Basque Country, Andalusia and Galicia: Justice: Article that highlights contradictions between the treatment the justice and political systems reserve to officers when suspected or found guilty of torture or ill-treatment, and that reserved to citizens. It draws on cases including allegations of torture in the Basque Country, a pardon granted to officers from Vigo found guilty of abducting and torturing a Senegalese man (Mamadou Kane), the death of a farmer after a lengthy beating by officers in a Guardia Civil station in Almeria and the situation of three protestors from O Eixo arrested during a demonstration. These are some of the themes dealt with by "En Movemento" the new monthly Galician civil rights newspaper produced by the Movemento polos dereitos civi´s, which is available at: http://www.drop.io/enmovemento/media#
UK: Mixed results: A national DNA database could well increase, not reduce, the number of wrongful convictions by Professor Allan Jamieson is director of the Forensic Institute in Glasgow (Guardian, link)
European Court of Human Rights: 28 February 2008: Grand Chamber Judgment: Saadi v Italy (Press release, link) "The European Court of Human Rights has today delivered at a public hearing its Grand Chamber judgment1 in the case of Saadi v. Italy (application no. 37201/06). The Court held unanimously that if the decision to deport the applicant to Tunisia were to be enforced, there would be a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment)." European Court of Human Rights upholds absolute prohibition against torture (Liberty, link)
EU: RIFID and privacy: The European Commission is consulting on the use of RFID chips, privacy and security: Consultation (link) Background: Commission propsal, COM 96, 2007 (pdf) Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor (pdf) Opinion of the Article 29 Working Party on personal data (WP 136, pdf) Thanks to EDRI see: EC Draft Recommendation on RFID Privacy and Security published
UK: Pupils' school records to go online: "Pupils aged 14 to 19 are to have their school records permanently placed on an electronic database accessible to prospective employers." (Reuters, link)
UK: Counter-Terrorism Bill: Campaign Against Crominalising Communities (CAMPACC): Briefing (pdf) Counter Terrorism Bill (90 pages, pdf) Explanatory memorandum (pdf)
UK: Public meeting, London: Creating a Climate of Fear: Counter-Terrorism and Punishment Without Trial (pdf) Friday 14 March 2008, 6.30pm-9.00pm. London Muslim Centre, 46 Whitechapel Road, (Tube: Aldgate or Aldgate East). Organised by CAMPACC, with Centre for the Study of Terrorism - Co-sponsored by the London Muslim Centre, Islamic Forum of Europe, Cage Prisoners and the Newham Monitoring Project. Chaired by Hugo Charlton, Barrister, CAMPACC: Speakers: Gareth Peirce Human rights lawyer; Saghir Hussein Cage Prisoners; Azad Ali Muslim Safety Forum; Ben Hayes Statewatch, Mahan Abedin Editor of Islamism Digest, Muhammad Habibur-Rahman Islamic Forum of Europe, Les Levidow CAMPACC, Victoria Britain Journalist, Asad Rehman Newham Monitoring Project
UK: Report on bugging conversations of MP and constituent in prison: Report on two visits by Sadiq Khan MP to Babar Ahmad at HM Prison Woodhill: Report of investigation by the Rt Hon Sir Christopher Rose, Chief Surveillance Commissioner (pdf) Bugging of MP on prison visit did not break the rules, inquiry finds (Guardian, link). Apparently the bugging of the conversations of an MP and a constituent - a "terrorist" suspect - in prison did not contravene the "Wilson doctrine" that MPs should not be placed under electronic surveillance as it was "lawful". This is despite the fact that a number of officers knew Khan was an MP. The report is silent on the broader question that if privileged conservation between an MP and a constituent can be surveilled is that between a lawyers and their client in prison also "lawful"?
UK: Crisis at police watchdog as lawyers resign - More than 100 quit over claims of delay and poor decisions by IPCC (Guardian, link) The IPCC: a catalogue of delays, rejections and basic failures (Guardian, link)
EU-SIS: Schengen Information System Article 99 report
- Massive discrepancy among member states use of SIS for surveillance
- France and Italy responsible for 83 % of all Article 99 alerts
- Schengen data protection authority demands more checks and balances
Ben Hayes of Statewatch comments:
"The massive discrepancies in the current use of the SIS by certain member states are unacceptable. There is clear need to restrict the scope for entering alerts and improve significantly the arrangements for supervision and control.
Instead of 'harmonising' the use of SIS II and encouraging more surveillance, the EU should impose much stricter limits to ensure it is only used when justified as absolutely necessary. This demands far more robust mechanisms for accountability and control than we have at present".
UK-LISBON TREATY: Government response (corrected) to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee Report (pdf) Foreign Affairs Select Committee report on the Lisbon Treaty (full-text, pdf) It said: "We conclude that there is no material difference between the provisions on foreign affairs in the Constitutional Treaty which the Government made subject to approval in a referendum and those in the Lisbon Treaty on which a referendum is being denied."
USA-UK: Homeland Security's Chertoff, Britain's Interior Minister Discuss Travel Security Issues (US Mission in the EU, link) Mr Chertoff was asked about reported US demands that it will require passenger details for all flights from the EU over-flying the USA. His response is interesting in the context of the difficulties faced by the European Parliament and the Council of Europe requesting information from EU governments on over-flying CIA flights:
"Under the Chicago Convention, which I think goes back almost 50 years, anybody who wants to come into the airspace of a country has to submit to the rules and regulations of the country whose airspace they're entering, whether it’s to land or to overfly. We generally require, and will require, under a program called Secure Flight: name, passport number, and maybe one or two other items of information from the manifest of anybody who is going to overfly the United States – and that’s pursuant to this international arrangement.
EU: CONSTITUTION-REFORM-LISBON TREATY: Cementing the European state - new emphasis on internal security and operational cooperation at the EU level by Tony Bunyan and EU Reform Treaty: The rhetoric of transparency and public debate in the EU by Deirdre Curtin
EU: Second Report from the Commission: Implementation of the Convention on the Protection of the European Communities’ financial interests and its protocols (COM 77, 2008 pdf) makes some interesting threats regarding possible suits against Member States before the European Court of Justice and Annex to Report (SEC 188, 2008,pdf)
EU: Overview of replies to questionnaire on undercover officers - texts of national legislation (pdf) Useful summary of the national laws on the use of undercover officers. Survey ((EU doc no: 5001-Rev 1-08, pdf) and Replies to questionnaire on undercover officers - Discussion paper (pdf)
UK-RENDITION FLIGHTS: Reprieve report: Enforced disappearance, illegal interstate transfer and other human rights abuses involving the UK Overseas Territories (pdf) UK apology over rendition flights (BBC, link) "David Miliband has admitted two US "extraordinary rendition" flights landed on UK territory in 2002. In a statement to MPs the foreign secretary said in both cases, US planes stopped on the UK dependent territory of Diego Garcia to refuel."
EU: European Commission borders package:
- Preparing the next steps in border management in the European Union (COM 69 2008, pdf)
- Preparing the next steps in border management in the European Union - Impact Assessment (SEC 153 on COM 69 2008, pdf)
- Examining the creation of a European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) (COM 68 2008, pdf)
- Examining the creation of a European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) - Impact Assessment- (SEC 151 on COM 68 2008, pdf)
- Report on the evaluation and future development of the FRONTEX Agency (COM 67 2008, pdf)
- Report on the evaluation and future development of the FRONTEX Agency - Impact Assessment (SEC 148 on COM 67 2008, pdf)
- Report on the evaluation and future development of the FRONTEX Agency (SEC 150 on COM 67 2008, pdf)
UK: Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee report: Counter–Terrorism Policy and Human Rights (Ninth Report): Annual Renewal of Control Orders Legislation 2008 (pdf) In a press release the Committee said:
"The Committee has discovered that seven of the current 15 individuals subject to control orders have been in this position for more than two years and two individuals have been on control orders for almost three years, since the powers were introduced. It is likely that these two individuals were also detained in Belmarsh under the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001 before that, a total of six years detention without trial.
The Committee is in favour of a maximum limit on the duration of a control order and will be proposing an amendment to the Counter-Terrorism Bill to enable this issue to be debated in Parliament."
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: MEPs reject report on factors favouring the support for terrorism and recruitment of terrorists (Press release, pdf)
"MEPs rejected a report on factors favouring the support for terrorism and recruitment of terrorists. A lack of consensus among the main political groups regarding the best instruments to fight radicalisation led to MEPs rejecting the report as a whole with 241 votes in favour 332 against and 87 abstentions."
EU: AMENDING THE FRAMEWORK DECISION ON TERRORISM: Council Framework Decision amending Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA on combating terrorism (EU doc no: 6561/08 , pdf) The purpose is to:
"update the Framework Decision and align it with the Council of Europe Convention on prevention of terrorism, by including public provocation to commit terrorist offences, recruitment for terrorism and training for terrorism"
EU: TERRORISM GUIDELINES: Guidelines for a Common Approach to the fight against terrorism (EU doc no: 9864/03 EXT 1, Partially Accessible, pdf) Includes a series of definitions and tries to explain why "state terrorism" is not covered.
EU: FRONTEX: Conclusions from the Expert Meeting on the Follow-up of the Joint Frontex Europol Report on the High Risk Routes of Illegal Migration in the Western Balkan Countries within the Frontex Risk Analysis Network (EU doc no: 5685/08, pdf)
UK-IRAQ INVASION: Dodgy wmd memo - John Williams draft released by the Foreign Office (2.2MB, pdf) Feature by John Williams: Dodgy judgments (Guardian, link) Iraq weapons dossier draft reveals role of "spin doctor" by Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian, link)
EU: RETURNS DIRECTIVE: Statewatch Analysis: The Proposed EU Returns Directive by Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex (pdf)
"The Council’s version of the Directive sets standards so low that it would be difficult for Member States go any lower – most obviously with the indefinite period of detention (along with the weak rules on judicial control of detention), but also as regards exclusions from the scope of the Directive, the deletion of the general human rights safeguard, the limited grounds for mandatory postponement of removals, the mandatory re-entry ban following a return decision, the lower standards for remedies, the accelerated procedures without a right to any remedy at all in the Directive, and the nearly non-existent safeguards pending removal."
Germany: Amendment Act marks continued hostility towards foreigners and second generation immigrants (Feature, pdf)
"Decades of restrictive handling of asylum and migration rules have, in Germany as in the rest of the EU, led to a large number of asylum seekers and migrants living permanently without a secure legal status. Forced into illegality, undocumented migrants are economically marginalised and often excluded from basic social services that help to meet a decent standard of living with regard to housing, food, clothing, health care, legal advice, education and training. As a result of this structural violation of migrants' basic rights in Europe, the sans papiers, asylum and migrant rights groups in Germany and other EU countries are demanding the regularisation of undocumented migrants and rejected asylum seekers living in the EU without a secure residency status."
UK: Control Order figures from Home Office, February 2008
EU: FINGER-PRINTING CHILDREN FOR VISAS, EU PASSPORTS AND TRAVEL DOCUMENTS: The Council of the European Union (the 27 governments) and the European Parliament are currently in co-decision negotiations over the content on which includes the issue at what age should children be finger-printed for the issuing of visas. The Council is proposing children of 6 years of age and above while the European Parliament wants it to be 12 years of age and above: EU doc no: 6067/1/08 REV 1 (the document contains a useful chart comparing the positions of the Council, Commission and European Parliament, pdf).
In a different, but complementary Council fora, the SCIFA/Mixed Committee is discussing the same issue not just for visas but also for all EU passports and travel documents (ie: resident third country nationals, Schengen ID cards): EU doc no: 6138/08 In this high-level Working Party the Council Presidency notes that while there is a "majority" of governments in favour of 6 years and above three governments - Czech Republic, France and Portugal - think it would be "possible" to take:
"fingerprints even for children below the age of 6 years"
While two governments - Germany and Austria - support the 12 years old and above proposal from the parliament.
The Council Presidency is proposing that it should be decided whether each government should be able to decide its own limits - some would be 12 years, some 6 years and some at birth?
"It needs also to be decided if member States should be allowed to collect fingerprints of children under the age of 6 on the basis of the national
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"It is to be hoped that the European Parliament will not budge on this issue. EU governments have been discussing this issue as a technological one, at what age is it possible to take reliable fingerprints from children, when it is a moral and political question.
This comes in parallel with the Commission's idea that peoples' visas, passports and travel documents, including those of children, will be processed in an enclosed box by machines. What kind of Europe are we heading for?"
EU: Schengen police cooperation handbook (119 pages, pdf)
Committee for the Administration of Justice (CAJ): The War on terrorism: Lessons from Northenr Ireland (pdf)
EU: Brussels attacks new US security demands (euobserver, link) "The text is unacceptable. It's just way beyond anything that can be done," Jonathan Faull, the head of the commission's home affairs department, said on Wednesday (13 February), referring to a US-proposed memorandum of understanding distributed to EU capitals."
EU: Integrated European Border Management Strategy: "None of the policy options contribute markedly to reducing terrorism or serious crime" Perhaps the most revealing document in the EU's Justice and Home Affairs package on exit-entry and border management is: Commission Staff Working Document: Accompanying document to the Communication New tools for an integrated European Border Management Strategy: Impact Assessment, Draft v (17/1/2008) (pdf)
- On the role of EU databases like the Schengen Information System (SIS) and terrorism: As the "perpetrators" have mainly been EU citizens or living in the EU with official permits: "None of the policy options contribute markedly to reducing terrorism or serious crime...In view of the latest terrorist acts in the area of the EU, it can be noted that the perpetrators have mainly been EU citizens or foreigners residing and living in the Member States with official permits.
Usually there has been no information about these people or about their terrorist connections in the registers, for example in the SIS or national databases. The entry/exit system does not register entries or exits of the EU citizens or their relatives. Therefore, the entry/exit system will not be able to have an impact on this specific target group."
- USA entry-exit procedures: "A total of 1,500 people were rejected at the border (but it is not clear how many of them could be classified as serious criminals or terrorist).Information on how many terrorists were rejected at the border is not available."
- a number of Case Studies are cited but these include those using irises as the biometric identifier - which are not going to be used in any EU-wide system and none of the examples involved large-scale numbers of passengers being handled.
Finally, the proposed "Automated Border Control" processing is described in detail - which is labour-saving as no people are involved:
"Automated Border Control processes normally consist of the following: Fingerprint matching would be used in conjunction with an automated gate and kiosk.
The traveller enters the automated gate area, possibly by presenting their passport in order to open a door that closes behind them once they have entered (
to ensure only one passenger uses the gate at a time).
The kiosk prompts the traveller to present the e-passport for scanning (visual and electronic) and is prompted to present one or two fingerprints for scanning. The fingerprint image is captured and the system converts both the captured image and the image stored on the e-passport into templates and attempts to match them, according to predetermined thresholds. If a good match is achieved, a second gate opens and the traveller is allowed to cross the border. If there is not a good enough match, or any other problem occurs, the gate does not open and the traveller is directed for processing by a border guard." (p65)
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"The idea that visitors and possibly EU citizens - including children aged six and above - should enter an enclosed box and be told what to do by machines and for computers to decide whether to let us out or not is a quite appalling proposal.
We are told it will save money because no officials need to be involved and that the EU should embrace all the benefits of modern technological developments. If this is the price of "progress" it is a bridge too far"
EU: JHA PACKAGE: Press Releases: 13 February 2008:
- A comprehensive vision for an integrated European border management system for the 21st Century
- Examining the creation of a European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR)
- The FRONTEX Agency: evaluation and future development
EU: JHA PACKAGE announced on 13 February 2008: Early drafts and Inter service consultations:
- Commission Inter-service Consolation document on the future of FRONTEX, 11 December 2007 (pdf)
- Commission exit-entry system draft and Inter-Service Consultation document, 12 December 2007 (pdf)
- Commission Inter-Service Consultation on European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR), 11 December 2007 (pdf)
EU: European Commission proposes "entry-exit" system (Communication, pdf) The Commission is proposing that the entry and exit of all visa-holders will be recorded automatically - these visa-holders have to give their finger-prints and be vetted before getting a visa in their country of origin. However, non-visa entrants (eg: from the EU's "white list" countries like the USA) will also have to be fingerprinted and cleared - EU's "white" and "black" visa lists (pdf).
Hidden inside the Communication is a reference to "Automated Border Control systems" which will apply to EU citizens as well as visitors:
"The introduction of Automated Border Control systems can enable the automated verification of travellers’ identity without the intervention of border guards. A machine reads the biometric data contained in the travel documents or stored in a system or database and compares them against the biometrics of the traveller, accelerating border checks by creating automated separate lanes replacing the traditional control booths."
Experiments are taking place along the above lines where a person enters a closed box, is automatically checked and cleared or not cleared - if a person is not cleared a side door opens and they are taken away for questioning.
The Communication proposes the issuing of "tokens" to EU citizens who do not have biometric passports (ie: those who have not had their fingerprints taken) subject to vetting as the full "roll-out" of EU biometric passports will not be complete until 2016.
Also proposed is the adopted of "common vetting criteria" across the EU.
These developments need to be seen alongside the introduction of biometric passports and travel documents across the EU requiring the taking of everyone fingerprints, see: EU governments blackmail European Parliament into quick adoption of its report on biometric passports and EU: "biometric passports" We will not just have to be finger-printed once but over and over again and the Commission's proposed introduction of an EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record) covering everyone (citizens and visitors) leaving and entering the EU: See Statewatch's Observatory on EU-PNR
EU: FRONTEX: Report on the evaluation and future development of the FRONTEX Agency (pdf) Commission Staff Working Document: Accompanying document: Report on the evaluation and future development of the FRONTEX Agency: Impact Assessment (pdf) Commission Staff Working Paper: Annex to the Report from the Commission on the evaluation and future development of the Frontex Agency: Statistical data (pdf)
EU: German Institute for Human Rights: Border Management and Human Rights A study of EU Law and the Law of the Sea by Ruth Weinzierl and Urszula Lisson (Final Study: 95 pages, pdf)
Updated: EU-USA: Ministers confirm that US wants armed guards on transatlantic flights - American demands could put visa-free travel at risk - East Europeans ignore Brussels united-front plea (Guardian, link) Bush orders clampdown on flights to US: EU officials furious as Washington says it wants extra data on all air passengers (Guardian, link) and EU plans to require biometrics of all non-European visitors (International Herald Tribune, link)
EU: UNDERCOVER OFFICERS: Overview of replies to questionnaire on undercover officers
EU-USA: Review of the Framework for Relations between the European Union and the United States: An Independent Study (Prepared for European Commission, Directorate General External Relations, Unit C1 . Relations with the United States and Canada, pdf)
EU-USA-PNR: Dissertation: Freedom, Security, and Democracy in the European Union: the intervention of the European Parliament in the negotiation of the Passenger Name Record Agreement by Richard M Spooner (pdf)
Norway suspends Dublin transfers to Greece: Norway suspends asylum seekers referrals to Greece because of rights violations.
Iraqi asylum seeker alleges ill-treatment and deception (Greek Helsinki Monistor, pdf)
GREECE: CPT REPORT: The CoE's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) reviewed the treatment of persons detained by law enforcement officials and examined the conditions of detention in police and border guard stations, coast guard posts and in special facilities for illegal migrants in order to evaluate progress made since the CPT's last visit to Greece, in 2005. The CPT also paid a targeted visit to Korydallos Men's Prison in order to examine the conditions of detention in the segregation units and to assess developments in relation to the prison?s health-care service: CPT Greece report (pdf) and Government's response (pdf)
EU: PRUM IMPLEMENTATION: Draft Council Decision on the implementation (Detail on DNA and vehicle registration access and exchange, 93 pages, pdf) Council Decision on the implementation of Decision on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime (pdf) Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor (pdf)
UK:USE OF INTERCEPT EVIDENCE IN TERRORIST COURT CASES: Privy Council Review of intercept as evidence (pdf)
UK: Pandora's box of bugs: Whisper it: the byzantine world of surveillance oversight has had a very bad week indeed (Guardian, link) See Statewatch coverage on telephone tapping below)
MALTA: The Journalists' Committee together with the Institute of Maltese journalists this morning presented a letter of protest to the Chairman of GO against the newly declared corporate policy to ban all political coverage (pdf) In the letter (attached), the two representative organisations of Maltese journalists condemn this policy, particularly when the country is facing a general election and Maltese citizens need information more than ever, before they go to vote. As announced on the di-ve.com website itself: "As a result of new corporate policy, di-ve.com will not, for the foreseeable future, cover political activities and statements as part of its day-to-day operations."
UK: Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee report: Counter-Terrorism Policy and Human Rights (Eighth Report): Counter-Terrorism Bill
The Committee rejects 42-day pre-charge detention period for terrorism suspects and proposes alternative procedures and it highly critical of the proposal for the state to appoint special coroners and for inquests to be held without a jury. Chair of the Committee, Andrew Dismore MP, said:
“We are seriously alarmed at the prospect that under these provisions inquests into deaths occurring in circumstances like that of Jean Charles de Menezes, or British servicemen killed by US forces in Iraq, could be held by a coroner appointed by the Secretary of State sitting without a jury. Inquests must be, and be seen to be, totally independent, and in public to secure accountability, with involvement of the next of kin to protect their legitimate interests. When someone dies in distressing, high profile circumstances their family need to see and feel that justice is being done, and where state authorities are involved there is a national interest in accountability as well.”
EU-EUROPEAN SECURITY AND DEFENCE POLICY (ESDP): Series of research reports from the European Parliament:
EU: EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANTS: Replies to questionnaire on quantitative information on the practical operation of the European arrest warrant - Year 2006 (pdf)
Home Office defends plans to send back child asylum seekers (Guardian, link)
Statewatch launches new SEMDOC website providing comprehensive information about EU Justice and Home Affairs policy
Statewatch has been systematically monitoring and documenting the development of EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) policy since 1991. The Statewatch European Monitoring and Documentation Centre on Justice and Home Affairs in the European Union seeks to increase public understanding and debate about JHA policy through the provision of comprehensive information about adopted and proposed legislation.
More than 500 specific EU JHA measures are now detailed in the Observatory which covers every adopted and proposed JHA measure, together with international treaties and EU case law. It provides details on the legal base, legislative procedures within the EU Council, Commission and Parliament, full-text documentation and links to additional information sources.
EU-UK: European Scrutiny Committee of the House of Commons report: The Conclusions of the European Council and the Council of Ministers (pdf) It says:
"The Conclusions of the European Council have an important influence — sometimes, a decisive one — on the future of the EU and the 500 million people who live in it. Yet there is no written record of what is actually said by the Heads of State and Government.... So national parliaments, the public, the press and everyone else is denied any possibility of checking the accuracy of the Presidency’s Conclusions or understanding how the meeting reached its decisions... his is all the more unacceptable when, as the National Parliament Office’s report says, the drafts have a wide informal circulation in Brussels and are widely reported in the press."
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:
"This report highlights the way that the European Council - the Prime Ministers - meet in secret and set the agenda for the Council of Ministers, the European Commission and the European Parliament. Draft Conclusions, Actions Plans and Programmes are not published in advance for parliaments and civil society to discuss and make their views known.
For example, the Tampere and Hague Programmes which set the agenda for EU Justice and Home Affairs policies from 1999 onwards were discussed and agreed in secret and only made public after they were agreed. The whole process is a travesty of the democratic process."
EU: Note of the Standing Committee of experts on international immigration, refugees and criminal law on the proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 2003/109/EC to extend the scope to beneficiaries of international protection (pdf)
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