November

EU: COUNTER-TERRORISM: Implementation of the Strategy and Action Plan to Combat Terrorism (June-November 2008) (pdf), Implementation of the Strategy and Action Plan to Combat Terrorism (pdf) and EU Counter-Terrorism Strategy - Discussion paper (pdf). The discussion paper includes the following comment on Europol (JSB is the Joint Supervisory Body of data protection commissioners)::

"While the JSB has acknowledged the fact that there is a need for Check the Web to include some personal data, their extreme interpretation of the data protection rules means that a number of high value analysis documents received from Member States cannot be input in the system, some of them because they contain the name of well-known terrorists such as Osama Bin Laden…"

The Counter-Terrorism Coordinator is keen on the idea of a "European Security Label" and says:

"Such an EU Security Label would stimulate innovative technologies that provide the best value for money in the long term, while ensuring interoperability. By introducing a compulsory 'privacy & freedom-compliance requirement', the Label would at the same time express respect for European civil liberties."

The idea of a "European Security Label" was raised in the Future Group report, see: Statewatch's: The Shape of Things to Come (pdf) and the European Security Research and Innovation Forum (ESRIF) report in September, see: European Security Research and Innovation Forum intermediate report (pdf).

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:

"The background documents to the Future Group and the ESRIF report show that PET (privacy enhancing technology) with a European Security Label would allay fears that law enforcement and internal security agencies could gain access to communications and personal data. But equally they show that the agencies are opposed to PET because this could be exploited by criminals and others. The likelihood is that such an official "Label" would give the impression that privacy would be respected while built-in trap-doors would give the agencies access whenever they want"

UK: 10,000 tasers for police (pdf)

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 27-28 November 2008 - Background documentation: Press release, 27 November - including story below (French, pdf): "B" Points Agenda (pdf) and "A" Points Agenda (adopted without discussion, pdf). Background note (pdf); Council information note (French, pdf); Notes from French presidency website (link); Broadcast material from EU media library (pdf)

JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS COUNCIL, Brussels, 27 November: Restriction on the freedom of movement within the EU for people who have been convicted of serious crime in the past or for "repeated offences" (which may be "low level")

"Ministers are discussing the adoption of Council Conclusions: Free movement of persons: abuses and substantive problems – Draft Council conclusions on abuses and misuses of the right to free movement of persons (16151/1/08, 26 November 2008, pdf). These say that: "Only those exercising their rights in the spirit of the Treaty should benefit from freedom of movement." While referring to third country nationals the proposals would apply to EU citizens as well and allow Member States to deny entry to those who:

"break the law in a sufficiently serious manner by committing serious and repeated offences"

The scope of "repeated offences" is undefined and could apply, for example, to protestors who take part in cross-border demonstrations.

These Conclusions are based on a proposal put forward by the UK: Statewatch Analysis: The UK proposals on EU free movement law: an attack on the rule of law and EU fundamental freedoms by Professor Steve Peers - University of Essex (pdf):

The draft conclusions constitute an attack on the rule of law and the fundamental freedom of EU citizens and their family members to move freely within the Community. They indicate an intention to:

- ignore a recent important ruling of the Court of Justice as well as many prior rulings of the Court;
- attempt to dictate to the Court how to interpret EC legislation;
- amend or re-interpret EC legislation at the dictat of interior ministries, without applying any form of legislative process; and
- dictate to the Commission how to perform its independent task as guardian of EC law.

The UK proposal includes considering: "the cumulative damage caused by continuous low-level offending can amount to a sufficiently serious threat to public policy"

United Kingdom delegation: Free movement of persons: abuses and substantive problems - Draft Council Conclusions (EU doc no: 15903/08. 18 November 2008, pdf)

GREECE: PROASYL REPORT: “The situation in Greece is out of control”: Research into the situation of asylum seekers in Greece (pdf)

ITALY: Draft Report on the LIBE delegation to Italy on September 18th/19th (nomads camps emergency) (pdf) and Annex I and Annex II to the Draft Report of the LIBE delegation to Italy on September 18th and 19th (pdf)

DENMARK: PET in security quandary (link)

"The Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) was outmanoevred today after the Supreme Court determined it had been wrong to detain one of two men the Service alleged had planned to kill one of Denmark's Mohammed cartoonists.

The man was one of two men detained in the case, and while the Supreme Court said there had been grounds to detain one of the men, evidence had not been sufficiently forthcoming to support the detention of the other man.

Both men were made subjects of an administrative order to leave the country. While one of the men left Denmark voluntarily, the other remains in the country as there are fears for his safety if he returns to his own country."

Profiling Web Users – Some Intellectual Property Problems by Nicholas Bohm and Joel Harrison in "Computers and Law", publication of the Society for Computers and Law (November 2008, pdf).

European Ombudsman: Ombudsman investigates Commission's Early Warning System (Press release plus letter, pdf)

The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, has opened an investigation into the European Commission's "Early Warning System" (EWS). This computerised information system lists companies, NGOs, associations or other parties which, according to the Commission, are deemed to pose a threat to the financial interests of the European Union. All EU institutions and bodies may block or suspend contracts or payments to entities listed under certain EWS warning levels.

COUNCIL OF EUROPE: Speaking of Terror: A survey of the effects of counter-terrorism legislation on freedom of the media in Europe (pdf) A new report by Privacy International for the CoE Media and Information Society Division examines how the “war on terror” has affected access to information, the growth of incitement, glorification and “extremism” restrictions on speech, blocking of internet sites, increased surveillance of journalists and limits on protection of journalists’ sources. The report finds that the laws have already seriously affected freedom of expression while providing little benefit in fighting terrorism. The report also examines the roles of the United Nations Security Council, European Union and Council of Europe in promoting new laws while paying little attention to human rights.

UK-EU: British government sues EU Council over decision to exclude UK from decision on police access to Visa Information System (VIS) (Case C-428/08, pdf). Having chosen not to participate in the common EU visa policy and the development of VIS, the UK was also excluded from the decision to grant Europol and law enforcement agencies in the member states access to VIS data. The British government is now seeking annulment of the latter decision (i.e. access to VIS for UK law enforcement agencies) on the grounds that the EU decision was given an incorrect legal basis in the provisions developing the Schengen area.

EU: Revised proposal on telecoms regulation: 'Citizens' Rights Directive' (pdf): This is a draft Directive amending the 2002 Directive on privacy in telecommunications. It addresses aspects of data protection, data security, confidentiality, traffic data, location data, caller ID, subscriber data and unsolicited communications but will not apply to activities falling outside of the 'first pillar', including access by law enforcement agencies to data collected under the EU's mandatory retention regime.

UK: Armed police officers from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary took part in a joint operation to check motorists' road tax licenses with Cumbria police last week. Police taking part in Operation Lee on public roads near Sellafield stopped motorists and a police spokesman said that if an arrest was necessary it would be carried out by a Cumbria Constabulary officer, not an armed response officer. (News and Star 13/11/08) - source: N-BASE Nuclear Information Service

MALTA: Scandalous: Borg Olivier requests confidential data of ‘complaining citizens’ (Malta Today. link) In an email to government ministers, PN secretary general blurs state and party lines by requesting personal data of individuals who complained to ministries

EU-UN-ROMA: UN experts call for European action to stop violence against Roma (UN press release, pdf):

"Effective action is required to stem the growing tide of hostility, anti-Roma sentiment and violence across Europe" stated the UN Independent Expert on minority issues, Gay McDougall. "Where a hard-core of extremism exists in society and is willing to perpetrate violence, the full force of the criminal justice system must be used to protect targeted populations."

Equally, the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, Githu Muigai, stressed that "such actions reveal serious and deep-rooted problems of racism and discrimination against Roma at the heart of modern Europe that must be addressed in the most vigorous manner and through the rule of law."

See also: Ethnic riot erupts in Czech town (BBC News, link)

EU: European Commission drops proposals for "body scanners" at airports (which strip people naked). On 18 November the Commission announced that it was to drop its proposal for "body scanners" to be used as part of airport security after opposition from the European Parliament and civil society groups. Lack of EU rules means member states can choose whether or not to use "body scanners".

See: Letter from Commissioner Tajani to EP (pdf)

See also: EU: Body Scanners at airports: MEPs say that fundamental rights are under threat (EP Press release, pdf) and The measure was proposed in the Commission proposal for a Regulation on aviation security: full-text (pdf).

UK: INTRODUCTION OF ID CARDS: Home Office: Consultation press release (pdf) and full Consultation document (pdf) and see story below.

UK: Home Office: Identity and Passport Service: Introducing the National Identity Scheme: How the Scheme will work and how it will benefit you (pdf). The No2ID campaign comments:

"The document doesn't mention that once your details are in the database they are in there for life, that it is your responsibility to keep that data up to date and to not lose your card, that you can't check your record, that there are fines for any errors or if you fail to keep your data up to date, and that the National Identity Register Number will be used to track you for the rest of your life."

UK: The fear of children - There is dismaying evidence of intolerance and hatred of young people and that attitude is matched by the Labour government by Henry Porter (Guardian, link)

UK: Vetting blunders label 12,000 innocent people as paedophiles, violent thugs and thieves (Daily Mail, link)

CoE-FRANCE: “French detention and immigration policies risk reducing human rights protection” says Commissioner Hammarberg (Press release, pdf) and Memorandum by Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights (pdf):

"Security concerns should not undermine a full respect for human rights norms. Some French policies on detention and immigration risk undermining these standards.” With these words, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, presented today his report on France, identifying problems as regards prison conditions, preventive detention (rétention de sûreté), juvenile justice and rights of migrants.

Grinding down the human rights defenders (link). The Autumn 2008 issue of the IRR's European Race Bulletin examines the resistance and the criminalisation of solidarity and protest, also contains an article on the the Austrian general election and the death of Jörg Haider.

EU: "CHECK THE WEB" PROJECT which looks for terrorist websites with the object of closing them down: From "terrorism" to "Islamist propaganda from moderate Islamist websites": Draft Council conclusions on the continuation of work on combating terrorism (EU doc no: 15684/08, dated 14 November 2008, pdf) These Conclusions say there is a need:

"to combat the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes, and in particular to participate in the European "Check the Web" project, inter alia on subjects such as "Islamist propaganda from moderate Islamist websites"" (emphasis added)

But see: EU: Revised EU Strategy for Combating Radicalisation and Recruitment to Terrorism (EU doc no: 15175/08, dated 14 November 2008, pdf), which says that factors leading to "radicalisation" include: "unresolved international and domestic strife" (as before there is no mention of Palestine, Iraq or Afghanistan). The Strategy report goes on to say that:

"We need to empower mainstream voices by stepping up the dialogue with political, religious and separatist groups which favour moderation and exclude recourse to violence."

Presumably "mainstream voices" that "favour moderation" include "moderate Islamist websites"? Or does "moderate" only extend to websites categorised by EU police and internal security agencies as not carrying "Islamist propaganda"?

Background: Most documents on the EU's "Check the Web" project are pretty bland or censored, see: Conclusions of the Kick-off conference "Check the Web" - Berlin, 26-27 September 2006 (EU doc: 13930/08, dated 10 November 2008, pdf)

EU-US DATA-INFORMATION-SHARUNG: Data chief attacks transatlantic police plan (Inquirer, link)

Italy: Raft of restrictive amendments under discussion, as new norms on asylum and family reunion come into force

ASGI, the Associazione Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione, has presented a number of documents highlighting the problems that would result from amendments that have been submitted to the law decree on security (Ddl 773) that is undergoing scrutiny in the Senate since 11 November 2008 and the latest reform of the education system.

See also: Italy: Institutionalising discrimination by Yasha Maccanico (Statewatch Bulletin, Vol 18 no 2 April-June 2008):

"The racist scape-goating of Roma and Sinti has paved the way for an ominous crackdown by the Berlusconi government with echoes of a terrible past and could lead to a shift to authoritarianism that will be difficult to reverse."

USA: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): Documents Reveal U.S. Knowingly Transfers Detainees To Countries That Torture (link) The documents obtained by the ACLU and Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic (link)

EU: "Freedom, Security and Justice: What will be the future?" – Consultation on priorities of the European Union for the next five years (2010-2014, pdf): Opinion of the National Red Cross Societies of the Member States of the European Union and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

European Parliament lifts immunity of far-right MEP (euobserver, link)

Italy: High ranking police officers acquitted in sentence for brutal G8 Diaz school raid

Spain: Report claims right of access to information is not fully recognised

GREECE: Protests in Greek prisons: Public support for prison protests - Greece in the Spotlight (pdf)

CoE: RENDITION: Dick Marty: Brief to US Supreme Court: Khaled el-Masri case (pdf)

Press Release: European Union sets its military sights on space - Venus to Mars: full-text of report (pdf)

Amsterdam, 17 November. For immediate release. European space policy is increasingly driven by military rather than civilian objectives, according to From Venus to Mars: the European Union´s steps towards the militarisation of space, a new report from the Transnational Institute and Campagne tegen Wapenhandel (Dutch Campaign Against Arms Trade).

“Under the guise of ´dual use´ technologies, we are witnessing the creeping militarisation of European space policies” says Frank Slijper, author of the report. “The EU is now investing large sums in new military space technologies at the behest of the very businesses that stand to profit from its policies.”

From Mars to Venus charts the emergence of a military role for the formerly purely civilian ESA. The report highlights how projects that are initially presented as civilian or civil security initiatives often have ´dual´ or multiple use that includes a strong military component. For example, the main rationale for the Kopernikus project, which gives the EU a global monitoring capacity, is now more clearly stated in terms of its capacity for providing intelligence to support future European and NATO military interventions.

Updated: EU-EXCHANGE OF CRIMINAL RECORDS: Exchange of criminal information and "intelligence": Draft Guidelines on the implementation of the "Swedish Framework Decision" (13942/REV1/08, 107 pages, pdf).

"The aim of this publication is to provide guidelines for the implementation of Council Framework Decision 2006/960/JHA on simplifying the exchange of information and intelligence between law enforcement authorities of the Member States of the European Union."

plus: Council Framework Decision 2006/960/JHA on simplifying the exchange of information and intelligence between law enforcement authorities of the Member States of the European Union - draft Guidelines (pdf)

See also the underlying measure - which goes much wider as it covers both the exchange of "information" and of "intelligence" (that may be "hard" and reliable, or "soft" and unreliable, uncorroborated: Framework Decision on simplifying the exchange of information and intelligence between law enforcement authorities of the Member States of the European Union (pdf)

GENOA-2001: No justice in Genoa - The G8 protesters were brutalised, yet the Foreign Office showed complete indifference (Guardian, link). See Statewatch's Observatory on reactions to protests in the EU

EU-EUROPOL: Report from the UK House of Lords Select Committee on the EU: EUROPOL: Coordinating the fight against serious and organised crime (285 pages, pdf)

EU-USA-DATA PROTECTION: Opinion from the European Data Protection Supervisor: Final Report by the EU-US High Level Contact Group on information sharing and privacy and personal data protection (pdf)

EU/Africa/Middle East: Fortress Europe blog details 108 deaths in October 2008

UK: Mohamed Raissi falsely imprisoned (Press release, pdf) and Full-text of Court Judgment (pdf):

"Today the Court of Appeal delivered its judgment confirming that Mohamed Raissi was falsely imprisoned by officers of the Metropolitan Police when they arrested and detained him at Paddington Green Police Station on 21 September 2001.

Mohamed Raissi is the brother of Lotfi Raissi who was wrongly accused of training the 9/11 hijackers. The Court of Appeal confirmed in February this year that Lotfi was “completely exonerated” in a strongly worded judgement that was critical of the part played by the Crown Prosecution Service and the Metropolitan Police in the failed attempt to extradite him."

UK-PAKISTAN: Agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on the Transfer of Prisoners (pdf)

Joint UK-French charter to repatriate Afghans narrowly averted?

Paris, 4 November 2008: CONCLUSIONS OF THE XL COSAC (Conference of Community and European Affairs Committees of Parliaments of the European Union) includes:

"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."

See also Letter from the Grand Committee of the Finnish Parliament (pdf)

And Statewatch's Observatory on access to EU documents: 2008-2009

UK: Academics are not immigration officials (Letter to the Guardian, 10 November 2008, link). See also news story with a slightly insensitive headline: Academics balk at 'spying' on students to nail migrant scams (link)

GREECE, Athens: ASYLUM-SEEKERS PROTEST - MIGRANT DIES: Press release from NGOs (pdf)

ARSIS - Social Association for the Support of Youth, Ecumenical Refugee Programme, Greek Helsinki Monitor, Group of Lawyers for the Rights of Migrants and Refugees (Athens), Group of Lawyers for the Rights of Migrants and Refugees (Thessaloniki) ,Hellenic League for Human Rights Movement for Human Rights, Solidarity with Refugees in Samos, National Focal Point on Racism and Xenophobia, KEMO PRAKSIS "PROS-FYGI", Initiative for Solidarity with Refugees in Mytilini.

"during the weekend of 25-26 October, after having been barred from the asylum process for two months, an unprecedented number of asylum seekers (around 3000)
queued up outside the building of the Aliens' Directorate at Petrou Ralli Street, in order to claim asylum under conditions which degraded their human dignity.

The response of the police was to resort to violence in order to repel the crowd; as a result, many were injured while the death of a migrant during these events is being treated as suspicious following witness accusations."

UK: Policing the 21st century: Home Affairs Select Committee report: Vol I: Report (link) and Vol II: Evidence (link)

Italy/Libya: "Special and privileged" bilateral relationship treaty

On 30 August 2008, Italy and Libya signed a friendship, partnership and co-operation treaty for the purpose of developing a "special and privileged" bilateral relationship involving a strong and wide-ranging partnership in political, economic and other fields. The treaty also seeks to end the "painful" chapter of the past involving suffering inflicted on Libyan people during Italy's colonial adventure, for which Italy expressed its regret in a joint statement in 1998.

Catching History on the Wing by A. Sivanandan, November 2008, speech by the IRR's director, at the IRR's fiftieth celebration conference (Full-text of speech, IRR, link):

"the refugees and asylum seekers, thrown up on Europe's shores, stem from the uprooting and displacement of whole populations caused by globalisation, and the imperial wars and regime change that follow in its wake. Globalisation and immigration are part of the same continuum. We are here because you are there."

THE ALTERNATIVE CONSULTATION ON EU JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS POLICY

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the future priorities in the field of Justice and Home Affairs policy. The European Civil Liberties Network has produced an alternative questionnaire to provoke a more wide ranging debate about EU policy and practice.

Please take a few moments to complete the survey and have your say on EU justice and home affairs policy: Complete survey

For more information about the ECLN survey, see: the ECLN survey

UK: Government black boxes will 'collect every email' (Independent, link): "Internet "black boxes" will be used to collect every email and web visit in the UK under the Government's plans for a giant "big brother" database"

VICHY-FRANCE: Protests as France's Vichy hosts first conference since war (link)

VICHY, France (AFP) Protesters against Europe's immigration policy descended on the town of Vichy Monday as the shamed capital of France's former pro-Nazi dictatorship hosted its first international government conference since World War II.

Passport Service dismisses 14 for database abuses (Computer Weekly, link)

EU: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council providing for sanctions against employers of illegally staying third-country nationals (EU doc: DS 1006/08, pdf). Report from the Council Presidency to SCIFA setting out the latest positions on the proposed Directive.

However, you will not find this document listed on the Council public register of documents because it has been classified as a Room Document and thus to be kept hidden.

EU: European Data Protection Supervisor: The EDPS and EU Research and Technological Development: Policy paper (pdf)

UK: Total spending ban on men accused of funding al-Qaida: Pair caught in legal trap they cannot challenge - Funds frozen under power never discussed by MPs (Guardian, link)

UK-USA: Cross-party attempt to fight extradition of British hacker (Guardian, link) "Senior politicians from all parties are urging the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, to halt the extradition of the computer hacker Gary McKinnon unless she receives a guarantee from the US that he will be allowed to serve any sentence imposed in Britain."

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


 

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