13th April 2014: On Thursday at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons made his final contribution to a debate in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) on a European Court of Justice decision nullifying a Directive that called for data to be collected on telephone numbers called, e-mail addresses communicated to and websites visited.
"Even after the implementation of this ECJ judgment, the danger is that serious or organised crime or terrorism might have been the pretext or even the real reason for collecting data. However, even when the suspicion of crime has been dispelled, the information might be used for another purpose. – to enforce an occupational ban on those with particular political opinions, which exist in many member states. "Did the court ruling consider this point?
"We know that the ECJ ruling will affect only the validity of the Directive and not the national legislation that has been passed under it. Will the ECJ judgment lead to a fresh directive calling on member states to repeal legislation passed under this directive?"
13th April 2014: On Thursday at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons made the following contribution to a debate in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) on prison conditions in Italy.
"I noticed, on the second page of the Report, that of the 60,828 detainees, 29,000 – almost half of them - were foreign citizens, mainly from Romania, Morocco, Albania and Tunisia. I am reliably informed that a disproportionate number of the Romanian citizens detained were from the Roma community.
"Is this yet another example of wicked discrimination against certain ethnic groups? If it should not be capable of being explained as discrimination, there would be only one other explanation. That would be the explanation that dare not speak its name as Oscar Wilde might have called it!
"That being said, the Report and many of the proposals were impressive and shocking and many of the proposals were reasoned and constructive. Even the 60% of the prison population who had been convicted and sentenced, had not been sentenced to endure sub-human conditions.
"Torture was mentioned and it cannot be tolerated under any conditions or circumstances. However, torture has been routinely used by some countries in which torture is a specific criminal offence.
"We now know that the UK Government of Tony Blair, that co-operated with the US Government on special rendition knew of the torture that was used on suspects.
"Until political leaders who indulge in, or condone torture, are brought to account, the issue of torture in this or that prison will not be addressed."
13th April 2014: On Thursday at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons made the following contribution to a debate in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) on the Justice Scoreboard*.
"I am sure that the scoreboard approach appears to be objective and that it is a reassuring exercise. However, there might be flaws in a legal system that would not feature on the scoreboard.
"For example, how many campaigning politicians have been prosecuted? How many opposition politicians been imprisoned pending a trial that does not seem to come any nearer?
"This is important because when governments abuse judicial systems, they do so against their political opponents."
* The Justice Scoreboard is an attempt to identify objective criteria according to which a country’s justice system could be judged to be ‘just’.
Sunday, 13 April 2014 12:53
Published inOther News
13th April 2014: Andrew could not find rooms at his first choice of hotel in Brussels, so he ended up at the Chateau du Lac, Genval, with one of his assistants, for the LIBE meetings and mini-plenary at the end of March and beginning of April.
The Chateau du Lac is best known in political circles as the venue of the Bilderberg Conference in the year 2000.
Most of the Bilderbergers might have left but who should be lurking around, like a bad smell, in the restaurant at breakfast time, but our very own war criminal Tony Bliar. The hotel was not short of African guests, there being an EU-Africa event scheduled in Brussels. One amiable-looking, suited and booted African, was in close conference with the said Bliar. It crossed Andrew's mind that he might sidle up to Mr. Uhuru, if that should be his name, and warn him to count his fingers after any farewell handshake. However, Mr. Uhuru looked astute enough and Andrew did not want to appear patronising.
I do not know from which country Mr. Uhuru came but if it should have been a war-torn one like the Central African Republic or Mali or South Sudan, Mr. Bliar might have been there to help. He has an approach to pacifying a country that is as unique as it is . . . well murderous.