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CIA-Kidnappings: Document 15404/06 (Partially Accessible to the Public)

 

Introduction

 

This page lists the correspondence between representatives of the European Union and the site owner with regards to public access to redacted parts of document 15404/06 (partially accessible to the public) of the Council of the European Union. The Council classified parts of the document and originally refused to grant public access to the classified parts.

 

Events in Reversed Chronological Order

 

October 1st, 2008 - Reply to Confirmatory Application

September 16th, 2008 - Request for Clarification by Applicant

July 28th, 2008 - Reply Adopted by the Council on 24 July 2008

July 4th, 2008 - Confirmatory Application for Full Public Access

July 4th, 2008 - Reply by EU Council to Request for Clarification

June 27th, 2008 - Request for Clarification by Applicant

June 19th, 2008 - Reply by the General Secretariat of the EU Council

June 10th, 2008 - Original Document Request by Applicant

 

Related Document

 

November 21st, 2006 - Outcome of the EU-US Ministerial Troika on Justice and Home Affairs

Report by the Council of the European Union

 

“[…] 2. Terrorism

 

“[…] The Counter-Terrorism (CT) Coordinator reported on the implementation of all four strands of the counter-terrorism strategy. An overview of national counter-terrorism mechanisms would be discussed at the December Council meeting. He mentioned the radicalisation of women and autonomous radicalisation as particular problems, as well as the problem of radicalisation in prisons and through the Internet.

 

“Major crises may result in radicalisation. The CT Coordinator welcomed the plans by USA and EU experts to compare their findings on radicalisation. Particular attention had been paid to the protection of borders and infrastructure (air transport and ports). In this regard private-public cooperation and partnership was particularly important. He outlined the efforts to bring terrorists to justice, including through binding legislation at EU level [redacted]*. There were different ways of cooperating with the USA.

 

“It was important to preserve the balance between security and liberties. The EP enquiry into secret prisons was mentioned in this regard. As part of the current work, efforts to improve emergency capabilities, particularly transport and equipment, were mentioned. These were good reasons to step up cooperation between the EU and the USA.

 

“The Vice-President of the Commission stated that many measures (i.e.data retention and practical cooperation) had been announced a year ago. They had been successfully implemented. He stressed the importance of the public-private security dialogue and mentioned the recent conference in Brussels at which detection technologies had been discussed. As a follow-up, a public-private task force would be set up. The experts were to submit a comprehensive plan in early 2007. The same topic could be tackled by the EU/US partnership, particularly on research and protection in the fields of transport and energy. […]

 

“New approaches

 

“[redacted] The Vice-President of the Commission pointed out that this was a matter of national responsibility. Decisions should be taken by the Member States. [redacted] […]”

 

*The extended version of the partially accessible document contains here the following sentence: “Intelligence cooperation in the framework of Sitcen was also important.”

 

Correspondence/History

 

October 1st, 2008 - Reply to Confirmatory Application

 

Dear M. Ottmann,

 

regarding your request for additional information on document 15404/06 concerning the EU-US Troika meeting held on 6 November 2006, we would like to point out that your application relating to the document in question has been examined and decided upon by the Council (Ref. 08/c/02/08), pursuant to Regulation 1049/2001 and the Council's Rules of Procedure. In accordance with the Council's decision, you have been granted partial access to document 15404/06.

 

We regret to inform you that, by virtue of Regulation 1049/2001, we are not able to accede to your request for additional information on that document.

 

As regards your request for other documents describing the discussions held during the meeting in question, we would like to inform you that no such documents exist.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Council of the European Union

 

 

September 16th, 2008 - Request for Clarification by Applicant

 

Dear Sirs,

 

I am in receipt of your letter from July 28th, 2008, i. e. your reply from the Council to my confirmatory application dated July 4th, 2008 and an extended partially accessible version of document 15404/06.

 

In order to decide on how I will proceed further, I am sending you hereby a request for additional information with regards to document 15404/06 and the EU-US Troika meeting from November 6th, 2006:

 

1. The extended partially accessible version of document 15404 contains one paragraph, which mentions indirectly the CIA rendition program and the illegal activities of the U.S. government in Europe:

 

“It was important to preserve the balance between security and liberties. The EP enquiry into secret prisons was mentioned in this regard. As part of the current work, efforts to improve emergency capabilities, particularly transport and equipment, were mentioned. These were good reasons to step up cooperation between the EU and the USA."

 

With regards to the rest of the document, has the CIA rendition program or any related activity by either the US or any EU state been mentioned in any redacted parts, that are currently not accessible by the public?

 

2. With regards to the above-cited paragraph of the document, has the mentioned "efforts to improve emergency capabilities, particularly transport and equipment," anything to do with the CIA rendition program or any related EU collaboration? Unfortunately the second part of the paragraph is formulated in a very vague manner and the information behind it is very diffuclt to grasp. Could you therefore elaborate if the CIA rendition program is actually mentioned in this second part of the paragraph?

 

3. I understand that Document 15404/06 represents a summary of the discussions and negotiations of the EU-US Troika Meeting of November 6th, 2006. In addition to this document, has a protocol been written or do minutes exist, which describe in a more precise manner, what has been actually stated by the delegates during that meeting?

 

4. Besides such a protocol (or minutes), do other documents exist, which describe the discussions and negotiations at the Troika meeting of November 6th, 2006?

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Martin Ottmann

 

 

July 28th, 2008 - Reply Adopted by the Council on 24 July 2008

 

Dear Mr. Ottmann,

 

Please find enclosed the reply from the Council to your confirmatory application dated 4 July 2008 as well as document 15404/06 of which the Council decided to extend the partially accessible version. […]

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Marc Lepoivre

 

 

Reply Adopted by the Council on 24 July 2008 to Confirmatory Application 08/c/02/08

 

The Council has carefully considered the application under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 (OJ L 145 of 31.5.2001, p. 43) and Annex II to the Council’s Rules of Procedure (Council Decision 2006/683/EC, Euratom - OJ L 285 of 16.10.2006, p. 47) and has come to the following conclusion:

 

1. The applicant refers to document 15404/06 which contains a note from the Council Secretariat containing the Outcome of the EU-US Ministerial Troika on Justice and Home Affairs held in Washington on 6 N­ovember 2006.

 

2. By letter dated 19 June 2008 the General Secretariat granted partial access to this document, while withholding certain parts that contain comments expressed by the representatives of the United States on the issues discussed during the meeting and/or relate to cooperation in law enforcement matters and the situation in certain third countries. Public access to these parts was refused pursuant to Article 4(1)(a), third indent, of the Regulation 1049/2001 (protection of the public interest with regard to international relations).

 

3. In an email of 4 July 2008, the applicant submitted a confirmatory application concerning part 2 of document, entitled "Terrorism". Whilst referring in his confirmatory application to Articles 19 and 42 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and to recital (2) and Articles 2, 3 and 4 of Regulation 1049/2001, the applicant essentially claims that any refusal to grant full access to part 2 of the requested document is tantamount to "condoning and supporting secrecy and covering up possible rights violations”.

 

4. The Council has thoroughly re-examined the document concerned and carried out consultations with the department of its General Secretariat in charge of this matter, and has come to the following conclusion:

 

5. Document 15404/06 sets out the outcome of discussions on questions of EU-US co-operation in the field of transport, terrorism, illegal immigration and border security as well as organised crime. This report delivers detailed information on the objectives of both parties in these areas of common interest and ideas for possible ways forward regarding those issues. It includes, among others, a state of play on key matters such as data protection, counterterrorism, visa waiver issues and trafficking in human beings.

 

6. The Council considers that, given the sensitive content of the point 2 of the document, its full release to the public would undermine the protection of the public interest as regards the EU's international relations. Disclosure would jeopardise the good functioning of the EU-US cooperation as such. If the United States had reason to believe that the positions taken by it on this and other security issues in meetings not open to the public could be made public unilaterally by the EU side, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to address controversial issues between the two sides in this format in the future. This would not only breach the mutual confidence in the future negotiations but also, in turn, make it considerably more difficult to find solutions to all the outstanding issues. Certain positions expressed by the EU side contained in point 2 could also have a negative impact on relations with certain other third countries.

 

7. The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union has not yet entered into force. The current framework is Article 255 of the EC Treaty, on which Regulation 1049/2001 - hence also Articles 2, 3 and 4(1)(a) thereof - are based.

 

8. Full access to point 2 of the document 15404/06 is therefore denied pursuant to Article 4(1)(a), third indent, of the Regulation (protection of the public interest as regards international relations).

 

9. However, the Council has thoroughly re-examined the content of this passage to check whether it was possible to grant partial access pursuant to Article 4(6) of the Regulation and decided that, in addition to those parts of the document that were released following his initial request, the applicant can inspect one further part which is not covered by any of the exceptions of the Regulation.

 

 

July 4th, 2008 - Confirmatory Application for Full Public Access

 

Dear Sirs,

 

this is a confirmatory application for full public access/disclosure to/of Part 2 “Terrorism” of document 15404/06, which is partially redacted.

 

In your reply to my initial application you referred to Article 4 (1) (a), third indent, of the Regulation 1049/2001 as the basis for your decision to partially redact the above mentioned document.

 

Under the assumption that the redacted parts of the document contain information on the U.S. and EU position on the so-called “U.S./CIA rendition program”, i. e. the illegal kidnapping and detention of individuals on the territory and airspace of the European Union, I hereby apply for access/disclosure of part 2 “Terrorism” for the following reasons:

 

Article 42 - “Right of access to documents” - of the “Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union” (2000/C 36401) states: “Any citizen of the Union, and any natural or legal person residing or having its registered office in a Member State, has a right of access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents.”

 

Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council states: “(2) Openness enables citizens to participate more closely in the decision-making process and guarantees that the administration enjoys greater legitimacy and is more effective and more accountable to the citizen in a democratic system. Openness contributes to strengthening the principles of democracy and respect for fundamental rights as laid down in Article 6 of the EU Treaty and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. […]”.

 

Article 2 “Beneficiaries and scope” of the regulation says: “1. Any citizen of the Union, and any natural or legal person residing or having its registered office in a Member State, has a right of access to documents of the institutions, subject to the principles, conditions and limits defined in this Regulation. […]

 

“3. This Regulation shall apply to all documents held by an institution, that is to say, documents drawn up or received by it and in its possession, in all areas of activity of the European Union.”

 

With regards to Article 4(1)(a) of the Regulation 1049/2001, I refer to Article 19 (2) of the “Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union” (2000/C 36401): “2. No one may be removed, expelled or extradited to a State where there is a serious risk that he or she would be subjected to the death penalty, torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

 

This fundamental right has been repeatedly violated through the actions of the U.S. government and certain agencies of E.U. governments, who condoned, supported and/or participated in the criminal activities of the C.I.A. and the U.S. Department of Defense. People have been kidnapped, imprisoned and transported to states, where they were likely to be tortured, such as Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Syria or Afghanistan. Other individuals, such as the “Algerian Six”, have been imprisoned and transported to the U.S. concentration camp facility Guantánamo. Additionally, the reports of the EC and EU committees on the CIA kidnappings came to the conclusion that secret prisons most likely exist or existed in Poland and Romania.

 

In this context, and after the disregard and failure of the European Union and its members states to enforce above-mentioned Article 19 in order to prevent the C.I.A. kidnappings, but having instead cooperated in criminal activities themselves, it is absolutely mandatory that any EU documents on this subject are made available for public scrutiny, so as to make public further intent to commit or condone violations or the of the Article 19, by the U.S. and certain EU member states. Article (1)(a) becomes void, as by refusing to provide the public with complete transparency, you are actually not serving the public interest in public security, but instead you are condoning and supporting secrecy and covering up possible human rights violations. Thereby you are serving the interests of the current U.S. administration, instead of the interests of EU citizens. Likewise you are covering up possible criminal activities and criminal intent of certain agencies within the governments of certain EU countries.

 

I hereby permit the Council to make this confirmatory application fully public in the Council’s Register of documents.

 

Sincerely yours,

 

Martin Ottmann

 

 

July 4th, 2008 - Reply by EU Council to Request for Clarification

 

Dear Mr Ottmann,

 

thank you for your e-mail regarding your request for further information on the deleted parts of the document 15404/06.

 

The General Secretariat of the Council has considered your requests and we would like to inform you that as the deleted parts have been deemed to be covered by the exception relating to the protection of international relations (Article 4 (1) (a), third indent, of the Regulation 1049/2001), it is not possible to provide you more information as to why these parts cannot be disclosed without revealing their contents.

 

If you contest the General Secretariat's initial reply, you may do so by lodging in a confirmatory application, which will be examined according to the procedures established within the General Secretariat of the Council and to which the Council will reply in due course.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

For the General Secretariat of the Council

Cornelis Boer

 

 

June 27th, 2008 - Request for Clarification by Applicant

 

Dear Sirs,

 

thank you for your e-mail, the attached letter by the General Secretariat from June 19th, 2008.

 

With regards to further disclosure of the redacted parts of document 15404/06 you stated in your letter "Under Article 7(2) of the Regulation, you have 15 working days to submit a confirmatory application asking the Council to review its position."

 

Nevertheless, in order to submit a confirmatory application, I need to have certain information beforehand with regards to your position to redact contents of the document pursuant to Article 4(1)(a) of the Regulation 1049/2001 and with regards to certain information about the redacted contents of the document.

 

I therefore ask you to extend the delay of 15 working days to send you the confirmatory application, until you have provided me with a reply to this e-mail and my supplemental questions.

 

Supplemental questions:

 

1) With regards to section titled "2. Terrorism", does this section mention the CIA's rendition program, the illegal kidnapping and imprisonment by US authorities in Europe?

 

2) With regards to your decision to redact portions of section "2. Terrorism", please state more precisely why the disclosure of the redacted portions "would prejudice relations between the European Union, the United States and third countries."

 

Please also state why the disclosure of comments made by the EU CT Coordinator would pejudice relations between the EU and the US.

 

Sincerely yours,

 

Martin Ottmann

 

 

June 19th, 2008 - Reply by the General Secretariat of the EU Council

 

Dear Mr Ottmann,

 

By e-mail of 10 June 2008 you requested access to document 15404/06.

 

The General Secretariat of the Council has examined your request on the basis of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (Official Journal L 145, 31.5.2001, p. 43) and the specific provisions concerning public access to Council documents set out in Annex II to the Council's Rules of Procedure (Council Decision No 2006/683/EC, Euratom, Official Journal L 285, 16 October 2006, p. 47).

 

After its examination, the General Secretariat has come to the following conclusion:

 

Document 15404/06 is a note from the Council Secretariat containing the Outcome of the EU-US Ministerial Troika on Justice and Home Affairs held in Washington on 6 November 2006.

         

You may have access to this document with the exception of those parts which contain comments expressed by the representatives of the United States on the issues discussed during the meeting and with the exception of those parts which relate to cooperation in law enforcement matters and the situation in certain third countries.

 

Disclosure of such information could, on one hand, prejudice relations between the European Union, the United States and the third countries concerned and, on the other, weaken the position of the European Union in future negotiations with these countries.

 

Accordingly, pursuant to Article 4(1)(a), third indent, of the Regulation 1049/2001 (protection of the public interest with regard to international relations), the General Secretariat is unable to grant you access to these parts of the document.

 

Under Article 7(2) of the Regulation, you have 15 working days to submit a confirmatory application asking the Council to review its position.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

For the General Secretariat

 

Ramón Jiménez Fraile

 

 

June 10th, 2008 - Original Document Request by Applicant

 

Request sent via weblink through the web site of the European Council. No text is available.

 

 

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