Battles for Democracy. Week 8

Battles for Democracy. Week 8

A weekly summary of the battles for democracy we couldn’t write about.

Towards a True Democracy

Nothing this week.

Citizens Abused… and Murdered

EU political parties ignoring young people. In the most recent European elections in 2009, youth absenteeism was very high, almost 65%. European political parties do not target young people in their campaigns most likely because they do not vote. Surprisingly, it seems that not voting is not to protest against the EU. The most likely explanation (according to the article) is that young people feel excluded from politics and that the issues that they care about are not tackled by the main parties.

“They Didn’t Drown. They Were Murdered!” 15 Immigrant Deaths in Ceuta, Spain. Fifteen people from sub-Saharan Africa died, as a group of 200 tried to enter Spain from Morocco by swimming around the fence in port city Ceuta’s waters. Immigrant and civil society organisations accuse the Guardia Civil (Civil Guard) of negligence. They say the Civil Guard did not assist the stranded immigrants and did not alert the coastguard to rescue them. They also condemn the use of rubber bullets and tear gas against the immigrants which were used to prevent them from crossing the border. The Guardia Civil has denied the accusations and created confusion by constantly changing their version of the events.

Attorney for Edward Snowden Interrogated at U.K. Airport, Placed on “Inhibited Persons List”. A lawyer who represents Snowden was recently detained while going through customs at London’s Heathrow Airport. Jesselyn Radack is interviewed by to tell her story. Radack says she was subjected to “very hostile questioning” about Snowden and her trips to Russia. Radack also learned she might be on an “inhibited persons list,” a designation reportedly used by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to require further vetting of certain passengers. Radack is the director of National Security & Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project, the nation’s leading whistleblower support organization.

Snowden Documents Reveal Covert Surveillance and Pressure Tactics Aimed at WikiLeaks and Its Supporters. Top-secret documents from the National Security Agency and its British counterpart reveal for the first time how the governments of the US and the UK targeted WikiLeaks and other activist groups with tactics ranging from covert surveillance to prosecution. The documents cover Q&A between those in charge of the surveillance and the NSA officers.

What are you hiding? The opacity of the EU-US trade talks. While Commissioner De Gucht claims that “there is nothing secret” about the ongoing EU-US trade talks, notes of Commission meetings with business lobbyists released to Corporate Europe Observatory under the EU’s freedom of information law were heavily censored. The documents show that De Gucht’s officials invited industry to submit wishlists for ‘regulatory barriers’ they would like removed during the negotiations, but there is no way for the public to know how the EU has incorporated this into its negotiating position – or even what has been asked for and by whom – as all references have been removed.

Ukraine opposition leaders sign deal with government. Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovich, and three opposition leaders have signed an agreement intended to end a crisis that sparked bloody clashes between protesters and police on the streets of the capital, Kiev. The deal sets out plans to hold early presidential elections, form a national unity government and revert to the 2004 constitution, removing some of the president’s powers. Yanukovich did not smile during a signing ceremony lasting several minutes in the presidential headquarters, but he did shake hands with the opposition.

What’s going on in Venezuela?  Some facts about Venezuela: (1) Inflation is currently running at 56%; (2) Last year, about 24,700 homicides were recorded. That’s over 2,000 a month, 475 a week, 68 a day or almost three an hour; (3) Hugo Chavez ruled the country until his death in March 2013; (4) The country is oil rich; (5) Chavez nationalized the country’s oil in 2000.

That is the background for the violence that kicked off in recent weeks. As Ukraine’s crisis escalated in Europe, the coverage of what is happening in the capital Caracas, Valencia and other Venezuelan cities has been scant. So, we’ve taken a look at the key things you need to know to catch up on the situation.

Tools for democracy makes it easier for you to respond to the official EU consultation to reform copyright by filtering out the questions that do not relate to you directly.