Please note: this observatory is no longer updated.
In the wake of the attacks in the US on 11 September 2001 and 11 March in Madrid a whole series of new measures have been introduced which affect fundamental rights. This "Observatory" tracks measures by providing both anaylsis and documentation so that civil society can find out what is being planned and make its views known.
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?"
* 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."
* EU: Statewatch analysis: The “digital tsunami” and the EU surveillance state (pdf) by Tony Bunyan
* EU: SPECIAL STATEWATCH REPORT: The Shape of Things to Come by Tony Bunyan
The EU is currently developing a new five year strategy for justice and home affairs and security policy for 2009-2014. The proposals set out by the shadowy "Future Group" set up by the Council of the European Union include a range of highly controversial measures including new technologies of surveillance, enhanced cooperation with the United States and harnessing the "digital tsunami". In the words of the EU Council presidency: "Every object the individual uses, every transaction they make and almost everywhere they go will create a detailed digital record. This will generate a wealth of information for public security organisations, and create huge opportunities for more effective and productive public security efforts."
Seven years on from 11 September 2001 and the launch of the "war on terorism" this major new report The Shape of Things to come (60 pages) examines the proposals of the Future Group and their effect on civil liberties. It shows how European governments and EU policy-makers are pursuing unfettered powers to access and gather masses of personal data on the everyday life of everyone – on the grounds that we can all be safe and secure from perceived “threats”.
The Statewatch report calls for a “meaningful and wide-ranging debate” before it is “too late” for privacy and civil liberties.
* USA: RENDITION-TORTURE-US ASSURANCES: Report from the UK House of Commons foreign Affairs Committee: Human Rights Annual Report 2007 (pdf). It includes the following Conclusions:
"We conclude that, given the clear differences in definition, the UK can no longer rely on US assurances that it does not use torture, and we recommend that the Government does not rely on such assurances in the future."
"We conclude that it is extremely important that the veracity of allegations that the Government has “outsourced” interrogation techniques involving the torture of British nationals by Pakistani author authorities should be ities investigated."
"We conclude that the Government has a moral and legal obligation to ensure that flights that enter UK airspace or land at UK airports are not pa part of the “rendition rt circuit”, even if they do not have a detainee on board during the time they are in UK territory. We recommend that the Government should immediately raise questions about such flights with the US authorities in order to ascertain the full scale of the rendition problem, and inform the Committee of the replies it rece receives in its response ives to this Report."
* USA: Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and the International Human Rights Clinic at NYU School of Law (NYU IHRC): Rights groups challenge CIA for failure to release more than 7,000 documents relating to secret detention, rendition and torture program (pdf): "The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) must no longer be allowed to use classification arguments in its attempts to prevent the disclosure of illegal or embarrassing conduct in its secret detention, torture, and rendition programs, three prominent human rights groups said today. The statement came just hours after they collectively filed a motion to require the CIA to make certain information public and to provide more details about all the documents withheld."
* Statewatch's observatory on the "terrorist lists" has been updated with the following items:
- Pakistan launches fresh offensive in Baluchistan, Britain accused of Baluchi "prisoner swap";
- Denmark: Seven activists facing prison for symbolic support of PLFP and FARC;
- UK: POAC rules proscription of the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) unlawful;
- Procedures for blacklisting individuals suspected of terrorist links are unworthy of the UN Security Council and EU, says COE
- European Court of Justice strikes down Commission's decision to grant anti-terrorism assistance to the Philippines government;
- Four new challenges against EU 'terrorist' lists lodged at Court of First Instance;
- European Court of Justice rules that it is illegal to sell property to people whose assets have been frozen under Community law.
* CIA RENDITION-IRISH HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION report: "Extraordinary rendition" inspection and monitoring regime must be established as a matter of urgency: Diplomatic assurances not enough says Irish Human Rights Commission (Press release, 11 December 2007, pdf). The full text of the IHRC Report (20 MB, link)
"The report concludes that diplomatic assurances received from the US Government are not sufficient for Ireland to satisfy its human rights obligations with regard to the issue of ‘extraordinary rendition’ flights passing through Irish territory.
The Commission recommends that an effective inspection regime be put in place to ensure that no foreign aircraft which might be suspected of involvement in the illegal practice of ‘extraordinary rendition’ may land and refuel in Ireland. An effective inspection regime will ensure that no prisoners are transited through the State en route to a situation of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
* COUNCIL OF EUROPE: Procedures for blacklisting individuals suspected of terrorist links are unworthy of the UN Security Council and EU (12 November 2007, full-text of report, pdf) says PACE. The Legal Affairs Committee of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), which today approved a report by Dick Marty (Switzerland, ALDE). These procedures, which are "unworthy" of the UN and EU, must urgently be overhauled to make them fairer. Earlier report by Marty: UN Security Council black lists (March 2007, pdf)
* EU-PNR-PLAN: European Commission: PNR (passenger name record) scheme proposed to place under surveillance all travel in and out of the EU
* EU-USA Agreement on the exchange of classified information: - "carte blanche" for exchanging information on a host of issues - all documents to be exchanged by courier - no electronic exchanges. Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: "This is another instance of secret policymaking. European and national parliaments should be consulted and the texts made public so that there can be a debate as to their content and consequences. Putting these agreements in place is not just about exchanging classified documents, it is also about the construction of a security regime for future cooperation on defence, foreign policy and justice and home affairs between the EU, non-EU states and unaccountable international organisations. It is about cementing the aims and objectives of the EU-NATO-USA politico-military axis."
* Council of Europe's Anti-Torture Committee denounces secret detention: "Strasbourg, 14.09.2007 - In its 17th General Report published today, the CPT denounces secret detention, an illegal practice that has been resorted to in particular in the context of the fight against terrorism. Secret detention amounts in itself to ill-treatment and – due to the removal of fundamental safeguards which it entails - inevitably heightens the risk of resort to other forms of ill-treatment. Responding to reports that certain secret detention facilities were located in European countries, the CPT invites anyone who is in possession of information concerning such facilities to bring it to the attention of the Committee. The CPT also comments on the related issue of extra-judicial transfers from one country to another, so-called "renditions". The Committee is particularly concerned by the practice of rendition for the purposes of detention and interrogation outside the normal criminal justice system. "Operations of this kind inevitably involve a risk of ill-treatment for the person concerned that no 'assurances' can ever fully remove; it follows that the authorities of Parties (to the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture) should never offer assistance in the context of such operations". (CoE, press release) Full-text of General Report (pdf)
* EU-USA: SPECIAL: US demands 10 year ban on access to PNR documents The US government has written to the Council of the European Union - seven days after it was signed - asking it to agree that all the documents regarding the negotiations leading to the controversial new EU-US PNR (passenger name record, signed on 23 July 2007) agreement be kept secret
* EU-US PNR agreement: US changes the privacy rules to exemption access to personal data USA to give exemptions for the Department of Home Security from its Privacy Act - USA to give exemptions for the "Arrival and Departure System" (ADIS) from its Privacy Act - Did the EU know that the US was planning to introduce these exemptions?
* Statewatch analysis: “Terrorist lists” still above the law (pdf) by Ben Hayes who comments: "The EU's reform of its terrorist lists amounts to little more than window dressing. Secret intergovernmental committees continue to act as judge and executioner and those listed are denied their basic human rights. Until they are granted a fair hearing - in which the substantive allegations against them can be reviewed by a competent, impartial tribunal - the terrorist lists will continue to represent a legal vacuum and a betrayal of the EU's commitment to the rule of law"
* EU-USA-PNR: European Data Protection Supervisor, Peter Hustinx, letter to the German Council Presidency: Hustinx letter, 27 June 2007: full-text (pdf). The letter expresses "grave concern" at the proposals
* EU-USA-PNR (passenger name record): EU negotiators agree that PNR data will be held for 7 years, doubling the current 3.5 years, and in addition agree that data can be access for a further 8 years (so-called "dormant" data). See News Online
* Council of Europe: Clandestine CIA operations authorised through NATO including those in Poland and Romaia: Secret detentions and illegal transfers of detainees involving Council of Europe member states: Second report (link to press release). Secret detentions and illegal tranfers of detainees involving CoE members: second report by Dick Marty (full-text, pdf) and - Disguised CIA flights to Poland (link to graph); - The "secure zone" for CIA transfers and secret detentions in Romania (link); - Flight logs related to the secret "homeward rendition" of Khaled El-Masri in May 2004 (pdf); - The investigation into secret detentions in Europe: a chronology (link)
* ITALY-CIA-RENDITION: Americans and Italians are indicted in CIA kidnapping case (International Herald Tribune, link) MILAN, Italy: An Italian judge on Friday indicted 26 Americans and five Italians for what will be the first criminal trial over the CIA's extraordinary rendition program. The judge set a trial date for June 8. Prosecutors allege that five Italian intelligence officials worked with the Americans - almost all CIA agents - to abduct terror suspect Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr from a Milan street on Feb. 17, 2003. See: Statewatch's Observatory on CIA Rendition - documentation
* EP: The European Parliament has adopted (14 February 2007) a highly critical report on CIA renditions and detentions and on the activities of a number of EU governments including the UK, Austria, Italy, Poland and Portugal. The report: "gives detailed evidence of investigations of illegal rendition or CIA flight cases involving Germany, Sweden, Spain, Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Denmark, Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Bosnia and Romania." Full-text of the European Parliament Resolution adopted on 14 February 2007 on CIA rendition and detention (pdf) Press release on the CIA rendition debate and amendments agreed (pdf). Excellent summary in Working Document no 9 of the key evidence (eg: cases and flights) gathered on Italy, UK, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Macedonia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Romania and Poland to back up the Resolution above: Evidence gathered on key EU states - CIA rendition and detention (pdf) This should be read in conjunction with: Working Document no 7 (extraordinary renditions) and Working Document no 8: Companies working for the CIA and stop-overs in the EU. Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: "The European Parliament's committee of inquiry has done a great public service in gathering evidence to show not just the extent of CIA renditions through and abductions in the EU but also the collusion - by "turning a blind eye" - of EU governments. This have been achieved with little or no help from the other EU institutions (European Commission and the Council of the European Union)."
* ITALY-CIA: Italian judge issues arrest warrants for 13 CIA agents involved in the kidnapping and rendition of Abu Omar to Egypt where he was tortured: Abu Omar: Evidence as presented to the courts (pdf, 210 pages) See also Statewatch's Observatory on CIA renditions and detention (documents) and CIA team wanted over Milan 'kidnap' (Guardian, link)
* European Parliament inquiry into CIA rendition and detention: Inquiry report as adopted by the Committee on Civil Liberties (pdf). The report now goes to the plenary session. Press release on committee report For full background documentation see: Statewatch's Observatory on CIA renditions and detention
* Border Wars and Asylum Crimes by Frances Webber. When the Statewatch pamphlet "Crimes of Arrival" by the same author 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: Order publication (£10, 36 pages, A4)
* EU-CIA-RENDITION: What happened at dinner?
* Sweden: UN Human Rights Committee finds that Sweden broke the international prohibition against torture. The case concerned the rendition of two Egyptians from Sweden 2001 by undercover US and Egyptian agents. The UN Committee also states that the treatment of the two men on Swedish soil (Bromma Airport in Sweden) in connection with the rendition was a breach of the ban on torture and inhuman treatment. Full text of: UN Human Rights Committee Decision, 6 November 2006 Statewatch coverage: Sweden: Expulsions carried out by US agents, men tortured in Egypt and Update
* New EU-USA PNR deal:For full background documentation and history, see Statewatch's Observatory on the exchange of data on passengers (PNR) with the USA
* EU-USA: Status of ratifications on EU-USA Agreements on extradition and mutual legal assistance and bilateral instruments (pdf) Full-text of the Agreements (pdf) Statewatch analysis The two Agreements signed by the EU and USA on 25 June 2003 still have to be ratified by both sides - the US side will not start until the procedures in the EU member states are completed. Twelve of the member states in the old EU of 15 had to go through constitutional procedures as did the ten new states. Twelve member states still have to complete constitutional procedures. And although all 25 member states have signed the accompanying bilateral instruments with the USA the majority still have to ratify these. It is interesting to note that had the agreement on extradition been in place EU government could request the extradition of suspected CIA agents operating in the EU.
* European Parliament: Transfer of financial data to USA from SWIFT: The parliament adopted a Resolution on 6 July calling on EU governments, the Commission and the European Central Bank "to explain fully the extent to which they were aware of the secret agreement" between the Belgium-based SWIFT ('Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication') and the United States. Full-text of Resolution (pdf) Text of the debate - in original languages (pdf) The Resolution was proposed by an alliance of the PSE (Socialist group), ALDE (Liberals), GUE/NGL (United Left) and Green/EFA group. It was agreed by 302 votes with 219 votes against from the PPE-DE (Conservatives) and UEN groups. See: European Digital Rights (link) and: Privacy International: complaints in 33 countries on transfer of financial data to the US by SWIFT (link)
* European Parliament: Interim report on alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners approved in plenary session by a majority of 389 members against 137 with 55 MEPs abstaining (6 July 2006). Press release (pdf) Full-text of Interim report (pdf)
* EU: News agencies are reporting: Italian intelligence officer arrested in CIA kidnapping probe. The no 2 of the SISMI (the IT military intelligence service), Mauro Mancini, Director of the foreign "clandestine operations" section, has been arrested in connection with the CIA kidnapping of Abu Omar in Milan in 2003 - Abu Omar was flown by the CIA to Germany and then to Egypt where he was tortured. For full background see: Statewatch's Observatory on CIA rendition and flights which includes under Documents the court documents (nos 136-143)
* Europol-USA agreement: Was it really needed? Analysis and full-text of evaluation report. The report shows that there is no record of data transfers recorded by USA. 2005 evaluation report still secret
* MEPs: CIA "directly responsible" for abduction, detention and extraordinary renditions in Europe: European Parliament inquiry adopts interim report on CIA flights and rendtion Text of the Interim report NEW: Contribution of the Rapporteur: Research on the planes used by the CIA - highly detailed 72 page report (pdf) See for full background Statewatch's Observatory - full-text reports and 185 documents
* EU-US PNR (passenger name record) Treaty annulled by Court of Justice in case brought by the European Parliament - but is it a "pyrrhic" victory? Full-text of Judgment (pdf) Court of Justice press release (pdf)
* Statewatch launches a new "Observatory" on CIA "rendition"
* EU-USA: MEPs say Washington visit shows CIA investigation must continue - press statement 12 May 2006 from the delegation from the Committee of Inquiry into flights and detention (TDIP)
* European Parliament: ALDE (Liberal group) welcomes draft report on CIA alleged flights and secret prisons in the EU: Press statement (English) Press statement (French) Interim report from the inquiry into on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners (French)
* EU: New Statewatch Report: Tuesday 25 April 2006: Arming Big Brother: new research reveals the true costs of Europe's security-industrial complex (pdf) The European Union is preparing to spend up to €1 billion per year on new ‘research’ into surveillance and control technologies, according to Arming Big Brother, a new report by the Transnational Institute (TNI) and Statewatch. “Arms industry lobbying is leading to the creation of a powerful new internal security-industrial complex,” says Ben Hayes, author of the report. Arming Big Brother lifts the lid on the secretive committees and arms industry lobbying that led to the creation of the European Security Research Programme (ESRP). “The EU is basically funding the diversification of the ‘military-industrial complex’ into the highly profitable internal security field”, said Hayes. “The militarisation of policing and border controls will not prevent crime or terrorism, it does nothing to address ‘root causes’ while posing a massive threat to civil liberties”: Press release Five page Summary Copy of full report Hard copies of Arming Big Brother can be obtained from: The Transnational Institute, please send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org with your request.
* UK: "Renew for freedom" campaign launched - urging people to get a new passport now to avoid the fingerprinting ID card for 10 years. How to do it Factsheet (pdf) "Renew for freedom" website ((link)
* EU: Data Protection Commissioners calls for harmonised safeguards on the use of mandatory data retention Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: "Time and time again EU governments are "harmonising" the powers of the state to place individuals under surveillance, when are they going to "harmonise" the right of the individuals against the misuse and abuse of state power?"
* EU-CIA: Highly detailed Working Table on alleged CIA flights/secret prisons prepared for the European Parliament's inquiry (pdf) prepared by the ALDE/CIA team
* EU-US Informal High Level meeting on freedom, security and justice on 2-3 March in Vienna - full-text (pdf) The minutes of this high-level meeting show the US input/interest on substantial issues of EU policy-making. Of particular interest are: 1. "US side indicated that it was considering approaching each [EU] Member State to ensure that the data collected on the basis of the recently adopted Directive on data retention be accessible to them". This is the measure which will enable the surveillance of all phone-calls, e-mails, faxes, mobile phone-calls and internet usage; 2. "US side expressed serious concern about the negative impact that the draft Framework Decision on data protection would have on its bilateral relations with Member states if it was to be adopted in its present form". This is a reference to Article 15 of the proposed measure referring to "an adequate level of protection is ensured in the third country" - which raises yet again the fact that there is no protection for non-US citizens. The EU side at the meeting clearly sought to meet this point by saying that: "Member States were divided on the need for such a provision".
* EU: Report from European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) Opinion on the International legal obligations of Council of Europe Member States in respect of secret detention facilities and inter-state transport of prisoners (adopted at the Plenary session on 17-18 March 2006, pdf)
* MEPs demand that the report on EU-US PNR (passnger name records) is de-classified: Letter to US from Liberal group MEPs (pdf). For full background see Statewatch's Observatory on the exchange of data on passengers (PNR) with USA
* EU-USA: The agreements on extradition and mutual legal assistance agreed in June 2003 still have some way to go before they come into effect. Twenty-two Member States are in the process of amending their constitutions to give effect to the agreements - a few of these have completed this process: EU doc no: 5848/06 (pdf). For full background and texts of the agreements see: Statewatch's analysis
* Council of Europe: Damning report on secret detentions and transport of detainees by foreign agencies (full-text, pdf). The report concludes that: Europe has next to no safeguards to monitor or control foreign intelligence agents nor any way of monitoring that its airports and airspace were not used for illegal abductions. For a: Full list of the replies given by each European government to the CoE's questions (link)
* CIA-renditions-flights: Speech by Tony Bunyan, Statewatch, to the European Parliament hearing on 23 February 2006 (pdf)
* Report from an Autistic Country by Dennis Tollborg, Sweden (pdf) Far-ranging lecture on the use and abuse of national security, the role of intelligence agencies and how the lives of people targeted can be ruined.
* USA: General Accountability Office (GAO) report on the "Secure Flight" programme which monitors domestic flights finds that the: "lack of progress indicates that the program has not been effectively managed and is at risk of failure" (p43). For example, none of the privacy and redress protections have ben put in place. International flights are to be monitored through the Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) and Passenger Name Record (PNR) scheme.
* Council of Europe: Rendition and camps: According to Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly investigator Dick Marty it is highly likely that European governments were aware of ‘rendition’ affecting Europe: CoE Interim Report - full-text (pdf)
* The war on terrorism: What is "Camolin"? An intelligence operation involving agencies from the USA, Germany, France, UK, Canada and Australia
* EU-USA: "Frank and non-diplomatic language" censored - Statewatch denied access to document to hide EU views on US demands
* EU-wide warrant over 'CIA kidnap' (BBC, link) Abu Omar was allegedly kidnapped from a Milan street An Italian court has issued Europe-wide arrest warrants for 22 suspected CIA agents accused of helping to kidnap a Muslim cleric in Milan in 2003.
* EU: "Unaccountable Europe" by Tony Bunyan (Statewatch editor) in Special issue of Index on Censorship: "Big Brother Goes Global"
* EU-USA: Rendition and removing refugees raise the same issue: Censored document reveals increased transit facilities for the USA to use EU airports to move people around the world Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: "Whether these US transit flights are for "criminals", "inadmissible aliens" or for rendition the same questions arise. Do EU governments know how many times their airports have been used for "transit" by US government flights? Which airports are used? How many people have been moved in this way? How many "criminals" and how many "inadmissible aliens"? If they do then why are the facts and figures not available? And if they do not know, why not? If EU governments do not know who is being moved and where by foreign agencies using their airports then they are grossly irresponsible. To "aid and abet" the movement of people in an inhuman or degrading way or to be tortured is a crime."
* EU: European Parliament, 14 December 2005: The EP today voted in favour of "deal" on mandatory data retention agreed in secret meetings between the Council (EU governments) and the "grand coalition" of the PPE (conservative group) and the PSE (socialist group). The measure was "fast-tracked" through the parliament on 1st reading. The vote was 378 votes in favour, 197 against and 30 abstentions. The GUE, Greens and UEN groups and some members from the ALDE group voted against the directive in the final vote. The rapporteur, Alexander Nuno Alvaro (ALDE, DE) withdrew his name from the report. For documents and background please see: Statewatch analysis: "The European Parliament and data retention: Chronicle of a 'sell-out' foretold?" (pdf) by Professor Steve Peers, Open Letter from civil society groups to the European Parliament calling on MEPs to reject Data Retention, UK-EU: Data retention and police access in the UK - a warning for Europe and for full background, see Statewatch's Observatory on the surveillance of telecommunications in the EU
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: "The European Parliament has failed on almost every count to protect fundamental rights and privacy. The two big parties in the parliament believe more in "inter-institutional loyalty" to the Council (the EU governments) than their responsibility to the people who elected them. The way this measure was passed is a democratic travesty - rushed through with deals negotiated in secret and not in open committee. When civil society and national parliaments have no chance to find out what is happening, when the proper co-decision timetable is discarded, there is little chance to intervene. Such a procedure diminishes respect for the European Parliament and lacks any legitimacy whatsoever. Mandatory data retention will place all the communications of everyone under surveillance. In 2002 the same grand coalition steam-rolled through the Directive on privacy in telecommunications opening the door to state agencies. In December 2004 the mandatory taking of finger-prints for passports was agreed and in April 2004 an EU PNR (passenger name record) for everyone flying in and out too. The asylum procedure directive - which is a disgrace to any notion of humanity and the rule of law - was formally adopted last week. The cost of the "war on terrorism" to democratic standards is mounting as each year goes by."
* Europe: Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s (PACE) Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, Paris 13 December. The rapporteur and Chair of the Committee, Dick Marty, Council of Europe statement on detention centres (full-text). "Legal proceedings in progress in certain countries seemed to indicate that individuals had been abducted and transferred to other countries without respect for any legal standards."
* European Commission: "Recommendation" and "Code of Conduct" for non-profit organisations. In another response to the "war on terrorism" the proposal calls for the compulsory registration of all non-profit groups in the EU: European Commission proposal calls for the compulsory registration of NGOs The proposal is being considered by the Council's (25 EU governments) "Joint meeting of Financial Attaches and Counter-Terrorism Focal Points", its first thoughts are in: EU doc no: 14694/05
* EU: The European Union Strategy for Combating Radicalisation and Recruitment to Terrorism" to be adopted as an "A" Point (without discussion) at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 1-2 December
* EU: Opinion of the Advocate-General on the European Parliament's case on EU-US PNR before the Court of Justice: Press release (pdf) Full-text of Opinion (French, 4.52MB, pdf). For background and documentation See Statewatch's Observatory exchange of passenger data with the USA Commentary: Advocate general backs Parliament challenge on passenger records (euractiv, link) EU-US air data accord under legal threat (eupolitix, links)
* Statewatch has launched an Observatory on the surveillance of telecommunications in the EU - under mandatory data retention a record will be kept of everyone's phone-calls, e-mails, mobile phone calls (including location) and internet usage. The Council (the 25 EU governments) are proposing the data can be accessed by law enforcement agencies for any suspected crime, however minor. The proposal is now being discussed in the European Parliament.
* EU: Mandatory data retention:
* 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
* "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)
* 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."
* 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: Protect our rights - a briefing document on the government's anti-terrorism proposals. A joint analysis from UK’s leading civil society organisations
* UK: Draft Terrorism Bill published (pdf)
* European Commission two proposals (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 Mandatory data retention in telecommunications
* 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
* 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: 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: Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC): We are all ‘terror suspects’: The ‘War on Terror’ at home (pdf)
* EU: 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 and 6,514 individuals (29.7.05)
* UK: London police shot wrong man (link to BBC News) The man shot dead by police on Friday 22 July was Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27 year old Brazilian national who had lived in London for three years, working as an electrician - police say that he had nothing to do with the bombings on 7 July or the attempted bombings on 21 July 2005. The shooting will be investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Authority (formerly the Police Complaints Authority), see: Police Complaints Authority Review of shootings by police in England and Wales from 1998 to 2001 (January 2003, pdf) See also: Guidelines (1987) ACPO Manual of guidance on police use of firearms (January 2003, pdf) Devon and Cornwall Police Guidelines (15 July 2005, pdf)
* UK: Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) calls for new terrorism measures:
- extend powers to detain people for questioning from 14 days to 3 months
- new offence of "indirect incitement" will "capture the expression of sentiments which do not amount to direct incitement"
- extend provisions in the Council of Europe's Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism which make the provision of training an offence to "receiving training" (this was discussed but rejected in the CoE negotiations)
- extend the role of MI5 (the Security Service) to enable it to operate outside of the UK and British Territories
- create a new offence of "inappropriate internet usage"
- have powers to "attack identified websites"
Full details in: ACPO proposals (pdf)
See also: Home Secretary announces new terrorism laws
* Statewatch report: The exceptional and draconian become the norm by Tony Bunyan (updated 19 July 2005). The emerging counter-terrorism regime: G8 and EU plans for “special investigative techniques”, the use of "intelligence information" in court and new “preparatory” offences
* EU: Biometrics - from visas to passports to ID cards
- The EU does not have the powers to introduce biometrics for national ID cards
- The ICAO standard only requires a "facial image"
- USA not intending to introduce biometrics on its passports - only a digitised normal passport photo
* EU: Special meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Ministers on 13 July 2005: Press release (pdf)
* EU: UK Presidency proposes that all ID cards have biometrics - everyone to be fingerprinted
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments:"This proposal, with others, means that everyone living in the EU is going to be finger-printed and their details held on an EU-wide database. At a time of great tragedy it is all the more important that we act with care and do not bequeath to future generations a society where every movement and every communication is under surveillance. Whether a democratic way of life could survive in such a climate is doubtful."
* UK-EU: Call for mandatory data retention of all telecommunications The draft proposal on the table is:
1. legally flawed and open to legal challenge
2. confused as to its scope - is it to deal with terrorism or crime in general?
3. requires service providers to retain data they have never collected before
4. the cost and technical capacity of service providers is unknown
5. the value in terms of tackling terrorism is highly questionable
6. it will store data on all the communications of everyone in the EU, suspect or not
7. there are no data protection provisions nor any external supervision
* Statewatch: Terrorising the rule of law: the policy and practice of proscription Statewatch, with partner organisations the Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC) and the Human Rights and Social Justice Institute (HRSJ, London Metropolitan University) publish extensive research on a new website to explain and monitor the policy of “proscription” – designating groups and individuals as “terrorists” in order to criminalise their activities or impose sanctions against them. The website includes expert legal analysis on the development of the policy, the scope and effect of the current UK, US, UN and EU “terrorist” lists, the procedures used to agree them, and what listed groups and individuals can do to challenge their inclusion.
* Spain: Court report on the Gabriele Kanze case - Gabriele Kanze was detained in complete isolation in Switzerland, and in provisional and preventative detention in Spain, for a total of over two years and eight months before being released.
* UK: Damning report on human rights and civil liberties: Report by Mr Alvaro Gil-Robles, Commissioner for Human Rights on the United Kingdom, Council of Europe (pdf)
* EU: On 7 June the plenary session of the European Parliament unanimously adopted the report from the Committee on Civil Liberties calling for the rejection of the proposal from the Council of the European Union (governments) on the mandatory retention of all telecommunications traffic data: Full-text of report (pdf)
* EU: Letter to the European Parliament on mandatory retention of communications data - from European Digital Rights, Privacy International and Statewatch. Letter (French) Letter (German) Letter (Spanish)
* EU: The Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament has rejected a proposal on the mandatory retention of data on all telecommunications for the purposes of law enforcement (full-text of adopted report, pdf) Press release (pdf)
* EU: Updated EU Anti-terrorism Action Plan, 23 May 2005 (pdf) The Action Plan updates that of 14 December 2004, see Statewatch's Observatory on freedom and democracy plus:
* Denmark: Greenpeace charged under anti-terror laws
* Journalism, civil liberties and the war on terrorism (full-report/request printed copy) - Special report by the International Federation of Journalists and Statewatch. This 64 page report includes an analysis of current policy developments as well as a survey of 20 selected countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin Amercia, the Middle East and the USA.
“An atmosphere of fear and uncertainty is being created and civil liberties are being torn to shreds, even in states with a reputation for tolerance and pluralism,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “This report is an alarm call to democracies," said Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director. "In the name of the "politics of fear" we are in great danger of sleepwalking into a surveillance society while the democratic values we have taken for granted are being sacrificed in the ‘war on terrorism’”.
* EU: Role of new Internal Security Committee being decided by the Council - in secret - "internal security" to include crime, public order, illegal immigration and border controls
* 20 April, 2005: Global coalition launch report and international surveillance campaign: London - Statewatch, with partner organisations the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Focus on the Global South, Friends Committee (US) and the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (Canada) today publishes an in-depth report on "The emergence of a global infrastructure for registration and surveillance". With the support of around 100 civil liberties groups and NGOs from across the world, the report is backed by the launch of the International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance (ICAMS), calling on all national governments and intergovernmental organisations to turn away from anti-terrorism efforts that are oriented around mass surveillance:
Tony Bunyan, Director of Statewatch, said: "We are very pleased to be joining with so many civil liberties groups from around the world to oppose the introduction of mass surveillance on a global basis. There is a real danger that in trying to watch everyone you are actually watching no-one"
* Statewatch announces an International project to stop “Policy Laundering” - EU liberties being undermined by the influence of secretive International fora (press release, pdf) Statewatch, which monitors civil liberties in the EU, with its partners – the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the human rights group Privacy International - today announced the formation of a new international “Policy Laundering Project” to monitor and counter the increasing policymaking influence on civil liberties issues through international organizations such as G8. The project is being launched on Wednesday, 13 April, at the annual Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference in Seattle, Washington, USA: “In more and more areas we are seeing security and law enforcement agencies pushing measures through international fora which undermine and endanger civil liberties and privacy which are then introduced through the national political process,” said Tony Bunyan Director of Statewatch. “This is the strategy we call policy laundering. The security and law enforcement agencies have “gone global” and so must the protection of civil liberties.”
* Statewatch special report - updated 26 March: The exceptional and draconian become the norm - G8 and EU counter-terrorism plans (pdf): "Special investigative" techniques * "intelligence information" in court * new "preparatory" terrorist offences.
* Evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union (sub-committee F): EU counter-terrorism measures (November 2004) (25.3.05)
* EU issues updated lists of "terrorist organisations and persons" (updated 17.3.05)
* EU: Europol report on: Terrorist activity in the European Union: Situation and trends report (TE-SAT) October 2003 - 17th October 2004 (pdf) This "non-confidential" report from Europol largely reflects the perspectives of police forces and criminal investigation departments at national level. Spain devotes more space to ETA than to international terrorism. Three and a bit pages, from six countries, are devoted to "leftwing extremism" and one paragraph, from Sweden, to "rightwing extemism". Meanwhile the report from the EU's Counter-Terrorism Coordinator sets out the: Fight against terrorism: Programme and priorities for 2005 (pdf).
* for earlier News please see: News Archive from September 2001
* EU measures are covered below and full documentation is provided
* UK: UK page
* Reactions in EU countries, US, Canada, Australia: Reactions
* Commentaries: articles and reports: Commentaries
In defence of freedom and democracy in the European Union
The key documents in the EU:
1. Conclusions of the Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20.9.01: Full-text (pdf file) | Statewatch analysis of planned new measures: Analysis these "Conclusions" have been supplemented by points 2 and 3 below
Latest versions: EU Plan of Action on Combating Terrorism - New Update (doc no 16090/04, dated 14.12.04).
(earlier versions of 16090/04: EU Plan of Action on Combating Terrorism (doc no 14330/04, 19.11.04) EU Plan of Action on Combating Terrorism (doc no 14330/1/04, 29.11.04)).
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