EU rejects airport blacklist idea despite bomb scares

EU interior ministers on Monday failed to endorse a German plan to blacklist certain airports in terrorism-prone countries, in the aftermath of mail bomb plots from Yemen and Greece, but instead agreed to set up an “ad hoc group” to look at ways to strenghten air cargo security across the bloc. The group composed of transport and interior experts will table proposals by 2 December “to help authorities in airports carry out inspections more effectively.

Durham Torture Tape Case Dies

The statute of limitations for charging any general crime by employees and/or agents of the US Government for destructing the infamous “Torture Tapes” has expired today, as the best available information on the date of the destruction suggests that this destruction occured on the 8th of November 2005. The general statute of limitations is 5 years.

As acknowledged by the CIA, the videotapes contained evidence of the use of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” during the questioning of Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in a CIA black site in Thailand.

As a result, no one will face criminal charges for destroying CIA videotapes.

According to NPR:

Two sources close to the investigation say a federal prosecutor has concluded there isn’t enough evidence to bring an indictment.

It’s still possible that a current or former CIA official could face  charges for misleading investigators or otherwise obstructing justice,  related areas that the prosecutor has been investigating for more than  two years.

Emptywheel comments:

The open and shut criminal case against Jose Rodriquez is gone. The clear potential for cases against the four Bush/Cheney White House attorneys involved in the torture tapes destruction, as well as the two CIA junior attorneys, gone. Same for any case against Porter Goss. Gone, and the DOJ has no explanation and nothing to say.

D.E.A. Deployed Mumbai Plotter Despite Warning

The NY Times reports that American authorities sent David C. Headley, a small-time drug dealer and sometime informant, to work for them in Pakistan months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, despite a warning that he sympathized with radical Islamic groups, according to court records and interviews. Not long after Mr. Headley arrived there, he began training with terrorists, eventually playing a key role in the 2008 attacks that left 164 people dead in Mumbai.

Council of Europe upcoming work on human rights and the fight against terrorism

The Council of Europe’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human rights is currently preparing two reports in the context of human rights and counterterrorism. One report is entitled “Abuse of state secrecy and national security: obstacles to parliamentary and judicial scrutiny of human rights violations” and it will address some of the legal and policy issues which the Rapporteur, Mr Marty, encountered in the course of preparing his reports on renditions and secret detentions. It shall primarily focus on the question of accountability for human rights violations committed by members of special services.

Mr. Tomlinson will write a more general report on to examine the compatibility of counter-terrorism legislation and its application with the Council of Europe standards applicable to human rights.

In this context, it aims to look at the way in which member states may encroach upon the human rights of suspected terrorists or even of journalists or members of the public at large, who suffer restrictions of different kinds in the name of the fight against terrorism.

It appears that Mr. Tomlinson will mainly focus on detention, fair trial and expulsion issues. He will also focus on states’ activities such as surveillance, interception, hearing of anonymous witnesses, the installation and (ab)use of closed-circuit television and monitoring of monetary movements. Also, it would be interesting to look into how member states may or may not use information obtained by secret services as legally admissible evidence and how they can resort to data from, e.g., ID cards and SWIFT operations.

The report intends to build on a previous memorandum by Mr Grebennikov of 2006.

Malian and Mauritanian Armies Hold First Joint Patrols

The Malian and Mauritanian Armies have, for the first time, set up joint patrols in the northern Mali Desert to strengthen their fight against Al-Qaeda militants. Hundreds of armed Malian soldiers and military vehicles including armoured cars joined Mauritanian troops 80km north of Timbuktu.

The first ever joint patrols held between the two armies will continue for an unknown period of time, according to Agence France Presse.

The Mauritanian Army conducted several operations in the north of Mali in July and September to prevent Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) attacks on its territory.

The army chiefs of staff from Mali, Mauritania, Algeria and Niger decided in September to strengthen their fight against AQIM in the desert area shared by these four states.

Google involvement in creation of UK’s anti-terror database criticised

Google cannot be trusted to help manage Britain’s new anti-terror database, the UK Government’s privacy watchdog said.

Records of all communications, including e-mails, text messages and the use of Facebook, Twitter and Skype, will kept by the company and internet service providers for at least 12 months under a scheme being drawn up by the Home Office.

Christopher Graham, the Information Commissioner, said that involving Google would be flawed after he found the company responsible for a “significant breach” of data protection rules.

The Government wants a record of all private communication after the police and security services insisted that it was essential in the fight against terrorism and organised crime.

Details for the plans to intercept and collect details of telephone
and internet use were buried in the Strategic Defence and Security
Review. The review, published last month, said that “communications
data” had played a role in every MI5 counter-terrorism operation and 95
per cent of all organised crime investigations.

It said that new
regulations would ensure the database was “compatible with the
Government’s approach to information storage and civil liberties”.

But it has dropped Labour’s proposals for a central government database and has decided that individual companies will be required to keep details of customers’ internet and telephone use but not the content of calls or messages.

Itar tass: Almost 1,000 terrorist/extremist acts registered in Russia in Jan-Sep 2010

(Itar-Tass) – Almost one thousand terrorist and extremist crimes were registered in Russia in the first nine months of this year, Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said.

“In the first nine months of the year, 454 terrorist and 510 extremist crimes were registered,” Nurgaliyev said when awarding the best Interior Ministry officers on Saturday, November 6.

International terrorist groups are stepping up their activities, he said, adding that their purpose is to spread mistrust in authorities among people and eventually thrust society into an abyss

Britain: Citizenship Restored to Cleric Wanted on Terrorism Charges in U.S.

A British government ruling stripping the Egyptian-born Muslim cleric known as Abu Hamza al-Masri of his British citizenship was struck down Friday by a special immigration court, the NY Times reports. But government officials said the court’s action would not affect the government’s plan to extradite the cleric to the United States, where he is wanted on terrorism charges. Officials in the office of Home Secretary Theresa May said no decision had been made on whether to appeal the immigration court’s ruling to a higher British court.

The immigration panel upheld the claim by lawyers for Mr. Hamza, 53, whose real name is Mostafa Kamel Mostafa, that losing the British citizenship he gained through marriage in 1986 would leave him stateless, because Egypt’s government has revoked his Egyptian citizenship. He has carried his fight to avoid extradition to the European Court of Human Rights. He is wanted in the United States, where he is accused in connection with a plot to establish a terrorism training camp in Oregon, and is alleged to have had a role in planning a terrorist ambush in Yemen in 1998 in which 16 foreign tourists, some of them Americans, were taken hostage. Four hostages were subsequently killed.

Germany Wants EU to Act on Air Freight Bombs

Germany wants the European Union to introduce new security measures against militant attacks via air freight to help improve a patchwork of different rules around the world, officials said on Wednesday. “The EU summit in mid-December should then decide on proposals for a package of EU-wide measures,” said the source.

Officials in the US urge the Department of Homeland Security to apply a “risk rating” system to prevent dangerous goods from entering the country also to cargo arriving by air.