London: End impunity: Public meeting: Outlaw human rights abusers in the British Army (leaflet, pdf). Assembly Room, City Hall., 5 September at 7pm. Speakers include: Ken Livingstone, Mike Mansfield QC, Angela Hegarty and Phil Shiner. Supported by the Mayor of London, the Irish World and the Pat Finucane Centre
Crimes of arrival: immigrants and asylum-seekers in the new Europe by Frances Webber, was published by Statewatch in 1996 and reprinted in 2000. It is available here as a downloadable pdf and is available in hard-copy pamphlet form too
The Europol Convention by Tony Bunyan (1995) with the full-text of the Convention, analysis, chronology and bibliography downloadable as a pdf. Hard copy pamphlet form is also available at £5.00 as is "The activities and development of Europol - towards an unaccountable "FBI" in Europe by Ben Hayes (32 page pamphlet, published 2002, reprinted 2005, £10.00)
UK: e-Borders plan to tackle "threats" - the scheme when in place will be one of the most advanced in the world (pdf)
UK: The racist backlash goes on... (IRR News Team, link) 25 August 2005. In the seven weeks after the London bombings the racist backlash against has continued.
UK: Government plans to deport to States that torture - Liberty (link). New security measures are a serious attack on human rights (Amnesty International, link) See story below
UK: Home Office publishes the "list of unacceptable behaviours" regarding "tackling terrorism". Consultation document: Home Office grounds for exclusion or deportation in consultation document (pdf) Home Office summary of the results of the consultation (pdf). The Home Secretary intends to use his powers to exlcude from entering the UK people who behaviour is "unacceptable" and to similarly deport foreign nationals resident in the UK. The range of people affected has been widened from, for example, religious leaders to teachers, community and youth leaders.
Ten men are currently being held pending deportations - all of whom were under "control orders" restricting their actions and movements: Statement by Gareth Peirce, lawyer, on the men arrested (pdf) The central issue in the use of these powers is not just the criteria used by the Home Secretary but concerns that those deported will be returned to countries where they would face torture or degrading and inhuman treatment. The government has concluded one agreement to take back those detained with Jordan: Memorandum of understanding on undertakings in respect of specified persons prior to deportation - full-text (pdf) of which Amnesty International UK said: Jordan assurances not worth the paper they are written on (press release). Most of the men detained are from Algeria. Manfred Nowak, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, said such assurances were "not an appropriate tool to eradicate this risk [of torture etc]": UN expert criticises terror plans (BBC, link)
UK: Throwing mud at Muslims - Branding moderates as extremists will have disastrous consequences, by Madeleine Bunting (Guardian. link)
Brussels: Conference of the: European Network for Peace and Human Rights, 20/21 October 2005, European Parliament, Brussels. Themes: Civil liberties, Iraq and nuclear weapons
UK: The VISOR project run by PITO (Police Organisation Technology Organisation) holds information on individuals convicted of sex offences, or jailed for more than 12 months for violence, as well as unconvicted individuals who are still assessed as posing a risk (link)
UK: There's no such thing as total security - A third terrorist attack on London may be 'inevitable' but draconian new laws will do little to solve the problem, Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian, link)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council Declaration Follow-up list thirty-three measures being pursued as part of anti-terrorism (pdf). Among the measures listed is: "Commission to present proposals on data protection/principle of availability" which is very worrying as a measure covering data protection in the "third pillar" (policing, immigration, judicial cooperation) has been promised since 1997 - now peoples' rights to privacy are to be considered at the same time as the so-called "principle of availability" which would make all information/intelligence held by the myriad of law enforcement agencies across the EU available to all. See: EU policy “putsch”: Data protection handed to the DG for “law, order and security” - it is not "relevant" for citizens to know how and what information about them is exchanged.
The document also lists a number of additional measures (p9) which include a proposal from Germany that more EU member states to sign up to the Prum Convention (Schengen III, see below).
EU: Prum Convention (Schengen III) official English translation (pdf) Schengen III Treaty (Spanish, pdf),
Schengen III Treaty (French, pdf), Schengen III Treaty (German, pdf), plus in German: Annex 1, Annex 2 and Statements Commentary: Some remarks on Schengen III
EU: As of 18 August 25,000 have signed-up to the: Data retention is no solution - petition The EU is discussing proposals for the mandatory retention of traffic data for phones, faxes, e-mails, mobile phones (inc location) and internet usage for all communications by everyone. Supporting organisations: IRIS, France, BIT Internet B.V., Netherlands, Bits of Freedom, Netherlands, FIfF, Germany, Electronic Frontier Finland ry, Finland, Netzwerk Neue Medien, Germany Luna.nl, Netherlands, SIUG, Switzerland, Stop1984, Germany, CPSR-ES, Spain, Privacy International, UK, Statewatch, UK, GreenNet, UK, Digital Rights, Denmark
UK: Press Statement on the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes on 22 July: Response to the evidence made public during the last 24 hours as to the true circumstances of the death of Jean Charles de Menezes Birnberg Peirce & Partners (Harriet Wistrich/Gareth Peirce), 17th August 2005:
"Yesterday the family of Jean Charles de Menezes and we, their lawyers, became aware through the press that virtually the entire body of information either placed, or allowed to remain, in the public domain since Jean Charles de Menezes was killed on July 22nd 2005, has been false.
Insofar as the claim of the existence of an official inquiry has contributed to or provided for a situation in which a blanket of secrecy has covered the true facts, and lies and scenarios have been allowed to hold good, we on behalf of the family suggest that claim has constituted a grave public disservice."
Met chief tried to stop shooting inquiry (Guardian, 18.8.05)
Fatal mistakes that cost de Menezes his life (Guardian, 18.8.05)
New claims emerge over Menezes death: Brazilian was held before being shot, Police failed to identify him, He made no attempt to run away (Guardian, 17.8.05)
Leaks raise sharp questions about police tactics (Guardian, 17.8.05)
Ireland-USA: Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty signed (press statement, link) Full-text of the MLAT (pdf) Treaty gives CIA powers over Irish citizens (Irish Examiner, link) Statewatch analysis of the EU-US MLAT
UK: Second statement by Gareth Peirce, lawyer, on the men arrested (pdf) First, Statement from the solicitors of foreign nationals today arrested by police say they do not know where their clients are being held Ten foreign nationals who the Home Office says pose a threat to national security have been detained in the UK, pending deportation. Comments by Gareth Peirce on Tony Blair's 12 point terrorism plan (pdf) Prime Minister's 12 point plan The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, said such deportations would breach international human rights law: ``If there is a substantial risk in a certain country like Algeria, Jordan, Egypt, etc., then diplomatic assurances cannot be used... If a country usually and systematically practices torture, then of course they would deny they were doing it because it is absolutely prohibited. So they can easily give diplomatic assurances, but they are worth nothing.''
UK: Anti-Muslim backlash goes on by Institute of Race Relations. 11 August 2005. A month after the London bombings, police forces across the country are reporting rising levels of racial incidents (link)
Statewatch Observatories: ASBOwatch monitoring the use of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders throughout the UKU (updated and re-designed) and "Terrorist" lists: monitoring proscription, designation and asset-freezing (updated)
UK: Home Office put out sweeping grounds for exclusion or deportatation in consultation document (pdf) This spells out one of the measures in the Prime Minister's statement on new terrorists measures including deporting and excluding people said to be encouraging terrorism. The grounds set out in consultation document go wider than the already controversial concept of "indirect incitement". The Home Secretary would take powers to exclude those so defined (with no right of appeal except on judicial review) and to deport those with temporary or indefinite leave to remain in the UK. Now there is a "List of unacceptable behaviour" which include to "forment" (foster or stimulate) terrorism or "serious criminal acivitty" or "justify or glorify terrorism" and "those who express what the Government considers to be extreme views that are in conflict with the UK's culture of tolerance".
The three statements on the government's new terrorism plans:
1. Home Office consultation document (5.8.05)
2. Statement by Prime Minister (5.8.05)
3. Home Secretary announces new terrorism laws (20.7.05)
and two reactions:
The price of a chilling and counterproductive recipe - Tony Blair cannot be allowed to sell our rights and freedoms: Shami Chatrabarti (Guardian, 8.8.05) and Stay calm, the government says, in a mad panic itself: Proposed new anti-terrorist laws will be counterproductive article by lawyer Louise Christian (Guardian, 30.7.05)
The London School of Economics says the Home Office's recent rebuttal of their critique of the Government's identity cards scheme was misleading and inaccurate, containing "substantial errors and misrepresentation of fact": LSE response to HO critique (pdf) Home Office critique (pdf) The Identity Project: an assessment of the UK Identity Cards Bill and its implications (published by the LSE) 27 June 2005 (2.5 MB, pdf)
UK: Reactions to the government's new plans to tackle terrorism (see story below): Deportation plans anger rights groups (link) Who will be deported and who decides? (link) Worse than the disease (Guardian, Leader Comment) Gareth Peirce is lawyer who has represented many terror suspects in the British courts commented on the Prime Minister's statement:
"There is nothing I can say as a lawyer that can adequately react to so terrifying an announcement.This is a statement of dangerous self-delusion, deliberately ignoring history, legality, principle and justice."
UK: Prime Minister's statement on new terrorists measures including deporting and excluding people said to be encouraging terrorism: Full text of new terrorism plans
Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, commented:"It seems he no longer has much truck for fundamental humn rights at all. He is talking about actively deporting people to face torture around the world - that is completely unacceptable and plays into the hands of the terrorists" and Eric Metcalfe, JUSTICE's human rights policy director, said: "A British court would never accept a diplomatic assurance from a country that tortures its own citizens. Any attempt to amend the Human Rights Act to force courts to do otherwise is doomed to failure. A free society doesn't fight terrorists byexportingthem to other countries. It prosecutes them here in the UK."
On the idea of returning people to third countries with whom the UK will sign a "memorandum of understanding" on their treatment, the first being with Jordan, Amnesty International UK said: Jordan assurances not worth the paper they are written on (press release). In the statement Mr Blair said that "assurances" will be sought from "around 10 such countries" including Algeria and Lebanon. See also: UK: Egyptian national “unlawfully detained” after intervention by Prime Minister (16.11.04)
UK: New special forces unit tailed Brazilian (Jean Charles de Menezes shot dead by police on 22 July 2005) (Guardian, link) This article reports that the Special Reconnaissance Regiment of the army, set up in April 2005, was involved in the surveilance operation that led to the shooting. The regiment apparently "absorbed" the 14th Intelligence Company which for years operated covertly in Northern Ireland.
UK: Anti-Muslim backlash goes on by Institute of Race Relations. 4 August 2005. A month after the London bombings, police forces across the country are reporting rising levels of racial incidents (link)
Invitation to sign Open Letter: Attack on fundamental liberties of lawyers in Turkey from the Haldane Society
Amnesty International: USA/Jordan/Yemen: Torture and secret detention: Testimony of the ‘disappeared’ in the ‘war on terror’ (link)
UK: Forty-five race murders in Britain since Macpherson - Figures released today by the Institute of Race Relations show that there have been forty-five murders with a known or suspected racial element since the publication of the Macpherson report in February 1999 (link)
The seizure of Indymedia's servers in London (link to EFFI). Fascinating detail and documentation is provided by the Electronic Frontiers Foundation in the USA who worked to get key documents released. The documents confirm that the US court order only required Rackspace to produce “log files in relation to the creation and updating of the web spaces corresponding to” particular URLs. On 7 October 2004, however, Rackspace said that it had "received a federal order to provide your [Indymedia's] hardware to the requesting agency." The fact that no official request was made to the UK government confirms the view that the seizure of the servers in London by the FBI was not lawful. See also: Was the seizure of Indymedia's servers in London unlawful or did the UK government collude?
Suspect's tale of travel and torture: Alleged bomb plotter claims two and a half years of interrogation under US and UK supervision in 'ghost prisons' abroad (Guardian, links) Benyam Mohammed travelled from London to Afghanistan in July 2001, but after 11 September he fled to Pakistan. He was arrested at Karachi airport on April 10 2002, and describes being flown by a US government plane to a prison in Morocco. These are extracts from his diary: 'One of them made cuts in my penis. I was in agony'
UK: Parliament Square: The website of Brian Haw - peace protestor and defender of the right to protest outside of Parliament (link)
UK: Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC): We are all ‘terror suspects’: The ‘War on Terror’ at home (pdf)
EU: Annual report for 2004 from the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights (pdf). The country reports can be found on: Country reports (link)
Stay calm, the government says, in a mad panic itself: Proposed new anti-terrorist laws will be counterproductive article by lawyer Louise Christian (Guardian, link)
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