October

EU: Two overviews on civil liberties, security and democracy: While Europe sleeps: under the "war on terrorism" a veneer of democracy is legitimating the creation of a coercive (and surveillance) state by Tony Bunyan and There is no “balance” between security and civil liberties – just less of each by Ben Hayes

EU: Europol 2005 Organised crime report - public version (pdf)

Why Muslims reject British values: As ministers accuse Muslims of failing to integrate into mainstream society, a leading black intellectual and anti-racist campaigner calls on Tony Blair's government to face up to the reality of continued racism in Britain, by A. Sivanandan, Director of the Institute of Race Relations (link to Observer)

UK: Information Commissioner's report on the ID Card Bill (pdf)

UK: The Home Office Research Unit has published two reports: 1) Racist incidents: progress since the Lawrence Inquiry (pdf) and 2) Assessing the impact of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry (pdf)

Netherlands: Eleven people die in blaze at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport detention centre (link)

"Essays on civil liberties and democracy in Europe": A collection of sixteen Essays were specially written for the launch of the European Civil Liberties Network (ECLN) on 19 October. They include:

“The Rules of the Game”? A. Sivanandan, Director of the Institute of Race Relations

The “War on Terror”: lessons from Ireland Paddy Hillyard, Professor of Sociology, Queens University, Belfast

Why Terror and Tolerance are the Greatest Test of Modern Journalism Aidan White, Secretary-General European Federation of Journalists

Lex Vigilatoria – Towards a control system without a state? Thomas Mathiesen, Professor of the Sociology of Law, Oslo University, Norway

Checking and balancing polity-building in the European Union Deirdre Curtin, Professor of European and International Governance, Utrecht School of Governance, Utrecht, Netherlands

Lampedusa - a test case for the subcontracting of EU border controls Lorenzo Trucco, President of A.S.G.I. (Associazione Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione)

Spain: "Transparency and silence" report on freedom of information throws up alarming results

EU: Schengen Information System II (SIS II). Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor has issued his opinion on the proposals for SIS II (the second-generation Schengen Information System). Echoing the last week's opinion from the Schengen Joint Supervisory Authority, Mr. Hustinx criticised the absence of both an explanatory memorandum and impact assessment study, the complexity of the legal framework and the lack of clarity regarding competences. Mr. Hustinx also has serious reservations about the incorporation of biometrics into SIS II: EDPS Opinion (pdf)

See also: Joint Supervisory Authority (JSA) on the Schengen Information System issues critical report on SIS II proposals and Statewatch analyses: Legislative proposals on SIS II (Professor Steve Peers) and SIS II fait accompli? Construction of EU's Big Brother database underway (pdf)

EU: Reports from the Article 29 Working Party on Data Protection: Standards for security features and biometrics in passports (pdf) and Data Protection Issues Related to RFID Technology (Radio Frequency ID, pdf)

Amnesty International press release: Spain/Morocco: The authorities must be held accountable for the violation of migrants' rights (link)

EU: Journalists Warn of Threats to Press Freedom in European Union Debate over anti-Terrorism Policy (link to press statement from the European Federation of Journalists)

UK: Terrorism Bill - as revised - dated 12 October 2005 (pdf). Amnesty International briefing (link) Liberty briefing for the 2nd reading (link)

UK: The head of MI5 (the UK's internal security service), Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, has submitted a statement to the Court of Appeal in the House of Lords on the use of intelligence from a third state which may have been obtained by the use of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment: Submission by head of MI5 (pdf). The statement includes: "it may be apparent to the Agencies that the intelligence has been obtained from individuals in detention ("detainee reporting")". See also: Four facing deportation on security claims given bail (Guardian, link)

UK: House of Lords Constitution Committee has published a critical report on the ID Card Bill (pdf) In the report, Liberal Democrat Lord Holme of Cheltenham said: "Contrary to the government's assertions, the committee reaffirms that the bill fundamentally alters the relationship between citizens and the state." The Joint Committee on Human Rights (Houses of Commons and Lords) has also published its report on scrutiny which includes strong reservations about the ID Card Bill: Scrutiny report (pdf)

UK: Identity Card Bill as sent from the House of Commons to the House of Lords (19.10.05): Full-text (pdf) In the final vote in the House of Commons the Labour government's overall majority of 66 was slashed to just 25 on the Identity Card Bill. Twenty-five Labour MPs voted to oppose the Bill giving a final vote of: 309 to 284.

Working with the media: New IRR Guide (link,pdf) The Institute of Race Relations has published a new 19-page guide for anti-racist campaigners and refugee rights activists on working with the media. The guide can be downloaded at: (pdf file, 697kb)

European Commission: Fighting trafficking in human beings - an integrated approach and proposals for an action plan (pdf)

EU-SIS: Joint Supervisory Authority (JSA) on the Schengen Information System issues critical report on SIS II proposals [1] In a detailed opinion on the Commission proposals the JSA has criticised the planned "open-ended legal structure", suggesting it is "sometimes be unclear what is [to be] regulated by which instrument." Neither is the JSB clear what exactly the purpose of SIS II is, meaning "the legal basis fails to comply with one of the key principles of data protection; namely, that the purpose of processing must be specified and explicit". It is also unclear "from the proposals who will be responsible for the SIS II" and what roles there will be for European and national data protection supervisors. See also EU Statewatch analyses: Legislative proposals on SIS II [2] (Professor Steve Peers) and SIS II fait accompli? Construction of EU's Big Brother database underway [3] (pdf)

The European Civil Liberties Network (ECLN) was launched in Brussels on Wednesday, 19 October 2005. The launch was marked by the publication of a collection of fourteen essays especially written for the occasion. Contributors include A. Sivanandan, Paddy Hillyard, Phil Scraton, Tony Bunyan, Deirdre Curtin, Thomas Mathiesen, Heiner Busch, Aidan White, Liz Fekete, Lorenzo Trucco and Ben Hayes: Essays for civil liberties and democratic standards in Europe (link) Tony Bunyan, joint coordinator of the ECLN, called on groups and individuals to support the ECLN: “if the everincreasing demands of law enforcement continue to go unchallenged in the name of the “war on terror”, the face of liberty and democracy in Europe will be changed for ever”: press release See also ECLN website and noticeboard (link)

Italy: ALCEI - Electronic Frontiers Italy - The repression of civil rights with the pretext of terrorism

European Commission publishes Proposal on the "principle of availability" (pdf)

European Civil Liberties Network (ECLN) to be launched on Wednesday, 19 October 2005:

"We are living at a moment in history when civil liberties and democracy are under attack as never before and the need for a collective response to counter these threats has never been greater.

We share common objectives of seeking to create a European society based on freedom and equality, of fundamental civil liberties and personal and political freedoms, of free movement and freedom of information, and equal rights for minorities. This entails defending, extending and deepening the democratic culture - a concept not limited to political parties and elections but embracing wider values of pluralism, diversity and tolerance. And we share too a common opposition to racism, fascism, sexism and homophobia.

The defence of civil liberties and democracy also requires that positive demands are placed on the agenda. For example, respect and rights for all people, cultures and their histories, for the presumption of innocence and freedom from surveillance and the freedom to protest and demonstrate.

To these ends the European Civil Liberties Network (ECLN) has been established."

Press launch in Brussels and Workshop for NGO's and researchers (pdf)
ECLN website and Noticeboard (link)

USA: CIA sets up internal "clandestine service (link)

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 12 October 2005, Luxembourg: Press release (pdf) Background Note (pdf) Main "B" Point agenda (pdf) "A" Point agenda (adopted without any discussion)

It's anti-racism that was failed, not multiculturalism that failed by A. Sivanandan, Director of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR News Service, link)

EU: The Justice and Home Affairs Council (12 October) is discussing: July 13 JHA Council Declaration: Updated follow-up (dated 10.10.05) which is a useful summary of anti-terrorist measures planned - and contains a number that are little or nothing to do with combating terrorism.

An associated document on "New Ideas" was drawn up later and they are not included in the Declaration. This contains: 1) A proposal to extend the members of the Prum Treaty (Germany); 2) A proposal to look at recording the entry and exit of third country nationals (Italy); and 3) "developing a common approach to the expulsion of terrorist suspects" (Italy): "New Ideas" on Counter-Terrorism from the July JHA Council: Next Steps (pdf)

EU: Data retention: Council to agree to drop its proposal on mandatory data retention - because of its incorrect legal basis and let the Commission proposal go forward, but want the European Parliament to put it through at "first reading": Council doc. no: 13036/05 (10.10.05) Current Council draft: Council draft text, 10.10.05

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: "Five member states introduced the proposal in eighteen months ago (April 2004) and still have not sorted out a number of "outstanding questions" in the Council. Now they have the cheek to "pursue" the European Parliament to rush it through on first reading as if it was an uncontroversial measure. Now the legal basis has been sorted, the parliament should take all the time it needs to properly consider a measure which will put all the communications of everyone in Europe under surveillance for the foreseeable future"

EU: European Ombudsman finds Council has given no valid reasons for continuing to legislate behind closed doors (press release) Full-text of the Special Report from the European Ombudsman (pdf) and also Statement from: COSAC (the EU Affairs Committees of the national parliaments of the EU Member States) on the need for public decision-making in the Council

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 12 October 2005, Luxembourg: Background Note (pdf) Main "B" Point agenda (pdf) "A" Point agenda (adopted without any discussion)

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 12 October 2005, Luxembourg: Background Note (pdf) Main "B" Point agenda (pdf)

Italy: A diary of life in Lampedusa

UK: Terrorism laws: Letter from the Metropolitan Police to Home Secretary seeking to justify holding people for 3 months for questioning (pdf) Home Office consultation document on "Preventing Extremism Together Places of Worship" (pdf) Exclusion or deportation powers, consultation (pdf) Clarke climbs down on 'glorifying terror' (Guardian, link) Terrorism Bill as published on 13 September 2005: Draft Terrorism Bill published (pdf)

Update: Morocco/Spain: Six migrants die in Melilla: On 6 October 2005, the Moroccan interior ministry announced six more sub-Saharan migrants died in a mass attempt to climb the border fence in Melilla and to enter Spain, adding that some had died of bullet wounds while others had been crushed by fellow migrants. The Moroccan interior minister said that "due to the unusual strength of the immigrants, who were possessed by the strength of their despair, the [Moroccan] police legitimately defended its surveillance posts in front of the fence and six illegal immigrants have died". Ceuta, the other Spanish enclave in northern Morocco, had been the scene of a similar incident in which five migrants died, some of them shot, on 28 September 2005 (El País, 6.10.2005). Previous Statewatch coverage: Spain/Morocco: Migrants shot dead at the border fence, Spain deploys army

UK: HM Inspectorate of Prisons has published a new report of an announced inspection into Haslar Removal Centre near Portsmouth
Download a copy of the report at: http://www.irr.org.uk/pdf/haslar_report.pdf

Morocco/Spain: Migrants deported to die in the desert (posted 6.10.05). See also: Morocco/Spain: MSF reveals violence suffered by "illegal sub-Saharan immigrants" at the hands of police forces and gangs

EU: Data protection - European Commission proposal (full-text): Data protection activities of police and judicial co-operation in criminal matters provided for by Title VI of the Treaty on European Union and Impact Assessment - Data Protection (pdf). Article 1.2 says: "Member States shall ensure that the disclosure of personal data to the competent authorities of another Member State is neither restricted nor prohibited for reasons connected with the protection of personal data as provided for under this Framework Decision." In short, all data and "intelligence" (which may be speculation) held can be exchanged. Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: "when it comes to the balance between the demands of state agencies and the rights and privacy of individual there is no contest, the state wins every time"

EU: Mandatory data rentention of telecommunications data: The latest report from the Council simply notes: "The European Parliament has been invited to give its opinion on the draft. It rejected the draft on 7 June 2005 and on 27 September 2005" (3 October 2005). Latest Council text with outstanding questions (pdf)

Morocco/Spain: MSF reveals violence suffered by "illegal sub-Saharan immigrants" at the hands of police forces and gangs

UK-London: We remember Jean Charles de Menezes, 7 January 1978 - 22 July 2005: "Justice for Jean - Shoot first: ask questions later? Campaign launch and public rally (pdf)

Greece: Amnesty International report: "Out of the spotlight" - The rights of foreigners and minorities are still a grey area (link)

UK-London: Open Forum: "Defend our liberties! No to the poitics of fear (pdf) Tuesday 11 October 7-9pm, Grand Committee Room, House of Commons

Amnesty International UK: have launched a campaign on "Seeking asylum is not a crime" (link)

The politics of fear are blinding us to the humanity of others: A culture of guilt and apathy threatens to undermine our values and turn us into a traumatised society by Joanna Bourke, professor of history at Birkbeck College and author of Fear: A Cultural History (Guardian, link)

Documents show how Special Branch infiltrated Anti-Apartheid Movement (Guardian, link)

EU: Mandatory data retention: Report of the European Parliament adopted on 27 September 2005 rejecting the Council's proposal (pdf) European Parliament press statement (link) Latest version of the Council's proposal, 27.9.05 (pdf). The View of the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party on the Council initiative by five members states (November 2004). Text of the European Commission proposals on the mandatory retention of telecommunications data (pdf) Full-text of the Commission's Extended Impact Assessment (pdf). The Commission's Impact Assessment is dismissive of the strong objections from the European Data Protection Supervisor and the national Data Protection Commissioners on the Article 29 Working Party stating that it expects them to "revisit their position(s)". Report from the European Data Protection Supervisor on the Commission's proposal (26.9.05) on the Commission's proposal. Civil society letter to Members of the European Parliament on data retention proposals, from 21 NGOs

The Council's proposal, from five member states, combines the mandatory retention of traffic data by service providers and access to the data by law enforcement agencies (LEAs) - on which the European Parliament is only "consulted". The Legal Services of the Council and Commission said the proposal should be split in two with the first measure (data retention) coming under the "first pillar" on which the parliament would have powers of co-decision with the Council. The Commission has put forward a proposal on data retention under the "first pillar" which will be followed by another on access by LEAs.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor comments: "The issue of the legal basis is clear, there should be two separate measures. However, on the substantive issue the Commission's proposal on mandatory data retention presents as great a danger to privacy and civil liberties as the Council's - which will result in the wholesale surveillance of all communications in the EU with few if any constraints."

UK: Shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes: Press statement: Ian Blair has jumped the barrier of the law (pdf) Met chief tried to block shooting inquiry (Guardian, link)

Spain/Morocco: Migrants shot dead at the border fence, Spain deploys army


01 October 2005

UK: Terrorism laws

01 October 2005

EU: Data retention (1)

 

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