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    ISSN 1756-851X
    01 October 2014
 

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UK: Moazzam Begg to be freed as prosecutors drop terror charges - Former Guantánamo Bay detainee is expected to walk free from Belmarsh prison as seven charges are dropped (Guardian, link):

"The prosecution of former Guantánamo inmate Moazzam Begg has dramatically collapsed after the prosecution said there was insufficient evidence to bring him to trial on terrorism charges. An Old Bailey judge entered a formal verdict of not guilty on Wednesday and ordered that Begg be set free immediately from Belmarsh high security prison. The 45-year-old from Birmingham had spent seven months in custody after being arrested and questioned over a trip he had made to Syria....

Begg’s lawyer, Gareth Peirce, said he should never have been charged, as his activities did not amount to terrorism. “This is a good man trying to the right thing in a very difficult world,” she said."

and Moazzam Begg to be released as terror charges dropped (BBC News, link):

European Parliament: Commissioners Hearings: Full transcripts: Hearing of Dimitris Avramopoulos: Commissioner-Designate (Migrations and Home Affairs) and Hearing of Gunther Oettinger: Commissioner-Designate (Digital Economy and Society): (pdf)

UK: Drone Campaign Network: Campaigning to Ground the Drones: Drones Week of Action 2014 (link): "The week of action runs from Saturday 4th October until Saturday 11th October. Please let us have your events to publicise here by emailing penny.dcn@gmail.com. If you would like a drones resource pack for your event see the resources page."

CoE: Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence: Safe from fear, safe from violence: Istanbul Convention (Leaflet, pdf) and Full text of Convention (pdf): "The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence is the most far-reaching international treaty to tackle this serious violation of human rights. It aims at zero tolerance for such violence and is a major step forward in making Europe and beyond safer."

EU: Remember: It happened then – It Happens again: International Day Against Fascism and Antisemitism 9 November 2014 (UNITED, link):

"Remember that all that is really needed for fascism, nationalism, antisemitism and xenophobia to grow is a fertile soil from where it can spread its’ hate and irrationality. And, in addition, enough bystanders believing that ‘it is not so dangerous as it was before.’

But, do we need to fear? No, not anymore. We need to be aware and act. And cooperate with responsible political leaders to act together. Today’s Europe is clear: we do not want a repetition of the holocaust, and we do not want any group raising above all others. We must step out from being a bystander, learn from the past and take a common stand for our future."

EU: Council of the European Union: "Researchers" Directive, Council developing its negotiating position on: Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, pupil exchange, remunerated and unremunerated training, voluntary service and au pairing [Recast]  (LIMITE doc no: 13600-14,163 pages, pdf) With 271 footnotes and Member State interventions.

EU Council of the European Union: Draft Conclusions: Foreign fighters: follow-up on the Conclusions of the European Council of 30 August 2014 (LIMITE doc no: 13416-14, 26-9-14, pdf):

In response to the recent UN Resolution (2178-2014) on 24 September which calls on members of the UN to reinforce their engagement against terrorism, by, inter alia, making it a criminal offense to travel abroad for terrorist purposes. It proposes increased use of SIS II with more "systematic checks" to detect people leaving and returning from Syria: ."the Council could agree that Member States will undertake systematic checks of the relevant databases without changing the legislation" and "invalidate travel documents" plus the swift introduction of EU-PNR.

.Position developed by a meeting in Milan attended by Italian Council Presidency: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, Spain, Netherlands and UK.

EU: Frontex: Concept of reinforced joint operation tackling the migratory flows towards Italy: JO EPN-Triton to better control irregular migration and contribute to SAR in the Mediterranean Sea (pdf)

UK: Government: "Plans to ban non-violent extremists": Theresa May vows Tory government would introduce ‘snooper’s charter’ (Guardian, link) and see: Theresa May: British values will prevail over extremists (BBC News, link)

"A future Conservative government would seek new powers to ban extremist groups and curb the activities of "harmful" individuals, Theresa May has said. Banning orders and "extreme disruption" orders will feature in the party's 2015 election manifesto....Mrs May said that getting access to communications data - details of who called who and when, but not the content of the calls - was vital.... the statutory duty for public bodies to have a counter-radicalisation strategy and enhanced powers for the Charity Commission to close down charities that are a front for extremist activity, with new efforts to improve awareness and training about the risks posed by extremism." [emphasis added]

EU: CRISIS MANAGEMENT: European External Action Service (EEAS): EU runs new crisis management exercise (Press release, pdf) and see: European Union Exercise Programme 2013-2015 (pdf)

EU: Amnesty International: Lives adrift: Refugees and migrants in peril in the central Mediterranean (pdf): "In this report Amnesty International argues that until safe and regular routes into Europe are in place for refugees and migrants, the priority for the EU and its member states must be to protect their lives and ensure access to asylum for those who need it, as they attempt the sea crossing."

See also: Migrant deaths crossing Mediterranean top 3,000 in 2014 (BBC News, link): "In a report published on Monday, the IOM said the 3,072 deaths made Europe the most dangerous destination for "irregular" migrants. The organisation said that some experts placed the toll three times as high."

EU: ILGA Europe: Good practices related to LGBTI asylum applicants in Europe (pdf): "This report seeks to inspire and encourage LGBTI NGOs and like-minded stakeholders to talk to and cooperate with their government officials in order to achieve improvements on the basis of consistent conceptual frameworks and practical methods. We hope this will lead to a European policy and practice which will offer safety to all those who flee homo- and transphobia."

USA-NSA: New Documents Shed Light on One of the NSA's Most Powerful Tools (ACLU, link): "Today, we're releasing several key documents about Executive Order 12333 that we obtained from the government in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that the ACLU filed (along with the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School) just before the first revelations of Edward Snowden. The documents are from the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and others agencies. They confirm that the order, although not the focus of the public debate, actually governs most of the NSA's spying." See: ACLU list of documents released 22 September 2104 (link) and Signals Defence Directive (pdf), Intelligence Oversight DIA (pdf) and Defence HUMINT Service: Handbook (link)

GERMANY: Asylum seekers abused in German shelter by security contractors (DW, link): "The image looks more like it hailed from Guantanamo Bay or Abu Ghraib, not the sleepy western German town Burbach. Police are investigating the alleged abuse of asylum seekers in a shelter home by security staff."

EU: European Parliament: Questions for the would-be home affairs and justice Commissioners (pdf) by Steve Peers and Emilio de Capitani:

"The would-be Commissioners for immigration and home affairs and Justice will shortly be questioned by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in hearings, to determine whether the EP should vote to confirm them in office. MEPs have already asked some written questions and the would-be Commissioners have replied. Since most of the written questions were not very searching (except for a couple of questions on data protection issues), the Commissioners did not reply in much detail.

However, the hearings are an opportunity for MEPs to ascertain the Commissioners’ plans, and to secure important political commitments, in these fields. To that end, we have therefore suggested a number of oral questions which MEPs should ask in the hearings."

EU-USA DATA PROTECTION: Malmstrom rejects accusations of working with US to weaken data laws (euobserver, link) See: Big brother’s little helper inside the European Commission (Access Blog, link) and email (relased in US). See also: US lobbying against the data protection reform intensifies (EDRI, link) referring to this Document (pdf)

In early 2011 it became apparent that the EU-US "umbrella" agreement was effectively dead in the water. The USA did not like the proposed Regulation and the EU, especially in parts of the Commission, and the European Parliament, wanted to adopt a new EU Regulation first. This e-mail is from early in the period from between January 2012 and the summer of 2013 when EU-USA formal negotiations took place.

And see: US admits to privacy friendly EU Commissioner (Business Cloud, link)

EU: Meijers Committee: Proposal for a Directive on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings (pdf)

UPDATED 29.9.14: EU: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs: LIMITE documents
Policy Cycle, Med Information Exchange Centres, Internal Security report, Radicalisation & Recruitment & Sanctions Mechanism

• EU: OPERATIONAL COOPERATION WITH NO PARLIAMENTARY ACCOUNTABILITY: Council of the European Union: Follow-up on the implementation of the EU priorities in combatting serious and organised international crime (LIMITE, 13579-14, 26-9-14, pdf):

"The Joint Action Days, organised from 15 to 23 September 2014 in the framework of the current policy cycle, involved law enforcement officers from all 28 EU Member States as well as Australia, Colombia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland and the USA (ICE and CBP).... How far have these priorities been linked up with national crime priorities, both in defining the EU priorities and in implementing these EU priorities through national actions ?

• . EU: Council of the European Union: Another Council initiated operational initiative to create additional "information exchange centres" in the Mediterranean (“antennas” for the exchange of information on specific criminal phenomena). This is to counter trafficking, smuggling and organised crime which is already one of the five priorities identified within the follow-up of the Task Force Mediterranean.

The first two would be one in the bordering area between Greece and Turkey and the other in Northern Africa, possibly in Tunisia or Libya and second strengthening links and information exchange of involved countries with the Italian law enforcement authorities through the implementation of homologous centres in the regions of Apulia and Sicily.

It would conclude with the development of a net of the new offices with the existing cooperation centres, through the International Operations Room of the Italian International Police Cooperation Service, "making an optimum use of the information resources." Here "information resources" includes intelligence too.

See: Proposal for establishing law enforcement information exchange centres in the Mediterranean area in order to counter cross-border criminality towards the European Union (Limite, doc no 12929-14, pdf)

• The Council highlights its new priority for operational planning - there are no mechanism for accountability in national and European Parliaments for "operations"

: "The Committee also debated its future role with a view to becoming more operational and increasing its visibility both at EU and national level." : Draft report to the European Parliament and national Parliaments on the proceedings of the Standing Committee on operational cooperation on internal security for the period January 2013 - June 2014 (Limite, doc no 11872-14, pdf)

Draft Guidelines for the EU Strategy for Combating Radicalisation and Recruitment to Terrorism (Limite, doc no 13001-14, pdf)

EU Sanctions Mechanism to optimize consistency in the application and monitoring of EU restrictive measures (Limite, 12977-14,pdf): Includes:

"Make available professional communication and media skills to credible civil society representatives who are well-placed to challenge and counter terrorist narratives" and "Reduce availability to and impact of online material that promotes radicalisation to terrorism" and "Make use of the existing instruments to support fostering critical thinking skills, such as the Creative Europe Programme and Erasmus+, as appropriate"

EU: Council of the European Union: Europol: To: JHA Counsellors/COSI Support Group: Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment - Draft revised methodology (LIMITE, 13200-14, pdf) The aim of the SOCTA is to: - analyse the character or the threatening features of organised crime groups (OCGs)
- analyse the threatening features of serious and organised crime (SOC) areas of activity (hereafter SOC areas) - analyse the threatening aspects of OCG and SOC areas by region - define the most threatening OCGs, criminal areas and their regional aspects. See also: Europol: "4x4" intelligence handling codes includes "dodgy data" (Statewatch database) and EU joint police operations target irregular migrants by Chris Jones: This article explains the 'policy cycle' on serious and international organised crime. In the words of the document (13200-14): "The starting point of this EU policy cycle is the SOCTA".

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT HEARINGS: New Commissioners in parliament next week: Answers to the EP Questionnaire

•  Frans TIMMERMANS: Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights (pdf)
Dimitris AVRAMOPOULOS Migration and Home Affairs (including immigration, internal security and security research, pdf)
Vìra JOUROVÁ Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality (pdf)
Günther OETTINGER Digital Economy and Society (pdf)
Andrus ANSIP Digital Single Market: Vice-President of the Commission (pdf)


Top reports 2014

See: Resources for researchers: Statewatch Analyses: 1999-ongoing

SECILE Project: Taking stock of EU Counter-terrorism policy and review mechanisms: Summary of Statewatch’s findings for SECILE project (pdf)
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Catalogue of EU Counter-Terrorism Measures Adopted since 11 September 2001 (pdf) by Ben Hayes & Chris Jones
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Report on how the EU assesses the impact, legitimacy and effectiveness of its counterterrorism laws (pdf) by Ben Hayes & Chris Jones
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Data Retention in Europe: A Case Study (pdf) by Chris Jones & Ben Hayes :

EU: Borderline: The EU's New Border Surveillance Initiatives: Assessing the Costs and Fundamental Rights Implications of EUROSUR and the "Smart Borders" Proposals (pdf) A study by the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Written by Dr. Ben Hayes and Mathias Vermeulen: "Unable to tackle the root of the problem, the member states are upgrading the Union’s external borders. Such a highly parochial approach taken to a massive scale threatens some of the EU’s fundamental values - under the pretence that one’s own interests are at stake. Such an approach borders on the inhumane."

Statewatch's 20th Anniversary Conference, June 2011: Statewatch conference speeches

TNI - Statewatch: Counter-terrorism, 'policy laundering' and the FATF - legalising surveillance, regulating civil society

Statewatch publication: Guide to EU decision-making and justice and home affairs after the Lisbon Treaty (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex, with additional material by Tony Bunyan

EU: Major report from Statewatch and the Transnational Institute: NeoConOpticon - The EU Security-Industrial Complex by Ben Hayes (pdf): 700,000+ copies downloaded. Executive Summary (pdf) and NeoConOpticon blog

SPECIAL STATEWATCH REPORT: The Shape of Things to Come - the EU Future Group (Version.1.3) by Tony Bunyan: 67,134+ copies downloaded. The report calls for a “meaningful and wide-ranging debate” before it is “too late” for privacy and civil liberties. 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." See also ongoing: Statewatch Observatory: The Stockhom Programme

See: Tony Bunyan's column in the Guardian: View from the EU

Statewatch publication: Border wars and asylum crimes by Frances Webber (38 pages, pdf): "When the pamphlet ‘Crimes of Arrival’ 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.... There is a frightening continuity between the treatment of asylum claimants and that of terrorist suspects. In the name of the defence of our way of life and our enlightenment values from attack by terrorists or by poor migrants, that way of life is being destroyed by creeping authoritarianism, and those values – amongst which the most important is the universality of human rights – betrayed." See also: Crimes of arrival: immigrants and asylum-seekers in the new Europe (12 pages, 1995, pdf). To order hard-copy see: Statewatch Publications

EU: Statewatch Report: Arming Big Brother: new research reveals the true costs of Europe's security-industrial complex by Ben Hayes (pdf, April 2006). The European Union is preparing to spend hundreds of million on new research into surveillance and control technologies, according to Arming Big Brother, a new report by the Transnational Institute (TNI) and Statewatch. Press release (English) Press release (Spanish, link) Copy of full report (English, pdf) Copy of full report (Spanish, pdf) Hard copies of Arming Big Brother can be obtained from: The Transnational Institute, please send an e-mail to: wilbert@tni.org with your request.

Europe: A collection of "Essays in defence of civil liberties and democracy" was published in 2005

Global surveillance: Global coalition launch report and international surveillance campaign: 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: "The emergence of a global infrastructure for registration and surveillance" (20 April, 2005).

Statewatch report: Journalism, civil liberties and the war on terrorism (full-report/request printed copy) - Special report by the International Federation of Journalists and Statewatch including 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 (published World press freedom day, 1 May 2005)

Statewatch "Scoreboard" on EU counter-terrorism plans (pdf) agreed in the wake of the Madrid bombings. Our analysis shows that 27 out of the 57 EU proposals have little or nothing to do with tackling terrorism - they deal with crime in general and surveillance: Analysis in Spanish (March 2004)


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