and Home Affairs Council, two Commissioners and a single Commission Directorate-General. National experience suggests that there should be a complete separation between Home Affairs and Justice/Fundamental rights. By keeping a single Directorate-General (under a single Director-General) there is a great danger that the already pervading culture of internal security and control will continue to contaminate justice and rights."
Eurojust chief quits over power abuse scandal (euobserver, link)
EU: Europe Plans Spies in the Skies (Inter Press Service, link): "Warplanes similar to those used to bomb civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan will be flying in Europe's skies within the next few years, under a scheme being prepared by Brussels officials."
UK: Lord Carlile criticises police procedures (IRR News Service. link) assesses a recent report on the arrest of twelve Asian students on suspicion of terrorism. And see Lord Carlile report: Operation Pathway report (pdf)
Migreurop report: 2009 (pdf)
"For its first Annual report on the violation of human rights at borders, Migreurop has chosen to maintain the four symbolic poles of the misdeeds of the policy enacted by the European Union in the field of immigration and asylum. The Greek-Turkish border, the Calais region in north-western France, that of Oujda in eastern Morocco and the island of Lampedusa in the far south of Italy, are as many stops, more or less lengthy, sometimes definitive, in the odyssey of thousands of people who, every year, by trying to reach Europe, seek to escape the fate that they have been dealt through chosen or forced exile."
EU: Copenhagen Summit: Protests in Copenhagen: Rights groups press for inquiry into police tactics (Guardian, link) and 100,000 Protest at COP15, Police Make Mass Arrests (Indymedia, link)
UK: Calling Time On The Use Of Secret Evidence In The UK (link)
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee: The Work of the UK Border Agency (pdf)
European Parliament: Question to the Council and the European Commission from the ALDE (Liberal group): New developments on CIA extraordinary renditions programme and secret prisons on EU soil (pdf)
EU: Fundamental Rights Agency: First ever EU-wide survey of minorities: Mapping Discrimination across Europe (Press release, pdf) and Full report (large file, 7MB, link). See also: Racism at 'shocking' levels in EU, landmark report says (euobserver, link)
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): EDPS sees advantages of new Agency for large-scale IT systems, but urges the legislator to better define its scope of activities (Press release, pdf) and Full report (pdf):
Peter Hustinx, EDPS, says: "The creation of an Agency for such large-scale databases must be based on legislation which is unambiguous about the competences and the scope of activities of the Agency. Such clarity would prevent any future misunderstanding about the conduct of the agency and avoid the risk of function creep. As currently drafted, the proposals do not meet those standards."
Sanctions and Security Research Program: Human Rights and Targeted Sanctions: An Action Agenda for Strengthening Due Process Procedures (pdf):
"International sanctions intended to counter terrorism have been criticized for violating human rights and failing to comply with due process legal standards. Blacklisting practices have impeded the work of certain civil society groups and charities. The resulting controversy has eroded the credibility of UN Security Council counterterrorism sanctions and made it more difficult for some states and regional organizations to comply with these measures. Action is urgently needed to reform current listing and delisting procedures through a strengthening of due process procedures."
EU: Implementing the Lisbon Treaty: Progress report from the Presidency to the European Council - Implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon (pdf) This document reports that the decision to set up the new Standing Committee on Internal Security (COSI) has not yet been adopted due to national parliamentary scrutiny reservations. And further that COREPER (the permanent committee of Brussels-based Member State representatives) - not the Council - have adopted arrangements for the continuation of the Article 36 Committee (set up under the Amsterdam Treaty but not mention in the Lisbon Treaty) and the Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum (SCIFA) until January 2012. The Article 36 Committee and SCIFA are comprised of high level national officials from Interior and Justice Ministries. The two committees sit between COREPER and the many justice and home affairs Working Groups (which are largely comprised of national practitioners, eg police, immigration and customs officers) and deal with all planned legislation and implementation proposals.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"As COSI is to be concerned with operational matters, and is expressly precluded from dealing with legislation, the abolition of the Article 36 Committee and SCIFA would give the Working Parties a greatly increased role. To allow practitioners the primary role in developing new laws would run totally contrary to the separation of powers. For example, police officers from Member States would be drafting the laws which they would be responsible for enforcing."
- Draft Council Decision on setting up the Standing Committee on operational cooperation on internal security (pdf)
- COSI: Statement for entry in the Council Minutes (pdf)
- Article 36 Committee: Continuation until 1 January 2012 (pdf)
- SCIFA: Continuation until 1 January 2012 (pdf)
EU: Stockholm Programme (EU doc no: 17024/09 pdf). This is the almost final version sent to COREPER and the European Council.
USA: Report from the Government Accountability Office: Supply Chain Security: Feasibility and Cost-Benefit Analysis Would Assist DHS and Congress in Assessing and Implementing the Requirement to Scan 100 Percent of U.S.-Bound Containers (pdf)
"CBP has made limited progress in scanning containers at the initial ports participating in the SFI program, leaving the feasibility of 100 percent scanning largely unproven. Since the inception of the SFI program, CBP has not been able to achieve 100 percent scanning at any participating port. While CBP has been able to scan a majority of the U.S.-bound cargo containers at the comparatively low volume ports, it has not achieved sustained scanning rates above five percent at the comparatively larger ports..... CBP does not have a plan to scan cargo containers at all ports because, according to agency officials, challenges encountered thus far in implementing SFI indicate that doing so worldwide will be difficult to achieve."
European Court of Human Rights judgment: Deportation to Algeria of a man convicted of terrorist acts could expose him to inhuman or degrading treatment (Press release, pdf)
UK: Suspend Iraq refugee deportations (BBC News, link)
EU: Statewatch Analysis: The "Third Pillar acquis" after the Treaty of Lisbon enters into force (Version 2, pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex
EU: The Lisbon Treaty: Who is Europe Still Trying to Impress? (Jurist Forum, link) by Virginia Keyder
EU: NGO campaign against mandatory data retention of telecommunications: Civil Liberties Groups Ask EU to Repeal Data Retention Directive (pdf). See also for background and documentation: Statewatch's Observatory on: The surveillance of telecommunications in the EU
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 30 November-1 December 2009, Brussels: Press release - 1st day (pdf) - Background Note (pdf) - "B" Points agenda (pdf) - "A" Points agenda (adopted without discussion, pdf) - Additional "A" Points (pdf)
UK: Introducing fingerprint checks at the border (pdf) and Leaflet (pdf):
"From 30 November 2009, the UK Border Agency is introducing fingerprint checks at the border for passengers with biometric UK visas, entry clearances and identity cards for foreign nationals (ICFNs). This is being introduced incrementally at ports across the United Kingdom by March 2010."
It should be noted that the UK is to fingerprint children of 6 years old and above - unlike the provisions in the EU Directive which sets the age at 12 years old and above.
European Court of Justice: The Treaty of Lisbon and the Court of Justice of the European Union (Press release, pdf)
UK: Crime and Security Bill (pdf) and Explanatory Memorandum (pdf)
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report: The Detention of Children in the Immigration System (pdf)
EU: New Justice and Home Affairs set-up: The Council's: Decision of the Council (General Affairs) establishing the list of Council configurations (pdf) confirms that the Justice and Home Affairs Council is to continue with this name. The European Commission has just announced the responsibilities of the new Commissioners: Commissioners (pdf). Viviane Reding is to be the Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship and Cecilia Malstrom the Commissioners for Home Affairs. This move splits the job of the previous Commissioner for Justice, Liberty and Security (JLS) into two. Cecilia Malstrom has been given the "poisoned chalice" of "Home Affairs" which is in fact responsibility for Internal Security, Immigration and Migration/Borders. However, the current Commission Directorate-General for JLS is to remain in place with Directorates B (Immigration and Asylum), C (Migration and Borders) and F (Security) answering to Commissioner Malstrom and Directorates D (Fundamental Rights and Citizenship) and E (Justice) coming under Commissioner Reding: see: DG JLS organisational chart (pdf).
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Editor, comments:
"So there is to be a single Justice and Home Affairs Council, two Commissioners and a single Commission Directorate-General. National experience suggests that there should be a complete separation between Home Affairs and Justice/Fundamental rights. By keeping a single Directorate-General (under a singe Director-General) there is a great danger that the already pervading culture of internal security and control will continue to contaminate justice and rights."
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 30 November-1 December 2009, Brussels: Background Note (pdf), "B" Points agenda (pdf) and "A" Points agenda (adopted without discussion, pdf) and Additional "A" Points (pdf). Among the documents being considered are:
- EU Counter-Terrorism Strategy - discussion paper (pdf) This includes: "examine the need to adopt common legislation on new investigation techniques (e.g. on line computer search), see: Statewatch analysis: EU agrees rules for remote computer access by police forces but fails, as usual, to mention the security and intelligence agencies (pdf) by Tony Bunyan
- EU Action Plan on combating terrorism (pdf)
- EU Action Plan on combating terrorism - legislative instruments (pdf) and
- The Prüm Decisions - the need for a focused approach on the implementation (pdf)
- Council Decision on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, of the Agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on the processing and transfer of Financial Messaging Data from the European Union to the United States for purposes of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (pdf) Under the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty the Council can sign and agree this provisional application under the existing rules on 30 November, but after that the new rules apply for further steps, ie final conclusion of the Treaty - when it is be expected that the European Parliament will want to take a view.
EU: Council of the European Union: Document setting out the roles of the Council Presidencies: Draft Council Decision laying down measures for the implementation of the European Council Decision on the exercise of the Presidency of the Council (pdf). Although the Council of the European Union now has the new post of President of the European Council member states will still provide the Chairs of the Council's working parties in rotation for the usual six months term.
UK: Home-schooling parents may face criminal record checks (Daily Mail, link)
LITHUANIA: Secret CIA prison revealed in Lithuania (euobserver, link) and Lithuania investigates facility that may have been CIA 'black site' (Washington Post, link)
EU: STOCKHOLM PROGRAMME: New draft Programme (25 November, pdf). See also European Parliament Resolution on the Stockholm Programme and Press release from the GUE (United Left group)
UK: Terrorism Act 2000: Home Office: Operation of police powers under the Terrorism Act 2000 and subsequent legislation: Arrests, outcomes and stops & searches (pdf)
ROMANIA: Court judgment on mandatory data retention (pdf) This case rules that the national law implementing the data retention directive is unconstitutional:
"In conclusion, essentially taking into consideration the broad range of applicability of Law 298/2008 as compared to the continuous character of the obligation to retain the traffic and localization data of the physical and legal persons as users of public electronic communication services or public communication networks, as well as other "related data" necessary for its identification, the Constitutional Court observes, for the reason shown above, that the examined law is unconstitutional in its entirety."
ITALY: Statewatch Analysis: Italy: Open-ended emergencies: deployment of soldiers in cities and summary treatment for Roma people (pdf) by Yasha Maccanico:
"The measures by the current government that came to power on a platform in which security was a priority to which all other concerns were subordinated, confirmed its approach whereby a number of issues were to be treated as emergencies, thus justifying the introduction of policies and practices that would appear at best unusual under normal conditions."
EU: STOCKHOLM PROGRAMME: Changes in the draft Programme and see: The Stockholm Programme (EU doc no: 16484/09, dated 23 November 2009).
UK: Report from Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary into the policing of demonstrations: Adapting to Protest - nurturing the British Model of Policing (4MB, pdf) See also: G20 police chief accused of misleading MPs about undercover mission - Inquiry finds undercover police deployed at G20 protests to spy on activists, contrary to Bob Broadhurst's denial to MPs (Guardian, link)
GERMANY: Germany to draw up 'values contract' for new immigrants (BBC News, link)
EU: Knocking down walls and defending the right to migrate. Migreurop network meeting on 27 and 28 november 2009, Paris.
Since it was set up in 2002, the Migreurop network, a collection of more than forty organisations on both sides of the Mediterranean, has been denouncing the imprisonment of migrants, the militarisation of the European Union's borders and its policies of control and repression of emigration. Understandably, therefore, we wish to see in official declarations calling for walls to be knocked down, like Nicolas Sarkozy's 'Berlin appeal', signs of a turning away from what is in effect a war being fought against migrants. For too long, this war has shaped European Union migration policies, and it has caused thousands of victims.
For the full statement see: French, English, Spanish and Italian (links)
Updated: EU: Europol: European Parliament press release: Europol reforms: MEPs criticize Council and demand democratic scrutiny (pdf): "On Tuesday Parliament rejected four proposals, on Europol's analysis work files, the confidentiality of its information, its exchange of personal data with partners and its agreements with third countries, arguing that Europol rules should not be amended until the EP becomes a co-legislator in this area." See also: MEPs flex legal muscles over police reforms ahead of new treaty (euobserver, link). One difficulty the Council has to overcome if they intend to go ahead and adopt the Europol measures is that the European Parliament voted to refer the reports back to the Civil Liberties Committee - and therefore did not formally adopt the reports - under the "consultation" procedure the Council has to receive and consider the parliament's views.
EU: Europol: Council dismisses the concerns of the European Parliament who want a series of Decisions on Europol delayed so that they can be considered under the co-decision powers of the Lisbon Treaty: Draft Council Decision adopting the implementing rules governing Europols
relations with partners, including the exchange of personal data and classified information (pdf):
"The opinion of the European Parliament is expected to be issued on 25 November 2009. Considering the outcome of the vote in the LIBE Committee on 12 November 2009, it can be expected that the European Parliament will reject the draft Council Decision adopting the implementing rules governing Europols relations with partners, including the exchange of personal data and classified information.
On this basis and after considering the opinion of the European Parliament, COREPER is requested to invite the Council to adopt the draft Council Decision"
EU: NORWAY-SWEDEN: Enhanced police cooperation between the EU and Norway: On Thursday, November 26th Norway join the EU's decision on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and transnational crime (the so-called Prüm-decision).
"Norway's accession means that EU member states will have access to Norway's DNA, fingerprint and vehicle registration, and vice versa. Norway's accession also means that Norwegian law enforcement authorities will be able to participate in joint operations and provide assistance to EU member states at higher events, disasters and serious accidents.
Specifically, the Norwegian connection, for example, mean that the Swedish police will be better able to find out whether a DNA trace that is found at a crime scene in Sweden have been linked to a DNA profile of a suspected perpetrator in Norway. Today's operational partnership with Norway will be deepened, for example, may be appropriate to invite the Norwegian police to Sweden as the strengthening of international football matches."
EU: Council of the European Union: Draft Council conclusions on model provisions, guiding the Council's criminal law negotiations (pdf) Council "Conclusions" are policy decisions. This concerns laying down model provisions for "internal legislation and international agreements." And goes on to say that "with regard to the form of these model provisions, delegations expressed the wish for soft law instruments." (emphasis added). "Soft law" is not binding on EU Member States but equally it enables (and legitimises) national governments to "harmonise" their criminal laws. In simple terms, "soft law" is not binding but if all EU states adopt the same policy then it has the same practical effect as binding legislation - without the inconvenience of involving the European Parliament.
EU: Draft Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement between the European Union and Japan (pdf) This is a de-classified document which means that it has only been made public at the point of adoption by the Council of the European Union.
UK: Human Genetics Commission: Nothing to hide, nothing to fear? Balancing individual rights and the public interest in the governance and use of the National DNA Database (pdf) see also: Police routinely arresting people to get DNA, inquiry claims (Guardian, link)
EU: Stockholm Programme: The Stockholm Programme (EU doc no: 16484/09, dated 23 November 2009). Due to be agreed by the JHA Council on 30 November-1 December 2009 and then formally adopted by adoption by the European Council in Stockholm on 10 December 2009.
EU: UK House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union: The Stockholm Programme: home affairs (pdf)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 30 November 2009: Provisional Agenda (pdf)
EU: European Commission: Green Paper on obtaining evidence in criminal matters from one Member State to another and securing its admissibility (pdf)
GREECE: Violent dissent in Greece: It's time for the left to interrogate the systemic origins of the terrorism that has greeted the new Greek government (Guardian, link)
UKRAINE: BORDER MONITORING PROJECT UKRAINE (UZHGOROD, ZAKARPATTYA): Monitoring the implementation of social and human rights of refugees and other vulnerable migrants in the Border region of the European Union and Ukraine (pdf)
EU: European Commission: Draft Commission Decision of supplementing the Schengen Borders Code as regards the surveillance of the sea external borders in the context of the operational cooperation coordinated by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders (pdf) The European Parliament's powers on this issue come under regulatory procedure with scrutiny (RPS). See: Note on Regulatory procedure with scrutiny (RPS)
UPDATE: 24 November 2009: According to the Commission's comitology register, there was a vote in the Schengen Borders Code comitology committee in October and there was 'no opinion' by the MS representatives. That means the Commission cannot simply adopt it - it now has to make a proposal to the Council and the Council has to act within 3 months; there is also a role for the EP in this procedure. It is very unusual for a draft comitology measure not to be accepted by MS representatives. This is the very first JHA implementing measure subject to the RPS procedure, as it happens.
EU: LIQUIDS BAN: Very useful summary from ALDE group shadow rapporteur: Introduction of liquids onboard of aircrafts State of play (pdf). The European Parliament's powers on this issue also come under regulatory procedure with scrutiny (RPS).
The proposal from the Commission envisages three steps: - from 2010 allow liquids of transit passengers - by 2012 big airports have to screen liquids with available technology - by 2014 all airports with available technology. See: Commission: Information paper: Ban on liquids onboard aircraft and possible next steps (pdf)
EUROPOL: Analysis Work Files: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the association of Third Parties to Europols AWFs (pdf)
EU: Council president could be sidelined at the UN (European Voice, link)
UK: Secret CCTV cameras in homes to spy on neighbours (Evening Standard, link) UK: Secret CCTV cameras in homes to spy on neighbours (Evening Standard, link)
European Parliament: Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE): There were some strange goings-on in the LIBE Committee last week when it came to the vote on its report on the Stockholm Programme. 29 MEPs voted in favour (SD, Socialist and Democrats, and ALDE, Liberal group), 18 voted against (Greens and GUE, United Left) and 37 abstained (EPP and other right groups). The high number of abstentions appears to have happened because of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people) rights issues - the committee had voted through by 42-40 votes an amendment from Jeanine Hennis Plasschaert MEP adding:
"Calls on Member States to ensure that the principle of mutual recognition is also applied to same-sex couples in the EU notably married couples, partners or de facto couples at least in relation to rights relating to freedom of movement".
Draft report before the Committee: Stockholm Programme (pdf)
EU-USA: SWIFT AGREEMENT: Draft Council Decision on the signing, on behalf of the EU, of an Agreement between the EU and the USA on the processing and transfer of Financial Messaging Data from the EU to the US for the purposes of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme ("SWIFT" Agreement) (pdf) and see: EU stalls bank data deal with US ahead of Lisbon Treaty (euobserver, link)
European Parliament: Letter from the Director of the Fundamental Right Agency (FRA) on: Lithuanian law (pdf)
EU: Future FRONTEX surveillance systems: FRONTEX R&D Unit: Automated Border Control Systems: State of the Art in Europe (link): FRONTEXs role in policing the EUs external borders and the open seas beyond is well known. What people seem much less aware of is that FRONTEX also has a significant internal policing mandate and will, if all goes according to current plans, soon preside over one of the worlds most extensive surveillance systems. This will be achieved through these interlinking of several existing EU databases and police communications systems and the creation of two new overarching surveillance frameworks (EUROSUR and EU entry-exit). See also: NeoConOpticon - The EU Security-Industrial Complex pp: 33-41.
EU-IRAQ: Damning assessment of freedom and rights in Iraq: Council of the European Union press release: Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the EU concerning the human rights situation in Iraq (pdf)
EU: CUSTOMS INFORMATION SYSTEM: European Parliament report on: Report on the initiative of the French Republic with a view to adopting a Council decision on the use of information technology for customs purposes (pdf)
"While the rapporteur understands the Member States' desire to construct an effective system for combating all forms of illegal trade he finds it regrettable that such measures should be decided in a hurry by the Member States prior to ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. This gives the impression that the Council of the European Union is consciously seeking to take key decisions before the European Parliament is in a position to be involved by codecision." (p46)
UK: MoD loses 100 computers: More than 100 Ministry of Defence computers and dozens more memory sticks have gone missing so far this year, it has been disclosed. (Daily Telegraph, link) UK: MoD loses 100 computers: More than 100 Ministry of Defence computers and dozens more memory sticks have gone missing so far this year, it has been disclosed. (Daily Telegraph, link)
- Council Decision determining the list of third States and organisations with which Europol shall conclude agreements (pdf)
- Council Decision adopting the implementing rules for Europol analysis work files (pdf)
- Council Decision adopting the rules on the confidentiality of Europol information (pdf)
NORTHERN IRELAND: Childhood in Transition Experiencing Marginalisation and Conflict in Northern Ireland (pdf) by Siobhán McAlister,
Phil Scraton and Deena Haydon
IRELAND: Irish Council for Civil Liberties: Submission on the Communications (Retention of Data) Bill 2009 (pdf)
UK: Ministers cancel 'Big Brother' database - Plan to store details of every phone call and email 'kicked into long grass' after furore (Independent, link), while the Daily Telegraph says: State to 'spy' on every phone call, email and web search (link). Both are right: the Independent refer to a plan to create a central state database of all communications to be held ad finitum and the Telegraph refers to the fall-back plan to require service and telecoms providers to hold the same data - but not until after the election next year.
Ireland-Poland: European prison crowding ruling could lead to similar case here (Irish Times, link)
DENMARK: Foreigners to get 100,000 kroner incentive to leave Denmark (Copenhagen Post, link)
EU-USA: Council Decision on the conclusion on behalf of the European Union of the Agreement on extradition between the European Union and the United States of America and the Agreement on mutual legal assistance between the European Union and the United States of America (Official Journal, pdf). See: Full text of the agreements (pdf)
HUNGARY: Europe's new outer frontier Hungary battles illegal migrants (Monster and critics.com, link)
UK: CIA RENDITION: Proposals to outlaw extraordinary rendition in the UK drawn up - All party parliamentary group recommends criminalising the use of British facilities for extraordinary rendition flights (Guardian, link). See the full report: Closing the Gap (pdf)
UK: Met tries to cover up photos of police without IDs (Evening Standard, link): A leaked email obtained by the Standard shows Scotland Yard instructing that pictures of uniformed officers breaching rules which state that they should be identifiable at all times must be "culled" from image libraries and databases."
UK: Genetic Tests for UK Asylum Seekers Draw Criticism (New York Times, link)
EU: LISBON TREATY: Full-text of the Lisbon Treaty (pdf) and justice and home affairs section: Title V (Articles 67- 89) (pdf)
Analyses by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex:
- Statewatch Analysis: The Third Pillar acquis after the Treaty of Lisbon enters into force (pdf)
- Statewatch Analysis: EU Lisbon Treaty Analysis no. 4: British and Irish opt-outs from EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) law (pdf)
- Analysis: Can the Treaty of Lisbon be denounced after it enters into force? (pdf)
See also: Preparatory work in view of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon (EU doc no: 14928/09, pdf), Presidency report to the European Council on the European External Action Service (pdf) and Proposed Council working groups if Lisbon Treaty is adopted (pdf), Preliminary draft amendments to the Council's Rules of Procedure (pdf) and: EU: COSI - Standing Committee on Internal Security rescued from the debris of the EU Constitution plus: Standing Committee on Internal Security: Presidency note on the state of work on the draft Council Decision on setting up the Standing Committee on operational cooperation on internal security (COSI) (pdf) and Analysis: Cementing the European state: - new emphasis on internal security and operational cooperation at EU level
For full background analyses and documentation see Statewatch's Observatory on the Constitution and the Lisbon Treaty
EU SUMMIT: Conclusions: 29-30 October (pdf). Includes the following on FRONTEX: "calls for the enhancement of the operational capacities of FRONTEX as well as progress in its development and invites the Commission to present proposals to that end early 2010. Such an enhancement could be based on the following elements:
i) the preparation of clear common operational procedures containing clear rules of engagement for joint operations at sea, with due regard to ensuring protection for those in need who travel in mixed flows, in accordance with international law;
ii) increased operational cooperation between FRONTEX and countries of origin and transit;
iii) examination of the possibility of regular chartering financed by FRONTEX of joint return flights"
EU: 'Right to internet' dies quietly in Brussels back room (euobserver, link) "Early Thursday (5 November) morning the European Parliament and EU member states reached a deal over a long-delayed telecoms package when MEPs dropped their opposition to French-style 'three-strikes' laws aimed at illegal internet downloaders, ending for now the Brussels debate on a fundamental 'right' to internet access. In a major reversal of the parliament's position for much of the last year, MEPs in behind-closed-doors negotiations with the Council of Ministers, representing the member states, embraced new language in a compromise text that no longer requires that only judicial authorities be allowed to cut off internet access."
US-EUROPE: An Ocean Apart in More Ways Than One (Inter Press Service, (link), see also: Towards a Post-American Europe: a power audit of EU-US Relations (link, pdf)
CIA-ITALY: Rendition trial ends with Milan CIA chief given eight years (Guardian, link) Italian court convicts Robert Lady and 23 others in absentia - First prosecution for US abduction of suspects to torture states and EXCLUSIVE: Convicted CIA Spy Says "We Broke the Law" (ABC News, link)
No Justice for Canadian Rendition Victim Maher Arar: Court Refuses to Hold US Officials Accountable for Complicity in Torture Abroad (link) See Statewatch's Observatory: The use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners and Documents
UK-USA-CIA: Jet named in torture flight report is met by SAS at British airport (Mail Online, link): "A US plane that featured in a European Parliament report into the 'extraordinary rendition' of terror suspects was met by two SAS helicopters in a secret operation at one of Britain's biggest airports.
The Gulfstream jet landed at Birmingham International Airport on Friday, October 2, having flown in from an undisclosed location, and was seen by a member of staff being met minutes later by the Special Forces regiment aircraft. Records show that the jet is owned by a subsidiary of L-3 Communications, a multi-billion-dollar defence corporation based in New York, whose clients include several American government departments, among them the Department of Homeland Security." See Statewatch Observatory: The use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners
Britsh Journal of Criminology: Pre-crime and counter-terrorism: Imagining Future Crime in the "War on Terror" by Jude McCulloch and Sharon Pickering (link): "The article argues that the shift to pre-crime embodies a trend towards integrating national security into criminal justice along with a temporal and geographic shift that encompasses a blurring of the borders between the states internal and external coercive capacities. The counter-terrorism framework incorporates and combines elements of criminal justice and national security, giving rise to a number of tensions. One key tension is between the ideal of impartial criminal justice and the politically charged concept of national security."
From the "old" to the "new" suspect community: Examining the Impacts of Recent UK Counter-Terrorist Legislation by Christina Pantazis and Simon Pemberton (link): "In this paper, we develop Hillyards (1993) notion of the "suspect community" and evidence how Muslims have replaced the Irish as the main focus of the governments security agenda whilst also recognizing that some groups have been specifi cally targeted for state surveillance. We conclude that the categorization of Muslims as suspect may be serving to undermine national security rather than enhance it."
ITALY: Italian security package documents:
- Law 94/2009 of 15 July 2009 (published in the Gazzetta Ufficiale -Official Journal- on 24 July 2009) on "Measures in the field of public security" as it was approved
- Non-EU minors and the right to education after law 94/2009 came into force, ASGI, 28 September 2009
- Report by lawyer Guido Savio, The discipline of expulsion and detention in CIEs, Florence, 18-19 September 2009,
- The marriage of foreigners in Italy after law 94/2009 came into force, Walter Citti, ASGI, 10 August 2009,
The website of the Associazione Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione (ASGI) has a page on the "Legal situation of foreigners after the entry into force of law 94/2009 on public security". It includes court decisions in which issues are raised as to whether the law is constitutional, circulars from the interior ministry as to how the law must be interpreted, and legal analysis of the implications of the new law, as well as some campaign documents.
UK: Leeds Metropolitan University: Climate & Violence Workshop: Securing the State: Securing the Corporate Nexus and The Coming Militarization of Climate Change, 27 November 2009, 9:30am-5:00pm, The Rosebowl 408 (link)
The European Commission has published: The technical study and country analysis on the implementation of the free movement directive This includes: "Conformity studies of Member States national implementation measures transposing Community instruments in the area of citizenship of the Union" and Country reports.
Spanish parliament approves controversial immigration law (expatica, link): "Spain's lower house of parliament has approved a controversial law which extends from 40 to 60 days the maximum period that illegal immigrants can be held in detention centres before being deported"
EU: CZECH REPUBLIC OPT-OUT: The European Council has agreed that the Czech Republic can opt-out of the Chater of Fundamental Rights if it signs the Lisbon Treaty - the Charter will only apply to EU, not national, legislation: Text of Protocol (pdf). This would mean that the Czech Republic, Poland and the UK would opt out of the Charter. For other opt-outs see: Statewatch Analysis: EU Lisbon Treaty: Analysis no 4: UK and Irish opt-outs from EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) law (pdf) prepared by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex: The UK, Ireland (and Denmark): "have opt-outs from the entire area of EU Justice and Home Affairs law..."
G6-USA: G6 to discuss ways to combat terrorism on 5 November 2009 (European Voice, link). See also: EU: G6 Interior Ministers + USA to meet in secret in future: The G6 meetings of Interior Ministers is comprised of France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland and the UK - the meetings in September 2008 and March 2009 were also attended by the US Secretary of Homeland Security. At the G6 meetings in March 2009 it was agreed that: "No formal conclusions would be issued after meetings."
See: UK parliamentary answer on G6 meeting in Berlin in March 2009 (pdf) and see also: - "Behind Closed Doors: the meeting of the G6 Interior Ministers at Heiligendamm", House of Lords EU Committee report (pdf) - G6-G8-Prum: Behind closed doors: policy-making in secret intergovernmental and international fora (Statewatch) - G6: Berlin keen to use informal chats with EU's big six (euobserver, link)
EU-UK: European Commission: Telecoms: Commission steps up UK legal action over privacy and personal data protection (Press release, pdf)
UK: Spying on us doesn't protect democracy. It undermines it: By branding protesters and mainstream Muslim activists as extremists, the police are effectively criminalising dissent (Guardian, link) by Seamus Milne and Rebranding protest as extremismThe label 'domestic extremists' helps the police justify abusing anti-terror laws to target legitimate protest (Guardian, link) by Pennie Quinton
UK: National DNA Database: Annual report 2007-2009 (pdf). See: Innocent suspects' profiles still reaching DNA database (Guardian, link) and: More than one in 10 people on DNA database for first time (Daily Telegraph, link): "Overall, when profiles taken in Scotland and Northern Ireland are included, almost six million people have now been stored on what is the largest DNA database in the world."
GREECE: The UN refugee agency is demanding an inquiry into alleged police brutality at a notorious detention centre on the Greek island of Lesbos (BBC News, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings, and protecting victims, repealing Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA (pdf). Nearly agreed text at the last Justice and Home Affairs Council.
UK: Police 'can keep records of minor convictions for 100 years': (Daily Telegraph, link): "Police will be able to keep records of minor convictions for up to 100 years after overturning a ruling that the information should be deleted from their computers." Court of Appeal: Full text of judgment (pdf)
BELGIUM: Launching the website retain your privacy: Campaign against the Belgian transposition of the European directive on the retention of data (pdf). Organisations include the Flemish and Walloon League for Human Rights, the Flemish and Walloon Bar, the Flemish and Walloon Association of Journalists, the Belgian Order of Physicians and a Belgian association for Telecom and Internet customers.
"The platform of the above-mentioned organisations took the initiative for this campaign in the sincere conviction that a general obligation to retain traffic and
location data cant solve the assumed security problem. The organisations do not only denounce the violation of the right to privacy, but also the interference with the professional confidentiality of doctors, lawyers and clerics, as well as the interference with the protection of informants from journalists. Moreover, a
general and preventive obligation to retain traffic and location data cant protect us from terrorism or crime. Therefore, we call on the Belgian population to sign
SWITZERLAND: Muslims Targeted in the Name of Minarets (Inter Press Service, link): By Ray Smith: Switzerland's Muslim community is witnessing a xenophobic campaign by the political right-wing ahead of a vote next month on the banning of Islamic minarets.
UK: Police in £9m scheme to log 'domestic extremists: 'Thousands of activists monitored on network of overlapping databases (all Guardian, link) and:
- How police rebranded lawful protest as 'domestic extremism' - Forces gather details of single-issue protesters - Activists claim monitoring has echoes of the cold war
-Spotter cards: What they look like and how they work: "These so-called "spotter cards" are issued by police to identify individuals they consider to be potential troublemakers because they have appeared at a number of demonstrations."
- Activists repeatedly stopped and searched as police officers 'mark' cars
- Campaigner uncovers police files for £10 and a letter
- Police forces challenged over files held on law-abiding protesters
- Met hired lawyers to contest the findings of G20 protest inquiry
- Kingsnorth: How climate protesters were treated as threat to the country
EU: Standing Committee on Internal Security: Presidency note on the state of work on the draft Council Decision on setting up the Standing Committee on operational cooperation on internal security (COSI) (pdf): 1) This Presidency Note says that it will be up to each Member State to decide on their representatives however, this does not specify whether they will be high-level Home/Interior Ministry officials or so-called "experts" (eg: police and immigration officers). 2) There is no mention of SITCEN (the Council's Joint Situation Centre, intelligence-gathering) or the Police Chiefs Task Force (PCTF), will they be on COSI? 3) COSI will "not be involved in preparing legislative acts" and the Council is considering abolishing the high-level Article 36 Committee and SCIFA (see Proposed Council working groups, below), This would leave the Working Groups composed of "experts" reporting directly to COREPER (permanent Brussels-based representation of each Member State). 4) The European Parliament and national parliaments are to be "kept informed" (which may mean everything or on past experience very little) and are to have no oversight role and thus no accountability to parliaments.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"COSI is going to be a very powerful body overseeing and directing operational actions on internal security across the EU. It should be controlled by Home/Interior government officials not "experts" whose job is to put into effect operational decisions. It should be accountable to national and European parliaments who should have an oversight role and its documents should be publicly accessible.
Crucially all of its policy decisions to undertake EU-wide operational actions should be public, so too should post-operation reports and assessments of "shortcomings or failures"".
See also: Proposed Council working groups if Lisbon Treaty is adopted (pdf) and: EU: COSI - Standing Committee on Internal Security rescued from the debris of the EU Constitution and Analysis: Cementing the European state: - new emphasis on internal security and operational cooperation at EU level
RIGHTS: 'Too Innocent to Try, too Guilty to Fly' (PS, link) by Jan Lammers: Getting blacklisted as belonging to a terrorist organisation is a punitive sanction, even though governments may say it is only an administrative measure, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR).
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 23 October 2009, Luxembourg: Press release (pdf); "B" Points Agenda (pdf), "A" Points (adopted without discussion, pdf) and Background Note (pdf). See also: Draft Resolution of the Council on a roadmap for strengthening procedural rights of suspected or accused persons in criminal proceedings (REV 1, pdf)
- Press release: EU/US agreements on extradition and on mutual legal assistance
FRANCE: Security fears spark fresh controversy in Afghan deportation row (France24, link)
EU-USA: "The Washington Statement", 20 October 2009: EU-US Joint Statement on "Enhancing transatlantic cooperation in the area of
Justice, Freedom and Security" (pdf).
It opens with the statement that: "The European Union (EU) and the United States of America (U.S.) share common values of democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms" and in line with the draft EU Stockholm Programme it seeks to "deepen" transatlantic cooperation and to:"take this opportunity to renew our partnership for the next five years."
The "benefits" from the agreements on extradition and mutual legal assistance, the exchange of PNR data and SWIFT need to be balanced against their controversial nature and continuing problems over the failure of the USA to match EU data protection standards. To these "benefits" are added:
"cooperation between the U.S. and EU and EUs Member States takes place in many ways, formal and informal, and on a daily basis, including through ongoing operational cooperation." (emphasis added)
The Statement commits to "further enhance the exchange of information on policy and operational initiatives, share experiences.... Whenever appropriate, we will foster cooperation with the private sector."
This serves to confirm the view that the dozens of high-level meetings and operational exchanges give the USA a substantial, unaccountable and hidden influence on rights and liberties in the EU. See: EU/US security channel - a one-way street?, and The Shape of Things to Come (p49-54).
USA: Privacy Groups Say Homeland Security Privacy Office Failing (Coalition letter, pdf):
"EPIC and a number of other privacy and civil liberties groups have sent a letter to the House Committee on Homeland Security, in response to the Annual Report recently issued by the Chief Privacy Officer of the Department of Homeland Security. The annual report discusses all of the activities of the Privacy Office from July 2008 to June 2009. Notably absent from the report were ways in which the Office had performed its statutory obligation to assure "that the use of technologies sustain, and do not erode, privacy protections."
ITALY: Parliament votes down EU moves on press freedom (euactiv, link). In the first test of the balance of power in the European Parliament a Resolution critical of press freedom under the Berlusconi government proposed by the centre-left bloc comprising the Socialists and Democrats (S&D), Liberals (ALDE), Greens and leftists (GUE/NGL) was defeated by 338 votes against and 335 in favour with 13 abstentions. European centre-right, represented by the European Peoples Party (EPP), the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and European Freedom and Democracy (EFD) groups, successfully defeated the motion:
"Almost 100% of MEPs voted along party lines, meaning decisions by Italian ALDE member Vincenzo Iovine to vote against the resolution and abstentions by Irish Fianna Fáil MEPs Liam Aylward, Brian Crowley and Pat 'the Cope' Gallagher (all ALDE) handed victory to the right.
Indeed, the vote indicates how difficult it will be for the left to stop a united right, which emerged stronger from June's European elections after the EPP's emphatic victory, from dominating the new EU assembly."
UK: Climate & Violence Workshop: Securing the State: Securing the Corporate Nexus - The Coming Militarization of Climate Change, 27 November 2009, 9:30am-5:00pm: The Rosebowl 408, Leeds Metropolitan University (link)
GREECE: Press release from the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, NOAS and AITIMA: Out the Back Door: illegal deportations of refugees from Greece (Press release, pdf) and Full report: Out the Back Door: The Dublin II Regulation and illegal deportations from Greece (pdf)
EU: Migration policy is all at sea and needs to change by Judith Crosbie (European Voice, link). "While only a few countries may be pushing back boats of migrants, the whole of the EU is pushing away commitments to asylum-seekers."
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 23 October 2009, Luxembourg: "B" Points Agenda (pdf) and Background Note (pdf). See also: Draft Resolution of the Council on a roadmap for strengthening procedural rights of suspected or accused persons in criminal proceedings (pdf)
Greek socialists to grant citizenship to migrants' children (Guardian, link)
UK: Outrage at government plan for secret inquests (Independent, link)
ROMANIA: Data retention law declared unconstitutional (EDRI, link)
EU: Commission: Minimum standards on granting and withdrawing international protection:
- Proposal for a Directive on minimum standards on procedures in Member States for granting and withdrawing international protection- (COM 554/4, 2009, pdf)
- Annex (COM 554, pdf)
- Proposal for a Directive on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection and the content of the protection granted (COM 551, pdf)
- Impact assessment (pdf) and - SEC 1373 (pdf
- Detailed Explanation of the Proposal
EU: Statewatch analysis: The EUs JHA agenda after the Irish referendum (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex
BULGARIA: Migrants Denied Even Medicine (Inter Press Service, link): "Hasun Albaadzh, an asylum-seeker from Syria, died Oct. 6 at the Busmantsi detention centre on the outskirts of Bulgarian capital Sofia. He had been held at Busmantsi for 34 months - considerably more than the maximum legal period of detention - and had been denied proper medical care."
EU: Anti-trafficking day 2009 - NGOs call for human rights to be at the centre of the ministerial conference in Brussels (pdf). Signatories: Amnesty International, EU Office; The International La Strada Association (La Strada International); Anti Slavery International; CCME - The Churches´ Commission for Migrants in Europe; GAATW - Global Alliance against Traffic in Women; Save the Children, Europe Group; Terre des Hommes International Federation; ECPAT International
UK:SURVEILLANCE: Trust made meaningless: Excessive surveillance of Muslims undermines a central component of counter-terrorism work (Guardian, link) by Arun Kundnani. See: Institute of Race Relations: Spooked! How not to prevent violent extremism (link, pdf). and: MPs investigate anti-extremism programme after spying claims: Innocent people 'targeted' in intelligence swoops and Information gathered includes sexual activities (Guardian, link)
UK: The future of policing: A documentary on the G20 protests lays bare rifts between senior officers who will triumph, traditionalists or modernisers? (Guardian, link) by Paul Lewis
France-UK: France, UK to fly Afghan migrants to Kabul (Reuters, link)
Updated (18.10.09): EU JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS: DRAFT STOCKHOLM PROGRAMME from the Council Presidency: Draft Stockholm Programme (16 October 2009, pdf). See also: Earlier draft Stockholm Programme (6 October 2009, pdf).
There are important differences between these two drafts: Notes on changes from the draft Stockholm Programme dated 6 October 2009 compared to the later version dated 16 October 2009
See for background: Statewatch Observatory on: Stockholm Programme
Report from Scientists for Global Responsibility: Science and the corporate agenda (summary) and Full-text of report (pdf)
"A new report reveals that the pressure for scientific research to deliver on short-term commercial aims is compromising its ability to yield social and environmental benefits. The report Science and the corporate agenda states that even tax-payer funded research is now less likely to work in the broader public interest. These findings are based on extensive evidence across five sectors: pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, military/defence, biotechnology and tobacco.
The report, from Scientists for Global Responsibility, documents how more than two decades of government policy has driven a corporate agenda into the heart of universities, undermining their openness and independence. It highlights damaging effects in individual research studies, in the agenda-setting process for R&D, and in the communication of science to the public."
Institute of Race Relations: Spooked! How not to prevent violent extremism (link, pdf). An excellent report and critique of the counter-terrorism PREVENT programme from the IRR:
"There is strong evidence that a significant part of the Prevent programme involves the embedding of counter-terrorism police officers within the delivery of local services, the purpose of which seems to be to gather intelligence on Muslim communities, to identify areas, groups and individuals that are at risk and to then facilitate interventions, such as the Channel programme, as well as more general police engagement with the Muslim community, to manage perceptions of grievances."
"The atmosphere promoted by Prevent is one in which to make radical criticisms of the government is to risk losing funding and facing isolation as an extremist, while those organisations which support the government are rewarded.This in turn undermines the kind of radical discussions of political issues
that would need to occur if young people are to be won over and support for illegitimate political violence diminished.The current emphasis of Prevent on depoliticising young people and restricting radical dissent is actually counter-productive because it strengthens the hands of those who say democracy is pointless."
EU: LISBON TREATY: The Bene Decrees and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (pdf) Analysis by Professor Steve Peers
UK: Government anti-terrorism strategy 'spies' on innocent - Data on politics, sexual activity and religion gathered by government (Guardian, link)
Swiss to vote on proposal banning new minarets (Times of Malta, link)
Recruited by MI5: the name's Mussolini. Benito Mussolini- Documents reveal Italian dictator got start in politics in 1917 with help of £100 weekly wage from MI5 (Guardian, link)
TURKEY-GREECE: Frontex seeks Turkish cooperation (Kathimerini, link)
UK-DENMARK: Climate change activist stopped from travelling to Copenhagen (Guardian, link):"UK border police used anti-terrorist legislation to prevent a British climate change activist from crossing over into mainland Europe where he planned to take part in events surrounding the forthcoming United Nations summit in Denmark."
UK: £22,000 for man arrested after watching stop-and-search (Evening Standard, link)
EU: Cities turn to high-tech for curbing traffic, crime (euactiv, link), See also: IBM Institute for Business Value: A vision of smarter cities (link)
EU: Regulation on access to EU documents: The debate in the European Parliaments's Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) on 5 October confirmed the institutional impasse that currently exists with each of the three institutions taking different position: See: A quick guide to the "state of play" on amending the Regulation and: Report on LIBE Committee (pdf). The Commission representative also said during the debate that:
"Concerning the Lisbon Treaty, the preparatory work on legal adjustments was ongoing, with a view to the preparation of an omnibus proposal when the Treaty came into force." (emphasis added).
Tony Bunyan,Statewatch editor, comments:
"This process is turning into a farce. The Commission put forward proposals to amend the Regulation on access to documents in April 2008. Now 18 months on there has been no progress with each institutions taking different positions. Now we are told that there will be a further "omnibus proposal" will be prepared some time next year when, and if, the Lisbon Treaty is adopted.
Civil society and citizens have been waiting for years for the Regulation to truly "enshrine" the right of access promised by the Amsterdam Treaty in 1999 and we are still waiting."
See also: Proposals for greater openness, transparency and democracy in the EU (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers
and Statewatch's Observatory: the Regulation on access to EU documents:2008-2009
EU: European Commission: Ban on liquids onboard aircraft and possible next steps Information from the Commission (pdf):
"by 29 April 2012 all airports handling at least 10 million departing passengers per annum shall have the capability to screen liquids, aerosols and gels in
accordance with the requirements of Regulation (EC) No 300/2008. Finally, by 29 April 2014 all airports must have the capability to screen liquids, aerosols
and gels in accordance with the requirements of Regulation (EC) No 300/2008."
See also: Britain could be sole EU country to retain airline fluid ban (Daily Telegraph, link)
EU/Africa: Fortress Europe records 33 border deaths in September 2009
Italy:Berlusconi allies seek to ban burqas in Italy (Reuters, link)
UK: Government reverses Brown's passport pledge (Kable, link) The Identity and Passport Service has confirmed that passports will in future require extra information from applicants their fingerprints.
EU: EURODAC-EUROPEAN DATA PROTECTION SUPERVISOR: Press release: Law enforcement access to EURODAC: EDPS expresses serious doubts about the legitimacy and necessity of proposed measures (pdf) Full text of Opinion (pdf): "The analysis leads to the conclusion that the necessity and proportionality of the proposals, which are both crucial elements to legitimate privacy intrusion, are not demonstrated. As a result, the EDPS has serious doubts whether the proposals are legitimate and whether legislative instruments should be adopted on this basis." (emphasis in original) Peter Hustinx, EDPS, says:
"The fight against terrorism can certainly be a legitimate ground to apply exceptions to the fundamental rights to privacy and data protection. However, to be valid, the necessity of the intrusion must be supported by clear and undeniable elements, and the proportionality of the processing of personal data must be demonstrated. This is all the more required in case of an extensive intrusion in the rights of individuals constituting a vulnerable group in need of higher protection because they flee from persecution".
The EDPS also recommends assessing the legitimacy of the proposals in a wider context, notably:
- the tendency of granting law enforcement access to personal data of individuals that are not suspected of any crime and that have been collected for other purposes;
- the need for a case-by-case assessment of every proposal of this kind and for a coherent, comprehensive and future-oriented vision, preferably related to the next five-year framework programme for justice and home affairs ("Stockholm programme");
EU: STOCKHOLM PROGRAMME: European Parliament: Draft Resolution (pdf) and Opinions from: Czech Republic Senate (pdf), Portugal parliament EU committee (pdf) Danish parliament (pdf)
UK: Anti-Terrorism - Whose Hearts and Minds? Contest 2 in Context (Islamic Human Rights Commission, link) and see also: United To Protect Our Rights (IHRC, link) and The United Kingdoms Strategy for Countering International Terrorism (pdf)
ITALY: MEPs call for anti-Italian sanctions in press freedom row (euobserver, link). In a Roll Call Vote the European Parliament agreed that it will hold a debate and vote on a resolution on press freedom in Italy: Draft Resolution (pdf). The right tried to block the taking of a statement by the Commission but lost the lost by 284 votes to 268 with 18 abstentions and also lost when trying to take the Resolution off the agenda by 293 votes to 286 with 18 abstentions. See also: Brussels loth to tackle hornets' nest of Italian press dispute (euobserver, link)
Italy: Citizen patrols hit Italy streets (BBC News, link)
ITALY: Cap Anamur crew acquitted (sueddeutsche.de, link)
On 7 October 2009, a Sicilian court acquitted the former chair of the human rights organisation Cap Anamur, Elias Bierdel, his former captain, Stefan Schmidt, and the first officer of the ship, Wladimir Dschkewitsch. In 2004, the three had rescued 37 refugees off the Italian coast from distress at sea and helped them to land in Sicily. They were then accused of and prosecuted for assisting in illegal entry. They faced the possibility of four years imprisonment and a fine of 400.000 EUR. The organisation Cap Anamur and the German asylum rights organisation Pro Asyl had started an international campaign for justice to acquit the three and have reacted positively to the decision.
From Statewatch News Online April 2007: The trial of Elias Bierdel, Vladimir Dachkevitce and Stefan Schmidt, respectively president of the German NGO Cap Anamur, and captain and first officer on the ship bearing the same name that saved 37 African shipwreck victims between Libya and Lampedusa in June 2004, began on 27 November 2006 in Agrigento (Sicily), in whose province the ship docked on 12 July 2004. The three accused were arrested on arrival and face charges of committing serious offences to favour illegal immigration by rescuing migrants who were at the sea's mercy in a dinghy before transporting them into Italian territorial waters and landing after over two weeks spent at sea awaiting permission to land, amid a shortage of supplies and threats from the migrants that they would jump into the sea, and worsening physical and psychological conditions experienced by both migrants and crew members.
UK-USA: What lies beneath the extradition of hacker Gary McKinnon to the USA (Hawktalk, link)
France-UK: French U-turn on Afghan flight deal (Press Association, link)
European Commissioner: Future of internet has dangers for privacy, Brussels warns (euobserver, link)
Le Monde Diplomatique: Complicit surveillance and social networking: "Watching me watching you" (link) Weve all spent so much time and effort being worried about formal surveillance all those street and lobby cameras that were in danger of forgetting how much we cooperate in surveilling and being surveilled online
EU: Council of the European Union: Joint Investigation Teams Manual (27 pages, pdf) and Manual on cross-border operations (46 pages, pdf)
UK MoD Manual of Security Volumes 1, 2 and 3 Issue 2, JSP-440, RESTRICTED, 2389 pages, 2001 (Wikileaks, link): "This significant, previously unpublished document (classified "RESTRICTED", 2389 pages), is the UK military protocol for all security and counter-intelligence operations" and:
"Non-traditional threats: The main threats of this type are posed by investigative journalists, pressure groups, investigation agencies, criminal elements, disaffected staff, dishonest staff and computer hackers. The types of threat from these sources can be categorized in six broad groups: a. Confidentiality. Compromise of politically sensitive information. This threat is presented by: (1) Pressure groups and investigative journalists attempting to obtain sensitive information. (2) Unauthorized disclosure of official information (leaks)..."
UK: Can national security agencies disclose communications data or ANPR images to anybody? (Hawktalk, link)
UK: MI5 put union leaders and protesters under surveillance during cold war (Guardian, link) by Richard Norton Taylor. This reports on the "official" history of MI5 by Christopher Andrew - "But the book skirts over a number of controversies".
UK: Media for All Conference - The challenge of convergence: Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, London, 30-31 October 2009.
UK: Muslim groups hit out over 'funding with security strings attached' (Guardian, link)
UK: CIA at work in UK, anti-terror chief tells MPs (Guardian, link)
ITALY-CIA: Italy seeks jail for US spies in rendition trial (Reuters, link):
"An Italian prosecutor called on Wednesday for 26 Americans, all but one believed to be members of the CIA, to be jailed for between 10 and 13 years each for the kidnapping of a terrorism suspect in 2003.
Public Prosecutor Armando Spataro also asked a Milan court to sentence four Italians, including the former head of Italy's Sismi secret service, to up to 13 years in prison for the abduction of Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr."
European Parliament: Question to the European Commission and reply: from by Alexander Alvaro (ALDE), Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert (ALDE), Renate Weber (ALDE), Sophia in 't Veld (ALDE) and Baroness Sarah Ludford (ALDE): Subject: US administration, closure of Guantanamo, secret eavesdropping programmes
EU: Reclaim your data from the European police authorities! Campaign to exercise the right to access European databases (link) and Press release (pdf):
"numerous European groups and networks have joined a campaign against the massive storage of personal data by European police authorities. The campaign is supported from different spectrums, such as civil and human rights groups, migration, data protection, antirepression, summit protests and solidarity. The call "Reclaim your data from the European police authorities!" encourages people to exercise their right to access police databases"
UK: Coalition Against Secret Evidence (link):
"Secret evidence is evidence that is not provided to a defendant or their lawyers during a hearing making it impossible for such persons to know the case against them or prepare a defence. Secret evidence is used in different ways in the UK courts, usually by the government in cases in which it considers national security to be an issue. Used as a basis for withholding evidence, for some detainees, this has resulted in over seven years of detention without proper trial or any charge."
UK: House of Commons: Foreign Affairs Committee: Human Rights Annual Report 2008 (link)
UK: Terror register comes into force (BBC News, link): Monitoring: Police will maintain register of offenders - People convicted of terrorism offences will join a register similar to that used to monitor sex offenders.
AUSTRIA: Thousands of Migrants Take to Hunger Strikes (Inter Press Service, link) "Human rights activists in Austria are calling for an overhaul of a detention system for migrants and asylum seekers they claim breaches human rights, following the death of a hunger-striking migrant in police cells."
Italy: Immigrants 'targeted' by police in Milan (link)
EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE- SISON case: In a landmark judgment: The Court of First Instance annuls the Council Acts freezing Jose Maria Sison's funds (Press release, pdf) and Full-text of Sison judgment (pdf):
"The national decisions relied upon by the Council in order to freeze the applicants funds did not relate either to the instigation of investigations or prosecution or to a conviction for terrorist activity, contrary to the requirements of Community law."
In continuing to maintain the order freezing Mr Sison's funds the Council of the European Union relied on the decisions of Dutch courts but there was no evidence that this resulted in an investigation or legal proceedings:
"That requirement is not satisfied by a decision of a national judicial authority that rules only incidentally and indirectly on the possible involvement of the person concerned in such activity, in relation to a dispute concerning, for example, rights and duties of a civil nature.
The Court finds that the procedures before the Raad van State and the Rechtbank clearly do not involve any conviction of Mr Sison, nor do they amount to decisions to instigat[e] investigations or prosecut[e] for a terrorist act. In fact, they were solely concerned with the review of the lawfulness of the decision of the Secretary of State for Justice refusing to grant him refugee status and a residence permit in the Netherlands."
For full background see Statewatch's Observatory: "Terrorist" lists: monitoring proscription, designation and asset-freezing
A Global Detention Project Working Paper: The Privatization of Immigration Detention: Towards a Global View (link)
EU: French proposal on asylum cooperation with Turkey and Libya
"France is calling for the EU to step EU cooperation with Libya and Turkey on asylum issues. But Libya has a dreadful record on human rights, and is itself a source of refugees fleeing persecution. It has not signed the UN Refugee Convention (the Geneva Convention) ... Turkey is a long-standing major source of refugees fleeing persecution. It is often found in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights by the European Court of Human Rights, in particular on issues of removal of asylum-seekers who face a threat of torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment in their countries of origin. Turkey also does not apply the Geneva Convention to refugees from countries outside Europe - it is almost alone in maintaining this limitation."
Council document from the: French Delegation: Migration situation in the Mediterranean: establishing a partnership with migrants' countries of origin and of transit, enhancing Member States' joint maritime operations and finding innovative solutions for access to asylum procedures (pdf)
EU: European Commission:
- Annual report to the Council and the European Parliament on the activities of the EURODAC Central Unit in 2008 (COM 494, pdf)
- Report on progress made in developing the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) (SEC 1625, pdf)
UK: Lecturer sues after detention in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland - Jean-Pierre Djimbonge says he was wrongfully arrested during his UK holiday because he is black (Guardian, link)
EU: Exit-entry: Results of the data collection exercise (EU doc no: 13267/09, pdf). Three-quarters of those travellers recorded were: "EU citizen/persons enjoying the Community right of free movement"
Previous coverage: EU: Exit-entry data collection at the external borders across the Schengen states between 31 August and 6 September 2009: Data collection exercise on entries and exits at the external borders for a short period of time (pdf) The stated aim is the creation of: "a system of electronic recording of entry and exit data". Data is to be collected at all entry points by land, sea and air on third country nationals with and without a visa (as covered by the Commission proposal, see below) and on "EU citizens and persons enjoying the right of free movement". Professor Steve Peers: "It is assumed that the system would not apply to EU citizens, since the Commissions communication does not address that issue expressly and it is highly doubtful whether including EU citizens within the scope of the system would be compatible with EU free movement law." See: Steve Peers: Report for the European Parliament: Proposed new EU border control systems (pdf) and the Commission's proposal: On an entry/exit system at the external borders of the European Union, facilitation of border crossings for bona fide travellers, and an electronic travel authorisation system (pdf)
EU: FRONTEX report written in cooperation with the EU Joint Situation Centre (SITCEN) and the IOM: The impact of the global economic crisis on illegal migration to the EU (link, 9 MB, pdf) and from the Council of the European Union: Strengthening the operations of the FRONTEX Agency, particularly in the Mediterranean (pdf)
EU: Médecins du Monde: European Observatory on Access to Healthcare: Access to healthcare for undocumented migrants in 11 European countries (link): "nearly 70% face obstacles getting health care: administrative difficulties as well as the cost of consultations and treatments, fear of being denounced or arrested and fear of discrimination. Some 14% of those polled said they had been refused care for their latest illness, notably for relatively serious symptoms."
EU: Big business and security: In its haste to cash-in on the security boom, the EU has outsourced its research agenda to corporate self-interest by Ben Hayes (Guardian LibertyCentral, link)
EU: G6 Interior Ministers + USA to meet in secret in future: The G6 meetings of Interior Ministers is comprised of France, Germany, Spain,
Italy, Poland and the UK - the meetings in September 2008 and March 2009 were also attended by the US Secretary of Homeland Security. At the G6 meetings in March 2009 it was agreed that: "No formal conclusions would be issued after meetings."
Since it was set up in 2003 parliaments and civil society groups have called for the agendas of the G6 meetings and a set of its Conclusions to be made public which, with reluctance, it started to do. Now G6 is not to published any Conclusions - though of course plenty of "photo-opportunities" were provided for the media in Berlin.
Also in discussions with the US Secretary of Homeland Security the meeting considered: "ideas for a 'Transatlantic Agenda' between the EU and US on interior issues. Data sharing was the main area discussed, with reference to its implications for collaborative work on organised crime, counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism."
See: UK parliamentary answer on G6 meeting in Berlin in March 2009 (pdf) and see also:
- "Behind Closed Doors: the meeting of the G6 Interior Ministers at Heiligendamm", House of Lords EU Committee report (pdf)
- G6-G8-Prum: Behind closed doors: policy-making in secret intergovernmental and international fora (Statewatch)
- G6: Berlin keen to use informal chats with EU's big six (euobserver, link)
UK: Drivers' details sold by DVLA are used in bizarre roadside adverts for Castrol (Daily Mail, link)
Greece struggles to cope as immigration tensions soar - The revolt at conditions in overflowing detention centres is causing scenes of chaos in the 'backdoor into Europe' (Observer, link)
EU: Regulation on access to EU documents: Confirmation of the institutional impasse is reflected as the Swedish Council Presidency puts discussions on hold until the European Parliament makes it position clear:
"At this stage, the Councils work on the Commissions proposal could of course continue at the next IWP meeting. Delegations could aim for agreement on some additional issues. Another alternative would be for the Council to postpone further discussions on the Commissions proposal until relevant information from the European Parliament is available. The Presidency suggests the second option." See: EU doc no: 12492/09 (pdf)
The next possible discussion could take place in the European Parliament's Civil Liberties (LIBE) on 5-6 October. See also: Proposals for greater openness, transparency and democracy in the EU (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers and See: A quick guide to the "state of play" on amending the Regulation
EU: Major new report from Statewatch and the Transnational Institute: NeoConOpticon - The EU Security-Industrial Complex by Ben Hayes (pdf):
"Despite the often benign intent behind collaborative European research into integrated land, air, maritime, space and cyber-surveillance systems, the EUs security and R&D policy is coalescing around a high-tech blueprint for a new kind of security. It envisages a future world of red zones and green zones; external borders controlled by military force and internally by a sprawling network of physical and virtual security checkpoints; public spaces, micro-states and mega events policed by high-tech surveillance systems and rapid reaction forces; peacekeeping and crisis management missions that make no operational distinction between the suburbs of Basra or the Banlieue; and the increasing integration of defence and national security functions at home and abroad.
It is not just a case of sleepwalking into or waking up to a surveillance society, as the UKs Information Commissioner famously warned, it feels more like turning a blind eye to the start of a new kind of arms race, one in which all the weapons are pointing inwards. Welcome to the NeoConOpticon."
Press release: Defence industry dominates EUs security research programme (pdf) and Executive Summary (pdf)
EU: Council: Implementing the Strategy for the External Dimension of Justice and Home Affairs: Global Freedom, Security and Justice
- Action Oriented Paper on strengthening the EU external dimension on action against trafficking in human beings; Towards Global EU Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (pdf)
UK: Foreign national ID cards roll out speeds up (Home Office, link)
Lockerbie: The Framing of al-Megrahi (London Review of Books, link) by Gareth Peirce
Italy-Libya: EU turns blind eye to 'inhuman' Italy-Libya pact, watchdog says (euobserver, link). See: Human Rights Watch report: Pushed Back, Pushed Around Italy's Forced Return of Boat Migrants and Asylum Seekers, Libya's Mistreatment of Migrants and Asylum Seekers. See also: Migrants Returned To Face Abuse (Inter Press Service, link) and Submission on May refoulements to Libya to the European Commission and UN Human Rights Commissioner and EU/Libya: Full steam ahead, without pausing to think
France: Calais camp: Come to Calais to protest against the destruction of camps and squats of migrants! (pdf), French (pdf) and see - Police clear French migrant camp (BBC News, link)
EU: European Commission:
- Commission Staff Working Document - Mobility partnerships as a tool of the Global Approach to Migration (SEC 1240, pdf)
- Report on the operation of the provisions on stamping of the travel documents of third-country nationals in accordance with Articles 10 and 11 of Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) (COM 489, pdf)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 21 September 2009: Press release (pdf); Background Note (pdf), Provisional Agenda - "B" Points (pdf) and "A" Points Agenda (adopted without discussion, pdf) See also: Unaccompanied Minors (pdf) and EU ministers seek to forge joint solution to refugee problem (DW-World DE, link)
UK: Justice for the North West 10 (link): "Janas Khan is one of the North West 10 Pakistan students arrested in Brown's "terror raids" of April this year. He was released from deportation in July but only to face "administrative removal" for working more hours than permitted under his student visa."
Malta: Frontex to take charge of repatriation (Times of Malta, link)
Spain: Amnesty International: Incommunicado detention: Letter to EU Presidency (pdf) and Report: Out of the Shadows - Time to end incommunicado detention (pdf). See also Statewatch analysis: Spain: Report reveals catalogue of abuses, highlighting the persistence of ill-treatment and torture by Yasha Maccanico (pdf)
EU: Security proposals spell more air travel disruption (Guardian, link): Ban on liquids at large airports lifted from 2012 - Discrepancies in rules 'bound to cause confusion'
EU funding 'Orwellian' artificial intelligence plan to monitor public for "abnormal behaviour" (Sunday Telegraph, link)
Italy's migrant crackdown sparks political tensions (Reuters, link)
International Conference: Terrorist lists, executive powers and human rights (pdf). University Libre de Bruxelles, 20 October 2009. Organised by the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights and International Law and co-sponsored by Statewatch, Amnesty International, Cordaid and Berghof Peace Support.
EU: Informal Interior Affairs Ministers Meeting in the Hague on police cooperation, 1 October 2009: No 1: Identifying Europols Role in a Europe that Protects (pdf), No 2: Joining forces for the operational implementation of the EU Law Enforcement Priorities (pdf) and No 3: Developing synergies between Internal and External Security (pdf) - see also: Report on the Implementation of the European Security Strategy
- Providing Security in a Changing World (pdf)
EU: European Council on Refugees and Exiles: ECREs recommendations for the Stockholm Programme (pdf)
EU: European Commission: Report on on the development of the Visa Information System in 2008 (COM 473, pdf)
1.2bn population of India to be given biometric ID cards (Guardian, link)
UK: Review of control orders sought (BBC, link): "A wholesale review of control orders, which restrict the freedoms of some terror suspects, has been instigated by Home Secretary Alan Johnson. Lord Carlile, the independent reviewer of terror laws, will consider if the system is still "viable" following a ruling by the House of Lords."
EU: Statewatch analysis: European Parliament: Abolish 1st [and 2nd] reading secret deals - bring back democracy warts and all (pdf) by Tony Bunyan: "As the European Parliament starts its new term major questions hang over the way it is doing its job. In the last parliament over 80% of new measures were agreed in secret trilogue meeting with the Council of the European Union (the 27 governments). This practice raises fundamental issues of transparency, openness and democratic accountability."
UK: Presumed guilty (Guardian, link) "There is a new phrase in law enforcement circles, although it is more about enforcing the state's prejudice than any law. It is the Potential Dangerous Person, or PDP. This label is given by Northumberland and Cleveland police forces to someone who is suspected of crimes but who has not been charged, let alone found guilty of an offence. Under this new designation they will be targeted as criminals, watched and no doubt harassed."
UK: We need to repeal 12 years of vile laws attacking our liberty (Guardian, link)
UK: MI6 officer investigated over torture allegation (Guardian, link)
EU: Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA): The Stockholm Programme: A chance to put fundamental rights protection right in the centre of the European Agenda (pdf)
EU: EURODAC AND ACCESS TO ITS DATA BY LEAs: Regulation: concerning the establishment of 'EURODAC' for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of Regulation (EC) No [ / ] [establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person] (COM 342, pdf) French version (COM 342, pdf), Proposed Council Decision on requesting comparisons with EURODAC data by Member States' law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes (COM 344, pdf) and DÉCISION DU CONSEIL relative aux demandes de comparaison avec les données EURODAC présentées par les services répressifs des États membres et Europol à des fins répressiveszz (COM 344, pdf)
UK: Home Office: The Ethics Group: National DNA Database Annual Report (pdf). The report questions the lawfulness of taking DNA samples from children; says that the data kept on "ethnicity" (race) is: "not fit for purpose"; and criticises the government's response to the European Court of Human Rights ruling that keeping the DNA of people arrested but not charged was unlawful. . See also: Police given assault warning over DNA samples taken from children (Guardian, link)
EU: Proposed new Justice and Home Affairs Working Structure, if the Lisbon Treaty is adopted: Possible implications of the Treaty of Lisbon provisions for the JHA working structures (pdf). And Preliminary draft amendments to the Council's Rules of Procedure (pdf)
See also: A document published the day after the Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty: European Council (19 and 20 June 2008): Progress report from the Presidency to the European Council - Preparatory work in view of the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty (pdf)
EU: Summary of Impact Assessment: Commission staff working document accompanying the Communication of the Commission on the establishment of a Joint EU Resettlement Programme (SEC 1128, pdf) and Impact Assessment (SEC 1127, pdf)
COE-EU: Council of Europe: Draft Resolution of the Council on a roadmap for strengthening procedural rights of suspected and accused persons in criminal proceedings (pdf)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 21 September 2009: Provisional Agenda (pdf)
EU-USA SWIFT AGREEMENT gives the USA access to all financial transactions in the EU for the purpose of combating terrorism: i) European Data Protection Supervisor: Joint Meeting of LIBE and ECON Committees on EU-US interim agreement following the entry into force of the new SWIFT architecture (pdf), ii) Belgium: Control and recommendation procedure initiated with respect to the company SWIFT (pdf) and iii) Letter to the European Parliament's Legal Service (pdf): The SWIFT servers are now to be in the Netherlands and a new one in Switzerland.
- Current agreement: EU-USA "SWIFT" agreement - documentation
EU-AFRICA: Fortress Europe records at least 104 victims in August 2009 (pdf)
Italy-Tunisia: Italy repeatedly ignores ECtHR orders to suspend expulsions to Tunisia (pdf) and "Ordinary rendition" in Tunisia and relations with Libya: the Italian government heaps shame and ridicule onto itself (pdf)
Previous Statewatch coverage: Allowing someone to live or letting them die Italy contravenes European Court of Human Rights instructions by deporting Tunisian (pdf)
EU: Stockholm Programme: UK written comments on the European Commission's Communication on the Stockholm Programme (pdf) and HMG Briefing for UK Members (pdf)
UK: CRB looks to ID cards to solve accuracy woes (Register, link) and ID cards: A new layer of compulsion by Henry Porter (Guardian, link)
Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: Report finds serious human rights concerns for homeless non-UK nationals in Northern Ireland (Press release, pdf) and No Home from Home: Homelessness for People with No or Limited Access to Public Funds (pdf)
EU: Wallstrom: EU needs a commissioner for citizens (euobserver, link). Previous Commissioner Communications says on the Regulation for access to EU documents proposal, for which she was responsible, that:
"There was also the problem of the fact that designating a commissioner for transparency and democracy does not mean that it then automatically transpires. This was particularly so of transparency where she says there is a still a north-south divide on the necessity of being open about documents and how decisions are taken, with Nordic countries traditionally more open. "It has not been easy to move positions on openness and transparency" she says noting that it is "not evident" that the EU should go beyond the current basic rules. In her opinion member states have taken a step back on the issue." (emphasis added)
Long-range Taser reignites safety debate (New Scientist, link)
Council of Europe: Dick Marty: time for Europe to come clean once and for all over secret detentions (CoE, link) and The Council of Europe's investigation into illegal transfers and secret detentions in Europe: a chronology (CoE, link)
EU: Meijers Committee: Standing committee of experts on international immigration, refugee and criminal law: Draft Framework Decision on the prevention and settlement of conflicts of exercise of jurisdiction in criminal proceedings; Draft Framework Decision on the transfer of proceedings in criminal matters (pdf)
EU: The new European Parliament: too close to business? (Brussels bubble, link)
Greece: UNHCR orders closure of immigrant reception centre on Greek island (link)
USA: US Torture Files and Access to Human Rights Information (link)
Secret Truth: The EU Joint Situation Centre (pdf) Critical report by Jelle van Buuren of Eurowatch examining the development and activities of the SITCEN, the EUs fledgling intelligence agency.
Denmark: Rejected Iraqi asylum-seekers refused support of lawyers in meetings with Iraqi investigators (link, Politiken, 20.8.2009) Rejected Iraqi asylum-seekers, who are to be presented before an Iraqi investigation delegation in Denmark, are not to be allowed to have their court-appointed Danish lawyers present at interrogations.
EU: Exit-entry data collection at the external borders across the Schengen states between 31 August and 6 September 2009: Data collection exercise on entries and exits at the external borders for a short period of time (pdf) The stated aim is the creation of: "a system of electronic recording of entry and exit data". Data is to be collected at all entry points by land, sea and air on third country nationals with and without a visa (as covered by the Commission proposal, see below) and on "EU citizens and persons enjoying the right of free movement".
Professor Steve Peers: "It is assumed that the system would not apply to EU citizens, since the Commissions communication does not address that issue expressly and it is highly doubtful whether including EU citizens within the scope of the system would be compatible with EU free movement law."
See: Steve Peers: Report for the European Parliament: Proposed new EU border control systems (pdf) and the Commission's proposal: On an entry/exit system at the external borders of the European Union, facilitation of border crossings for bona fide travellers, and an electronic travel authorisation system (pdf)
EU: Regulation on public access to EU documents: When the European Commission put forward proposals to amend the Regulation on access to documents in April 2008 it was assumed that the process, involving codecision by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament, would be finalised under the Swedish Council Presidency by December 2009. However, there is little prospect of any agreement under the current Swedish Council Presidency as each of the three institutions have quite different positions on what changes should be made. Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: "We have reached an institutional impasse." See: A quick guide to the "state of play" on amending the Regulation
UK: Use of tasers by police forces: Figures on the reported and recorded uses of tasers by police forces in England and Wales (pdf) and see: Northumbria police top league for use of Tasers (Guardian, link)
EU: Automated searches ("fishing expeditions") may be damaging national police databases
Updated: Latest Council positions: Observatory: the Regulation on access to EU documents: 2008 - 2009
UK: Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee: Closing the Impunity Gap: UK law on genocide (and related crimes) and redress for torture victims (pdf)
Statewatch analysis: EU agrees rules for remote computer access by police forces but fails, as usual, to mention the security and intelligence agencies (pdf) by Tony Bunyan: A quote from Senator Frank Church, who headed a seminal inquiry in 1975 into the surveillance of the peace movement in the USA (the Church Committee report), seems pertinent:
"If a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it
to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the
government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of government to know. Such is the capacity of technology."
And that was more than 30 years ago.
G8 meetings: Final Declaration: Rome, 30th May, 2009: G8 ministerial meeting of Justice and Home Affairs (pdf) and G8 Declaration on Counter Terrorism (Summit: L'Aquila, 8-10 July 2009, pdf). The role of the little publicised, and even less open to scrutiny, G8 Roma-Lyon Group is openly referred to: It is reported to have organised a "ground-breaking" operation on bulk cash smuggling ("Operation Mantis"); "practical guidance" on cyberc-crime; charged with measures to:
"identify and promote best practices for expanding biometric identity management practices for travellers and improving security in all modes of transportation"
and on the new subject on the agenda "Urban security" in which "local communities need to be involved in the development of security policies, particularly as it assists in fostering a culture of legality" the Roma-Lyon Group is to investigate the "dynamics of urban security".
UK: 'Racist bias' blamed for disparity in police DNA database - Profiles of one in four black children over 10 held (Observer, link)
UK: Police told to ignore human rights ruling over DNA database (Guardian, link)
Greece: Migrant woes mounting - Almost 600 Samos immigrants go on hunger strike over transfers, expulsions (link): "The recent government policy of moving illegal immigrants to reception centers in northern Greece before expelling them from the country ran into more trouble yesterday, as 580 migrants being held on Samos went on hunger strike to protest the measure."
EU: No justice in EU extradition system: European arrest warrants are issued with no regard for the human cost to those caught up in spurious requests (Guardian, link) by David Cronin. See: European Arrest Warrant (EAW) Replies to questionnaire on quantitative information on the practical operation of the European arrest warrant Year 2008 (pdf) and Final report on the fourth round of mutual evaluations - The practical application of the European Arrest Warrant and corresponding surrender procedures between Member States (pdf)
UK: New ID cards are supposed to be 'unforgeable' - but it took our expert 12 minutes to clone one, and programme it with false data (Daily Mail, link)
EU/Africa: Fortress Europe bulletin for July 2009: Fourteen victims in July in Egypt, Greece, Turkey and Spain. The Egyptian police shoots again at the border with Israel: three killed, including two Somali refugees
UK: High Court shields database state from blame: No comeback on stigma of invented £254,000 bad debt (The Register, link): An entrepreneur whose fledgling business was ruined by a false entry in a court database has had his claim for compensation rejected by a High Court judge. The decision could set a broad and troubling precedent, because Mr Justice Bill Blair QC - brother of the former PM Tony Blair - ruled that the civil service cannot be found liable for the damage caused by its record keeping mistakes.
GREECE: Migrant children marginalized: Reforms aimed at social integration have not helped thousands born and raised in Greece, experts say (link)
UK: ACPO policy on ANPR: The Management and Use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (Spyblog, link) and ANPR Manual (link)
UK: Report by the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights: Allegations of UK Complicity in Torture (140 pages, pdf):
"Complicity in torture is a direct breach of the UKs international human rights obligations. In our view, complicity in torture exists where a state:
- asks a foreign intelligence service known to use torture to detain and question an individual
- provides information to a foreign intelligence service known to use torture, enabling that intelligence service to apprehend an individual
- gives questions to a foreign intelligence service to put to a detainee who has been, is being or is likely to be tortured
- sends interrogators to question a detainee who is known to have been tortured by those detaining and interrogating him
- has intelligence personnel present at an interview with a detainee in a place where he is being, or might have been tortured
- systematically receives information known or thought likely to have been obtained from detainees subjected to torture."
See: MPs and peers call for inquiry into torture (Guardian, link)
Greece: Zero Tolerance, Zero Concern (Inter Press Service, link): "Increasing evidence has surfaced that a zero tolerance policy is denying due protection to people fleeing hardship, and condemning them to degrading treatment."
UK: Annual Report of Interception of Communications Commissioner for 2008 (pdf) The number of new warrants issued in England and Wales 2008 fell from 1,881 to 1,508 as did the number of "modifications" (for which new warrants used to be issued). However, the numbers were up in Scotland with 43 new warrants (previously 28 in 2007) so too were the number of "modifications" from 367 to 610. The total number of warrants and "modifications" for England, Wales and Scotland totalled 7,466 (previously 7,970). In addition the number of times communications data was accessed was 504,073 slightly down on the previous year (519,260) - the great majority are carried out by the police or MI5 who both have automated access to service providers. The UK figures do not include warrants issued by the Foreign Office to GCHQ and MI6 nor those issued by the Northern Ireland Secretary of State. See also: Statewatch's Observatory on telephone-tapping warrants 1937-2008
It is salutary to compare the official reports provided on telephone-tapping and interception in the UK and the USA. In the USA detailed reports with tables including historical data including - unlike in the UK - how many arrests and convictions resulted are provided: Arrests and Convictions Resulting From Intercepts Installed in Calendar Years 1997 Through 2007 (pdf), Authorized Intercepts Granted Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 2519 as Reported in Wiretap Reports for Calendar Years 1997 - 2007 (pdf) and Types of Surveillance Used, Arrests, and Convictions for Intercepts Installed January 1 Through December 31, 2007 (pdf)
EU: House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union report: Codecision and national parliamentary scrutiny (pdf)
UK: Internet firms resist ministers plan to spy on every e-mail (Sunday Times, link)
EU: UK House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union: Money laundering and the financing of terrorism: Volume I: Report (pdf) and Volume II: Evidence (pdf)
UK: The Myth of Policing By Consent by Kevin Blowe (link)
UK: The image of the ID card for British citizens was officially unveiled by the Home Secretary today in Manchester and London (Home Office Press release, link) View front of card (link) and Back of card (link)
EU-USA "SWIFT": EU bank data move ignored legal advice (euobserver, link): "EU member states laid aside the advice of their own legal experts in cutting MEPs out of talks on a new bank data-sharing deal with the US. The legal services of the EU council (the member states' secretariat in Brussels) in July put forward a confidential paper saying that the European Parliament should have co-legislative powers on the pact under articles 95 and 300 of the EU treaty, EUobserver has learned. But EU foreign ministers on Monday (27 July) opted to give the Swedish presidency the exclusive right to handle talks, citing articles 38 and 24 instead."
Council of the European Union: The General Affairs Council agreed the following at its meeting on 27 July 2009: "EU/United States - negotiations on payment data: The Council approved guidelines for negotiations with the United States for an international agreement to make financial payment messaging data available to the US Treasury Department in order to prevent terrorism and terrorist financing ("Swift system") (Council press release)." European Parliament: Letter to Commissioner Barrot (French, pdf). See also: EU wants to share more bank details with the US authorities (EDRI, link)
- Current agreement: EU-USA "SWIFT" agreement - documentation
- EU-US data sharing causes uproar in Germany (euactiv, link)
- EU agrees US demands to re-write data protection agreement (pdf)
EU: FRONTEX: European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States: Annual Report 2008 (pdf) and Analysis and Assessment of Frontex' Annual Activity Report 2008 (pdf) which includes the following conclusion:
"Over the last three years, the issue of attracting adequate human resources in a timely and speedy manner was not resolved. In that respect the Agency obviously lacks attractiveness which gets an additional negative spin by the correction coefficient and the exposure to the riskof exchange rate volatility."
UK: Police should respect press freedom: Protest is at the heart of any functioning democracy and a civil case launched today aims to protect the media's right to report it (Guardian, link)
UK: Paul Donovan: The secret trials that besmirch Britain's immigration law (Independent, link)
UK: South Yorkshire Police Report on the policing of the Climate Change protest by Kent Police: Strategic Review: Operation Oasis (Camp for Climate Change) KIngsnorth Power Station, Kent (pdf). Kingsnorth protests report criticises 'counterproductive' policing tactics (Guardian, link) Official review says orders were not communicated properly, leading to indiscriminate use of stop and search on activists. See also: Police at Kingsnorth: hiding badges, searching kids, blasting music and suffering bee stings - Catalogue of complaints over tactics used against both protesters and media (Guardian, link)
EU: Council Presidency: Draft Resolution of the Council on a roadmap for strengthening procedural rights of suspected or accused persons in criminal proceedings (pdf)
CIA-UK: Secrets of CIA 'ghost flights' to be revealed - Guantánamo detainee's lawyers hail UK air firm's U-turn that allows rendition case to go to court (Observer, link)
UK: Bouncers and parking attendants given police-style powers to issue on-the-spot fines (Daily Mail, link)
Letter from the Eritreans in Tripoli. Tortured in Libya as in Eritrea (Fortress Europe, link)
USA: James B. Rule: Balancing privacy with better medical data (link): "Among the rare domestic policy innovations strongly promoted by both the Obama and Bush administrations is centralization of all Americans' medical records."
UK: The truth about torture Britain's catalogue of shame, by Ian Cobain (Guardian, link)
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Intelligent Transport Systems in road transport: "lack of clarity may lead to different levels of data protection in Europe" warns EDPS (Press release, pdf) and Full-text of Opinion (pdf). See also: Big Brother is watching: surveillance box to track drivers is backed (Guardian, link) and: Council of the European Union Conclusions on: Action Plan for the Deployment of Intelligent Transport Systems in Europe (Press release, pdf)
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report: The Macpherson ReportTen Years On (pdf). On 22 April 1993, Stephen Lawrence was stabbed to death at a bus stop in South London in an unprovoked, racist attack. The police were heavily criticised for their conduct of the investigation and no one has ever been convicted for the crime. The Macpherson Report, published on 24 February 1999, found that the police investigation into Stephens murder was marred by a combination of professional incompetence, institutional racism and a failure of leadership by senior officers.
UK: Annual Report of the Chief Surveillance Commissioner (pdf). See: Councils still breaking surveillance laws Total of 10,000 snooping missions carried out (Guardian, link) and Watching the watchers (Guardian, link)
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee: The Cost of Policing Football Matches (pdf)
At the moment he police who decide how many police should be present (without negotiation with the clubs) and this leads to many instances of a larger poice presence than is necessary and the costs are passed on to the fans:
"We doubt the necessity of deploying up to 150 police officers on top of the hundreds of stewards at an event which has on average 1.2 arrests."
Belgium to legalise 25,000 immigrants (euactiv, link)
Greece:Fourteen NGOs and other groups: Public intervention of NGOs and other groups for refugees and migrants (pdf)
"Within the public debate on migration, we have noticed many inaccuracies, a large amount of misinformation and a general approach which is not only one-sided but also exaggerates the seriousness of the issue , presenting it as a major national problem. Such an atmosphere allows no space for a calm and analytical approach to the entire issue, which would aim at shedding light on all aspects and focusing on substantial measures that could be taken to solve the problems.
As a result, the discussion transforms refugees and migrants into targets rather than what they are: victims of armed conflicts, persecution, poverty and strict migration policies. Since we perceive the existing "dialogue" more as a monologue, and since no opportunity to speak has yet been given to
the representatives of organisations that deal with migrants and refugees, we see it as our duty to intervene in the debate in order to inform Greek society about our position on this topic."
and see also: Amnesty International: Amnesty International condemns forced evictions in Patras (link)
Italy: Public Security Law 773B denounced as racial law (EveryOne Group, link):
"The so-called security package contains a number of provisions that will deny immigrants the same rights Italian citizens have to basic public services, including access to medical care, besides severely restricting personal liberty and limiting the livelihood of economically or socially disadvantaged foreigners or those in need of humanitarian aid on Italian territory."
Council of Europe: Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg: Viewpoint: Stop and searches on ethnic or religious grounds are not effective (link):
members of minorities are more often that others stopped by the police, asked for identity papers, questioned and searched. They are victims of ethnic profiling, a form of discrimination which is widespread in todays Europe. Such methods clash with agreed human rights standards. They tend also to be counter-productive as they discourage people from cooperating with police efforts to detect real crimes.
European Civil Liberties Network (ECLN): Selection of new entries on the Noticeboard in July 2009:
- France: Pour linterdiction immédiate du Flash-ball: Following the loss of an eye suffered by film-maker Joachim Gatti after an incident in which he was struck by one of many "flash-balls" fired by the police against a peaceful demonstration against an eviction in Montreuil on 7 July 2009, this appeal for an "immediate ban" of this "non-lethal" public order equipment introduced in France in 2002 was launched.
- Switzerland: In 2008, it became known that the Swiss police and secret services were spying and keeping intelligence files on left-wing activists and politicians. This so-called Fichen [record] scandal is the second secret surveillance scandal in Switzerland. In the late 1980s... it has become known that the Swiss intelligence service continues to spy on activists and pass on personal data to foreign security agencies, whilst the investigation into the scandal continues to be postponed.
- Germany: book, published by the German civil liberties group Komitee für Grundrechte und Demokratie, collects papers presented at a conference on prison conditions in Germany that took place September 2008 in Bonn. The central question is the impact Germany's current prison and crime policies have on the prison system and the conditions of imprisonment.
- Spain: Report on the application of the Spanish law from 2002 for the illegalisation of political parties deemed to have a functional and organic relationship with ETA, which has been used in subsequent elections to illegalise Batasuna and then other parties or electoral associations that were considered to be its successors.
- Greece: Open letter sent to the Greek prime minister and interior minister highlighting "the emergency situation that has been developed in Greece with regard to questions of asylum, but also on the evident diffusion and rise of racist violence, of xenophobia and of racist speech against immigrants and asylum seekers, particularly in Athens". (Hellenic League of Human Rights)
Forced labour and tortures for Eritreans deported from Libya (Fortess Europe, link) and Italian (link)
UK: DNA database plans based on 'flawed science', warn experts (Guardian, link)
EU: If you can't beat 'em Europe's new tactics in the battle against the far right (Guardian, link)
UK: Metropolitan police's 'kettling' tactic challenged in European court (Guardian, link)
Greece: UNHCR will not participate in the new asylum procedure in Greece unless structural changes are made (pdf)
"UNHCR will not participate in the new asylum procedure in Greece unless structural changes are made The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees notes with great concern that the structural changes introduced by the new Presidential Decree 81/2009 do not sufficiently guarantee efficiency and fairness of the refugee status determination procedure in Greece as required by International and European legislation."
EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Ministers meeting to discuss the Stockholm Programme: Press statements: Asylum seekers must receive equal treatment (link) and Focus on the citizen at ministerial meeting (link)
Working documents: 1) Developing a Europe that Protects; 2) A Europe based on Responsibility and Solidarity in Immigration and Asylum Matters; 3) Developing a Citizens Europe of Law and Justice
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"The Council Presidency, and the European Commission's proposals for the Stockholm Programme, seek to lay great emphasis on the need to balance the demands of "security" and the protection of civil liberties and privacy. A Council Working document for this meeting says of "paramount importance" is the need to strike "the right balance between law enforcement measures and measures to safeguard individual rights, the rule of law, international protection rules, etc."
This refers to future measures and their implementation. But what about the swathe of measures which has been put in place since 2001 which have nearly always placed the demands for security above freedoms and liberties? If they were serious they would be proposing a review of all recent laws to restore the proper balance that is so essential to our democratic future."
- 'EU Big Brother planning to watch you more closely' (The Local, Swedish News in English, link)
- Amnesty International: EU: Close human rights gaps in the Stockholm Programme (link)
- Stop the Stockholm programme! (link)
UK: House of Commons debate on ID cards (link)
UK: National Policing Improvement Agency (link): The National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA) has released its Annual Report 2008/09. The report reveals the scale of the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system that has been constructed in the UK: "The ANPR infrastructure has the capability to receive and store 50 million ANPR reads per day. The National ANPR Data Centre (NADC) receives around 8 million reads per day". Also revealed is who will have access to the data: "In due course, Scottish forces and PSNI will also be connected to NADC, as will other national policing and security agencies. These include British Transport Police, Serious Organised Crime Agency, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and the Security Service." (thanks to No2id)
European Commission: Proposal for a Council Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement (pdf): The European Commission presents plans recommending that Serbian, Montenegrin and Macedonian citizens be allowed to travel into the EU without visas from January 2010. People holding passports from Bosnia, Albania and Kosova will still have to buy visas.
European Commission: Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on the right to interpretation and to translation in criminal proceedings (COM 338, pdf), Summary of Impact Assessment (SEC 916, pdf) and Impact Assessment (SEC 915,pdf)
and EU Council Presidency: Proposal for a Resolution of the Council and of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council fostering the implementation by Member States of the right to interpretation and to translation in criminal proceedings (EU doc no: 12116/09, dated 15/7/09, pdf)
Italy/Libya: Submission on May refoulements to Libya to the European Commission and UN Human Rights Commissioner
On 16 June 2009, sixteen NGOs submitted a document to the European Commission and the UN's Human Rights Commissioner that details the breaches of Italian, EU and international law that were committed by Italian authorities when migrants on boats that were intercepted by the Italian navy during patrol operations in international waters beyond the limits of Libyan territorial waters were returned to the north African country.
Spain: Annual report by the Coordinadora para la prevención de la tortura on torture in Spain
European Parliament: Formation of political groups after the European elections 2009 (Council doc no: 12064/09,pdf)
Political groups: 2009-2014:
- European People's Party (EPP): 265 MEPs (-23) *
- European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR): 55 MEPs (new group, previously in EPP, based on UK Conservatives)
- Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD): 30 MEPs (+ 8; replaced IND/DEM group, includes UKIP (UK) and Lega Nord (Italy)
- Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (PASD): 184 MEPs (-29; the renamed PSE)
- Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE): 84 MEPs (-16)
- Greens-European Free Alliance (GREEN/EFA): 54 MEPs (+11)
- European United Left-Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL): 35 MEPs (-5)
- Non-attached MEPs: 29 (mostly nationalist, racist, fascist) **
* The EPP includes groups from the Italian far-right, the National Alliance and Alessandra Mussolini's Social Alternative - who have eight MEPs - and merged with Silvio Berlusconi's new centre-right People of Freedom party.
** The Council observes that: "The number of non-attached Members will depend in particular on the capacity of the ECR and EFD groups to attract Members."
See also: European Parliament gets on its feet (euobserver, link) Looks at the composition of the new parliament and likely alliances
EU: Council Presidency: Draft Resolution of the Council on a roadmap for strengthening procedural rights of suspected and accused persons in criminal proceedings (pdf)
Newspapers voice concerns about press freedom (euactiv, link) European newspaper publishers are calling on the Swedish EU Presidency to protect press freedom in Europe following recent attempts by the Italian and Czech governments to restrict journalists' access to wiretapped information, such as police documents.
UK: The ID Card dead. Long live the database! (Hawktalk, link)
Police bulldoze migrant camp in Greek port (link)
EU-STOCKHOLM PROGRAMME: European Data Protection Supervisor: Opinion on the Commission's proposals for the Stockholm Programme (pdf):
"The EDPS supports the attention that has been devoted in the Communication to the protection of fundamental rights, and in particular the protection of personal data, as one of the key issues of the future framework for EU action on the questions of citizenship, justice, security, asylum and immigration. He fully endorses the Commission's view that more emphasis should be given to data protection in the areas concerned, and calls for the European Council to follow the same approach when adopting the Stockholm multi-annual programme."
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"The Opinion of the EDPS is, as usual, thoughtful and detailed. However, the Opinion introduces a strange new interpretation of "free movement" - one of the four founding freedoms of the EU. "Free movement" is well understood to mean the right of people to move around within the EU. The EDPS argues that "free movement" also comprises "the free movement of (personal) data". But should it? The "free movement of personal data" is the invention of the state (EU and national) and big business. It does not give the people more rights, quite the reverse because they have little or no control over the use of their personal data."
EU-STOCKHOLM PROGRAMME: Council of the European Union: The External Dimension of Justice and Home Affairs (EU doc no: 11454/09, pdf) and Contribution by the UK delegation on the Strategy for the External Dimension of Justice and Home Affairs (EU doc no: 11413/09, pdf)
EU: European Commission proposal: Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on the right to interpretation and to translation in criminal proceedings
EU: Council: Proposal by 16 Member States:Draft Council Framework Decision on the transfer of proceedings in criminal matters
and Explanatory Report: Draft Council Framework Decision on the transfer of proceedings in criminal matters
UK Arts and Culture Cancelled, by Order of the Home Office (Manifesto Club, pdf):
"In November 2008, the Home Office introduced a new points-based system (PBS) and visa restrictions, which affected international artists and academics visiting the UK for talks, exhibitions, concerts or residencies. The new points-based system includes harsh new controls on non-EU visitors...
These measures have already had a disastrous effect on UK arts with cancelled concerts, talks and visits across the UK. The Home Office has largely consulted with larger organisations and stakeholders - groups that are more likely to be able to cope with the bureaucratic hurdles involved. As a result, it has not heard the anger and dismay from the many thousands of smaller organisations and individuals who are being affected."
see also: Stopping culture at our borders by Henry Porter (Guardian, link)
UK: Reclaim your DNA from Britain's national DNA databse (link). See: Home Office DNA consultation (Genewatch, link) and Seminar on the National DNA Database and Britain's black communities (BMH UK, Black Mental Health UK, link)
Italy: Officers found guilty for teenager's death in Ferrara
EU: "The massacre continues: 459 deaths in the first six months of 2009" (Fortress Europe)
UK: Trail of hacking and deceit under nose of Tory PR chief - Nick Davies on how the News of the World was involved in illegal activity, from intercepting phone messages to buying confidential personal data (Guardian, link). This story details not just the tapping of mobile phone calls but also the illegal gathering of personal data from police computers, British Telecom, the DVLA (driving licences), Inland Revenue (tax). It highlights yet again the need to legislate to control the activities of private security groups not just in the UK but across the EU.
LISBON TREATY: Irish parliament to get more control over EU laws (European Voice) by Judith Crosbie:
"both houses of the Irish parliament will be needed to permit the use of a bridging clause that changes decision-making. Under the Lisbon treaty, in EU policy areas where individual countries have a power of veto and the unanimous consent of all states is needed, the rules of decision-making can be changed by the bridging clause to a system of weighted majority voting. The unanimous consent of the member states is required to invoke this use of the bridging clause.
The referendum bill gives the Irish parliament a degree more control over whether the Irish government should consent to such a change. The consent of the Irish parliament would also be required to approve Ireland's participation in "enhanced co-operation" a mechanism that allows a group of at least nine member states the possibility of adopting a law without waiting for the other member states to participate."
The Irish amendment to its Constitution mirrors the increased role of parliament on EU matters proposed in Germany following the judgment by its constitutional court (see below). and:
"The roles of the Irish and German parliaments could prove crucial in the future given that unanimity is needed among member states." (e.voice)
Which begs the question: why have the 25 other national parliaments not got similar powers?
German Constitutional Court ruling on the Lisbon Treaty, raising the need for national parliaments to play an enhanced role: Full-text of judgment (pdf).
IRELAND and the LISBON TREATY: Analysis: Revisions to the Irish Constitution Lisbon Treaty (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex. See also: Twenty-Eighth Amendment of the Constitution (Treaty of Lisbon) Bill 2009 (link):
"sets out the current provisions of the Irish Constitution dealing with EU membership, and how they would be amended by the proposed constitutional amendment Bill. It comments briefly and factually on the changes in the text of the Constitution which would result if the proposed amendments were adopted. The Bill itself might be amended before its adoption, and of course the amendments would still require public support in a referendum."
EU: Update on new measures: EU-PNR: Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) for law enforcement purposes (EU doc no: 5618/09 REV 2, pdf)
and: Draft Council Framework Decision on the transfer of proceedings in criminal matters (EU doc no: 11119/09, pdf) plus Explanatory Report: on the transfer of proceedings in criminal matters (pdf)
GERMANY: Outrage over Muslim woman killed in court (Guardian, link): "Thousands of Egyptian mourners marched behind the coffin of the "martyr of the head scarf" a pregnant Muslim woman who was stabbed to death in a Dresden courtroom on Wednesday in front of her young son."
Council of Europe: Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights: Many Roma in Europe are stateless and live outside social protection (CoE, link)
UK: Control Orders - Abu Rideh granted document to leave the country, decision welcomed by Amnesty (link)
Hungary: Slipping Further to the Right (Inter Press Service, link)
Bulgaria: Centre-right wins landslide victory in Bulgarian elections (euobserver, link)
EU: Statewatch Analysis: The EUs JHA agenda under the Swedish Presidency (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex.
EU: Statewatch Analysis & Postscript: Statewatch wins European Ombudsman complaint against the European Commission over its public register of documents but it refuses to comply (pdf) by Tony Bunyan:
"The Commissions public register of documents is a travesty. Its rejection of the European Ombudsmans Recommendations and failure to respond to the European Parliaments Resolution is an instance of institutional intransigence which, in the interests of basic democratic standards, must not go unchallenged.
EU: European Commission: Annual report for 2008: Regulation on access to EU documents (pdf)
Czech Republic: Special aircraft takes expelled Africans from Prague (link)
EU: European Commission: Communication on guidance for better transposition and application of Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States (COM 313/4, pdf)
USA: 'A Comedy of Errors': Why It's Time to Get Rid of the So-Called Terrorist Watch List (Alternet, link)
LISBON TREATY: German Constitutional Court ruling on the Lisbon Treaty, raising the need for national parliaments to play an enhanced role: Ruling (link)
EUROPOL: List of 25 non-EU states: Draft Council Decision determining the list of third States and organisations with which Europol shall conclude agreements (pdf) and Current Cooperation and Strategic Agreements (14 states) (Europol, link).
These agreements cover the exchange of personal data between the EU and the non-EU states listed. Each Decision is assessed as to the standards of data protection in the non-EU state. However, these assessments are based on the law in the non-EU state and not on the actual practice (which often differs from the formal law).
EU: Swedish Council Presidency: Draft Council Ministers Agendas: Draft Agendas (pdf) See p20 onwards for Justice and Home Affairs Council
UK: Government under fire over ID cards (ZDnet, link)
AUSTRIA: Racism on a Sharp Rise (IPS, link): Mainstream political parties in Austria must change their approach if a growing anti-immigrant sentiment stoked by far-right politicians is to be curbed, racism watchdogs and political analysts say.
UK: The National Security Strategy of the United Kingdom (64 pages, pdf) and The National Security Strategy of the United Kingdom: Update 2009: Security for the Next Generation (106 pages, pdf)
UK: After Iraq WMD fiasco, MI6 faces new challenge under Sir John Sawers (Times, link)
EU-IRAQ: Statewatch analysis: The forgotten casualties of the war (pdf) by Max Rowlands. Based on an unreleased Commission report this article exposes what is happening to an estimated 2 million refugees living in Syria and Jordan - and the EUs response
EU-EURODAC: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Eurodac: how to better ensure asylum seekers' rights in practice? Supervision Group issues second inspection report (pdf) and Eurodac Supervision Coordination Group: Second Inspection Report (pdf)
"The answers provided to the questionnaire indicate great differences regarding the content of the information given to the data subject.... the data protection information seems to be diluted into the huge amount of information given to an asylum seeker or to an illegal alien. Besides, it tends to be more general and incomplete.
Although the majority of the Member States refer that the fact that the information contains explanations on the consequences of being fingerprinted, as well as on the exchange of personal data with other countries, there is still a significant number of countries that do not provide such information. Indeed, according to the general assessment made by the DPAs on the quality of the right to information, only a minority considered the information provided is fully in compliance with the Eurodac Regulation meaning complete, clear or appropriate."
EU: Auditors slam EU over Galileo (euactiv, link) and European Court of Auditors: Special Report into The management of Galileo (link)
UK: Passport details to be kept on ID register despite card U-turn - Johnson accused of pressing ahead compulsory scheme by 'back door' (Guardian, link) and Home Secretary affirms commitment to identity cards by accelerating rollout (Home Office, link)
UK-G8: INQUEST has been working with the family of Ian Tomlinson and their lawyers since his death on 1 April 2009 during the G20 protests. Briefing (pdf)which focuses on the following issues: Background - The role of the IPCC - Police planning and operation of the G20 protests - The role of police in surveillance and intelligence gathering - The role of the Territorial Support Group - Events following the death of Ian Tomlinson - Misinformation - The failure to involve the IPCC immediately after the death - The treatment of Ian Tomlinsons family
European Parliament: Ukip, Lega Nord form hard-right bloc in EU Parliament (euobserver, link). This new far-right group will have 30 MEPs from seven EU countries drawn from nationalistic and racist parties.
EU: European Commission proposals: Regulation establishing an Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the
area of freedom, security and justice (COM 293, pdf) and Council Decision: conferring upon the Agency established by Regulation XX tasks regarding the operational management of SIS II and VIS in application of Title VI of the EU Treaty (pdf) plus , Communication: Legislative package establishing an Agency for the operational management of largescale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (COM 292, pdf)
Italy: Senate must stop controversial bill (Amnesty, link): "The draft law, the so-called security package, which was approved by the Chamber of Deputies on 14 May 2009, includes provisions which would heavily impinge on the rights of migrants and asylum-seekers and introduce provisions which appear to be discriminatory and likely to affect disproportionately Roma and Sinti."
and Letter - Italian Reform Law on Wiretapping (pdf): "European Newspaper Publishers Association which is an international non-profit trade association of over 5.200 newspapers from 25 European countries expresses its deep concerns about the pending wiretapping law revision which would severely restrict and even forbid publishing of any news obtained from wiretappings."
First Frontex Forced Repatriation Operation: Malta Today (link) reported (21 June) that the forced repatriation operation involving 74 migrants that took place on 18 June was the first time that Frontex ever coordinated a forced repatriation operation at sea.
"Even though the migrants were intercepted by an Italian coast guard boat, the same migrants, that included women and children, were identified by a Frontex asset that followed the operation through. The operation, part of Nautilus IV, used a German helicopter, the Italian coast guard, and a Libyan patrol boat.
SPAIN: The National Network for Immigrant Rights (REDI) has requested a hearing today "immediately " with the Interior Minister Alfredo Rubalcaba, after the "brutal" attack and deportation of Senegalese immigrants in Madrid Barajas Airport. The video can be watched here:
The immigrant organization believes the video, showing these acts broadcasted on the website of Mali, is an example of the inhumane conditions under which Spain carried out the deportations. In an attempt to end these practices, REDI calls for urgent action against what they describe as "violation of human rights." "The video, recorded by a passenger at the airport Barajas, showing how three police officers beat, bound and tied a Senegalese immigrant before being deported has been a great outrage among the organizations defending the rights of immigrants and the Internet community, "he adds.
Spokesperson for the immigration office said these images are "an institutional embarrassment and take us back to the darkest moments of history." "which promoted a society of first, second and third grade citizens, and that violates systematic fundamental rights, "says Sguiglia. REDI announced it is organizing rallies and demonstrations in the coming days to report these events and the injustice, it feels, of Spain's treatment of deportees.
UK: Government faces court battle over £400m contract for hi-tech passports (Daily Mail, link)
EU: Statewatch Analysis: EU Lisbon Treaty: Analysis no 4: UK and Irish opt-outs from EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) law (pdf) prepared by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex: The UK, Ireland (and Denmark)
"have opt-outs from the entire area of EU Justice and Home Affairs law...
The changes to EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) law (which concerns immigration and asylum, civil law, policing and criminal law) in the Lisbon Treaty are more far-reaching than the changes which that Treaty would make to any other areas of EU law."
UK: Home Affairs Select Committee report: Policing of the G20 Protests (pdf)
Italian "Extraordinary Rendition" Victim Still Held In Morocco Based On Tortured Confession (ACLU, link):
"Human rights groups ask two U.N. Special Rapporteurs to investigate the case of Abou Elkassim Britel, an Italian citizen and victim of the CIA's unlawful "extraordinary rendition" program who is currently held in a Moroccan prison based on a confession coerced from him through torture."
Ethnic profiling tarnishes the EU - Relying on race when deciding who to stop, search or detain is illegal and ineffective but European police continue to do it (Guardian, link)
EU plans giant IT network for "freedom, security and justice" (Register, link) and Commission press release: The setting up of an Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems proposed by the Commission (pdf)
EU: STOCKHOLM PROGRAMME: Work programme for the Swedish Presidency of the EU 1 July - 31 December 2009 (see p 8: pdf) and Preparing the Stockholm Programme - Organisation of discussions in the Council (pdf). The latter document refers to the "stakeholder" (EU officals ansd academics) Bruges Conference (pdf) which, from this lengthy report, threw up few original ideas but did include:
Stefano RODOTA, Chairman of the Scientific Committee of the Fundamental Rights Agency, Promoting fundamental rights as the core of the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, former Member of the Camera dei Deputati in Italy:
"highlighted the problems currently dealt with. He stated that the indivisibility of rights has resulted in a weaker status being given to the social rights. Also, the fundamental rights have in a way been polluted and exploited in the fight against terrorism. There are today restrictions far beyond the need to fight terrorism. All of this is due to the lack of filter of the requests from the US. An example of this is PNR and data protection and the fact that the US refused the equivalent protection of European citizens compared to US citizens.
According to Mr. Rodota the EU must refuse the securitanism resulting in a digital tsunami that will lead to a future where there will be a digital record on everything."
UK: Blair Peach death secrecy review (Guardian, link)
EU: Tony Bunyan's "View from the EU" column in the Guardian looks at: Europe's race to the right: The results of the European elections look certain to cement the centre right and far right's sway over politics in Europe (link):
"EU institutions and governments regularly repeat the mantra that we all "share common values", as if the project has unchanging standards and principles, but do we?"
UK: CAMPACC, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, Statewatch, Basque Solidarity Campaign: Seminars: The Basque Country and Northern Ireland: Self-Determination, Proscription and Human Rights in the EU (pdf)
EU: Swedish Council Presidency: Work programme for the Swedish Presidency of the EU 1 July - 31 December 2009 (pdf) See also: Sweden to push for more transparent EU migration rules (euobserver, link):
"[Swedish Europe Minister] Ms Malmstrom...said the commission's proposals in this area, put forward earlier this month, were "a good starting point" for discussions, although they have been strong criticised by some civil liberties group for potentially leading to a "surveillance society.
But Ms Malmstrom admitted that it will be a challenge to strike the right balance between "the more repressive measures taken under police cooperation" and safeguarding civil rights."
Updated: European Parliament: EU parliament sees birth of new right-wing group (euobserver, link):
'Realignment of the right': London School of Economics professor Simon Hix said the European Conservatives and Reformists could create a strongly pro-free market bloc with EPP-ED and ALDE in the parliament instead of concentrating on Lisbon. The new bloc would have over 400 out of 736 MEPs, potentially putting the previous parliament alliance of Christian Democrats and Socialists out of business."
Conservative MEPs form new group: The UK's Conservative MEPs have formed a new "anti-federalist" European Parliament bloc (BBC News, link). The new European Conservatives and Reformists Group includes 55 MEPs from across eight member states.
UK: Police and protests: Video shows surveillance protesters bundled to ground by police - Women arrested for challenging officer with no badge number and Predatory policing: As my arrest and imprisonment demonstrates, the preventative policing model is a licence to harass legitimate protesters (Guardian, links)
EU: EU security plans threaten freedom, says rights expert (Irish Times, link)
EU: European Commission: Internet of Things - An action plan for Europe (pdf) and Internet governance: the next steps (pdf)
EU: IRELAND-LISBON: Lisbon Treaty guarantees for Ireland (pdf) Analysis by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex
UK: Whitehall admits gamble on massive net snoop plan: Exclusive The Home Office has privately conceded that its plan to store details of every internet communication may not be possible - and that it has pinned the multibillion pound project's hopes on snooping technology not yet developed (Register, link):
"new laws needed to legitimise the system would take "a number of years" to pass, and that by that time technology will "hopefully have caught up with law enforcement requirements."
Background: LSE report: Briefing on the Interception Modernisation Programme (pdf)
EU: European Council, Brussels, 18-19 June 2009: Draft Council Conclusions (pdf)
UK-TORTURE: How UK's torture policy was traced back up political ladder MI5 officer's testimony led to police investigation - Report shows Blair knew of interrogation guidelines (Guardian, link). See too: Breaking the rules on tortureThe details of the government's post-9/11 torture policy are shocking. A full investigation must be carried out (Guardian, link) by Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve.
Backround: Intelligence and Security Committee: The Handling of Detainees by UK Intelligence Personnel in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and Iraq (2005, pdf)
EU-UK: Regulation on access to EU documents: House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union issues critical report on the European Commission's proposals and the position of the UK government: Access to EU Documents (pdf). Including:
"Q6 Chairman: Just to take a specific example, we have referred elsewhere to the publication on Statewatch of one of the Presidency's working documents, of the type which this Committee rarely but occasionally sees, and the commentary by Professor Steve Peers. Do you regard that as helpful or unhelpful to the progression of such matters?
Caroline Flint (Minister for Europe): I do not think it is very helpful."
Commenting Lord Mance, Chairman of the Lords EU Sub-Committee on Law and Institutions, said:
"Providing public access to documents is a key element in securing the accountability of European Institutions to European citizens. "We support attempts to make the EU more open to public scrutiny and hope the Commission use this opportunity to improve public access to documents, not limit it further. For that reason we think it is important that access to draft documents is maintained. It is not appropriate for the European Commission to establish arbitrary definitions of the point where a document is 'formally transmitted' in order to maintain space for policy development.
"We are concerned that the UK Government are seeking greater restrictions on the publication of legal advice in respect of legislation, and of negotiating positions adopted by Member States. Legislation should take place in as open an environment as possible."
UK: House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution: Analysis of the Governments response to Surveillance: Citizens and the State (pdf). A Press release says:
"The House of Lords Constitution Committee has expressed disappointment at the government's response to its report on surveillance and privacy. The report in February recommended more powers for the Information Commissioner, in particular to allow monitoring of the private sector, and greater use of privacy impact assessments. Lord Goodlad, chairman of the Lords Constitution Committee, said: "We are disappointed the government has failed to recognise the fundamental importance of privacy in the relationship between individuals and the state," he said.... In its response to the report, the government rejected proposals for a review of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), which allows authorities to intercept communications, as well as rejecting calls for a Joint Committee on surveillance and data powers and for more information to be provided to citizens on surveillance issues. And the committee said the government failed to address recommendations on citizen-oriented identification systems that could give individuals control over identification and authentication data."
See: Government not listening on surveillance, say Lords (Computing, link)
UK: LORD CARLILE Annual report for 2008: Report on the operation in 2008 of the terrorism act 2000 and of part 1 of the terrorism act 2006
by Lord Carlile QC (pdf). See: Terror watchdog in search warning (BBC News, link) "Police have been advised to use the anti-terrorism powers sparingly The UK's terror law watchdog says people are being stopped and searched to racially balance official figures."
Update: Home Office answers Lord Carlile's report, reassures photographers (British Journal of Photography, link)
EU: Stockholm programme: The lives of ... all of us (Daily Mail, link)
Updated: Full-text of assurances: EU: LISBON TREATY-IRELAND: Draft text of assurances (5MB, pdf). Some uncertainty remains as other EU governments want to be sure that any promises do not re-open the ratification process and Irish Foreign Minister Martin said: "he hoped that the guarantees, included in a draft agreement, would be tacked on to a future treaty...." See also: Uncertainty over legal format of Irish Lisbon guarantees (euobserver, link)
Updated: Statewatch's Observatory on "Terrorist" lists: monitoring proscription, designation and asset-freezing
- June 2009 - EU renews terrorist list - Common Position 2009/468/CFSP of 15 June 2009
- June 2009 - Court of First Instance follows Kadi and annuls annulled the listing of Omar Mohammed Othman (aka Abu Qatada) (Court Press release, 11.6.09): Despite the ruling it is explicitly assumed that the Council will now re-list him following the new procedures introduced in the light of Kadi (see further below). The full text of the judgment is available here.
- June 2009 - Blocking Faith, Freezing Charity: Charitable Giving and the "War on Terrorism Financing": The American Civil Liberties Union has released a comprehensive report documenting the consequence of U.S. government actions on American Muslims' exercise of their right to profess and practice their religion through charitable giving. The ACLU's research shows that U.S. terrorism financing policies and practices are seriously undermining American Muslims' protected constitutional liberties and violating their fundamental human rights to freedom of religion, freedom of association, and freedom from discrimination.
N IRELAND: Romanian race attack victims housed for own safety in Belfast sports centreUp to 20 families moved by police after rally in support of eastern Europeans targeted by youths throwing bottles (Guardian, link)
France: Criminalising solidarity: FIDH report The observatory for the protection of human rights defenders (FIDH -OMCT) has published a research report on the obstacles faced by defenders of the rights of migrants in France entitled "Crime of solidarity": stigmatisation, repression and intimidation of defenders of the rights of migrants.
Is a State that enjoys solid democratic and proven institutions a guarantee of security and tranquility for human rights defenders working there? Alerted by the Ligue française des droits de l'Homme (LDH), the observatory gave a mandate to an international research mission responsible for examining the conditions of the exercise of the defence of the rights of migrants in France. The delegation visited France from 17 to 25 March 2009.
The research report's conclusions are worrying: excesses connected to the "culture" of results, targets that include figures for the questioning of "aiders", a permanent pressure on people who are in contact with foreigners, which is enabled by a legislation that is not precise and stygmatising. The cases gathered of arrests, or charges brought, of people who have lent assistance to migrants make it possible to conclude that, in France, there is a climate that is unfavourable for the defence of the rights of foreigners that can only be part of a strong dissuasive pressure. This flagrantly contravenes the UN Declaration on human rights defenders, and the Observatory deems it necessary to seize, apart from the French institutions concerned, the authorities and mechanisms for the protection of human rights at an international and European level. [Statewatch translation of the introduction to the report by FIDH]
UK: Abandon ID cards: The attempt to justify the ID card scheme on the grounds of the risk of terrorism is not sustainable we simply don't need it
(Guardian, link) and ID cards 'will not protect UK against terrorism': Identity cards are pushing Britain towards a "Kafkaesque" society and will do nothing to protect the UK against terrorism, a retired Law Lord will warn (Daily Telegraph, link)
GERMANY: Quietly Arming Conflicts (Inter Presss Service, link)
European Council (18-19 June 2009: EU Prime Ministers): Draft Council Conclusions (pdf) including on: "Illegal immigration
20. Recent events underline the urgency of strengthening efforts to prevent and combat illegal immigration in an efficient manner at the EU Southern maritime borders and thus prevent future human tragedies. A genuine European response guided by both firmness and solidarity in line with the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum and the Global Approach to Migration is essential. Their implementation must be stepped up. All activities in the Western Mediterranean region and at the Eastern and South-Eastern borders need to continue.
21. The European Council calls for significant strengthening of concrete cooperation with the main countries of origin and transit in managing migration, border control, return and readmission, the reception of asylum seekers and protection of those in need of international protection, including cooperation with relevant international organizations active in those countries. The European Council urges the Council to take this fully into account when preparing the new multi-annual framework programme in the area of Freedom, Justice and Security.
European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE): Statement to the European Council: Respect the right to seek asylum in Europe (pdf)
UK: SOAS (School for Oriental and African Studies, London) occupation: chaos the better virtue (link): "SOAS where around thirty people are occupying the director's office in support of those cleaners who were arrested by immigration police on Friday. The cleaners, who work for private company ISS, were called into a dawn meeting by management on Friday morning. The police, who were laying in wait for them, swooped out and seized nine cleaners - my understanding is that six have now been deported and three others are under threat of deportation, including a woman who is six month's pregnant and a sick woman in her sixties who had a heart attack whilst in custody."
The Dawning of the Biometric Age: Say goodbye to PINs and photo IDs. Say hello to digital fingerprints and iris scansand to new opportunities for security businesses (Business Week, link) and Is the rise of the digital ID inevitable? As biometrics gain sway, not everyone sees them as a force for good (Independent, link)
PI and Free Expression Groups Call for Limits on Surveillance (PI, link)
Americans seek international database to carry iris, palm and finger prints (Guardian, link). This article, and a number of others refer to the "International Information Consortium", formed ten years ago by the USA, UK, Australia and Canada - all in the USA-UK intelligence network set up in 1947. Police Review reports that the Consortium met at Bramshill Police College for its annual conference in May where it discussed international access to DNA databases.
UK-EU: Racist rants of elected BNP man, Andrew Brons, revealedYorkshire MEP Andrew Brons drew up some of the National Front's most inflammatory policies (Observer, link)
EU: European Commission: Tracking method for monitoring the implementation of the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum (COM 266 2009, pdf)
EU: Council discussions: "State of play": Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on combating the sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child-pornography, repealing Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA - State of play and: Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings, and protecting victims, repealing Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA - State of play (EU doc no: 9892/09, pdf)
UK: The BNP's success reflects the new racism of our political culture (IRR News Service, link)
UK: Metropolitan police officers flushed my head in toilet, says suspect: Solicitors for five held in drug raids allege torture - Six officers face IPCC over waterboarding claims (Guardian, link)
ITALY-LIBYA: Italy's immigration deal with Libya sparks uproar (euactiv, link)
UK-N IRELAND: Guilty until proven innocent (Between the Lines, Paul Donovan's blog, link)
"The arrests of 12 Pakistani students in April on suspicion of terrorism hit the news headlines. Two weeks later there was less fanfare as all were released without charge. The pattern of arresting people under anti-terror legislation and then releasing without charge is familiar to Irish people who experienced the tactic during the conflict in the North."
European Court of Justice: Court of First instance has followed Kadi and annulled the listing of Othman/Abu Qatada: Press release (pdf) It is explicitly assumed that the Council will however now re-list him following a better procedure. Background: See Statewatch's Observatory on "Terrorist" lists
Malta: Frontex to help in migrants' return - Justice Ministers to discuss EC proposals today (Times of Malta, link)
EU: European Commission: Proposals for the Stockholm Programme (pdf), German (pdf) French (pdf):
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: "What stands out are the proposals related to the Future Group report. A promise to balance better data protection and EU standards for "Privacy Enhancing Technology" with the law enforcement agencies demands for access to all information and communications. An "information system architecture" to bring about the sharing of all data across the EU. The use of "security technologies" to harness the "digital tsunami" to gather through mass surveillance personal data on peoples' everyday activities through public-private partnerships.
What is new is the clear aim of creating the surveillance society and the database state. Future generations, for whom this will be a fully developed reality, will look back at this era and righlty ask, why did you not act to stop it."
See: Statewatch's Observatory on The Stockholm Programme - The Shape of Things to Come
EU: European Commission: The Hague Programme:
- Communication: An evaluation of the Hague Programme and Action Plan (COM 263, pdf)
- An evaluation of the Hague Programme and Action Plan (SEC 765, pdf)
- An extended report on the evaluation of the Hague Programme (SEC 766, pdf)
- General overview of instruments and deadlines provided in the Hague Programme and Action Plan in the fields of justice, freedom and security :Institutional Scoreboard (SEC 767,pdf)
EU: European Arrest Warrant (EAW): Replies to questionnaire on quantitative information on the practical operation of the European arrest warrant Year 2008 (pdf) Detailed country by country figures.
Previous coverage: EU: EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANT: Final report on the fourth round of mutual evaluations - The practical application of the European Arrest Warrant and corresponding surrender procedures between Member States (pdf)
UK: Terror suspects win legal battle (BBC News, link): "It is a major decision about the legality of using secret evidence. Three terror suspects on control orders have unanimously won a major ruling over the use of secret evidence. Nine Law Lords allowed the men's appeals after they had argued they did not know what they were accused of."
- House of Lords appeal: Full-text of judgment (pdf)
- Justice report: Secret Evidence (236 pages, pdf)
- Justice Briefing (pdf)
EU: Tony Bunyan's "View from the EU" column looks at: Watching the computers: Function creep allows EU states to use intrusive remote computer searches to target any crime, however minor (Guardian, link): "Journalists, lawyers and activists beware the state can watch what you are doing on your computer. We all know that the state can monitor our phone calls, faxes, internet usage, travel movements, financial transactions and soon our health records too. But what about when we put pen to paper, or rather fingers on the keyboard?"
European Civil Liberties Network (ECLN): Oppose the Stockholm Programme
The ECLN has published a Statement calling on civil society groups and individuals to voice their opinions on the EU's Stockholm programme and work towards a democratic Europe. The Stockholm Programme sets the agenda for EU justice and home affairs and internal security policy from 2010 to 2014 and will extend militarised border controls, discriminatory immigration policies, mandatory and proactive surveillance regimes and an increasingly aggressive external security and defence policy. The ECLN believes these policies constitute an attack on civil liberties and human rights. It calls for active civil society engagement and opposition to dangerous authoritarian tendencies within the EU.
- ECLN Statement: Oppose the Stockholm Programme (English)
- ECLN Statement - Oppose the Stockholm Programme (German)
- ECLN Statement - Oppose the Stockholm Programme (Spanish)
- ECLN Statement - Oppose the Stockholm Programme (Italian)
- ECLN Statement - Oppose the Stockholm Programme (Dutch)
- ECLN Home page
- See also Statewatch's Observatory on the Stockholm Programme: The Shape of Things to Come
Germany: Courts clear police of charges for black deaths in custody
Italy: White book on the Fini-Giovanardi (drug) law The anti-prohibitionist association Fuoriluogo, in cooperation with Associazione Antigone (which works on the penal system and prisons) and La società della ragione, has published a "white book on the Fini-Giovanardi law", to illustrate and comment the effects of law 49/2006 on drugs on the penal system, administrative punishment and on the administration of justice and the prison system.
Germany: Force-feedings emetics: inhumane, cruel, and racist, but unpunished
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council Luxembourg: Press release for 4-5 June (pdf)
Main "B" Point Agenda (pdf), "A" Points Agenda (adopted without debate, pdf). Among the documents circulated were:
- EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator: Report on the implementation of the Strategy and Action Plan to Combat Terrorism
- EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator: Implementation of the Strategy and Action Plan to Combat Terrorism
- EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator: EU Counter-Terrorism Strategy - discussion paper
The launch of SIS II is in a mess which has still not been sorted out for the Justice and Home Affairs Minister have agreed that the "SIS 1+ RE scenario" is put in place until this is sorted out. The first three documents set out the problems and are followed by the Council "Conclusions" adopted on 4 June 2009:
- Report on the further direction of SIS II (highly detailed 57 pages report)
- Report of the SIS II Task Force
- The enhanced management principles for SIS II
- Council conclusions on the further direction of SIS II
Europol is now to handle the use of personal data gathered by the "Check the Web" project - which up to now has had no legal basis and has been run by an EU Member State. "Check the Web" was set up to track down terrorist and child pornography websites, however, there are now suggestions that the same technology could be used against "other crimes": Report to the Council on the use of personal data in the Check the Web project
See also: ECRE: Ministers must ensure respect for the right to seek asylum in Europe (pdf)
The Electronic Police State: 2008 National Rankings (pdf) 52 states and their rankings: 1. China; 2. North Korea; 3. Belarus; 4. Russia; 5. United Kingdom: England & Wales; 6. United States of America; 7. Singapore; 8. Israel; 9. France; 10.Germany.
CoE: European Commission against Racism and Intolerance: Annual report (pdf)
IRELAND: Complaint to European Commission over Irish Interception Laws (Digital Rights Ireland, link)
UK: Big Brother HAS gone too far ... and that's an ex-spy chief talking (Daily Mail, link)
GREECE: Greece Cannot Take Very Much More, Analysis by Apostolis Fotiadis (Inter Press Service, link): ATHENS, Jun 1 (IPS) - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres has asked the European Commission to call a meeting between the agency and countries around the Mediterranean to work out a joint strategy to deal with irregular migration.
But while Italy is being internationally chastised for the refoulement of refugees that effectively annuls the country's responsibilities arising from international treaties, most notably the Geneva convention, neighbouring Greece is building up state-sponsored persecution of irregular migration that has gone largely unnoticed.
UK: Man who died after police restraint 'covered with injuries' (Guardian, link)
EU: Tony Bunyan's "View from the EU" column looks at the: Stockholm Programme: The surveillance society is an EU-wide issue (Guardian Libertycentral, link)
EU: ECRE: Memorandum to the JHA Council of 4/5 June 2009: Guaranteeing refugee protection and safeguarding respect for fundamental rights (pdf)
UK: Justice: The false promise of assurances against torture (pdf) by Eric Metcalfe: "This article examines the British governments use of assurances against ill-treatment in cases involving deportation on national security grounds to countries known for their use of torture. It considers the history of assurances in the context of extradition and deportation, examines the relevant Strasbourg case-law, then considers the various memoranda of understanding negotiated by the government with various North African and Middle Eastern countries and analyses the approach of the UK courts to those
Amnesty International Annual Report: Europe and central Asia (link):
"Europe too often lacked political leadership to ensure the protection of human rights in the region, with many of its states also lacking the political will to live up to their obligations."
UK: How MI5 blackmails British Muslims: 'Work for us or we will say you are a terrorist' (Independent, link) and MI5: leave young Muslims alone: MI5's harassment of Muslim students is not exposing terrorists it's just alienating innocent people (Guardian, link)
UK: Tortured while MI5 left the room: Briton's claim after 7/7 attacks (Guardian, link)
EU: European Stability Initiative (ESI) regarding "visa-free" travel for Albania, Bosnia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro: Scorecard Schengen "White List" Conditions (pdf) and ESI website (link). "Based on expert visits and internal assessments by the European Commission of the implementation of the visa liberalisation roadmaps by Western Balkan countries (18 May 2009)".
UK: Britain's Secretive Police Force: Politicising the Policing of Public Expression in an Era of Economic Change (pdf): NETCU, WECTU and NPOIU: The National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit, The Welsh Extremism and Counter-Terrorism Unit (Uned Atal Terfysgaeth ac Eithafiaeth Cymru), The National Public Order Intelligence Unit
EU: Access to EU documents - Germany and Ireland vote for secrecy even after decision is taken (pdf). In response to a "confirmatory application" (appeal against a refusal of access) to the Council of the European Union (27 governments) concerning the Sanctions Directive the German and Irish government oppose the release of a document because it shows the positions of EU governments - and they want to invoke the power under Article 4.3 that access to EU documents can be refused even after a measure has been adopted. The majority of governments opposed this view.
UK: University lecturers may boycott immigration 'snooper' rules on foreign students (Guardian, link) and Previous: UK: We won't collude with efforts to use the academy to police immigration
EU: Schengen Information System (SIS): 2008 figures: Staff shortage and Workload SIS II (EU doc no: 5171/09, pdf). The number of "Hits" in 2008 is on p5; the number of entries under Articles 95-99 on people is on page 10 and the number of entries on "Objects" under Article 100 (inc. over 20 million ID documents) p11.
The top five states for the total entries on people are Italy (436,000), Germany (130,000), France (109,000), Hungary (70,000) and Spain (70,000) - which account for almost 80 per cent of the total entries on individuals.
UK: Fury as Commons denied DNA vote - Home secretary bids to bypass Commons vote on database (Observer, link)
The technology of surveillance (BBC News, link)
EU: ACCESS TO EU DOCUMENTS REGULATION: 2008 Annual Report from the Council of the European Union (pdf)
Updated: UK: Decision on police surveillance: Full-text of Court of Appeal judgment (link), Arms trade campaigners welcome court's judgment on unwarranted police surveillance and storage of photos (CAAT, link), Let's stay vigilant against Big Brother (Guardian, link) and The man who beat Big Brother Britain: Police told they can't keep pictures of arms trade activist (Daily Mail, link) which, after the judgment, quotes:
"Chief Superintendent Ian Thomas, who runs the Met's public order branch, [who] said: 'Overt photography helps us build a picture of who is involved in organising any potential disorder or crime."
EU-KENYA: Meijers Committee: Comment on the agreement between the EU and Kenya on the transfer of persons suspected of piracy to Kenya (pdf)
UK: Intelligence and Security Committee: Could 7/7 Have Been Prevented? Review of the Intelligence on the London Terrorist Attacks on 7 July 2005 (pdf)
UK: ContactPoint goes live despite security fears (Register, link):
"The Government has announced plans to push ahead with the next phase in launch of a controversial child protection database, despite ongoing concerns about the security of data held on the system. The delayed ContactPoint system, which is due to include names and addresses on every child under 18 in England, will be accessed by frontline care workers in real-life trials for the first time from this Monday."
SURVEILLANCE STATES: Government spying, civil liberties and the "special relationship": The American Civil Liberties Union, PEN American Center and Statewatch invite you to join experts from the US and UK at Garden Court Chambers on 31 May 2009 for a discussion of mass surveillance, its implications, and challenges to government policy and practice. The panel will be moderated by Carla Ferstman, director of REDRESS, a human rights organisation that helps torture survivors obtain justice and reparation.
The panel will feature: JAMEEL JAFFER, director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)s National Security Project; PATRICK RADDEN KEEFE is a fellow at the Century Foundation, a progressive policy think tank, and a frequent contributor to The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, Slate, and other publications on issues of national security, civil liberties, human rights, and the rule of law; BEN HAYES, associate director of Statewatch; LARRY SIEMS, director of PEN American Centers Freedom to Write program, which defends writers facing persecution around the world, and PENs Campaign for Core Freedoms, a major initiative to turn back new threats to freedom of expression in the United States.
Date: Sunday, 31 May 2009: Time: 5:00pm - 6:30pm. Location: Garden Court Chambers, 57- 60 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3LS. See flyer for more information
EU: Tony Bunyan's "View from the EU" column looks at the Current state of play of proposed changes to the Regulation on access to EU documents (Guardian Libertycentral, link)
UK-EU-USA: Two Instruments bringing into force in the UK the EU-USA agreements on extradition and mutual assistance (pdf). Although agreed back in 2004 it has taken over five years for each EU government and the USA to ratify these two agreements - the process is nearly complete. The agreement on extradition is controversial and that on, seemingly straightforward, "mutual assistance" is far-reaching in terms of police cooperation and the exchange of personal data. This is being adopted in the UK as an international Treaty without discussion - and the UK is formally committed to enacting it as a result of the EU-US agreement.
Statewatch background coverage: EU/US agreement on extradition and mutual assistance and EU-USA agreements - the drafts on the table
UK: House of Commons Home Affairs Committee: Vol I: The Trade in Human Beings: Human Trafficking in the UK (pdf) and Oral and written evidence Volume II (pdf)
Statewatch publication: Border wars and asylum crimes by Frances Webber (38 pages, pdf)
"When the pamphlet Crimes of Arrival 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....
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."
See also: Crimes of arrival: immigrants and asylum-seekers in the new Europe (12 pages, 1995, pdf)
To order hard-copy see: Statewatch Publications
DATA PROTECTION: Report for the Information Commissioner: Press release (pdf) and Full report (pdf)
UK: Evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights concerning the provisions of the Policing and Crime Bill that relate to the use and retention of DNA and CCTV/APNR images (pdf) by Dr Chris Pounder:
"This evidence is limited to commentary on New Clause 33 (NC33) which provides for wide ranging powers in relation to the use and retention of personal data, in particular CCTV and Automated Number Plate Readers (ANPR) images, and personal data derived from DNA samples. The Government has explained that the clause is its response following the loss of its ECHR case in S and Marper v The United Kingdom.... The definition of photograph to include a moving image in section 64B(10) could provide a statutory basis for the retention or use of CCTV images as part of ACPOs National CCTV Strategy."
EU-USA: Obama Administration To Revive Fatally Flawed Military Commissions: Decision Strikes Blow To Due Process And Rule Of Law (ACLU, link). See also from the Council of the European Union: Draft Conclusions of the Council and of the representatives of the Governments of the Member States on the closure of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Centre (dated 14 May 2009, pdf) which says: "Welcoming the decision of the President of the United States of America to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Centre and to order a review of detention, trial, transfer and interrogation policies in the fight against terrorism
UK: National Union of Journalists: NUJ slams Tamil protest policing (NUJ, link). The NUJ has today (Friday) hit out at the treatment of journalists by police at a Tamil protest outside the Houses of Parliament on Monday (11/05/09) and Police accused of targeting photographers (Guardian, link)
EU ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS REGULATION: Council of the European Union: Proposal made by Denmark, Estonia, Finland and Slovenia concerning Article 4, paragraph 2, point (c) of the Commission's proposal (pdf). Following the European Court of Justice judgment in the Turco case that Council Legal Opinions on policy-making measures should in general be made publicly available these four Member States are proposing that the Regulation be amended to establish this right. Background see: Turco judgment: Press release and Court judgment - full-text and the Observatory on EU Regulation on access to documents: 2008-2009
ITALY: Letter to Commission Barrot: European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), osservAzione and the Open Society Institute (OSI) (pdf) and Memorandum to the European Commission: Violations of EC law and the fundamental rights of Roma and Sinti by the Italian government in the implementation of the census in "Nomad camps" (pdf)
EUROPOL: Council Decision establishing the European Police Office (Europol) (pdf). This replaces the Europol Convention of 1995.
UK: TERRORIST ARRESTS: Home Office Statistical Bulletin: Statistics on Terrorism: Arrests and Outcomes: 11 September 2001 to 31 March 2008 (pdf) Only 13% of people arrested have been convicted of terrorist offences and 56% were not even charged.
Italy chamber makes illegal migration a crime (link)
EU: SIS & VEHICLE CHECKS: Implementation of Article 102A of the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement during the year 2007 - Draft report to be submitted to the European Parliament in accordance with Art. 102A(4) of the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement (CISA) (pdf)
""the JSA [Joint Supervisory Authority, data protection] can only repeat its conclusion from the year 2006 "that the control on the use of data on objects as provided for in Article 102A, is still not in compliance with Article 103". The recording of every transmission for the checking purposes allows for the appropriate authorities to actually check the lawfulness of the processing (use) of the data according to Article 102A. Not ensuring the proper control on the use of data might raise negative data protection implications, i.e. the implementation of the data quality, proportionality principles and data security."
Under the EU measure vehicle data is not considered to be personal data, however:
"national Data Protection Authorities generally consider registration certificates and number plates as personal data, unless the circumstances of processing do not give any possibility or requires unreasonable amount of efforts for identification of the holder of the certificate or number plate. This also relates to the possibilities of the user of the data, and most of them are governmental authorities, to link a number plate to an individual person."
EU: Regulation on access to EU documents: Latest Council position: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council
regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (recast) (8.5.09, pdf)
ECHR: How can the role of the European Court of Human Rights be enhanced? Recommendations for Germany Policy Paper by Prof. Dr. Christoph Gusy and Sebastian Müller, Bielefeld University(pdf) and see: Juristras (link)
European Commission: Small chips with big potential: New EU recommendations make sure 21st century bar codes respect privacy (Press release) and Commission Recommendation on the implementation of privacy and data protection principles in applications supported by radio-frequency identification (COM 3200, pdf). See: EU pushes for smart tag revolution (euactiv, link)
EU: UK House of Lords European Union Select Committee report: Procedural rights in EU criminal proceedings - an update (pdf)
"Make sure you say that you were treated properly", Gareth Peirce writes about Torture, Secrecy and the British State (London Review of Books, link). She is a lawyer who has since the 1970s represented individuals accused of involvement in terrorism from both the Irish and the Muslim communities.
EU: Frontex and the US Department of Homeland Security (Frontex press release, link): "In the margins of the EU-US Troika on Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting held in Prague on 28 April, Frontex and the US Department of Homeland Security signed a Working Arrangement on the establishment of operational cooperation.
The arrangement which was signed by Frontex Executive Director Ilkka Laitinen and Mrs. Jane Holl Lute, Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, will lead to transatlantic cooperation in areas related to border security management including exchange of strategic information, training, capacity building and collaboration on relevant technologies."
and: Frontex: External evaluation of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (pdf)
ITALY-LIBYA: Euro Mediteranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) and Migreurop: Press release: Illegal refoulement of 500 migrants to Libya : the EU must condemn Italian authorities (link), French (link) and Italian (link)
EU: Brain scanning may be used in security checks (Guardian, link). See: the EU FP6 funded project completed in 2008, Humabio (link), describes itself as follows:
"HUMABIO is a EC co-funded "Specific Targeted Research Project" (STREP) where new types of biometrics are combined with state of the art sensorial technologies in order to enhance security in a wide spectrum of applications like transportation safety and continuous authentication in safety critical environments like laboratories, airports or other buildings."
Project concept: Unobtrusive Multimodal Biometric Authentication: The HUMABIO Project Concept (link)
UK: G20 police 'used undercover men to incite crowds' - MP demands inquiry into Met tactics at demo (Observer, link)
EU: Statewatch analysis: The EUs JHA agenda after the EP elections (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex. The European Parliament (EP) has just completed its last session before breaking for elections in June 2009. This analysis first of all lists all of the proposals which the Commission has announced for the rest of 2009 and secondly, all pending measures which have already been proposed, and which are under active discussion as of 7 May 2009.
EU: Tony Bunyan's "View from the EU" column: We're not the only ones to stifle dissent - Police tactics at the G20 demonstrations reflect an Europewide trend to conflate terrorism and protest as equal threats to security (Guardian Libertycentral, link)
ITALY-LIBYA: Jesuit Refugee Service: Removal of 227 migrants to Libya directly contravenes international laws (Press release, pdf):
"The forced removal of 227 men and women to Libya by Italian authorities is absolutely unacceptable. With no opportunity to make an asylum claim these migrants now risk ill-\treatment or being pushed back into the arms of their persecutors."
UK: Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre: Independent Monitoring Boards: Annual Report (pdf)
EU: Asylum applications and decisions: Asylum in the EU in 2008 (Eurostat, pdf)
UK: We won't collude with efforts to use the academy to police immigration (Times HIgher Education Supplement, link): "Ann Singleton, Steve Tombs and David Whyte decry the insidious way in which academics are being used to monitor foreign students and staff"
EU: TELECOM PACKAGE REJECTED: Czech Council Presidency reaction: Presidency regrets that EP disregards compromise on telecom reform (link). In a bitter response the Council says that:
"The Czech EU Presidency regrets the fact that the European Parliament did not honour the agreement reached with the Council of the EU and the European Commission on the important overhaul of rules governing the telecoms market.... It is evident that the whole package has become hostage to the pre-election campaign of a part of MEPs."
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: "Normally "deals" reached in secret trialogues between the Council and the European Parliament go through on the nod. This is the first time I know of that the EP plenary has ever refused to go along with an informal deal with the Council agreed in the co-decision process. On this ocassion the grave concerns of civil society have been listened to."
Wednesday: European Parliament: MEPs reject "deal": No agreement on reform of telecom legislation (Press release, pdf): "A user's Internet access cannot be restricted without prior ruling by the judicial authorities, insists the European Parliament reinstating one of its first-reading amendments. By amending an informal agreement reached with Council, MEPs send the whole "telecom package" to conciliation."
and see: Amendment 138/46 adopted again. Internet is a fundamental right in Europe (La Quadrature, link)
UK: DNA DATABASE: Update: DNA pioneer condemns plan to keep details on database for 12 years - 'Minimal' response to European court ruling - Measures fail to address key concerns, say lawyers (Guardian, link)
Home Office response to the European Court of Human Rights judgment in the Marper case: Innocent will be sentenced to 12 years on the DNA database and Smith's DNA database by stealth: Jacqui Smith's new plans erode principles of innocent until proven guilty to create a New Labour-style third way: innocentish by Mark Thomas (Guardian links).
Home Office Consultation: Keeping the right people on the DNA database (pdf) and Annex to consultation (3 MB, link)
European Court of Human Rights unanimously finds that the UK practice of keeping indefinitely the fingerprints and DNA of people not convicted of an offence is a violation of Article 8 of the ECHR Convention: Marper case press release (pdf) and Full-text of Marper judgment (pdf).
UK: Court says police can be challenged on 'stop and search' powers - 11-year-old twins left distraught after incident (Guardian, link)
European Parliament: Press release from Stavros Lambrinidis MEP (pdf):
"The European Parliament adopted today with a large majority the Harbour Report amendments on the revision of the E-Privacy Directive, favouring socialist proposals since the initiation of Parliament's involvement in the Civil Liberties Committee, on the mandatory notification of breaches affecting personal data, on user consent for the storing of cookies, and on the protection of IP addresses as personal data."
UK: High Street stores to offer ID services (Home Office press release (link) and Manchester launch for ID cards (BBC News, link): "At a series of meetings on Wednesday, Ms Smith said post offices and pharmacies could play an important role in the success of the ID scheme, allowing people to give their fingerprints and a face scan while "out doing the shopping". "
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"It is really hard to see where the government is going. If people can get an ID card at pharmacies and post offices how are they going to check that the person is who they say there are? Will they have access to state databases to check who a person is? How can the security of biometrics (finger-prints) be ensured?"
and across in the USA the General Accountability Office produces yet another report showing flaws in the issuing of passports in tests one was issued to a person who was dead and another to a five year old and on the basis of a false birth certificate: Significant Vulnerabilities in the Passport Issuance Process (pdf)
UK: Under the Terrorism Act 2000 (Sections 44.1 and 44.2, p36) in the year a total of 124,687 searches were carried out on pedestrians and vehicle occupants - "a threefold increase" on the previous year (41,924). Only 1% resulted in arrests - 1,271 in total and of these only 73 were for terrorist offences. The Metropolitan Police in London accounted for 87% of the searches.
The Press release notes that 1,045,923 people (or vehicles) were stopped and searched in England and Wales (43 police forces) - a 9% increase on the previous year. The detailed report shows that a more a third of these stops and searches, 393, 583 were carried out by the Metropolitan Police (p39). Overall just of 10% were arrested, 119,567, which means that 926,356 people stopped and searched because they were suspects were not arrested.
Annual report: Statistical News Release: Police Powers and Procedures England and Wales 2007/08 (Press release, pdf) and Police Powers and Procedures England and Wales 2007/08 (pdf).
Story followed up by: Capital sees rise in terror stops (BBC News, link) amd includes a quote from Lord Carlile, the independent reviewer of terrorism laws: "It catches no or almost no terrorism material, it has never caught a terrorist and therefore it should be used conservatively."
EU: European Commission: Proposal for a Council Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 881/2002 imposing certain specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities associated with Usama bin Laden, the Al-Qaida network and the Taliban (pdf)
Paranoid Authorities Wouldn't Let My Plane Fly Over U.S. Territory -- Was It Something I Wrote? (link): "An Air France flight was forced to divert a plane thousands of miles because a journalist was considered a national security threat."
European Parliament: Telecoms Package: When rapporteurs betray EU citizens (La Quadrature, link) and UK government pushes for discriminated Internet (La Quadrature, link)
EU: Sison case returns to Court in ongoing challenge to EU terrorist blacklist: Press release from European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights in advance of the 'Sison II' hearing in Luxembourg on 30 April 2009 (case T-341/07). Sison is challenging the accuracy and legitimacy of the 'statement of reasons' upon which the Council of the EU now bases its decision to freeze his assets and included him in the 'terrorist list'. See also pre-hearing report of the court rapporteur, abbreviated defence application and www.echr.eu
EU: Commission proposals in response to Kadi (COM (2009) 187, 22 April 2009). The European Commission has presented its eagerly anticipated proposal to amend the EC Regulations implementing the UN 'terrorist list' in response to the celebrated EU Court of Justice ruling in Kadi and Al-Barakaat of September 2008. If adopted, the proposal would introduce the equivalent listing and de-listing procedures for those followed for the EU's own 'terrorist list' since the ECJ ruling of December 2006 in the PMOI case. For full story see Statewatch's Observatory on "terrorist" lists
UK: Update: GCHQ rebuttal Press Release (pdf).Background: Last week the Home Secretary announced that the government was dropping plan to create a mega-database holding copies of all communications (e-mails, phone-calls, mobile phone calls and internet usage) but: Jacqui's secret plan to 'Master the Internet': 'Climb down' on central database was 'a sideshow' (Register, link) and Jacqui Smith's secret plan to carry on snooping - The home secretary has vowed to scrap a big brother database, but a bid to spy on us all continues (Sunday Times, link):
"Spy chiefs are pressing ahead with secret plans to monitor all internet use and telephone calls in Britain despite an announcement by Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, of a ministerial climbdown over public surveillance. GCHQ, the governments eavesdropping centre, is developing classified technology to intercept and monitor all e-mails, website visits and social networking sessions in Britain. The agency will also be able to track telephone calls made over the internet, as well as all phone calls to land lines and mobiles. The £1 billion snooping project called Mastering the Internet (MTI) will rely on thousands of black box probes being covertly inserted across online infrastructure."
UK: Campaigners monitored by civil servants: Intelligence on climate groups passed to police - 'Orwellian' approach condemned by Liberty (Guardian, link) and Department of Transport: Full-text of "Project Delivery and Risk report" for 13.11.08 (excel file) Alongside Item 1 it says:
"Strength of opposition to expansion at Heathrow leads to direct action before and around time of Ministerial considerations thereby delaying final policy decisions."
The measures in place to "manage" this "risk" are:
"1. Comms directorate to continually monitor protest groups and brief staff/police accordingly.
2. Monitroing forward programme to anticipate likely flare points"
The document rates the "inherent risk" as medium or high
SWEDEN-CIA FLIGHTS: Sweden spied on CIA 'terror flights': report (The Local, link)
POLAND-CIA: New Evidence of Torture Prison in Poland (Spiegel Online, link) and Uncovering the Veil Over 'CIA Prison' (Interpress, link) "An official investigation shows that it is more and more likely that a CIA prison existed in Poland at the height of the "war on terror"."
Czech Republic: Roma Seek to Flee Czech Republic (Inter Press Service, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Draft Council Conclusions on establishing an informal EU Network of National Rapporteurs or Equivalent Mechanisms on Trafficking in Human Beings (pdf and Joint Analysis, Joint Action Conference of EU National Rapporteurs on Trafficking in Human Beings Prague, 30 and 31 March, 2009 - Outcomes of the conference (pdf)
UK: G20 PROTESTS: Report of the Metropolitan Police Authority (pdf), Motions submitted (pdf) and G20 protests: Met police accused of misleading watchdog (Guardian, link)
EU: Report on the practical operation of the methodology for a systematic and rigorous monitoring of compliance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights (COM 205, 2009, pdf)
EU: UK House of Lords, European Union Committee: Priorities of the European Union: evidence from the Ambassador of the Czech Republic and the Minister for Europe (pdf)
UK: Met pays out compensation to protesters for unlawful arrest (Guardian, link)
EU: Amnesty International: MInimum standards for asylum-seekers and Dublin (pdf)
European Parliament study: Exchange of information and data between LEAs within the EU (pdf)
SWEDEN: UN Human Rights Committee: Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee (pdf)
USA: Government Cannot Claim State Secrets To Deny Torture Victims Day In Court (ACLU, link) NEW YORK A federal appeals court today ruled that a landmark American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan Inc. for its role in the Bush administration's unlawful extraordinary rendition program can go forward.
EU: Biometric passport Regulation adopted: Regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2252/2004 on standards for security features and biometrics in passports and travel documents issued by Member States (pdf) and Council press release (pdf). The Council expresses it disagreement with the age at which children are to be fingerprinted - it wanted 6 years old and above, the European Parliament insisted on 12 years and above. Moreover, the Council continues to insist that this is only a "technical" question not a moral and political one:
"On a provisional basis children under the age of 12 years will be exempt from the requirement to give fingerprints. The Commission will submit a report no later than three years, on the reliability and technical feasibility of using the fingerprints of children under the age of 12.
UK: Childrens Commissioner: Detention of children 'must stop' (BBC News. link): "Children who have been refused asylum should no longer be detained while awaiting deportation, the children's commissioner for England has said. Sir Al Aynsley-Green warned in a report that children found Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre, in Bedfordshire, "like being in prison". "
and the full report: The Arrest and detention of children subject to immigration control: A report following the Childrens Commissioner for Englands visit to Yarls Wood Immigration Removal Centre (pdf)
French spies targeted UK Greenpeace (Sunday Times, link)
SCOTLAND: Revealed: a web of police bids to infiltrate protest groups (Sunday Herald, link) A Scottish government spokesperson is quoted as saying: "This is an operational matter for Strathclyde Police and, obviously, there is a requirement to balance the protection of individual civil liberties with ensuring the safety of the wider public. The justice secretary has discussed the matter with Strathclyde Police's Assistant Chief Constable and is satisfied the force has acted proportionately and legitimately."
G8: Conference "Destabilising Factors and Transnational Threats", 23-24 April, 2009: Address by Minister Frattini: Destabilizing factors and trans-national threats (Rome, 24 April 2009, link) and Agenda (link)
EU: My view from the EU: Introducing a new guide to the European Union's impact on British liberty Eurosceptics and Europhiles welcome by Tony Bunyan (Guardian: LIberty Central, link): This is the first of a regular series looking at civil liberties in the European Union. It will cover measures going through in Brussels and the impact of laws and practices on the ground"
UK: 'UK plc can afford more than 20 quid,' the officer said - Tape recordings reveal how undercover police tried to recruit environmental activist to network of 'hundreds' of paid informants they have among protest groups (Guardian, link) and Police caught on tape trying to recruit protester as spy - Plane Stupid climate change activist taped men who offered cash for information about group's members and activities (Guardian, link)
UK: Ex-defence chief says attack on liberties is bowing to terrorists (Guardian, link) and link to Debate/Hansard Lord Craig of Radley, a former marshal of the Royal Air Force, in a House of lords debate:
"Pets were already being routinely fitted with electronic chips detailing their owners addresses. The EU wants all sheep to be similarly tagged. Unacceptable for humans today, but after another decade or more - I wonder? If all were to be chipped at birth, this information could be used for a whole variety of applications favoured by the state such as national identity cards."
SOUTHALL, UK: 23 April 1979: Remembering Blair Peach: 30 years on (IRR link): "Blair Peach, killed by a member of the Special Patrol Group in Southall during a demonstration against the National Front (NF) on 23 April 1979." The political legacy of Blair Peach (IIR, link): "From the death of Blair Peach on 23 April 1979 emerged a series of political struggles, which must never be forgotten."
GERMANY: Statewatch analysis: Germany: Permanent state of pre-emption (pdf) by Katrin McGauran: Reform of the Federal Police Authority is the latest in a series of legal, institutional and technological developments underpinning Germanys increasingly authoritarian security architecture.
UK: Lord Carlile calls inquiry into terror bomb plot raids - Police deny error as 12 are freed without charge - Lawyers try to stop deportation to Pakistan (Guardian, links) Anti-terror raids: police weigh red faces against an atrocity and Suffering in the name of security: Our treatment of 12 young students raises questions about the politicisation of terrorism investigations by Louise Christian
EU: Statewatch analysis: EU agrees US demands to re-write data protection agreement (pdf) by Tony Bunyan: "Having got its way in a series of EU-US treaties on justice and home affairs cooperation, the USA is now seeking to permanently circumvent the EUs problematic privacy laws."
EU-USA: A "Partially Declassified" document (ie: lots of censored sections) but the scope of the overall agenda is informative: Transatlantic Relations
Ongoing Issues with the USA (28 pages, pdf) and European Commission: Proposal for a Council Decision: Concerning the extension of the Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and the Government of the United States of America (pdf)
EU: European Parliament study: A Review of the increased use of CCTV and video-surveillance for crime prevention purposes in Europe by Clive Norris (pdf)
EU: Fundamental Rights Agency: EU-MIDIS: European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (link) and EU-MIDIS at a glance Introduction to the FRAs EU-wide discrimination survey (pdf):
"EU-MIDIS is the first ever EU-wide survey of immigrant and ethnic minority groups experiences of discrimination and victimisation in everyday life. Addressing the lack of reliable and comparable data on minorities in many EU countries, the survey examines experiences of discriminatory treatment, racist crime victimisation, awareness of rights, and reporting of complaints. EU-MIDIS involved face-to-face interviews with 23,500 persons from selected immigrant and ethnic minority groups in all 27 Member States of the European Union. 5,000 persons from the majority population were also interviewed to compare the results."
VIDEO: Convention on Modern Liberty 28.2.2009 London: How dangerous is the database state and "transformational government to our civil liberties? (link): With Guy Herbert, General Secretary, NO2ID, Tony Bunyan (Statewatch), Sam Talbot Rice (Centre for Policy Studies), Simon Davies (Privacy International) and Christina Zaba (Freelance Industrial Council of the National Union of Journalists)
EU: SANCTIONS: Presidency proposal to set up an informal virtual discussion forum for EU officials dealing with specific implementation, application and enforcement of restrictive measures (pdf) and Monitoring and evaluation of restrictive measures (sanctions) in the framework of CFSP - Establishment of a Sanctions formation of the Foreign Relations Counsellors Working party (RELEX/Sanctions) (pdf)
European Commission: Commission Staff Working Document: Study on the international law instruments in relation to illegal immigration by sea (2007, pdf)
SPAIN: BERRIA 03.18.09: Martin Scheinin: Interview UN Rapporteur: As Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, he has analysed Spanish legislation and has provided various critiques to the Spanish executive branch to improve the legal safeguards (pdf)
EU: MANDATORY DATA RETENTION DIRECTIVE ONLY APPLIES TO COMMERCIAL SERVICES: Reply to EP question from Commissioner Barrot (pdf). "Services that are provided free of charge" are not covered by the EU Directive on Data Retention: "an activity which is not of an economic or commercial character itself or linked to such an activity does not constitute a service in the meaning of the Treaty" (Case C-159/90 SPUC v Grogan) - in other words, it does not allow the placing of obligations on service providers to keep traffic data on free of charge services.
But see: UK: Electronic Communications: The Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009 (Statutory Instrument: 2009 No. 859, pdf) which covers all communications and does not exclude non-commercial/free of charge services and is thus open to a court challenge. Statutory Instruments are secondary legislation and are arely debated before being nodded through.
The SI extends the data to be collected and stored to cover internet usage namely: "The IP address, whether dynamic or static, allocated by the internet access service provider to the communication, and The user ID of the subscriber or registered user of the internet access service." Unlike data collected for phone calls that gathered on internet usage effectively reveals the content of the communication (the pages looked at and documents downloaded).
UK: Spy chiefs size up net snoop gear (Register, link): "The security minister has confirmed officials are considering installing technology that could enable on-demand wiretapping of all communications passing over the internet by the intelligence services and law enforcement."
Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission report: Our Hidden Borders: The UK Border Agencys Powers of Detention (pdf)
"The Human Rights Commission will today (20 April 2009) at its annual conference launch a new investigation report on the work of the UK Border Agency in Northern Ireland. The report entitled Our Hidden Borders: The UK Border Agencys Powers of Detention examines the extent to which human rights are protected in the decision to detain individuals who are not nationals of the UK and how those detained can have their rights better protected. The findings of the report highlight a range of human rights concerns and as a result the Commission has made a number of recommendations to government that will make the experience of those coming into contact with UKBA officials compliant with international human rights standards."
EU: Guidelines on the implementation of Council Framework Decision 2006/960/JHA of 18 December 2006 on simplifying the exchange of information and intelligence between law enforcement authorities of the Member States of the European Union (123 psages, pdf)
EU: Contribution of the Terrorism Working Party to the discussion on European system of collecting and analyzing Passenger Name Records (PNR) (pdf). See Statewatch Observatory on EU surveillance of passengers (PNR)
EU: Council Decision on the conclusion on behalf of the European Union of the Agreement on extradition between the European Union and the United States of America and the Agreement on mutual legal assistance between the European Union and the United States of America (pdf)
UK: Secret police intelligence was given to E.ON before planned demo - Secret police intelligence passed to firm - Emails show civil servants passed data on protesters to security officials at E.ON (Guardian, link), MPs to examine G20 police tactics as new claims emerge: Watchdog receives record number of complaints (Guardian, link) and At the core of this policing crisis is a leadership failure: G20 protest footage lays bare a frightening new mindset - officers see the public as the enemy and protest as illegitimate, by David Gilbertson, former Scotland Yard Commander and Assistant Inspector of Constabulary (Guardian, link)
UK: David Howarth MP: This is the list of items seized by the police at the Kingsnorth Climate Camp. The list was supplied by Kent Police following an FoI request (link)
CIA-USA: CIA torture exemption 'illegal' (BBC News, link):
"US President Barack Obama's decision not to prosecute CIA agents who used torture tactics is a violation of international law, a UN expert says. The UN special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, says the US is bound under the UN Convention against Torture to prosecute those who engage in it."
Abuse of Power: The Bush Administration's Secret Legal Memos (link to ACLU), Obama exempts CIA 'torture' staff (BBC News, link) and ACLU statement and Call on the Justice Department to Appoint a Special Prosecutor (ACLU, links)
UK: The Home Office has launched a consultation on surveillance powers used under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000: "Tell us what you think about covert investigation" a lengthy document has been put out: RIPA 2000: Consolidating Orders and Codes of Practice: A Public Consultation Paper (124 pages, pdf)
UK: G20 death: Met police officer may face manslaughter charge (Guardian, link) and Statement from solicitors (pdf)
EU: Access to documents: Latest Council draft positions: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (recast) (dated 16.4.09, pdf) and Proposals by Finland, Lithuania and Slovenia for deletion of Articles 2.5 and 2.6 and - proposal by Denmark, Estonia and the Netherlands for amendment to Article 3(a) (dated 17.4.09, pdf).
It should be noted that in the former document the Council is only considering what it calls "Technically admissible European Parliament amendments", thus leaving out most of them from its discussions.
For full background and documentation see: Observatory: the Regulation on access to EU documents: 2008-2009
EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record): Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) for law enforcement purposes (17.4.09, EU doc no: 5618/1/09, pdf). For full background documentation see: Observatory: EU surveillance of passengers (PNR)
EU: Study for the European Parliament: A Comparison of Border Security Systems in the EU and the USA (pdf)
USA-ICRC: US Torture: Voices from the Black Sites (New York Review of Books, link) International Committee for the Red Cross report.
EU: Europol Terrorism Report for 2009: EU terrorism situation and trend report (pdf). Of the 515 attacks carried out or only planned, 397 were by separatist movements, of which 97 percent were in Spain and France. The press release says: "The overall number of terrorist attacks in the EU in 2008 decreased by 23 percent in comparison with 2007. For 2008, seven member states reported a total of 515 failed, foiled or successfully perpetrated terrorist attacks. Thirteen member states arrested a total of 1009 individuals for terrorism."
UK: Police order tourists to delete photographs of bus station (Guardian, link)
UK: G20 police receive 145 complaints (BBC News, link): "A total of 145 complaints have been made following clashes between police and protesters at the G20 summit. They include 70 claims of excessive force by alleged victims or witnesses to brutality, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said." and Journalists on the G20 front line: Media personnel trying to document the police's handling of G20 protesters were attacked and ordered away (Guardian, link)
EU-UK: Commission takes UK to court over internet privacy (European Voice, link)
COE-ITALY: "Italy should eradicate discrimination and xenophobia and improve its migration policy" says Commissioner Hammarberg (Press release, pdf) and Report by Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe Following his visit to Italy on 13-15 January 2009 (pdf):
[16/04/09] Although efforts have been undertaken, serious concerns remain about the situation of Roma, migration policy and practice, and the non-respect of binding interim measures requested by the European Court of Human Rights said today Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, presenting his report on Italy.
EU: Article 29 Working Party on data protection: Opinion 2/2009 on the protection of children's personal data (General Guidelines and the special case of schools) (pdf) and Opinion 3/2009 on the Draft Commission Decision on standard contractual clauses for the transfer of personal data to processors established in third countries, under Directive 95/46/EC (data controller to data processor) (pdf)
UK: Specialist protest squads at centre of investigations into G20 police violence - Police territorial support teams, used at demonstrations and marches, involved in previous controversy (Guardian, link)
EU: Access to Documents: Commission Secretary-General Staff Guide to public access to Commission documents (60 pages, pdf). See below for DG Trade Staff Guide and for background: Statewatch's Observatory on Access to EU documents/FOI
CIA: RENDITION: After repeated denials: Polish media uncover evidence of CIA prison (euobserver, link): "Journalists from Polish TV station TVP and daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita say they have obtained new evidence that Poland ran a secret CIA prison used for extra-judicial extradition of terrorism suspects."
European Commission: Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on combating the sexual abuse , sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, repealing Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA (COM 135/2009, pdf) and Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings, and protecting victims, repealing Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA (COM 136/2009,pdf)
UK: DNA pioneer Alec Jeffreys: drop innocent from database: DNA scientist: drop innocent from database - Father of genetic fingerprinting says thousands 'branded as criminals' (Guardian, link):
"Jeffreys, whose pioneering discoveries revolutionised police investigation techniques, condemned the government for leaving innocent people "branded as criminals" by its insistence on keeping the details of everyone arrested, regardless of whether they are later convicted.
He said he was left "almost speechless" by reports that the government planned to respond to a recent European court ruling - that storing innocent people's genetic details broke their right to privacy - by simply removing their profiles from the database but keeping the original DNA samples.
In an interview with the Guardian, he said: "I have significant concerns there [about the size of the database]. That database is currently populated by an unknown number of entirely innocent people. It is not possible to get an accurate number but it appears to be hundreds of thousands.
"My view is very clear that if you have been convicted of a crime then you owe it to society to be retained on that database for catching in the future should you reoffend. But the retention of entirely innocent people is a whole different issue. There is a sort of presumption here that if they haven't committed any crime now, then they will in the future.""
UK: Academics plan to boycott new student immigration rules (Guardian, link):
"A group of academics are threatening to boycott the government's new immigration rules for students, saying orders that they monitor international students'
movements are discriminatory.
The 35 academics, who describe themselves as being involved in researching the "uses and abuses of state power" say that they are increasingly being drawn
into the role of "policing students" by the immigration authorities."
and full-text of letter (link)
Ireland must allow free speech on euthanasia: An angry mob in Cork prevented me from delivering a lecture on the ethics of euthanasia, but Ireland must have this debate (Guardian, link)
EU-UK: Brussels to sue UK over Phorm failures (Register, link) and European Commission press release: Telecoms: Commission launches case against UK over privacy and personal data protection (pdf)
ECHR: Hungarian Civil Liberties Union: Landmark decision on freedom of information by the European Court of Human Rights (pdf) and ECHR: Full-text of judgment (pdf): The judgment said that FOI requests "to disclose such information to a watchdog group whether the press or NGOs that serve a watchdog role it is obliged not to impede the flow of information":
"The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union won a freedom of information case against the Republic of Hungary. For the first time, the right to access to state-held information as part of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights has been formally recognised, as reflected in todays ruling by the European Court of Human Rights. The Strasbourg based Court declared that withholding information needed to participate in public debate on matters of public importance may violate the freedom of expression."
CAGED PRISONERS: Fabricating Terrorism II: British complicity in renditions and torture (pdf)
European Parliament Study: Overview of European and international legislation on terrorist financing (pdf)
UK: They've got your number: Every call made, email sent and website visited is now being logged under new regulations. What does that mean for investigative journalists - and their need to protect sources? Guardian, link)
Update: UK: Were police spies behind mass arrest of activists? (Independent, link) and Leading article: Mass arrests have no place in a democratic country (Independent, link). Previous: Police arrest 114 people in pre-emptive strike against environmental protesters - Activists held in Nottingham over alleged power station action - Campaigners fear increase in police surveillance and possible infiltration (Guardian, link) and Police hold 114 in power protest (BBC News, link)
EU: ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS: EU officials warned to be careful about email content (euobserver, link). Full-text of: DG Trade: Vademecum on
access to documents, January 2009 (pdf).
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"This staff document exposes the myth of those who claim that the Commission is unable to list all documents on its public register. The internal rules are clear - with some understandable exceptions - all documents should be listed. The problem is that the Commission has failed to enforce its own rules and meet its legal obligations under EU Regulation 1049/2001.
If every time an EU institution does not like the rules and the law these are changed to accomodate them - as some are proposing - it will herald an era of uncertainty and confusion undermining democratic decision-making."
See Statewatch's Observatory: the Regulation on access to EU documents: 2008-2009
UK: Video of police assault on Ian Tomlinson, who died at G20 protest (Guardian, link) The Guardian obtained this footage of Ian Tomlinson at a G20 protest in London shortly before he died. It shows Tomlinson, who was not part of the demonstration, being assaulted from behind and pushed to the ground by baton-wielding police. See also: Watch new ITN/C4 News footage giving a fresh angle on the attack (link) and Video reveals G20 police assault on man who died - Exclusive footage obtained by the Guardian shows Ian Tomlinson, who died during G20 protests in London, was attacked from behind by batonwielding police officer.
And: De Menezes taught the Met nothing: Footage of a police assault on Ian Tomlinson at the G20 demo moments before he died suggests their tactics are dangerously wrong (Guardian, link)
UK: The Review of Criminality Information By Sir Ian Magee (pdf) and Government response (pdf). Paragraph 44 of the Review concludes:
"The new strategic direction will therefore include the key principles of information management and sharing that will span all public protection organisations and will specify where needed the ways in which criminality information should be recorded, secured, used, exchanged and shared to support public protection."
EU/Africa: Fortress Europe documents 316 deaths in March 2009
Global Detention Project (link)
UK: NHS Health records: Summary care records - you might die, but they never will - Once you can opt in, you can never opt out (Register, link)
Red Pepper: Viva Siva: Now in his eighties, A Sivanandan remains an important figure in the politics of race and class, maintaining his long-held insistence that only in the symbiosis of the two struggles can a genuinely radical politics be found. By Arun Kundnani
Europe: 'A Suitable Enemy: Racism, Migration and Islamophobia in Europe' by Liz Fekete. New book from the Institute of Race Relations looking at how anti-terrorist legislation is used to evict undesirable migrants and how refugee policies lead to the commodification and de-humanisation of asylum seekers.
UK: ID cards 'could use chip-and-pin' (BBC News, link)
EU: AEDH statement: The European Union must change its asylum and immigration policy - Press release, April, 2nd 2009 (pdf). French (pdf)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA) 6 April 2009, Luxembourg: Conclusions (pdf). See also: council conclusions on the development of the SIRENE Bureaux in the framework of the Schengen Information System (pdf)
UK: Data retention laws now applied to e-mail traffic and internet usage (BBC, link)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA) 6 April 2009, Luxembourg: A Point agenda (pdf), B Point agenda (pdf). For full background and documentation on current Justice and Home Affairs issues see: Statewatch European Monitoring and Documentation Centre (SEMDOC)
EU: European Commission: Directorate-General for Research: Moving Europe: EU research on migration and policy needs (pdf) Report written by Ann Singleton, Head of the Centre for the Study of Poverty and Social Justice, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol.
"This report presents a brief description of the projects in the area of migration and integration of migrants funded in the last five years, their main findings and relevance for policy-making.. The projects address a wide range of issues and demonstrate that migration is inextricably linked to core social, political and economic concerns such as climate change, economic growth, economic instability, working life, welfare, health, youth, aging, gender, education, political participation, social inclusion and social cohesion."
The report contains links to all web pages on the projects covered.
EU: G8 in Italy, 8-10 July 2009: The 2009 G8 Summit will be held in Maddalena, a small island north of Sardinia. Useful background document: Italy's 2009 G8: Plans for the G8 Summit (link) and Italian government G8 website (link). The G8 Justice and Home Affairs Ministers will be held in Lampedusa on 28-29 May 2009.
EU: Open letter about readmission agreements - sent to the Union Council and European Commission (migreurop, link), French (link), Spanish (link): Signed by 76 NGOs including Statewatch and groups from West Sahara, Uruguary, Mauritania, Morocco, Mali, Guinea and Cameroon.
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 6 April 2009, in Luxembourg: Background Paper (pdf) and Council press release (pdf). Among the issues on the table are those covered in the following documents:
- Proposal for a Council Directive on a single application procedure for a single permit for third-country nationals to reside and work in the territory of a Member State and on a common set of rights for third-country workers legally residing in a Member State (pdf). Latest version of the proposal on third-country workers' rights - proposing to cut back the scope of the proposal even further as far as equal treatment of third-country workers is concerned.
- Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on prevention and settlement of conflicts of jurisdiction in criminal proceedings - Outstanding issues (pdf)
- European Security Research Innovation Forum (ESRIF) (pdf): Note from ESRIF Chair to the JHA Council. Background see: European Security Research and Innovation Forum (ESRIF) - Intermediate report: September 2008 (pdf) and Arming Big Brother - the EU's security research programme (by Ben Hayes, pdf) and The Shape of Things to Come - the EU Future Group See also story below on SIS II "crisis"
EU: SIS II "CRISIS": Implementation of the February JHA Council Conclusions on SIS II (pdf). Assessing the plan: "to identify all errors in the system, which led to the crisis of the project and which would prevent it from a proper completion... [and] a repair of identified bugs."
Previous coverage: EU: SIS II IN A MESS: European Commission: Communication on the Development of the Second Generation Schengen Information System (SIS II) Progress Report: July 2008 December 2008 (pdf).
"In order to accurately identify the underlying causes of remaining problems affecting the system, the Commission will complete an in-depth analysis of SIS II....The Operational System Test demonstrates that the number of bugs in the central SIS II reduced between November and December 2008 and that the SIS II functionalities work. However, during this phase, a number of problems have persisted..."
It was planned to .launch SIS II in September 2009, however, major problems have emerged and the talk is of introducing yet another "stop-gap" SIS I + R - this despite the fact that many Member States have already invested millions to meet official specifications. See Report of the SIS II Task Force: (EU doc no: 7789/09, 19.3.09):
"There are 7 MS with serious budget problems, 9 MS with serious problems in resources and 6 MS with serious contract problems. These three elements are also the top 3 risks for MS participation in the SIS II as well as in the SIS 1+R(evolution) alternative."
See also from Informal Justice and Home Affairs Minister meeting in January 2009: SIS II (pdf)
UK: POLICE "PUNISH" PROTESTORS: Baton charges and kettling: police's G20 crowd control tactics under fire (Guardian, link), Coralled and angry, G20 protesters switch focus of anger from bankers to police (Guardian, link):
"Many were stopped and searched. "On Wednesday I was coralled with 4,000 people for four hours for doing nothing," said Tim Smith, a carpenter from London. "Now I have been stopped and searched twice. I have been made to feel like a criminal for exercising my right to peaceful protest.""
G20: Questions need to be asked about 'kettling' - At the G2 protests, police used the controversial tactic of containment, ruled in January to be lawful but is it right? (Guardian, link) and G20: The police ruined a peaceful protest: I watched the police push into the crowd with a brutality that was not only shocking but utterly unnecessary (Guardian, link)
UK: Jail for photographing police? (British Journal of Photograhpy, link)
FRANCE: Amnesty International report: Public Outrage: Police officers above the law in France (pdf):
"the problems identified in 2005 [report] persist four years on. Amnesty Internationals current research has uncovered continuing allegations of human rights violations by law enforcement officials in France. The procedures for investigating such allegations are still failing to live up to the standards required by international law, and people in France expect better.
Furthermore, Amnesty International is concerned at what appears to be an increasing trend for individuals who protest or attempt to intervene when they witness apparent ill-treatment by law enforcement officials to find themselves subjected to criminal charges of outrage (insulting a law enforcement official) or rebellion (violently resisting a law enforcement official in the course of his/her duties). In other instances, individuals who have complained about ill-treatment they have suffered have been charged with defamation by the officers concerned."
EU: Europol Annual report for 2008 (pdf)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 6 April 2009, in Luxembourg: Background Paper (pdf) and Council press release (pdf)
MEDITERRANEAN: Two migrant boats sink off Libya, hundreds missing (Times of Malta, link): "Two boats carrying migrants to Europe sank off Libya in separate incidents over the past two days, killing at least 21 people and leaving hundreds missing, Libyan officials said." and Shipwreck in the high sea off Libya: an announced tragedy. Until when? (migreurop, link):
"It is to be feared that the authorities reaction to this new tragedy will, once again, be to exploit these dramatic events without regard for the real causes that push migrants to take on deadly risks to reach Europe, in order to justify a hardening of controls."
EU: MILITARY PLANNING: EU Military Rapid Response Concept (pdf) and EU Concept for Logistic Support for EU-led Military Operations (pdf). See also: "CFSP Guide" - compilation of relevant texts (219 pages, pdf): Highly detailed guide to Common Foreign and Security Policy area.
EU: EAW-POLAND: Evaluation report on the fourth round of mutual evaluations "the practical application of the European arrest warrant and corresponding surrender procedures between member states": Report on Poland (De-classified document, pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Annual report for 2008 on access to EU documents (pdf). The most popular area for requests in Justice and Home Affairs. Just over 73% of the documents listed on the Council register are accessible full-text. But, of course, the remaining 27% include many documents concerning measures under discussion. There has been an increase in the number of documents classified as "Restricted", where disclosure would be "disadvantageous" to the interests of the EU or its member states - in 2008 there were 505 "Restricted" documents some 40% of which concerned justice and home affairs (around 200+).
FRANCE: EDF bosses probed for spying on Greenpeace (link)
GREECE: Amnesty International: Alleged abuses by police in the context of policing demonstrations (pdf):
"Amnesty International has longstanding and continuing concerns regarding the failure of the authorities in Greece to ensure that the police respect and protect human rights. Allegations of human rights violations committed by the police continue to be made, in the context of both policing demonstrations and during arrest and detention. Such violations include excessive use of force during demonstrations; arbitrary detention; torture or other illtreatment; and denial of prompt access to legal assistance."
ITALY: Everyone Group: Report on police violence on Roma citizens and immigrants September 2008-March 2009 (pdf):
"It is the job of the police force to protect the vulnerable and the innocent whatever their ethnic group, religion, race and personal situation: this is the incontrovertible assumption, the foundation of the Constitution, international law, democracy and civility. In recent years, however, in Italy, the reports of abuse against Roma people and immigrants carried out by men in uniform are no longer unusual; excessive force is taking place daily in cities and towns among general indifference."
The situation of exiles on the English Channel and North Sea coast (Migreurop, link) and CIMADE report: La loi des « jungles »La situation des exilés sur le littoral de la Manche et de la Mer du Nord (French, link)
G8-UK: University of East London to be closed on 1-2 April - when an Alternative Summit is planned: see: The Alternative London Summit (website, link). The speakers include Tony Benn, Mark Thomas, Ken Livingstone, John McDonnell MP, Tariq Ali, Jean Lambert Green MEP and Paaul Mason, BBC Newsnights Economics Editor.
Online Petition (link): "We are writing to you to express our anger following your decision to cancel permission to hold the planned UCU (University and College Union) sponsored alternative summit and close down the university on Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd of April 2009. We are urging you to reconsider both of these decisions."
UK-EU: Big Brother is watching: surveillance box to track drivers is backed (Guardian, link). Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"The CVIS project is one of dozens of EU funded projects which are exploring the boundaries of what is technologically possible. What is needed in tamden is a public debate on their political and ethical implications. The ever present danger is that multinationals develop and invest in projects in virtual secrecy and only start to consider the implications for privacy and liberties as an afterthought, when it is too late to change direction. Technology can improve peoples' lives but only if it is tempered by open and informed decision-making and they are free to use it or not."
and see: Council of the European Union Conclusions on: Action Plan for the Deployment of Intelligent Transport Systems in Europe (Press release, pdf)
EU: EU shows east-west divide on homophobia (euobserver, link) and Report by the Fundamental Rights Agency: Homophobia and Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the EU Member States: Part II - The Social Situation (pdf)
EU: Guidelines on the implementation of Council Framework Decision 2006/960/JHA of 18 December 2006 on simplifying the exchange of information and intelligence between law enforcement authorities of the Member States of the European Union (118 pages, pdf)
EU: Council Decision on the exchange of information extracted from criminal records Manual of Procedure (110 pages, pdf).
Background: EU-ECRIS: Council Decision on the establishment of the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) in application of Article 11 of Framework Decision 2008/ (pdf) and Council Framework Decision on the organisation and content of the exchange of information extracted from the criminal record between Member States (pdf)
UK: IPCC 'not functioning properly', claims new report (Guardian, link)
Italy: Update: Protocol on demonstrations sets authorised routes in Rome
UK: Police identify 200 children as potential terrorists (Independent, link)
European Court of Justice: Access to documents: Two interesting judgments from the Court of First Instance: Case T 121/05 (pdf) including rejection of reliance on "privacy" exception as regards the names of scientific experts advising the Commission and Case T 166/05 (pdf) comprehensively rejects the arguments for the "decision-making" exception, include "space to think".
EU: European Commission: Critical Information Infrastructure Protection "Protecting Europe from large scale cyber-attacks and disruptions: enhancing preparedness, security and resilience" (pdf)
ITALY: THE GENOA TRIALS: Statewatch Analysis: Italy: Making sense of the Genoa G8 trials and aftermath (pdf) by Yasha Maccanico:
This analysis seeks to identify some of the key points for understanding the outcome of the trials involving demonstrators and police officers in relation to events during the G8 summit in Genoa in July 2001, and to investigate the implications for public order policing and the right to demonstrate.
See also: Statewatch's Statewatchs Observatory on reactions to protests in the EU (from 2001 - ongoing)
EU:New use of Customs data: Draft Council Decision on the use of information technology for customs purposes (pdf). Intended to allow direct access by national law enforcement agencies and the recording of personal data. This personal data may relate to a surveillance request or discrete checks. Customs officials's powers have long extended beyond the checking of goods or articles to questioning individuals as to their movement and contacts.
European Parliament Studies: Reflection Note on the evaluation of the Dublin System and the Dublin III proposal (pdf) and The tools called to support the "delivery" of Freedom, Security and Justice: A comparison of border security in the EU and the USA (pdf)
USA: US teenager killed by police Taser attack (Amnesty International, link)
EU-EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: EU call for urgent action to safeguard internet privacy while combating cyber-crime (PSE group, link):
"The European Parliament today called for EU legislation to fully protect fundamental rights of citizens in the electronic age, including the right to free access of all citizens to the Internet and the right to privacy, while effectively combating cyber-crime."
Proposed report as adopted by the LIBE Committee:Report on strengthening security and fundamental freedoms on the Internet Stavros Lambrinidis (pdf): Rapporteur: Stavros Lambrinidis MEP.
EU: Fundamental Rights Agency: Developing indicators for the protection, respect and promotion of the rights of the child in the European Union (pdf):
"The situation of many children across the EU is worrying. Although the European Union region is one of the most affluent and developed in the world, according to Eurostat 19% of its children aged 0-16 are at risk of poverty; many suffer violence within the family, in the community, in residential care and in other settings; many continue to be placed in institutions despite the potentially damaging effects, particularly on young children; children are still being trafficked and smuggled into and across EU Member States to be exploited despite the international efforts to stop this horrific form of abuse; separated children seeking asylum are often placed in detention, lacking access to appropriate housing, education, and health care; disabled children and those from minority ethnic backgrounds continue to suffer discrimination, often on multiple grounds, and experience problems in accessing vital services such as education and health care."
EU-UK: AGREEMENT ON MILITARY STAFF: Agreement between the Member States of the European Union concerning the status of military and civilian staff seconded to the institutions of the European Union, of the headquarters and forces which may be made available to the European Union in the context of the preparation and execution of tasks referred to in Article 17(2) of the Treaty on European Union, including exercises, and of the military and civilian staff of the Member States put at the disposal of the European Union to act in this context (EU SOFA) (pdf)
including: "Military or civilian staff seconded to the EU institutions shall enjoy immunity from legal process of any kind in respect of words spoken or written, and of acts
performed by them in the exercise of their official functions; that immunity shall continue even after their secondment has ceased. The immunity referred to in this Article shall be granted in the interests of the EU, and not for the benefit of the staff concerned" - should there be a dispute this will be resolved by the Council of the European Union.
UK:ID cards not compulsory after all, says Home Office (Register, link)
EU: House of Lords European Union Committee: The United Kingdom opt-in: problems with amendment and codification (pdf)
UK: The United Kingdoms Strategy for Countering International Terrorism (large file, pdf).. See: New anti-terror strategy warns of chemical attack threat (Guardian, link), Governments social engineering project doomed to fail (Islamic Human Rights Commission) and This counter-terror plan is in ruins. Try one that works - Ministers want Muslims to accept shared values. Luckily they already do, including opposition to wars of aggression (Guardian, link)
EU: E-Privacy: La propriété intellectuelle avant le droit fondamental sur Internet? (French, link) and Translation (English). See: and Report on strengthening security and fundamental freedoms on the Internet Stavros Lambrinidis (pdf): Rapporteur: Stavros Lambrinidis MEP.
STRASBOURG: The Role of NATO Post 9-11 (link). On Wednesday, 1 April 2009, FIDH, along with its member organization in the US, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) are organizing in Strasbourg, France a conference on NATO and Human Rights the eve of the NATO 60th Anniversary Summit. High-level speakers will address NATOs changing role post-9/11 and examine NATO's role in the rendition and torture of terrorist suspects, as well as key issues of accountability, especially in Afghanistan.
EU: Creation of a: Black Sea Cooperation Platform (pdf): "for the prevention of future migration-born insecurity at the Eastern EU border"
The countries expected to participate are: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom plus "all Black Sea riparian states, including Armenia and Azerbaijan".
EU-USA PNR AGREEMENT: Agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on the processing and transfer of passenger name record (PNR) data by air carriers to the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Declarations made in accordance with Article 24(5) TEU - State of Play (pdf). Eleven EU member states have to ratify agreement before it comes "officially" into operation. See: Statewatch's: Observatory on the exchange of data on passengers (PNR) with USA
EU: Exchange of EU classified information (EUCI) with third States and international organisations (pdf). The Council of the European Union has set up a series of international agreements for the exchange of classified information with the EU - this document sets out the third states and the levels of exchange.
UK: Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust report: Database state (pdf) and Executive Summary (pdf):
"Of the 46 databases assessed in this report only six are given the green light. That is, only six are found to have a proper legal basis for any privacy intrusions and are proportionate and necessary in a democratic society. Nearly twice as many are almost certainly illegal under human rights or data protection law and should be scrapped or substantially redesigned, while the remaining 29 databases have significant problems and should be subject to an independent review.
We hope this report will help to highlight the scale of the problem we are facing and inform the ongoing debate about the sort of society we want to live in and how new information systems can help us get there."
See: Right to privacy broken by a quarter of UK's public databases, says report - Rowntree Trust cites DNA database and ID register - Whitehall told 11 systems out of 46 must be scrapped (Guardian, link), Ten ways to track the citizen (Guardian, link) and Call to scrap 'illegal databases' (BBC News, link)
UK: Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights: Demonstrating respect for rights? A human rights approach to policing protest (Vol 1: Report, pdf) and Vol 2 Evidence (pdf) See: Police 'heavy-handed at protests' (BBC News, link). See also: Statewatch analysis: Media freedoms in the UK curtailed by police culture of suspicion and double standards (pdf) by Max Rowlands:
EU: E-PRIVACY DIRECTIVE: Working Party on data retention: 21 March 2009: Position on the processing of traffic data for security purposes (pdf)
UK: Stasi HQ UK... where details of all your journeys are secretly logged and kept for a decade (Mail on Sunday, link)
CANADA: Press Release: British MP banned from Canada: Ottawa must reverse shameful decision OTTAWA March 20, 2009 The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group is calling on Ottawa to reverse its decision and allow well-known British MP and peace acitivist, George Galloway, to enter to Canada.
GERMANY: Administrative Court: Data retention is "invalid" (16 Mar 2009):
"As the first German court, the Administrative Court of Wiesbaden has found the blanket recording of the entire population's telephone, mobile phone, e-mail and Internet usage (known as data retention) disproportionate."
UK: How I got my genes deleted - I've had my DNA struck from police records - now it's over to the rest of you 799,999 innocents by Mark Thomas (Guardian, link)
UK: Police to get 6,000 extra Tasers (BBC News, link)
Statewatch: Statewatch Briefing: Terrorist" lists: monitoring proscription, designation and assetfreezing Update March 2009 (pdf) For full background see: Observatory
EU: E-Privacy proposed Directive: "Compromise" positions - Council and European Parliament (pdf) and Proposed amendments to the European Parliament's position (pdf). See also:
EDPS: Second opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor on the review of Directive 2002/58/EC concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications) (pdf):
"processing of traffic data for security purposes : the EDPS considers the new article introduced by the Parliament - and maintained by the Council's Common Position and the Commission's Amended Proposal - legitimising the collection of traffic data for security purpose as being unnecessary. In the EDPS view, such a provision may be subject to risk of abuse, especially if adopted in a form that does not include the necessary data protection safeguards"
EU: Meijers Committee: Standing committee of experts on international immigration, refugee and criminal law: The proposals to amend the Dublin Regulation, COM(2008) 820 final of 3.12.2008 and the Reception Conditions Directive, COM(2008) 815 final (pdf)
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Avis concernant une notification relative à un contrôle préalable reçue du délégué à la protection des données de Commission européenne à propos du dossier "Menaces vis-àvis des intérêts de la Commission dans les domaines contre intelligence, contre
terrorisme" (French, pdf):
"On 26 January, the EDPS issued an Opinion on the threats to the Commission interests in the fields of counter intelligence and counter terrorism. Two specific processing operations were scrutinized by the EDPS: security investigations and screening procedures. Security investigations concern leaks of EU classified information by any employee of the Commission when the screening procedures aim at preventing the recruitment or the conclusion of a contract with persons that represent a threat to the Commission interests."
UK: Muslim man suffered 'gross brutality' during terrorism raid, court told - Metropolitan police say officers used reasonable force during arrest of Babar Ahmad (Guardian, link)
EU: Regulation on access to EU documents: Journalists angry over the European Parliament's views on transparency - Swedish Union of Journalists
UK: TORTURE: FCO admits silence over torture victims - No complaints made on cases of alleged abuse - Lawyers see silence as proof of official complicity (Guardian, link)
US: Government Accountability Office report: Undercover Tests Reveal Significant Vulnerabilities in States Passport Issuance Process (pdf)
"GAOs investigation shows that terrorists or criminals could steal an American citizens identity, use basic counterfeiting skills to create fraudulent documentation for that identity, and obtain a genuine U.S. passport"
EU: Regulation on access to EU documents (1049/2001): Statewatch analysis: European Parliament report on the Regulation on public access to EU documents (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex. The analysis refers to the amendments in: Resolution on Commission proposals as adopted on 11 March 2009 (pdf). Overall 10 amendments are "strongly supported", 13 are "supported" (including two where further amendments are needed, 7 are "opposed", 1 is "strongly opposed" and in two instance amendments are proposed (including adding FOI requests, which was voted down by the parliament).
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"To outside observers the process must be a bit of a mystery. The Commission has put forward proposals to amend the 2001 Regulation on access to EU documents. The European Parliament has agreed amendments to these proposals - but has not formally adopted them as a 1st reading Resolution. This means that the Commission can amend its proposals but will only consider doing so after the Council has adopted its position, which it does not seem close to.
The Council will agreed amendments to the Commission proposals, however, the parliament's amendments go further and put forward changes not covered by the Commission and therefore they will not be considered by the Council in reaching its position.
It is then likely that there will be a series of protracted "trialogues" (in secret) between the three institutions to reach a "compromise"."
Background: At the plenary session Mr Verheugen, Vice-President of the Commission made the following declaration on behalf of the Commission said: "The Commission takes note of the amendments voted by Parliament that it will study in detail. The Commission confirms its willingness to seek a compromise with Parliament and Council. The Commission will only consider its proposal after the two branches.. have adopted their positions."
See all background documentation on the Observatory: The regulation on access to EU documents: 2008-2009
Germany, Britain, Netherlands Agree to Enhance Anti-Terror Cooperation (dw-world.de, link)
EU-UNHCR: UNHCR Comments on the European Commissions Proposal for a recast of the Directive laying down minimum standards for the reception of asylum-seekers (pdf)
UK: TORTURE: Claims of British collusion in torture spread to Egypt (Guardian, link)
EU: "GUANTANAMO PAPERS": Council of the European Union (27 governments): Commission/Counter-Terrorism Coordinator: Subject : Joint Commission/Counter-Terrorism Coordinator information paper on the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention centre (pdf) and Counter-Terrorism Coordinator: Additional information related to the Joint Commission/Counter-Terrorism Coordinator information paper on the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention centre (pdf)
EU: "Restricted" document "Declassified": Analysis of replies to the questionnaire on the illegal employment of third-country nationals (pdf). Why was this document made a "Restricted" one? It was originally dated 5 December 2008 and "Declassified" on 30 January 2009 and archived on 3 February 2009 - was its circulation restricted so that parliaments and people did not know what it said while the Employer Sanctions Directive was being discussed in the European Parliament?
EU: Yet another 1st reading agreement between the Council and the European Parliament - agreed text: Draft Regulation establishing a Community Code on Visas (pdf)
EU-KENYA: The European Union-led Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) is to hand over to Kenya people suspected of piracy caught off the Somali coast (under Operation 'Atalanta'): Council Decision concerning the Exchange of Letters between the European Union and Kenya on the conditions and modalities for the transfer of persons suspected of having committed acts of piracy and detained by the European Union-led Naval Force (EUNAVFOR), and seized property in the possession of EUNAVFOR, from EUNAVFOR to Kenya and for their treatment after such transfer (pdf) and Legislative Act - full text (pdf)
"Exchange of Letters between the European Union and the Government of Kenya on the conditions and modalities for the transfer of the aforementioned persons and property, from EUNAVFOR to Kenya and for their treatment after such transfer...
Delegations also noted that any transfer of persons under the terms of the Exchange of Letters between the European Union and the Government of Kenya will take place on the basis that the authorities of Kenya will treat such persons in full compliance with the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of 10 December 1984, which has been ratified by Kenya on 21 February 1997."
KENYA: WAR ON TERRORISM: Kenya and counter terrorism: A Time for Change: A Report by REDRESS and REPRIEVE (pdf):
"In December 2006 and January and February 2007, at least 150 people, including children, of 21 nationalities, were arbitrarily detained in Kenya. Many were fleeing to Kenya from the conflict in Somalia. The individuals were first held in Kenya for several weeks without charge. The majority were denied access to a lawyer, consular assistance, the ability to challenge the legality of their detention or consideration of their potential refugee status. Some former detainees have alleged that they were tortured; that the conditions of their detention amounted to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and that they were interrogated by the intelligence services of foreign governments. Some of the individuals were released in Kenya or deported to their country of origin. At least 85 and potentially up to 120 individuals were rendered to Somalia outside of any legal process. Four were released from Somalia to their country of origin; the remainder are thought to have been transferred to Ethiopia. To date, approximately 72 individuals are known to have been released from Ethiopia. However, the whereabouts of others remains unknown and they thus remain the victims of enforced disappearance.
UK: CABINET OFFICE-IRAQ WAR: Dodgy dossier document (pdf)
UK & RENDITION: Action Alert: A Public Independent Inquiry must be Held into the Full Extent of British Involvement in Extraordinary Rendition (pdf)
EUROPOL-OMBUDSMAN: Decision of the European Ombudsman closing his inquiry into complaint 111/2008/TS against Europol (pdf)
EU: UK House of Lords European Union Committee: Civil Protection and Crisis Management in the European Union (pdf)
EU: Statewatch Analysis: The proposed Framework Decision on conflict of jurisdiction in criminal proceedings: Manipulating the right to a fair trial? (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex:
"The Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU has proposed a Framework Decision that would address the issue of conflicts of jurisdiction in criminal
proceedings ie cases where more than one Member State has jurisdiction to prosecute a particular person in respect of the same facts.... This proposal is linked closely with the principle of double jeopardy, also known as ne bis in idem, which prevents a person being prosecuted twice for the same facts.
Unfortunately, there are fundamental problems with the proposal, which have been worsened during negotiations in the Council. As it stands, the proposal could well exacerbate the problem of multiple prosecutions and provide a mechanism for cynical manipulation of the choice of jurisdiction in such cases by prosecutors."
UK: London Detainee Support Group: Detained lives: the real cost of indefinite immigration detention (pdf): "Detained Lives reveals the ineffectiveness and the human impact of the UKs hidden practice of indefinite immigration detention without time limits."
EU: European Commission: Third annual report on the development of a common policy on illegal immigration, smuggling and trafficking of human beings, external borders, and the return of illegal residents (SEC 320, 2009, pdf)
Internet's inventor warns of risk of allowing firms to spy on their users - Tim Berners-Lee says law must protect privacy - Data is of huge commercial value, he tells conference (Guardian, link) and Who is watching you online? Technology that tracks the websites we visit is valuable for advertising and surveillance alike and the law controlling its use remains unclear (Guardian, link)
Involvement in torture is always a violation of international law by Martin Scheinin (Guardian, link)
European Parliament: Regulation on access to EU documents: Resolution on Commission proposals as adopted on 11 March 2009 (pdf): Rapporteur: Michael Cashman MEP and Consolidated version of 11 March Reesolution. See all background documentation on the Observatory: The regulation on access to EU documents: 2008-2009
European Parliament hearing: Protecting citizens' rights on the internet (Press release, pdf) and Report on strengthening security and fundamental freedoms on the Internet Stavros Lambrinidis (pdf): Rapporteur: Stavros Lambrinidis MEP.
EU: Regulation on access to EU documents: Statewatch analysis: Discussion of the new Access to Documents Regulation in the Council
Updated version 11 March 2009 (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex.
"On the whole, the reaction by Member States is still split between opponents of some of the amendments which would reduce the right of access, and supporters of
those amendments, some of which would go even further to reduce the right of access. Since the latter group have more votes in Council, the prospect was either
for a deadlock in Council or for a compromise where standards were lowered in some areas and merely maintained in others.
Since the European Parliament is about to adopt its negotiation position in the form of its first reading opinion, presumably the Council will now begin to react primarily to the EPs position, rather than work further on its own position. This will change the negotiating dynamics in the Council, and so it remains to be seen whether the EP
can attract a sufficient number of Member States to those amendments which would increase the current level of access, while rejecting all amendments which
would lower it."
European Parliament: More in-depth discussion needed on new measures for border management (Press release, pdf). The parliament's report says that: "Every year, 160 million EU citizens, 60 million third country nationals (TCNs) who do not require a visa, and 80 million requiring a visa, cross the EU's external border.... [and] "does not believe that the proposed system will put an end to the 'overstay' phenomenon as such". According to an expert report for the Commission the total number of "illegal" immigrants in the EU 25 in 2006 was estimated to be over 8 million.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"The intriguing category is the 60 million visitors a year from countries not requiring visas to enter the EU - from countries on the EU "white list" including people from Canada, Australia, Japan and the USA. How many of these have overstayed over the years? Are they to be subjected to the EU's Returns Directive which would see them hunted down, put in detention, deported and banned from re-entry for five years?"
See 2009: Commission: "white list" and "black" list (pdf)
EU: European Court of Justice: Judgment on aviation security (Press release, pdf) and Full-text of judgment (pdf).The ECJ rules that "the annex to Regulation 622/2003 has no binding force in so far as it seeks to impose obligations on individuals." The European Commission had failed to publish in April 2003 its implementing rules about what could and could not be taken on planes by passengers. This judgment was preceded by the Commission finally caving in on 8 August 2008: EU: Commission finally publish full decision on air travel passenger rules: Regulation laying down measures for the implementation of the common basic standards on aviation security (pdf)
ECHR: Surveillance judgment: European Court of Human Rights: Grand Chamber Judgment Bykov v. Russia (Press release, pdf) and Full-text of judgment (pdf):
"unanimously that there had been a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the Convention on account of the use of a surveillance technique which was not accompanied by adequate safeguards against possible abuses"
UK: Covert army unit played role in Menezes killing - Anti-terror troops deployed in Northern Ireland present at Tube shooting (Guardian, link)
EU: REGULATION ON ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS: Latest Council of European Union (27 governments) position: EU doc no: 5671 Rev 1 2009, dated 4 March 2009) (pdf). The European Parliament is debating the issue on 10 March and will vote on its position (the Cashman report) on Wednesday. See all background documentation on the Observatory: The regulation on access to EU documents: 2008-2009
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"At the moment it looks like we are heading for the same impasse we had in 2000 when the three institutions - the Council, Commission and European Parliament - each adopted different positions. It is to be hoped the parliament's position - with some constructive amendments we have proposed - will prevail and that at last we could be on the road to the new era of openness that the EU has long promised.
Statewatch analysis of Statewatch's Analysis of the LIBE amendments (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex.
ITALY-LAMPEDUSA: EP: GUE (United Left Group): Five GUE/NGL MEPs question the European Commission on detention centres in Lampedusa (Press release, pdf) and European Parliament: GUE-NGL Group Report of the visit to Lampedusa - Italy 13th-14th February 2009 (pdf)
EU: Commission proposal: Council Decision concerning the signing of the Agreement between the European Community and Pakistan on readmission (pdf)
AFGHANISTAN: UK Borders Agency: Country of origin information report: AFGHANISTAN (pdf)
UK: Straw bows to pressure over data sharing (Observer, link) Background: UK: Bill to allow all government departments and state agencies to "share"/exchange (transfer and use for another purpose) personal data: Coroners and Justice Bill (232 pages, see Clause 152, link). Explanatory Memorandum (see pages 108-115, link).
US-RENDITION-TORTURE: How MI5 colluded in my torture: Binyam Mohamed claims British agents fed Moroccan torturers their questions (Mail on Sunday, link)
UK: Revealed: police databank on thousands of protesters - Films and details of campaigners and journalists may breach Human Rights Act (link): "Police are targeting thousands of political campaigners in surveillance operations and storing their details on a database for at least seven years, an investigation by the Guardian can reveal."
Background by Tony Bunyan: The article shows that the Metropolitan Police are routinely recording personal details and photographing people who attend meetings and demonstrations and the journalists reporting them on its criminal intelligence database (CRIMINT). CRIMINT records all gathered "intelligence" on suspected terrorists and criminals for the purpose of targeting, surveillance and covert photographic techniques.
Traditionally, it was the role of the Special Branch to record details of those attending political meetings - for example, in the 1950s they routinely recorded all the cars number-plates of those going to CND meetings as were the details of everyone who wrote letters to "left-wing" papers. This "intelligence" was recorded on card files - in 1965 it held over 2 million cards on suspected "subversives" - designated "green" (held on file), "yellow" (report any sightings) and "red" (under current surveillance):
"The state has put political activists under surveillance for centuries, what has changed is its capacity to record data and digital images and to access these in seconds. and to do so in an era when they are few meaningful limits or restraints on its use.
There have been three major shifts in the last few years. The first was the result of structural changes with the Metropolitan Police's Special Branch being transferred to the Counter Terrorism Command in October 2006. Second, is the technological capacity to record and retrieve millions of piece of data. Third, and most importantly, was the ideological decision to start adding personal details and images of political activists to police's CRIMINT database - equating protest and dissent with criminality." (Tony Bunyan is the author of The Political Police in Britain).
GREECE: Violence Begins to Take Hold (Interpress, link)
UK: Intelligence and Security Committee annual report (pdf) with losts of *** (deleted text) and Government response (pdf). Backround: Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) annual reports (link). See; Redacted: The Intelligence and Security Committee's credibility is on the line. It's time they flexed their parliamentary muscles (Guardian, link). See also: "SCOPE" scrapped: Spy agencies' multimillion pound computer project is scrapped (Guardian, link)
UK: Firms bought secret personal data on staff - privacy chief - Major companies accused of colluding to 'blacklist' troublesome workers (Guardian, link) and 'Do not touch' - the covert database that kept union activists out of work (Guardian, link) with list of firms involved.
UK: Spying on 60 million people doesn't add up (Guardian, link)
ITALY: Interior Ministry directive on demonstrations in urban centres
CANADA: SIS asked Sudan to arrest Canadian, files reveal - Abdelrazik is 'first case of Canadian rendition (link)
UK: Killing of Jean Charles de Menezes: The Jean Charles de Menezes Family Campaign and the family's lawyers, Birnberg Peirce: Statement on Today's Release of the Coroner's Rule 43 Report (pdf).and Coroner's report on Rule 43 (link, large file) plus Met Police response (pdf)
Menezes coroner calls for review (BBC News, link): "Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead on a Tube train at Stockwell. The coroner who presided over the Jean Charles de Menezes inquest has called for police practices to be reviewed, saying "systematic failures" occurred. In a critical report, Sir Michael Wright queried the "stark difference" in the way witnesses gave their accounts of the Brazilian's death. Police officers could work together but civilians had to speak "independently". "
UK: BLACK HISTORY: Innovative lesson plans based on key documents from within the IRR's Black History Collection (Institute of Race Relations, link)
Guantánamo: The Definitive Prisoner List: Andy Worthington, London-based journalist and author of "The Guantánamo Files" (Pluto Press), today releases the first definitive list of the 779 prisoners held in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba: Links to the list:
- Part 1 (ISNs 002 to 200)
- Part 2 (ISNs 201 to 496)
- Part 3 (ISNs 497 to 732)
- Part 4 (ISNs 743 to 10030)
"The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America's Illegal Prison" is published by Pluto Press, and distributed in the US by Macmillan:
UK: Policemen face charges over Cardiff Three case (Guardian, link): "Thirteen serving and former police officers are facing charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice as a result of a 1988 murder investigation for which three innocent men were jailed. It is the largest number of officers ever to face such charges in British legal history."
EU & NANOTECHNOLOGY: Industry, NGOs at odds over nanotech regulation (euractiv, link), Report by FramingNano project (link), The report says that the view of civil society groups is that:
"Existing regulatory situation is not adequate at all. Nanomaterials should be classified as new substances and they should be subject to mandatory, nano-specific regulations. Nanotechnology commercialisation has to be halted until products containing nanoparticles have been proven safe. Nanomaterials are considered as a range of materials subject to dedicated provisions."
See also from Greenpeace: Nanotechnology: Policy & Position paper (link) and Friends of the Earth: Nanotechnology project (link)
CANADA: BUSH VISIT: Lawyers Against the War: Legal duties triggered by news of visit: Bar George W. Bush from entering Canada or prosecute him for torture (pdf):
"George W. Bush is a person credibly accused of torture and other gross human rights violations, crimes against humanity and war crimes. This fact triggers two branches of Canadian law: first, the Minister of Immigration is legally bound to prevent Bushs entry into Canada at any time and for any reason; second, if Bush enters Canada, the Attorney General of Canada must prosecute him for torture or provide consent to private prosecution."
IRELAND: Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: Human rights concern over land border checks (pdf):
"that Government plans to introduce checks on people crossing the land border may lead to racial discrimination. These plans are part of a package of reforms to the Common Travel Area (CTA) between the UK and Ireland which include ending the CTA as passport free zone on air and sea routes. The Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill which will introduce these reforms if passed through Parliament is due to be debated in the House of Lords today. NIHRC Chief Commissioner Monica McWilliams commented:
The Human Rights Commission is extremely concerned that the proposed land border checks could lead to racial profiling and as a result impact significantly on minority ethnic persons, crossing or just living or working near the land border. As these measures could lead to ethnic minorities having constantly to carry identity papers or face frequent questioning regarding their status and, potentially, detention.
EU-USA: Draft Council Decision on the conclusion on behalf of the European Union of the Agreements between the European Union and the United States of America on extradition and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters (pdf).
- Statewatch analysis: EU/US agreement on extradition and mutual assistance
- EU: JHA Council authorises signing of EU-USA agreements on extradition and mutual legal assistance (June 2003: including full documentation)
UN: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, by Martin Scheinin (pdf):
The collection and sharing of signal intelligence has led to several violations of the right to privacy and the principle of non-discrimination, while human intelligence - the gathering of intelligence by means of interpersonal contact - has even led to violations of jus cogens norms such as the prohibition against torture and other inhuman treatment.
Evidence suggests that the lack of oversight and political and legal accountability has facilitated illegal activities by intelligence agencies."
UK: Healthcare professions call on government to re-think data-sharing proposals (BMA, link)
EU: Statewatch analysis: The digital tsunami and the EU surveillance state (pdf) by Tony Bunyan
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 26-27 February 2008, Brussels: Final Press release, 26-27 February (pdf): Main B Points agenda (pdf) and "A" Points agenda (adopted without discussion, pdf) and Background Note (pdf)
UK: A report by University College London Student Human Rights Programme: compiled for the Convention on Modern Liberty: The Abolition of Freedom Act 2009 (pdf). Other reports prepared for the Convention contain very useful compilations of examples of attacks on civil liberties: Innocence is no protection against the Governments laws (pdf); Micromanage the public by interfering in matters of personal choice (pdf); Information that is either lost or made public by accident (pdf) and The Coroners and Justice Bill: Clause 152 (pdf)
UK: Challenging the Home Office: After the cynical arrest of five men facing deportation, we need a review of counter-terrorism practice more than ever (Guardian. link) by Vitctoria Brittain.
UK-USA RENDITIONS: Reprieve insists government confession is the tip of the renditions iceberg; inquiry urgently needed (pdf) and see: Hutton admits Iraq suspects were handed to US (Guardian, link) and from Statewatch: On the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners (pdf) and All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition: Press release (pdf)
UK: DNA details of 1.1m children on database - Figures add to row over retention of information - 'Up to half' those included have no criminal record (Guardian, link) and ID card database suffers from multiple internal breaches (scmagazine, link) plus Devoted to the DNA database - Once your DNA is stashed in the government's beloved database, who knows what it will be used for in future? (Guardian, link) & Government plans to keep DNA samples of innocent - DNA samples of innocent to be kept on file (Guardian, link)
SCOTLAND: Biometrics and children: Biometric Technologies in Schools: Draft Guidance for Education Authorities: Consultation Analysis Report (pdf)
UK: Information Commissioner Richard Thomas warns of surveillance culture (Times, link): "Laws that allow officials to monitor the behaviour of millions of Britons risk hardwiring surveillance into the British way of life, the country's privacy watchdog has warned. Richard Thomas told The Times that creeping surveillance in the public and private sectors had gone too far, too fast and risked undermining democracy. "
EU: European Commission makes a "fishy" argument: Ombudsman urges Commission to correct error concerning fishing quotas (European Ombudsman, press release, pdf); Draft recommendation of the European Ombudsman in his inquiry into complaint 865/2008/OV against the European Commission (Full-text of Ombudsman's Decision (link) and Commission's response: Press release (pdf). The Ombudsman found that:
"it appears that the Commission's error in the table of its Non-Paper No 3 was repeated in the Council documents."
To which the Commission responded:
"Both the complaint and the Ombudsman's analysis are based on a non-paper, which is an informal discussion document. In fact, non-papers are often used as the basis for discussion prior to the adoption of official proposals by Member States in Council. However, since non-papers are not official proposals, they cannot be the
source of administrative errors."
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"So a "non-paper, which is a "document" under the EU Regulation on access to documents, is not a "document" because it is not an "official proposal" even if it leads to an error in a "non-paper" being repeated in an official Council document."
The EU Regulation on public access to documents (1049/2001) states in Article 3.a. that a: "document shall mean any content whatever its medium (written on paper or stored in electronic form or as a sound, visual or audiovisual recording) concerning a matter relating to the policies, activities and decisions falling within the institution's sphere of responsibility", ie: a "non-paper" is a "document".
EU: Commission dismantles data watchdog group (European Voice, link):
"The European Commission has disbanded a group of experts that was supposed to review EU data protection legislation, following complaints in the French parliament that the body comprised people representing American interests ".
EU: Body scanners: EU Article 29 Working Party on data protection: Consultation (pdf)
UK: It is time to resist: David Omand's national security strategy report shows us we have a very short time to save society from tyranny (Guardian, link) by Henry Porter and see: Fight against terror 'spells end of privacy': Former security chief warns searching personal data will 'break moral rules' (Guardian, link) plus: Morality of mining for data in a world where nothing is sacred: The dangers of a database state are highlighted in a report by the former Whitehall security adviser Sir David Omand - but, he argues, such surveillance is necessary as long as it is done within an ethical framework (Guardian, link)
UK: Abusing anti-terror laws: Hicham Yezza is yet another innocent victim of the war on terror. No wonder so many young Muslims are angry and radicalised by Peter Tatchell (Guardian, link)
UK: Identity database accessed by town hall staff without justification: A database which is to be used as a model for the proposed ID card scheme has been accessed more than 30 times by council staff without authority (Daily Telegraph, link)
EU-TERRORISM: Commission Staff Working Document: Synthesis of the replies from the Member States to the Questionnaire on criminal law,
administrative law/procedural law and fundamental rights in the fight against terrorism (SEC 2009/225, 45 pages, pdf).
Includes two charts: a) on the number of terrorist prosecutions and convictions: Spain top the list for convictions: 1,117 (no figures for prosecutions) then comes the UK with 241 prosecutions and 41 convictions followed by Germany: 71: 56; Portugal: 30:15; Netherlands: 30:15; Romania: 26:15; and Greece: 25:19. There are no figures for Ireland and Italy. Twelve EU states report no prosecutions or convictions (see p14).
The 2nd chart lists the number of "Orders of expulsion relating to terrorism": 15 EU states report: None and 6 EU states: 2 or less. Top of the list for expulsions is:France: 91 followed Italy: 51; UK: 33; Cyprus: 27 (see p24).
EU: Highly detailed "Catalogue" (Manual): Drafting Group for updating of Schengen catalogue on External borders control, Return and readmission: Updated Schengen catalogue on External borders control, Return and readmission - 3rd draft (EU doc no:15250/08, 62 pages, pdf)
UK: ID cards create second-class citizens - Opposition is mounting to the government's ID card scheme. One reader's story demonstrates perfectly why it should not go ahead by Henry Porter (Guardian, link). See also historical background: Identity cards in the UK - a lesson from history
UK-USA: Terror law watchdog Lord Carlile joins clamour for accused hacker to be tried in UK instead of US (Guardian, link). See also: What now for Gary McKinnon? Dozens of MPs reject the extradition of a hacker with Asperger's syndrome, but his fate is not in their hands (Guardian, link) and The fate of Gary McKinnon (Guardian, link)
Background: Extradition Treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the United States of America with Exchange of Notes (pdf) See Statewatch analysis: The UK-US Extradition Treaty (pdf) - removes or restricts key protections for defendants and signed and adopted with no parliamentary scrutiny
EU-USA: The United States and Europe Bury the Swift Affair (Le Monde, link)
EU: Access to documents (Regulation 1049/2001): European Parliament's Civil Liberties (LIBE) report proposing amendments to the Commission's proposals (19.2.09, pdf) and Statewatch's Analysis of the LIBE amendments (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex
see also: Council discussions: Statewatch analysis: Discussion of the new Access to Documents Regulation in the Council (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex.
EU: Eurojust supports wire-tapping of Skype conversations (euobserver, link)
UK: A report by University College London Student Human Rights Programme: compiled for the Convention on Modern Liberty: The Abolition of Freedom Act 2009 (pdf) launched by David Davis MP:
"Launching a report documenting more than 50 measures since 1998 that he claimed eroded civil liberties, he described the situation as "executive stretch", where counter-terrorism laws were used beyond their intended purpose.
The report comes as the Guardian has learned that the number of imprisonable criminal offences created by secondary legislation and not debated by parliament has reached record levels in recent years, with more than 440 new offences created without direct parliamentary approval since Labour came into power."
See: Davis warns MPs of erosion of civil liberties (Guardian, link)
EP-CIA: 19 February: European Parliament plenary session: Extraordinary rendition: EU Member States also responsible say MEPs (Press release, pdf): Resolution adopted with minor amendments by 334 votes in favour, 247 against and 86 abstentions. Resolution tabled by the ALDE (Liberal group), PSE (Socialist group) Verts (Green group and GUE (United Left): On the Alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners (pdf)
ECHR-UK: Grand Chamber: concerning people held under the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001: Press release, pdf) Judgment: Case of A and Others v. UK (pdf):
"The case concerned the applicants complaints that they were detained in high security conditions under a statutory scheme which permitted the indefinite detention of non-nationals certified by the Secretary of State as suspected of involvement in terrorism. The Court held unanimously that there had been:
- a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) of the Convention in respect of all the applicants, except the Moroccan and French applicants who had elected to leave the United Kingdom, since it could not be said that the applicants were detained with a view to deportation and since, as the House of Lords had found, the derogating measures which permitted their indefinite detention on suspicion of terrorism discriminated unjustifiably between nationals and non-nationals;
- a violation of Article 5 § 4 (right to have lawfulness of detention decided by a court) in respect of two of the Algerian applicants, the stateless and Tunisian applicants, because they had not been able effectively to challenge the allegations against them; and,
- a violation of Article 5 § 5 in respect of all the applicants, except the Moroccan and French applicants, on account of the lack of an enforceable right to compensation for the above violations."
EU: E-Privacy Directive: Opinion of the Article 29 Working Party on data protection: Opinion 1/2009 on the proposals amending Directive 2002/58/EC on privacy and electronic communications (e-Privacy Directive) (pdf)
UK-EU: House Lords Select Committee on European Union report: Enhanced scrutiny of EU legislation with a United Kingdom opt-in (pdf)
EU-EDPS: European Data Protection Supervisor: Opinions on: Revision of EURODAC and Dublin Regulations: EDPS welcomes attention devoted to data protection and other fundamental rights (including Press release, pdf). Despite this hopeful note the EDPS calls attention to:
"- rights of the data subject: the EDPS insists on the need to clarify the provisions regarding the rights of the data subjects in both proposals. He underlines in particular the primary responsibility of national authorities to ensure the application of these rights;
- procedures for fingerprinting: as concerns the EURODAC proposal, the EDPS calls for a better coordination and harmonisation at EU level of the procedures for fingerprinting, whether they concern asylum seekers or any other persons subject to the EURODAC procedure. The question of the age limit for fingerprinting deserves special emphasis;
- mechanisms for information sharing: the EDPS draws particular attention to the new mechanisms for information sharing introduced in the proposal revising the Dublin Regulation, as it will involve the extremely sensitive personal data of the asylum seekers."
UK: Judgment: RB (Algeria) (FC) and another (Appellants) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent) OO (Jordan) (Original Respondent and Cross-appellant) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Original Appellant and Cross respondent) (pdf) and Press release from Justice: Law Lords deportation ruling undermines torture ban (pdf)
EU: European Parliament: Draft report on: the problem of profiling, notably on the basis of ethnicity and race, in counter-terrorism, law enforcement, immigration, customs and border control (pdf), Rapporteur: Sarah Ludford MEP.
UK-CIA: MI5 fed questions to CIA for interrogation (Guardian, link) and Letter from Attorney-General to Chair of Joint Human Rights Committee (pdf). See also: Whitehall devised torture policy for terror detainees - MI5 interrogations in Pakistan agreed by lawyers and government (Guardian, link)
ECJ: European Court of Justice: The right of public access to information applies to releases of Genetically Modified Organisms (Press release, pdf):
"Member States cannot invoke a public order exception so as to prevent the disclosure of the location of release of genetically modified organisms."
ECJ: European Court of Justice: An applicant for subsidiary protection does not necessarily have to prove that he is specifically targeted in his country of origin by reason of factors particular to his circumstances (Press release, pdf)
"The degree of indiscriminate violence in the applicants country of origin can exceptionally suffice for the competent authorities to decide that a civilian, if returned to his country of origin, would face a real risk of being subject to serious and individual threat"
UK: Spy chief: We risk a police state (Daily Telegraph, link): "Dame Stella Rimington, the former head of MI5, has warned that the fear of terrorism is being exploited by the Government to erode civil liberties and risks creating a police state."
UK: Judges possess the weapon to challenge surveillance (Guardian, link): The British are the most spied upon people in the democratic world, but only the judiciary can restrain parliament by Lord Bingham who retired as senior law lord last year.
Statewatch analysis: On the targeting of activists in the war on terror (pdf) by Gene Ray:
There is a clear tendency among states, almost without exception, to criminalise established form of dissent and protest and to re-categorise forms of civil
disobedience and direct action as terrorism
EP-CIA: Resolution tabled by the ALDE (Liberal group), PSE (Socialist group) Verts (Green group and GUE (United Left): On the Alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners (pdf)
International Commission of Jurists: Report: Leading Jurists Call for Urgent Steps to Restore Human Rights in efforts to counter terrorism: Assessing Damage - Urging Action (link):
"In one of the most extensive studies of counter-terrorism and human rights yet undertaken, an independent panel of eminent judges and lawyers today presents alarming findings about the impact of counter-terrorism policies worldwide and calls for remedial action. The Eminent Jurists Panel on Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights, established by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), has based its report "Assessing Damage, Urging Action" on sixteen hearings covering more than forty countries in all regions of the world."
EU: Council Presidency: Draft Conclusions: Ministerial Conference "Building Migration Partnerships" (Prague, 27-28.4.09) (pdf)
Sex, slaves and citizens: the politics of anti-trafficking (pdf) by Bridget Anderson and Rutvica Andrijasevic: "A focus on the evils of traffi cking is a way of depoliticising the debate on migration." from Soundings (link)
Council: E-JUSTICE: Draft Manual (pdf)
UK: De Menezes family to sue as police escape charges (Guardian, link) and Crown Prosecution Service: Press release (link):
"In reaching this decision, I considered the whether the officers known as C2 and C12 acted in self defence in shooting Mr de Menezes and also whether they lied to the inquest about what was said and done immediately before the shooting.
"The answers the jury provided to specific questions they were asked by the coroner made it clear, albeit to a civil standard, that the jury did not accept the officers accounts of what happened. However, although there were some inconsistencies in what the officers said at the inquest, there were also inconsistencies in what passengers had said. I concluded that in the confusion of what occurred on the day, a jury could not be sure that any officer had deliberately given a false account of events."
At the coroner's inquest the coroner banned the the jury from reaching a verdict of unlawful killing instead they found an "open verdict" - the most critical available to them. The officers involved in the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes told the inquest that they had given clear warnings prior to repeatedly shooting him in the head whereas people sitting in the tube carriage at the time said they did not hear any warnings given. As the Guardian reported on 12 December 2008:
"In a series of answers to a list of crucial questions, they [the jury] dismissed the testimony of the senior firearms officer who shot De Menezes suggesting they did not believe the officer was acting in self-defence.
The jury found that the firearms officer, C12, did not shout "armed police" before shooting De Menezes and that the Brazilian did not move towards him aggressively, prompting the fatal shot.
Harriet Wistrich, solicitor for the De Menezes family, said the officers who claimed to have shouted warnings should be investigated for possible perjury. "There was certainly evidence of perjury by certain officers and the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) should look at it again at this stage and I am sure they will."
UK: Data bill jeopardises confidentiality, say doctors' leaders (Guardian, link): "Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the British Medical Association, said the profession was "extremely concerned" about legislation tabled by Jack Straw, the justice secretary, which would allow the Department of Health to share information on NHS databases with other ministries and private companies."
UK: Statewatch analysis: Media freedoms in the UK curtailed by police culture of suspicion and double standards (pdf) by Max Rowlands:
"Examines the damaging attack on the media of new police powers and practices and calls for urgent police training on guidelines and legislation to protect journalists"
See also: Photographers fear they are target of new terror law (Guardian, link) "Taking photographs of police officers could be deemed a criminal offence under anti-terrorism legislation that comes into force next week. Campaigners against section 76 of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, which becomes law on Monday, said it would leave professional photographers open to fines and arrest."
EU: Study for the European Parliament: Proposal for a Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (pdf)
EP-CIA: Resolution tabled by the ALDE (Liberal group): On the Alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners (pdf)
UK: Mandatory data retention: Statutory Instrument: Electronic Communications: The Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009 (pdf); Impact Assessment of The Final Transposition of the EU Data Retention Directive (pdf) and also: Home Office consultation: Transposition of Directive 2006/24/EC (pdf) and Government Response to the Public Consultation on the Transposition of Directive 2006/24/EC (pdf)
The retention of communications data in the UK has moved from a voluntary to a mandatory system in line with the EU Directive of 2006. By completing the transposition of the EU Directive the UK will extend retention to internet usage (inc internet e-mails) as well as phone-calls, mobile phone-calls (inc location), faxes and e-mails. The Home Office say that only traffic data will be retained but internet usage effectively reveals "content" too by tracking the web pages visited.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
" It is quite improper for the government to introduce a major extension to mandatory data retention covering internet usage by means of secondary legislation - Statutory Instruments are simply nodded through by parliament."
See: £46m taxpayers' bill for companies to store web use details - Firms must keep phone and email information - Campaigners say move is invasion of privacy (Guardian, link) and Background: Statewatch's Observatory: The surveillance of telecommunications in the EU
EU: European Federation of Journalists and API Blast "Spies" Smear As European Commission Targets Journalists (link):
"The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the International Press Association (API) representing foreign press correspondents in Brussels, today condemned a recent statement by the European Commissions security services which hints that journalists and lobbyists can provide cover for potential spies to search for sensitive and classified information.
This sort of loose talk ends up smearing everyone working in journalism by casting a cloud of suspicion over them," said EFJ General Secretary Aidan White. Security concerns are one thing, but this sort of comment puts journalists at risk and makes their job of scrutinising public officials and the work of the Commission more difficult. European Union officials should do their jobs without raising scares about the honesty and integrity of correspondents working in Brussels.
Germany: 'Europe Is Suffering from Too Little Democracy' (Spiegel Online, link): "Germany's high court is taking a closer look at the European Union's Lisbon Treaty, the document meant to replace the failed EU constitution. Early indications are that it doesn't like what it sees. If Germany says no, the treaty is likely dead. Commentators can't decide whether or not that is good."
EU: Study for the European Parliament: Implementation of the European Arrest Warrant and Joint Investigation Teams at EU and national level (pdf)
UK: Licence to spy on drinkers - The police are forcing publicans to install CCTV before approving their licences (Guardian, link)
EU: Study for the European Parliament: Application of Directive 2004/38/EC of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members on the right of citizens to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States (pdf)
European Court of Human Rights: Iordachi and Others v. Moldova (Press release, pdf) and Judgment (pdf)
"The Court held unanimously that there had been: a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights, on account of Moldovan law not providing adequate protection against abuse of state power in the field of interception of telephone communications"
The Court found that between 98-99% of requests for interception warrants were granted and that there were no clear time limits on how long they last - a not unfamiliar situation in some EU states.
London: "Besieged in Britain", 19 February 2009. A joint Race & Class/CagePrisoners meeting to highlight the devastating impact house arrest is having on men living under control orders and their families. Thursday 19 February 2009, 6.30-8.15pm. IRR, 2-6 Leeke Street, London WC1X 9HS. Speakers: Victoria Brittain - author of 'Besieged in Britain' (Race & Class, vol 50, no.3), Asim Qureshi - CagePrisoners, Uzma Qureshi - Helping Households Under Great Stress (Hhugs), Chair Liz Fekete - Institute of Race Relations. Victoria Brittain, who for the last six years has been visiting the families and assessing the mental and health impact of indefinite house arrest, will report on the findings of her research. Space is limited, booking is essential, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nordic Cooperation on foreign and security policy: Proposals presented to the extraordinary meeting of Nordic foreign ministers in Oslo on 9 February 2009 by Thorvald Stoltenberg (pdf). See: Nordic countries to pool troops and intelligence (euobserver, link). Denmark, Finland and Sweden are in the EU, but Norway and Iceland are not (though they take part in the Justice and Home Affairs "Mixed Committee"). Denmark, Norway and Iceland are in NATO.
UK:Police make new mobile checks (Guardian, link):
"Police forces are being equipped with a new generation of data extraction devices to accelerate the downloading of pictures, personal information and numbers from seized mobile phones. The hand-held machines can override password protection systems and are increasingly being used by hi-tech crime units and intelligence agencies." (emphasis added)
ECJ: The Data Retention Directive is founded on an appropriate legal basis (Press release, pdf) and Full-text of judgment (pdf). See also: Press release by German Working Group on Data Retention, 10 Feb 2009: After ruling on data retention: activists remain confident For full background and documentation see Statewatch's Observatory: The surveillance of telecommunications in the EU
EU/Africa: Fortress Europe documents 62 deaths in January 2009
UPDATED: 10 February 2009:: Lawyer of alleged torture victim makes plea to MPs - Guantánamo inmate 'could leave in coffin' - Prisoner in high court case is in 'very poor' state (Guardian, link): "a court in San Francisco heard that Obama's justice department had upheld a Bush administration policy of citing "state secrets" to prevent the release of evidence concerning extraordinary renditions."
See also: Further twist on torture case: Binyam Mohameds lawyers have applied to re-open yesterdays judgement on the basis that the UK government misled the court (Press release, pdf) and Submission to the court (pdf). And see: Appeal Court Judgment (pdf)
UK: Police towed Bristol driver thanks to out of date database (link)
EU: Regulation on access to EU documents: Statewatch press release: Proposal to extend the EU Regulation on public access to documents to include freedom of information requests (Press release: full-text, pdf): Statewatch has submitted a proposal to the Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) of the European Parliament to make explicit the right to make Freedom of information requests for EU documents.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:
There is sometimes a debate about whether a system of freedom of information requests on a specific subject is better or worse than the EU system of public registers of documents and the right of access to them. This is a unnecessary debate because both are clearly needed to ensure the greatest possible public access to EU information/documents.
Think of going into a public library. Under FOI you go to the front desk and ask for books on the topic you are interested in and the librarian goes away to find them for you. Under the public register of documents system you go into the library yourself and wander around the shelves to find what you are looking for often making unexpected discoveries and connections.
Both systems have their strengths, that is why they are complementary. If our amendment is accepted, and as long as the current definition of a document together with the obligation on EU institutions to provide public registers listing the documents held are maintained, then we could at last be on the road to the new era of openness that the EU has long promised.
EU: REGULATION ON PUBLIC ACCESS TO EU DOCUMENTS: The European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) is to discuss amendment to the Commission's proposals for changes to the Regulation on Monday, 9 February. See: Statewatch analysis: Proposed amendments to Michael Cashmans report on the Regulation on public access to EU documents (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex.. Full background information in on: Statewatch
Observatory: the Regulation on access to EU documents: 2008-2009
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Detention centres for asylum seekers are "intolerable" (Press release, pdf) and Full-text of the Resolution (pdf)
UK: SURVEILLANCE SOCIETY: Report from the House of Lords Constitution Committee: Surveillance: Citizens and the State (130 pages, pdf) and Vol II - Evidence (447 pages, pdf). See also: Warning over 'surveillance state' (BBC News, link) and Lords: rise of CCTV is threat to freedom: World's most pervasive surveillance undermines basic liberties, say peers (Guardian, link)
ITALY: "Illegals" to be reported by doctors - the criticised norm approved by the Senate
UK: Fourth report of the Indepent Reviewer pursuant to ACtion 14.3 of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 - Lord Carlile (pdf). This report reviews the operation in 2008 of the control orders system.
Update: Italy: Senate ratifies treaty with Libya: On 3 February 2009, the Italian Senate ratified draft law 1333 for the ratification and execution of the Italian-Libyan treaty on friendship, partnership and co-operation signed in Bengasi (Libya) on 30 August 2008. The treaty had been opposed by some civil society groups on human rights grounds. Foreign Affairs ministry press release (link)
GERMANY: Blogging against surveillance, or: who's the terrorist? (link)
GREECE: Report by Thomas Hammarberg Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe Following his visit to Greece on 8-10 December 2008 (pdf)
UK-USA-TORTURE: US threats mean evidence of British resident's Guantánamo torture must stay secret, judges rule (Guardian, link):
"Evidence of how a British resident held in the Guantánamo Bay detention camp was tortured, and what MI5 knew about it, must remain secret because of serious threats the US has made against the UK, the high court ruled today.
The judges made clear they were deeply unhappy with their decision, but said they had no alternative as a result of a statement by David Miliband, the foreign secretary, that if the evidence was disclosed the US would stop sharing intelligence with Britain. That would directly threaten the UK's national security, Miliband had told the court."
and Tory MP demands torture statement (BBC News, link): "Binyam Mohamed Mr Mohamed, a British resident, claimed he was tortured A senior Conservative says ministers must urgently respond to allegations that Britain was complicit in torture. David Davis said a High Court ruling on Wednesday alleged a British resident held in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba had been tortured. The ruling suggested the US threatened to withdraw intelligence help from the UK if details were released, Mr Davis claimed in the House of Commons. "
EU: Proposal for a Council Regulation listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement (codified version) (pdf) - deals with revising the "blacklist" of countries requiring visas to enter the EU and the "whitelist" who do not.
UK-PAKISTAN: Smith faces questions on MI5 torture collusion (Guardian, link):
"Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, is to be questioned over allegations that British security services colluded in the torture of terrorism suspects and operated under a "James Bond-style get-out clause".
The allegations, first reported in the Guardian last year, relate to a number of suspects arrested in Pakistan at the request of British authorities between 2003 and 2007. The men say they were repeatedly tortured by agents of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) before being questioned by MI5."
EU: Analysis of replies to the questionnaire on the illegal employment of third-country nationals (pdf) This document is dated 30 January 2009 and is a "Declassified" version of a "Restricted" Council document produced on 5 December 2008. The legislative measure on sanctions against employers was the subject of co-decision with the European Parliament.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"This is a misuse of the classification category "Restricted" by the Council. It would appear that is was so classified in order to hide it from public and parliamentary view."
EU security agency draws 'privacy baseline' for ID cards (Register, link): "Europe urgently needs to develop a strategy for protecting the privacy of data held through national ID card schemes, a European security agency warns. ENISA (the European Network and Information Security Agency) argues that the "vast disparity between privacy features in electronic ID cards across Europe" is creating a recipe for future trouble."
See ENISA report - full-text: Privacy Features of European eID Card Specifications (pdf)
and Pulling together UK ID card privacy threads (Zdnet, link) which includes the interesting admission by the Home Office that: "citizens would be able to change erroneous data about themselves on the National Identity Register, but that additional data could be written to the database by other agencies."
Italy-Libya: Urgent appeal for the Senate to reject treaty: On 3 February 2009, the Senate is due to start discussing the adoption of the Italy-Libya treaty that was approved by the Chamber of Deputies on 23 January 2009. The producers and authors of the documentary "Come un uomo sulla terra", which describes the ordeals suffered by immigrants in Libya, have issued an urgent appeal against the treaty. After learning of and documenting the situation in Libya, they argue that the treaty is a "serious violation of international and European human rights instruments". They will broadcast the documentary by streaming it through their website at 14:30 and 21:00 today (Italian time).
Come un uomo sulla terra website (documentary shown on 3.2.2009 at 14:30 and 21:00).
The appeal (in Italian)
The appeal (in English)
Previous Statewatch coverage: Italy/Libya: "Special and privileged" bilateral relationship treaty
Lampedusa: AEDH press release (pdf) and Dossier (pdf)
USA: Obamas Torture Loopholes (link) See also: US rendition flights to continue (euobserver, link)
UK: Adding to a long catalogue of personal data files lost by the government: 17,000 asylum seekers' files lost (Observer, link)
EU: No to the veil of silence on detention centres for migrants - Campaign for right of access in detention centres (migreurop, link)
Italy: Mobilisation against the "racist" security package
EU: Study for the LIBE Committee in the European Parliament: Towards a European PNR system? Questions on the added value and protection of fundamental rights (pdf)
UK: Evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights: Information sharing in the Coroners and Justice Bill (pdf) from Dr C. N. M. Pounder
Open Letter by Members of Global Openness Community Welcoming President Obama's Initiative on Transparency (link)
EU: Statewatch "wins" complaint against the European Commission over its failure to maintain a proper public register of documents
- European Ombudsman Decision: failure to establish proper register is "maladministration"
- European Parliament: calls on Commission to act on Ombudsman's Decision
- European Commission - the custodian of EU law - refuses to comply
- European Commission reacts by trying to change the definition of a "document"
- Indications the Commission is creating new system to "vet" documents before they are placed on its public register
See: Ombudsman Decision Boosts Transparency in European Union, Says EFJ : "The European Federation of Journalists, the regional group of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today welcomed the decision of the European Ombudsman against the European Commission for its failure to record on its public register all documents."
USA: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has prepared a plan which would not only close Guantanamo Bay and end torture and rendition under the new US administration but would also set about reconstructing the security-surveillance state: Actions for restoring America (short summary, link)and Full plan: Actions For Restoring America: Transition Recommendations for President-Elect Barack Obama Presented by the American Civil Liberties Union November 2008
Version 3.8 (Nov. 24, 2008) (106 pages, pdf)
EU: Highly detailed "Catalogue" (Manual): Updated Schengen catalogue on External borders control, Return and readmission (62 pages, pdf) and accompanying Policy statement: Catalogue of recommendations and best practices for external borders, return and readmission (27.1.09,.pdf)
EU: Policy recommendations on counter-terrorism (EU doc no: 8205/06 EXT 1, partial access, 26.1.09. Original document 8205/06, 6.4.06) : Covering
1. Islamist Extremism: Impact and role of prisons in Europe
2. Assessment of the influence of returning jihadists on European radicalisation and recruitment
3. Terrorist Movements and Travel Patterns
4. What deters terrorists?
5. Terrorist threat to rail networks and underground systems
The recommendations are based on four papers from SITCEN, the Council's Joint Situation Centre set up on Mr Solana authority.
EU: European Commission: Annual report to the Council and the European Parliament on the activities of the EURODAC Central Unit in 2007 (pdf)
UK: Excellent article: Section 44 not to detect terrorists 'but to reassure Londoners' By David Mery (The Register, link)
HUNGARIAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION (HCLU): Case against the Office of the Prime Minister The Court of Appeal declared in its final judgment on 21 of January 2009, that the minutes of the government meetings are data of public interest. Unfortunately, much information won't be available for the public.
Italy: Appeal warns about the imminent risk of widespread human rights violations in Lampedusa
UK: 390,000 to access child database (BBC, link) Those who will be able to see the information will include local authorities and schools, police, health services and children's charities. The Contactpoint database will hold the personal details of every child under the age of 18.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"There are very good reasons to protect children known to be at risk. However, this massive database with personal data on every child in the country may lead to further abuses and misuses. No system can guarantee that such a large central database, which can be accessed by 390,000 officials, will not be accessed by the unscrupulous. Nor that the catalogue of data losses in this country will not continue. Moreover, the gathering of children's life histories as they come into contact with numerous state agencies could grow into a system of profiling and social control."
CEAR-Euskadi: Rights under threat - Campaign against the refusal of refugees, access to protection in Europe (pdf)
UK: Police Seize UK Indymedia Server (Again) (indymedia, link)
EU: Exchange of information about data files on the issuing of passports and identity documents (passport / identity document registration systems) (EU doc no: 15658/1/07, pdf)
EU: FAL Convention: Incompatibilities between the FAL Convention and EC Law - Results of Questionnaire (EU doc no: 11577/1/07, pdf). Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention). The object of the Convention are to: " prevent unnecessary delays in maritime traffic, to aid co-operation between Governments, and to secure the highest practicable degree of uniformity in formalities and other procedures." However:
"the FAL Convention, as amended, does not respond to the needs of risk analysis, the visa policy of the EC and certain other concerns, such as illegal migration by sea and the rescue of persons in distress at sea."
EGF: European Gendarmerie Force (pdf). An enhanced role is adovcated in the EU Future Group report.
UK: Government urged to come clean on co-operation over CIA secret prisons (Guardian, link) For full background see Statewatch's: Observatory on rendition
EU: Latest draft proposal: Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) for law enforcement purposes (44 pages, 23.1.09, pdf) and measure ready for adoption: Initiative of the French Republic with a view to adopting a Council Decision concerning the convention on the use of information technology for customs purposes (CIS Convention) (22 pages, pdf), includes gathering personal information from passengers.
USA: Policy statements by President Obama: FOI: Transparency and open government (link); Permanent state of prevention and freedom of the press (link); Ensuring lawful interrogations (link); Review of detention policy options (link); and Guantanamo Bay review (link)
UK: Metropolitan Police Briefing: Search powers under S.44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (pdf)
EU: Conference of Community and European Affairs Committees of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC): Contribution of the XL COSAC, Paris, 4 November 2008 (pdf) COSAC represents all the national parliaments in the EU and among its November Conclusions it expresses opposition to the European Commission's proposal to change the definition of a "document" in the EU Regulation on access to documents:
"COSAC expresses its concerns about the proposal for a regulation regarding public access to documents (COM(2008) 229), which should not limit the access to documents in comparison with the current situation. COSAC thus invites the European Parliament and the Council to guarantee a full public access to European documents, according to the transparency principle."
Italy: UN slams Italy over migrant centre: Overcrowding on Lampedusa as immigrants await repatriation (ANSA, link)
USA: "Secure flight: FAQ" (Identity project, link)
Is Big Brother watching you - and who is watching Big Brother? (EPC, link, pdf)
EU states monitor spread of civil unrest (euobserver, link). See also: Eastern Europe braced for a violent 'spring of discontent' (Observer, link)
UK: A life under curfew: Did you know ... the extraordinary restrictions a control order places on the suspect and their family? by Victoria Brittain (Guardian, link)
EU-ECRIS: Council Decision on the establishment of the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) in application of Article 11 of Framework Decision 2008/ (pdf) and Council Framework Decision on the organisation and content of the exchange of information extracted from the criminal record between Member States (pdf) ECRIS is intended to create: "efficient mechanism of exchange of information extracted from criminal records."
The list of "offences" include the following:
- Insult of the State, Nation or State symbols
- Insult or resistance to a representative of public authority
- Public order offences, breach of the public peace
- Revealing a secret or breaching an obligation of secrecy
- Unintentional damage or destruction of property
- Offences against migration law - an "Open category" (offences undefined thus all encompassing)
- Offences against military obligations - an "Open category" (offences undefined thus all encompassing)
- Unauthorised entry or residence
- Other offences an "Open category" (offences undefined thus all encompassing)
- Other unintentional offences
- Prohibition from frequenting some places
- Prohibition from entry to a mass event
- Placement under electronic surveillance ("fixed or mobile" - eg: home, car, mobile phone etc)
- Withdrawal of a hunting / fishing license
- Prohibition to play certain games/sports
- Prohibition from national territory
- Personal obligation - an "Open category" (offences undefined thus all encompassing)
- "Fine" - all fines. inc minor non-criminal offences
- Community service
and if these are not broad enough:
- Other penalties and measures - an "Open category" (offences undefined thus all encompassing)
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments
"The list of records to be exchanged was compiled by each of the 27 EU states setting out their national offences with the result some extraordinary ones have found their way onto this common list on which information can be exchanged. The scope extends beyond criminal offences and sentences to cover non-criminal transgressions including fines and even where a person has been placed under surveillance. Moreover, the term "information" is undefined and could encompass hard "factual" information or suspicions or that from informers held in a criminal record.
In short just about every contact between the state and the individual can be exchanged between EU state agencies and further processed. This is yet another example of the systematic construction of a surveillance society."
Background: European Data Protection Supervisor: European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) (Press release and Opinion, pdf). Commission proposal for ECRIS (pdf) and Outcome of first discussions in the Council's Multidisciplinary Group on Organised Crime (pdf) - yet another instance where law enforcement agents and officials will be deciding on the transfer of personal data.
Open letter about readmission agreements: To European Council and European Commission (Migreurop network, link). Signed by 76 NGOs including Statewatch
EU: European Commission: Report assessing the implementation of the Directive on enhancing port security (COM 2, 2009, pdf)
EU: Hidden from public view - not listed on the Council's public register - its Working Party on Cooperation in Criminal Matters is discussion: Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on prevention and settlement of conflicts of jurisdiction in criminal proceedings (EU doc no: SN 1123/09, pdf) and Full-text: Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on prevention and settlement of conflicts of jurisdiction in criminal proceedings (EU doc no: SN 5768 rev 1, 2008, pdf). Subsequent publicly available documents: Proposal for a Council Frmework Decision on prevention and settlement of conflicts of jurisdiction in criminal proceedings (20 January 2009, pdf) and Proposal for a Council Regulation (pdf)
EU-USA-PNR-AGREEMENT: Agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on the processing and transfer of passenger name record (PNR) data by air carriers to the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Declarations made in accordance with Article 24(5) TEU - State of Play (16 January 2009, pdf)
European Parliament: Study for the Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE): Strengthening security and fundamental freedoms on the internet - an EU policy on the fight against cyber crime (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex.
Council of Europe: Commissioner for Human Rights: Viewpoint: Europe must open its doors to Guantánamo Bay detainees cleared for release (pdf) See: Memorandum on visit (pdf)
EU: Two interesting documents on moves to standardise agreements between the "law enforcement agencies" (police. customs and immigration/borders) - this is foreseen in the Lisbon Treaty: Summary: Evaluation of the implementation of the Council Recommendation of 27 April 2006 on the drawing up of agreements between police, customs and other specialised law enforcement services in relation to the prevention and combating of crime (pdf) and Detailed responses from 21 EU state setting out national agreements (89 pages, pdf)
GREECE: Policeman "aimed" in direction of' Greek schoolboy (Guardian, link):
"The bullet that killed a teenage boy, triggering the worst riots in decades in Greece, was deliberately aimed by a police officer and not fired as a warning shot, a ballistics report has revealed.
Six weeks after the fatal shooting, experts have concluded that special police guard Epameinondas Korkoneas fired "in the direction" of the schoolboy and not in the air, as he has vigorously maintained. Fifteen-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos died after the bullet ricocheted off a concrete bollard in a central Athens street and struck him in the heart."
EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting, Prague, 15-16 January 2009: Home Affairs press release (pdf) Justice issues press release (pdf) Programme (pdf). Documentation:
- Modern Technologies and Security (pdf) Ministers will discuss the contradictory demands of privacy, mobility (of people) and security. There is little new in this document - other than the possibility of setting up an advisory group of experts - for full background and implications see: The Shape of Things to Come - the EU Future Group by Tony Bunyan and the Observatory on "The Shape of Things to Come"
- Use of Modern Technologies in Border Control, Migration Management, and Asylum Policy (pdf). Again there is little new - see Shape of Things to Come above. What is new is the proposal that: "the check of biometric data in travel documents become a compulsory part of border checks, in view of the future system of automated checks at external borders". This would cover EU citizens and "nationals of third countries who data are not registered in VIS" (Visa Information System) - namely people entering from the visa-free "white list" of countries like the USA. Also the checking of EU citizens' biometric passports which would probably entail EU citizens being fingerprinted as they cross external borders, including presumably between the UK and the Schengen states,
- SIS II (pdf): SIS II (Schengen Information System) is being discussed because the new database is way behind its planned launch date of September 2009 due to a "number of blocking bugs" still giving "problems".
- Rational Anti-Drug Policy (pdf)
- International Protection of Children (pdf)
- Programme of Czech Presidency in the Council of the European Union in the Area of Justice and Home Affairs (Detailed porgamme, 28 pages, pdf)
ITALY: Top rights official urges respect for European norms on immigration (link)
"A senior European rights official has criticised a controversial security bill approved on Wednesday by the Italian Senate which sanctions fines and immediate expulsion for illegal immigrants and imposes charges on immigrants for permits of stay and Italian citizenship.
Rights watchdog The Council of Europe's Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg told Adnkronos International (AKI) he hopes that the centre-right government will remove such "discriminatory" measures from the bill before it becomes law."
EU: Adopted version: Guidelines on the implementation of Council Framework Decision 2006/960/JHA of 18 December 2006 on simplifying the exchange of information and intelligence between law enforcement authorities (118 pages, pdf)
UK-IRELAND: Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill (pdf), Explanatory Notes (pdf) and Strengthening the Common Travel Area (pdf). See: UK-Irish travellers to face passport checks - Tighter border controls on air and sea routes to end 80 years' free movement (Guardian, link)
EU: European Parliament-Council (27 governments) agreed text on the Directive providing for minimum standards on sanctions against employers of illegally staying third-country nationals (pdf)
UK: Bill to allow all government departments and state agencies to "share"/exchange (transfer and use for another purpose) personal data: Coroners and Justice Bill (232 pages, see Clause 152, link). Explanatory Memorandum (see pages 108-115, link). To try and head off objections to the official installation of the "surveillance state" the Bill includes "consultation" when a Minister makes an "order" for "information-sharing", 21 days for the Information Commissioner to make comments which will be taken into "account" (ie: are not binding) and need "parliamentary" approval - through the passing of Statutory Instruments (SI), which are simply "nodded" through without debate. See: Whitehall departments to share personal data - Straw lifts curbs on use of private information (Guardian, link) - Justice Minister, Jack Straw said: "you don't want personally to give the same information again and again if it can be safely held and safely transferred." and government's: Tell Us Once Programme, a cross government initiative (link)
European Parliament: Transparency: EU institutions to set an example: Press release (pdf) Full-text of Resolution (pdf) adopted by the parliament's plenary session (14 January) with the exception of para 19 which the PPE (Conservative group) and PSE (Socialist group) voted against.
"A report adopted by the European Parliament urges the EU institutions to do more to open up their registers and documents to the public. In the light of a recent judgment by the Court of Justice, MEPs call on the Council to hold all its debates in public and on Parliament to publish more information on its Members' activities. The report by Marco CAPPATO (ALDE, IT) on public access to EP, Council and Commission documents was adopted with 355 votes in favour to 195 against and 18 abstentions."
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"This report is to be welcomed and the adoption of its recommendations would lead to much greater openness. It is worth noting that its call for the creation of a "single EU register/portal" giving the positions of the three institutions is a service that Statewatch has been providing for years" (see: SEMDOC)
EU: European Parliament votes against taking fingerprints of children under 12 years old for EU passports: EP press release (pdf)
"Children under twelve should no longer have their fingerprints included on passports issued in the European Union, the European Parliament says in a co-decision report adopted with 594 votes in favour, 51 against and 37 abstentions."
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"The European Parliament are to be congratulated on its firm stand against the Council proposal to take the fingerprints of children as young as six years old. This vindicates our work over the past three years in opposing this proposal."
Background: The primary decision to have biometric (fingerprints) EU passports was taken in November 2004: EU governments blackmail European Parliament into quick adoption of its report on biometric passports and EU governments demand that the European Parliament rushes through mandatory finger-printing and biometric passports. The adopted Regulation in the Official Journal: Council Regulation (EC) No 2252/2004 of 13 December 2004 on standards for security features and biometrics in passports and travel documents issued by Member States (pdf)
Roma in Europe report, 2007-2008 (pdf)
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Second Opinion on ePrivacy Directive review and security breach: privacy safeguards need to be strengthened (Press release, pdf) and Opinion: Full-text (pdf). Among the EDPS's concerns is the:
"processing of traffic data for security purposes: the EDPS considers the new article introduced by the Parliament - and maintained by the Council's Common Position and the Commission's Amended Proposal - legitimising the collection of traffic data for security purpose as being unnecessary. In the EDPS view, such a provision may be subject to risk of abuse, especially if adopted in a form that does not include the necessary data protection safeguards"
UK: Straw plan for private inquests back on agenda - National security cases would be held with no jury (Guardian, link)
EU: UN calls on EU to treat asylum seekers fairly (euobserver, link)
UK: Remote controls: how UK border controls are endangering the lives of refugees: Refugee Council (link, pdf)
EU: Access to documents Regulation: Czech Senate comes out against Commission's definition of a "document": Czech Senate resolution, pdf) In response EU Commissioner Wallstrom says in a Replying letter:
"The definition of the concept of "document" in the proposal remains very wide. It is not intended to restrict the number of documents falling within the scope of the Regulation. On the one hand, it defines the point in time when a document drawn up by an institution becomes a "document" in the meaning of the Regulation. As long as a document is in progress, it is not yet a "document"; it is a "document" once it has been finalised by its author and sent to its internal or external recipients or, if it has not been sent to recipients, once it has been "otherwise registered", e.g. deposited in the relevant case file."
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"Under the Commission's proposal only the final document would be a "document". All the draft proposal documents would not be "documents", which means that all the changes, options, discussions would be secret and hidden from public view and scrutiny. The lifeblood of a democracy is the ability of parliaments, civil society and citizens to know what is being discussed and to make their views known before the final "document" is set in stone."
See also: UK Government does not support the Commission's proposal to change the definition of a "document" in Article 3a of the Regulation: House of Commons: European Scrutiny Committee (See Point 6.10, link).
For background see: Observatory: the Regulation on access to EU documents: 2008-2009
EU-ISRAEL ARMS EXPORTS: Arms exports to Israel from EU worth 200m (euobserver, link) Background: 10th Annual Report : Code of conduct on arms exports (374 pages, link) and GRIP report (link)
UK: Ministers drop resistance to making meeting details public (Guardian, link):
"Gordon Brown and other ministers face the threat of having their official meetings made public knowledge after the government finally dropped its resistance to a three-and-a half-year campaign by an MP under freedom of information legislation."
EU: Council questionnaire: Summary of the answers given in reply to the questionnaire on the situation where several Member States have jurisdiction to conduct criminal proceedings for the same facts of an alleged criminal offence (pdf)
Portugal: Lawsuits by prison officers' union against human rights defenders - Complaint against Dores for his human rights work withdrawn
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council: Agendas under the Czech Council Presidency, January-June 2009: Agendas (See pages 23-34, pdf)
Spain: The Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de Andalucía asks for the text of the preliminary draft immigration law reform to be withdrawn
UK: London clashes: Protesters tell of fear and panic (Guardian, link)
EU: The End of the Road for Personal Data Protection in the EU (Jurist, link): article by Virginia Keyder who teaches European Union law at Bogazici University and Sabanci University in Istanbul, Turkey.
EU Council Presidency: Israel ground op in Gaza 'defensive not offensive' (link)
EU: ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS REGULATION: UK Government does not support the Commission's proposal to change the definition of a "document" in Article 3a of the Regulation: House of Commons: European Scrutiny Committee (See Point 6.10, link). It is also interesting to note that the Government Minister interprets the Commission's proposed change to mean that it will exclude all "draft documents". For background see: Observatory: the Regulation on access to EU documents: 2008-2009
EU-USA-PNR: US Department of Homeland Security: Privacy Office: A report concerning Passenger Name Record information derived from flights between the US and the European Union (pdf). Using a ludicrously small number of samples, ie, six to seven, the DHS Privacy Office found that:
- "requests for PNR took more than one year to process" - far exceeding the legal time limits in the US Privacy Act and Freedom on Information Act and there were "inconsistencies" as to which "information was redacted" (censored);
- individuals requesting "all data" are not given their PNR data;
- as a result of the majority of individuals who should have been sent their PNR data were not
- there was a large backlog of unanswered requests because of lack of staff.
For background see: Can you really see what records are kept about your travel? (Edward Hasbrouck's blog)
and Statewatch's Observatory on the exchange of data on passengers (PNR) with the USA
Germany: Unlawful anti-terrorist investigation into G8 activists (Statewatch story)
Italy: A proliferation of forbidden behaviour (Statewatch story)
European Ombudsman report: Public access to information in EU databases (pdf). For background see: Wobbing (link)
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