Statewatch In the News - Archive 2009

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December 2009

LIBYA: 'Go back and die in your own country, hospital is only for Libyans' (Times of Malta, link)

GREECE: Border crackdown on migrants (Kathimerini, link): "Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis yesterday heralded a major border crackdown aimed at significantly curbing the influx of undocumented immigrants into the country, noting that the majority of would-be migrants are trying to access the European Union from Turkey via Greece."

Eurojust chief quits over power abuse scandal (euobserver, link)

UK: Suspend Iraq refugee deportations (BBC News, link)

November 2009

UK: Home-schooling parents may face criminal record checks (Daily Mail, link)

LITHUANIA: Secret CIA prison revealed in Lithuania (euobserver, link) and Lithuania investigates facility that may have been CIA 'black site' (Washington Post, link)

GERMANY: Germany to draw up 'values contract' for new immigrants (BBC News, link)

GREECE: Violent dissent in Greece: It's time for the left to interrogate the systemic origins of the terrorism that has greeted the new Greek government (Guardian, link)

EU: Council president could be sidelined at the UN (European Voice, link)

UK: Secret CCTV cameras in homes to spy on neighbours (Evening Standard, link)

UK: MoD loses 100 computers: More than 100 Ministry of Defence computers and dozens more memory sticks have gone missing so far this year, it has been disclosed. (Daily Telegraph, link)

UK: Ministers cancel 'Big Brother' database - Plan to store details of every phone call and email 'kicked into long grass' after furore (Independent, link), while the Daily Telegraph says: State to 'spy' on every phone call, email and web search (link). Both are right: the Independent refer to a plan to create a central state database of all communications to be held ad finitum and the Telegraph refers to the fall-back plan to require service and telecoms providers to hold the same data - but not until after the election next year.

DENMARK: Foreigners to get 100,000 kroner incentive to leave Denmark (Copenhagen Post, link)

HUNGARY: Europe's new outer frontier Hungary battles illegal migrants (Monster and, link)

UK: Genetic Tests for UK Asylum Seekers Draw Criticism (New York Times, link)

US-EUROPE: An Ocean Apart in More Ways Than One (Inter Press Service, (link), see also: Towards a Post-American Europe: a power audit of EU-US Relations (link, pdf)

EU: 'Right to internet' dies quietly in Brussels back room (euobserver, link) "Early Thursday (5 November) morning the European Parliament and EU member states reached a deal over a long-delayed telecoms package when MEPs dropped their opposition to French-style 'three-strikes' laws aimed at illegal internet downloaders, ending for now the Brussels debate on a fundamental 'right' to internet access. In a major reversal of the parliament's position for much of the last year, MEPs in behind-closed-doors negotiations with the Council of Ministers, representing the member states, embraced new language in a compromise text that no longer requires that only judicial authorities be allowed to cut off internet access."

EU: No means no; yes doesn’t mean yes: Europe’s governments value the opinion of their peers more than that of ?their citizens. That isn’t democracy (Le Monde Diplomatique, link)

October 2009

Spanish parliament approves controversial immigration law (expatica, link): "Spain's lower house of parliament has approved a controversial law which extends from 40 to 60 days the maximum period that illegal immigrants can be held in detention centres before being deported"

GREECE: The UN refugee agency is demanding an inquiry into alleged police brutality at a notorious detention centre on the Greek island of Lesbos (BBC News, link)

UK: More than one in 10 people on DNA database for first time (Daily Telegraph, link): "Overall, when profiles taken in Scotland and Northern Ireland are included, almost six million people have now been stored on what is the largest DNA database in the world."

SWITZERLAND: Muslims Targeted in the Name of Minarets (Inter Press Service, link): By Ray Smith: Switzerland's Muslim community is witnessing a xenophobic campaign by the political right-wing ahead of a vote next month on the banning of Islamic minarets.

RIGHTS: 'Too Innocent to Try, too Guilty to Fly' (PS, link) by Jan Lammers: Getting blacklisted as belonging to a terrorist organisation is a punitive sanction, even though governments may say it is only an administrative measure, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR).

Greek socialists to grant citizenship to migrants' children (Guardian, link)

FRANCE: Security fears spark fresh controversy in Afghan deportation row (France24, link)

Outrage at government plan for secret inquests (Independent, link)

ROMANIA: Data retention law declared unconstitutional (EDRI, link)

Migrants Denied Even Medicine (Inter Press Service, link): "Hasun Albaadzh, an asylum-seeker from Syria, died Oct. 6 at the Busmantsi detention centre on the outskirts of Bulgarian capital Sofia. He had been held at Busmantsi for 34 months - considerably more than the maximum legal period of detention - and had been denied proper medical care."

The future of policing: A documentary on the G20 protests lays bare rifts between senior officers – who will triumph, traditionalists or modernisers? (Guardian, link) by Paul Lewis

France-UK: France, UK to fly Afghan migrants to Kabul (Reuters, link)

UK: Government anti-terrorism strategy 'spies' on innocent - Data on politics, sexual activity and religion gathered by government (Guardian, link)

Swiss to vote on proposal banning new minarets (Times of Malta, link)

TURKEY-GREECE: Frontex seeks Turkish cooperation (Kathimerini, link)

Iraq sends back UK asylum flight (BBC News, link)

UK: £22,000 for man arrested after watching stop-and-search (Evening Standard, link)

Italy:Berlusconi allies seek to ban burqas in Italy (Reuters, link)

UK: Government reverses Brown's passport pledge (Kable, link) The Identity and Passport Service has confirmed that passports will in future require extra information from applicants – their fingerprints.

Italy: Citizen patrols hit Italy streets (BBC News, link)

UK-USA: What lies beneath the extradition of hacker Gary McKinnon to the USA (Hawktalk, link)

European Commissioner: Future of internet has dangers for privacy, Brussels warns (euobserver, link)

France-UK: French U-turn on Afghan flight deal (Press Association, link)

Le Monde Diplomatique: Complicit surveillance and social networking: "Watching me watching you" (link) We’ve all spent so much time and effort being worried about formal surveillance – all those street and lobby cameras – that we’re in danger of forgetting how much we cooperate in surveilling and being surveilled online

UK: Muslim groups hit out over 'funding with security strings attached' (Guardian, link)

UK: CIA at work in UK, anti-terror chief tells MPs (Guardian, link)

UK: Terror register comes into force (BBC News, link): Monitoring: Police will maintain register of offenders - People convicted of terrorism offences will join a register similar to that used to monitor sex offenders.

AUSTRIA: Thousands of Migrants Take to Hunger Strikes (Inter Press Service, link) "Human rights activists in Austria are calling for an overhaul of a detention system for migrants and asylum seekers they claim breaches human rights, following the death of a hunger-striking migrant in police cells."

Immigrants 'targeted' by police in Milan (link)

September 2009

UK: Lecturer sues after detention in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland - Jean-Pierre Djimbonge says he was wrongfully arrested during his UK holiday because he is black (Guardian, link)

Greece struggles to cope as immigration tensions soar - The revolt at conditions in overflowing detention centres is causing scenes of chaos in the 'backdoor into Europe'
(Observer, link)

UK: Drivers' details sold by DVLA are used in bizarre roadside adverts for Castrol (Daily Mail, link)

UK: Foreign national ID cards roll out speeds up (Home Office, link)

UK: Justice for the North West 10 (link): "Janas Khan is one of the North West 10 Pakistan students arrested in Brown's "terror raids" of April this year. He was released from deportation in July but only to face "administrative removal" for working more hours than permitted under his student visa."

Frontex to take charge of repatriation (Times of Malta, link)

EU funding 'Orwellian' artificial intelligence plan to monitor public for "abnormal behaviour" (Sunday Telegraph, link)

Italy's migrant crackdown sparks political tensions (Reuters, link)

1.2bn population of India to be given biometric ID cards (Guardian, link)

UK: Review of control orders sought (BBC, link): "A wholesale review of control orders, which restrict the freedoms of some terror suspects, has been instigated by Home Secretary Alan Johnson. Lord Carlile, the independent reviewer of terror laws, will consider if the system is still "viable" following a ruling by the House of Lords."

UK: Presumed guilty (Guardian, link) "There is a new phrase in law enforcement circles, although it is more about enforcing the state's prejudice than any law. It is the Potential Dangerous Person, or PDP. This label is given by Northumberland and Cleveland police forces to someone who is suspected of crimes but who has not been charged, let alone found guilty of an offence. Under this new designation they will be targeted as criminals, watched and no doubt harassed."

UK: MI6 officer investigated over torture allegation (Guardian, link)

UK: We need to repeal 12 years of vile laws attacking our liberty (Guardian, link)

Long-range Taser reignites safety debate (New Scientist, link)

UK: CRB looks to ID cards to solve accuracy woes (Register, link) and ID cards: A new layer of compulsion by Henry Porter (Guardian, link)

August 2009

EU: The new European Parliament: too close to business? (Brussels bubble, link)

USA: US Torture Files and Access to Human Rights Information (link)

Greece: UNHCR orders closure of immigrant reception centre on Greek island (link)

UK: 'Racist bias' blamed for disparity in police DNA database - Profiles of one in four black children over 10 held (Observer, link)

UK: Police told to ignore human rights ruling over DNA database (Guardian, link)

UK: New ID cards are supposed to be 'unforgeable' - but it took our expert 12 minutes to clone one, and programme it with false data (Daily Mail, link)

Greece: Migrant children marginalized: Reforms aimed at social integration have not helped thousands born and raised in Greece, experts say (link)

UK: High Court shields database state from blame: No comeback on stigma of invented £254,000 bad debt (The Register, link): An entrepreneur whose fledgling business was ruined by a false entry in a court database has had his claim for compensation rejected by a High Court judge. The decision could set a broad and troubling precedent, because Mr Justice Bill Blair QC - brother of the former PM Tony Blair - ruled that the civil service cannot be found liable for the damage caused by its record keeping mistakes.

UK: ACPO policy on ANPR: The Management and Use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (Spyblog, link) and ANPR Manual (link)

UK: Internet firms resist ministers’ plan to spy on every e-mail (Sunday Times, link)

Greece: Zero Tolerance, Zero Concern (Inter Press Service, link): "Increasing evidence has surfaced that a zero tolerance policy is denying due protection to people fleeing hardship, and condemning them to degrading treatment."

July 2009

UK: The image of the ID card for British citizens was officially unveiled by the Home Secretary today in Manchester and London (Home Office Press release, link). View front of card (link) and Back of card (link)

UK: Police should respect press freedom: Protest is at the heart of any functioning democracy – and a civil case launched today aims to protect the media's right to report it (Guardian, link)

Paul Donovan: The secret trials that besmirch Britain's immigration law (Independent, link)

CIA-UK: Secrets of CIA 'ghost flights' to be revealed - Guantánamo detainee's lawyers hail UK air firm's U-turn that allows rendition case to go to court (Observer, link)

UK: Bouncers and parking attendants given police-style powers to issue on-the-spot fines (Daily Mail, link)

USA: James B. Rule: Balancing privacy with better medical data (link): "Among the rare domestic policy innovations strongly promoted by both the Obama and Bush administrations is centralization of all Americans' medical records."

The truth about torture Britain's catalogue of shame, by Ian Cobain (Guardian, link)

EU: If you can't beat 'em … Europe's new tactics in the battle against the far right (Guardian, link)

UK: DNA database plans based on 'flawed science', warn experts (Guardian, link)

UK: Metropolitan police's 'kettling' tactic challenged in European court (Guardian, link)

UK: National Policing Improvement Agency (link): The National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA) has released its Annual Report 2008/09. The report reveals the scale of the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system that has been constructed in the UK: "The ANPR infrastructure has the capability to receive and store 50 million ANPR reads per day. The National ANPR Data Centre (NADC) receives around 8 million reads per day". Also revealed is who will have access to the data: "In due course, Scottish forces and PSNI will also be connected to NADC, as will other national policing and security agencies. These include British Transport Police, Serious Organised Crime Agency, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and the Security Service." (thanks to No2id)

UK: House of Commons debate on ID cards (link)

Newspapers voice concerns about press freedom (euactiv, link) European newspaper publishers are calling on the Swedish EU Presidency to protect press freedom in Europe following recent attempts by the Italian and Czech governments to restrict journalists' access to wiretapped information, such as police documents.

UK: The ID Card dead. Long live the database! (Hawktalk, link)

Police bulldoze migrant camp in Greek port (link)

UK: Control Orders - Abu Rideh granted document to leave the country, decision welcomed by Amnesty (link)

Hungary: Slipping Further to the Right (Inter Press Service, link)

Bulgaria: Centre-right wins landslide victory in Bulgarian elections (euobserver, link)

Czech Republic: Special aircraft takes expelled Africans from Prague (link)

USA: 'A Comedy of Errors': Why It's Time to Get Rid of the So-Called Terrorist Watch List (Alternet, link)

UK: Government under fire over ID cards (ZDnet, link)

June 2009

UK: After Iraq WMD fiasco, MI6 faces new challenge under Sir John Sawers (Times, link)

UK: Government faces court battle over £400m contract for hi-tech passports (Daily Mail, link)

Ethnic profiling tarnishes the EU
- Relying on race when deciding who to stop, search or detain is illegal and ineffective – but European police continue to do it (Guardian, link)

UK: Blair Peach death secrecy review (Guardian, link)

EU: EU security plans threaten freedom, says rights expert (Irish Times, link)

UK: Police and protests: Video shows surveillance protesters bundled to ground by police - Women arrested for challenging officer with no badge number and Predatory policing: As my arrest and imprisonment demonstrates, the preventative policing model is a licence to harass legitimate protesters (Guardian, links)

EU: Stockholm programme: The lives of ... all of us (Daily Mail, link)

GERMANY: Quietly Arming Conflicts (Inter Press Service, link)

UK: Abandon ID cards: The attempt to justify the ID card scheme on the grounds of the risk of terrorism is not sustainable – we simply don't need it
(Guardian, link) and ID cards 'will not protect UK against terrorism': Identity cards are pushing Britain towards a "Kafkaesque" society and will do nothing to protect the UK against terrorism, a retired Law Lord will warn (Daily Telegraph, link)

The Dawning of the Biometric Age: Say goodbye to PINs and photo IDs. Say hello to digital fingerprints and iris scans—and to new opportunities for security businesses (Business Week, link)

Is the rise of the digital ID inevitable? As biometrics gain sway, not everyone sees them as a force for good (Independent, link)

PI and Free Expression Groups Call for Limits on Surveillance (PI, link)

Americans seek international database to carry iris, palm and finger prints (Guardian, link). This article, and a number of others refer to the "International Information Consortium", formed ten years ago by the USA, UK, Australia and Canada - all in the USA-UK intelligence network set up in 1947. Police Review reports that the Consortium met at Bramshill Police College for its annual conference in May where it discussed international access to DNA databases.

UK-EU: Racist rants of elected BNP man, Andrew Brons, revealedYorkshire MEP Andrew Brons drew up some of the National Front's most inflammatory policies (Observer, link)

Malta: Frontex to help in migrants' return - Justice Ministers to discuss EC proposals today (Times of Malta, link)

UK: Man who died after police restraint 'covered with injuries' (Guardian, link)

GREECE: Greece Cannot Take Very Much More, Analysis by Apostolis Fotiadis (Inter Press Service, link): ATHENS, Jun 1 (IPS) - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres has asked the European Commission to call a meeting between the agency and countries around the Mediterranean to work out a joint strategy to deal with irregular migration. But while Italy is being internationally chastised for the refoulement of refugees that effectively annuls the country's responsibilities arising from international treaties, most notably the Geneva convention, neighbouring Greece is building up state-sponsored persecution of irregular migration that has gone largely unnoticed.

UK: Big Brother HAS gone too far ... and that's an ex-spy chief talking (Daily Mail, link)

May 2009

The technology of surveillance (BBC News, link)

UK: Tortured while MI5 left the room: Briton's claim after 7/7 attacks (Guardian, link)

USA: Report: FBI Mishandles Terror Watch List (, link)

UK: G20 police 'used undercover men to incite crowds' - MP demands inquiry into Met tactics at demo (Observer, link)

UK: Court says police can be challenged on 'stop and search' powers - 11-year-old twins left distraught after incident (Guardian, link)

April 2009

Czech Republic: Roma Seek to Flee Czech Republic (Inter Press Service, link)

Met pays out compensation to protesters for unlawful arrest (Guardian, link)

UK: Government wants phone and internet providers to track users (Guardian, link).Many newspapers, following the publication of a Home Office consultation paper, followed this line of reasoning. A bit strange as service providers have been keeping communications data (traffic data) since December 2001 for phone calls, e-mails and mobile phone calls - which is now being extended to internet usage as well in line with the EU Directive on mandatory data retention. See: UK: Data retention and access consultation farce

UK: David Howarth MP: This is the list of items seized by the police at the Kingsnorth Climate Camp. The list was supplied by Kent Police following an FoI request (link)

UK: Nottingham power station protesters 'treated like terrorists' (Guardian, link)

USA-ICRC: US Torture: Voices from the Black Sites (New York Review of Books, link) International Committee for the Red Cross report.

UK: Specialist protest squads at centre of investigations into G20 police violence - Police territorial support teams, used at demonstrations and marches, involved in previous controversy (Guardian, link)

Ireland must allow free speech on euthanasia: An angry mob in Cork prevented me from delivering a lecture on the ethics of euthanasia, but Ireland must have this debate (Guardian, link)

Global Detention Project (link)

UK: Anger over £78 deportation ruling (BBC, link)

UK: NHS Health records: Summary care records - you might die, but they never will - Once you can opt in, you can never opt out (Register, link)

Red Pepper: Viva Siva: Now in his eighties, A Sivanandan remains an important figure in the politics of race and class, maintaining his long-held insistence that only in the symbiosis of the two struggles can a genuinely radical politics be found. By Arun Kundnani

UK: ID cards 'could use chip-and-pin' (BBC News, link)

Surveillance Self-Defence (link)

UK: Jail for photographing police? (British Journal of Photograhpy, link)

March 2009

UK: IPCC 'not functioning properly', claims new report (Guardian, link)

UK: Police identify 200 children as potential terrorists (Independent, link)

USA: US teenager killed by police Taser attack (Amnesty International, link)

UK: Police to get 6,000 extra Tasers (BBC News, link)

Liberty wins ruling against Home Secretary over Harmondsworth disturbance (link) The Court of Appeal has ruled today that the Government was wrong not to order an independent inquiry into allegations of mistreatment at Harmondsworth immigration detention centre in 2006.

UK: Muslim man suffered 'gross brutality' during terrorism raid, court told - Metropolitan police say officers used reasonable force during arrest of Babar Ahmad (Guardian, link)

Germany, Britain, Netherlands Agree to Enhance Anti-Terror Cooperation (, link)

Internet's inventor warns of risk of allowing firms to spy on their users - Berners-Lee says law must protect privacy - Data is of huge commercial value, he tells conference (Guardian, link) and Who is watching you online? Technology that tracks the websites we visit is valuable for advertising and surveillance alike – and the law controlling its use remains unclear (Guardian, link)

Involvement in torture is always a violation of international law by Martin Scheinin (Guardian, link)

UK: Covert army unit played role in Menezes killing - Anti-terror troops deployed in Northern Ireland present at Tube shooting (Guardian, link)

GREECE: Violence Begins to Take Hold (Interpress, link)

UK: Spying on 60 million people doesn't add up (Guardian, link)

CANADA: SIS asked Sudan to arrest Canadian, files reveal - Abdelrazik is 'first case of Canadian rendition (link)

UK: Policemen face charges over Cardiff Three case (Guardian, link): "Thirteen serving and former police officers are facing charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice as a result of a 1988 murder investigation for which three innocent men were jailed. It is the largest number of officers ever to face such charges in British legal history."

February 2009

UK: Challenging the Home Office: After the cynical arrest of five men facing deportation, we need a review of counter-terrorism practice more than ever (Guardian. link) by Vitctoria Brittain.

UK: More minorities scanned for ID (BBC News, link): A disproportionate number of Asian and black people are being stopped by police and fingerprinted using a new mobile scanner, the BBC has learned. Of the 29,000 people stopped, 14% were Asian and 16.5% black despite those ethnic groups representing just 4% and 2% of the population respectively."

EU: Commission dismantles data watchdog group (European Voice, link):

"The European Commission has disbanded a group of experts that was supposed to review EU data protection legislation, following complaints in the French parliament that the body comprised people “representing American interests” ".

UK: Identity database accessed by town hall staff without justification: A database which is to be used as a model for the proposed ID card scheme has been accessed more than 30 times by council staff without authority (Daily Telegraph, link)

EU-USA: The United States and Europe Bury the “Swift Affair” (Le Monde, link)

EU: Eurojust supports wire-tapping of Skype conversations (euobserver, link)

UK: Data bill jeopardises confidentiality, say doctors' leaders (Guardian, link): "Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the British Medical Association, said the profession was "extremely concerned" about legislation tabled by Jack Straw, the justice secretary, which would allow the Department of Health to share information on NHS databases with other ministries and private companies."

EU: European Commission fears 'increasing' espionage (euobserver, link) "The European Commission fears that its confidential documents are increasingly at risk from spies who use a number of covers while working in the EU capital.... The remarks come after the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a German newspaper. the same day published parts of a confidential letter from the director of the commission's security services to its head of resources.

Germany: 'Europe Is Suffering from Too Little Democracy' (Spiegel Online, link): "Germany's high court is taking a closer look at the European Union's Lisbon Treaty, the document meant to replace the failed EU constitution. Early indications are that it doesn't like what it sees. If Germany says no, the treaty is likely dead. Commentators can't decide whether or not that is good."

UK: Licence to spy on drinkers - The police are forcing publicans to install CCTV before approving their licences (Guardian, link)

UK: Police towed Bristol driver thanks to out of date database (link)

January 2009

UK:Straw plan for private inquests back on agenda - National security cases would be held with no jury (Guardian, link)

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