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    ISSN 1756-851X
    25 August 2016
 

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Observatory : Refugee crisis in the Med and in the EU


EU: European Commission: New copyright proposals: Commission Staff Working Document: Impact Assessment on the modernisation of EU copyright rules (182 pages, pdf):

Statewatch has obtained the current version of the Impact Assessment which is out for Inter-Services Consultation within the European Commission. The Commission's proposals are due to be published in mid-September.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (24.8.16)

Council of Europe: Non-implementation of the Court's judgments: our shared responsibility (pdf)

"In December last year, the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee on Human Rights (CDDH) published a report on the longer-term future of the system of the European Convention on Human Rights (“the Convention”). There were two challenges which particularly struck me: firstly, prolonged non-implementation of a number of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and secondly, direct attacks on the Court’s authority."

Statewatch Analysis: The visible hand: The EU's Security Industrial Policy (pdf) by Chris Jones

The European Commission has been working for some time to “enhance growth and increase employment in the EU's security industry” through projects launched under the 2012 ‘Security Industrial Policy’ (SIP).

While estimates of the actual size of the security industry vary, the EU hopes it will provide more “jobs and growth” and help ensure the implementation of EU and national security policies.

The EU’s initiatives in security are wide-ranging, but they frequently dovetail with the interests of major security and defence companies: tools for mass data-gathering and predictive analytics, continent-wide surveillance systems and databases, the increasing use of biometrics in all walks of life, and the closer integration of public authorities and private industry....

An examination of the paper trail surrounding the SIP and the initiatives it has spawned serves to highlight some of the ways in which the EU is seeking to help these companies achieve “profitable businesses”, and how the foundations for the EU’s security project are being laid.

Chris Jones commented:

“The EU’s duty to level the playing field in the single market coincides neatly with the aim of large security and defence companies to have an entire continents’ worth of governments and businesses to whom they can sell new security systems and products.

The harmonisation of regulatory and technical standards across the continent is the route to developing this “true internal market in security”, and is likely to further empower Europe’s major security and defence companies."

FRONTEX: Shoot First: Coast Guard Fired at Migrant Boats, European Border Agency Documents Show (The Intercept, link):

"a Greek court ruled that the coast guard officers, including the one arrested, did nothing wrong; they were shooting to stop a suspected smuggler.

Yet a collection of incident reports from Frontex, the European Union’s border agency, obtained by The Intercept, reveals a broader Greek and European tactic of using weapons to stop boats driven by suspected smugglers — and injuring or killing refugees in the process. (In the Greek islands, Frontex operates alongside the coast guard, patrolling the sea border with Turkey. In many cases, the information in these documents was reported to Frontex by the Greek coast guard as part of their joint operations.)

The documents, which were meant to be redacted to shield operational details but were inadvertently released by Frontex in full, reveal multiple cases of firearms use against boats carrying refugees (The Intercept has elected to publish the unredacted versions to demonstrate how refugees’ lives were endangered during these incidents). The reports span a 20-month period from May 2014, two months after the Chios shooting, to December 2015. Each case of firearms use - even if it resulted in someone being wounded - was described as part of the standard rules of engagement for stopping boats at sea....

After the shooting, Rawan, Amjad, and Akil were taken to the general hospital in Chios to be treated, where they stayed for two weeks. Doctors’ reports from Germany and Sweden, where the three were eventually given asylum, as well as from the hospital in Chios, confirm that the injured refugees were released from the hospital in Chios with bullets still in their bodies. All three victims speculate that the hospital responded to pressure from the coast guard, who, they say, didn’t want evidence of the shooting in Greece.""

See full file: Serious Incident Reports (190 pages, pdf) and see Frontex rules: Serious Incident Reporting (pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (23.8.16)

USA: Problems with predictive policing

An analysis of a predictive policing system used by the police in Chicago argues that it does "not significantly reduce the likelihood of being a murder or shooting victim, or being arrested for murder," but it does lead to "increased surveillance" of those listed on the system.

UK: Special prison units for "the most dangerous Islamist extremists"

The UK government has announced new plans to "tackle extremism in prisons," including through the creation of "specialist units" for "the most dangerous Islamist extremists," and a new "directorate for Security, Order and Counter-Terrorism, responsible for monitoring and dealing with this evolving threat."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22.8.16)

BULGARIA-TURKEY: Outrage in Bulgaria over secretive transfer of Turkish citizen to Ankara (Fair Trials International, link):

"Bulgarian civil society is currently outraged by the unlawful and secretive transfer on 10th August of Turkish businessman Abdullah Büyük from Bulgaria to Turkey. Mr. Büyük was secretly handed over to a state which has only recently derogated the application of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and had expressed the intention to reinstate the death penalty as a possible means to punish everyone suspected of participating in the coup, as Turkey claimed Mr. Büyük was."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20-21.8.16)

EU-USA: Mutual Legal Assistance Review: Council of the European Union: The EU-USA Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) entered into force on 1 February 2010 and Article 17 requires a Review no later than five years after its entry into force: Seminar on the application of the Mutual Legal Assistance and extradition agreements between the European Union and the United States of America - Outcome Report (LIMITED doc no: 9519-16,pdf) Note this also covers extradition. Worth a read, revealing discussions between Member States:

"In terms of refusals, Member States have refused US requests because of issues relating to data protection, death penalty, "fishing expeditions" or logistical problems. Also some identified issues in relation to US application of extraterritorial jurisdiction. The US has refused requests from many MS in relation to probable cause, dual criminality, freedom of expression and de minimis." [emphasis added]

- Review - 5 May 2016 (LIMITE doc no: 9291-16, pdf) - Review - 13 May 2016 (LIMITE doc no: 8707-16, pdf) - Review of the 2010 EU-US MLA Agreement - Examination of draft texts (7403-16, pdf)

Background: EU: JHA Council authorises signing of EU-USA agreements on extradition and mutual legal assistance (Statewatch database) and see Full-text of MLA and extradition Agreements

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19.8.16): including Hungarian state of emergency to be extended; new Fundamental Rights Agency update; new report on women living in Calais camps; Egypt as an alternative to Libya for migrants trying to reach Europe.

UK: Bulk data collection by security agencies is needed, says government terrorism watchdog

The UK's Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation has said that the bulk collection of data by the security agencies MI5, MI6 and GCHQ plays "an important part" in countering terrorism and that "there is a proven operational case for the three powers already in use," while there is "a distinct (though not yet proven) operational case" for a fourth proposed power. All the powers are contained in the Investigatory Powers Bill that is currently before parliament.

The review undertaken had no remit to examine whether the powers in question - bulk interception, bulk acquisition, bulk equipment interference and the collection of bulk personal datasets - are "desirable, or should be passed into law, or [to comment] on the safeguards that should be applied to them," nor to examine whether they were compatible with the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights or EU law.

See: Bulk Powers Review – Report (Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, link) and: Report of the Bulk Powers Review (pdf)

Greek government rebuffs suggestion to strengthen approach to ill-treatment by law enforcement agents

A suggestion from the Council of Europe's human rights commissioner that new powers for the Greek Ombudsman should go beyond simply "issuing non-binding recommendations" in relation to allegations of ill-treatment by law enforcement agents has been rebuffed by the country's officials.

The Greek justice minister, Nikolaos Paraskevopoulos, said in response to a letter from the commissioner, Nils Muižnieks, that new powers for the Ombudsman are foreseen as "an additional mechanism, apart from the imposition of disciplinary and criminal sanctions" by internal bodies and the justice system.

See: Council of Europe to Greek government: Letter from Nils Muižnieks to Nikolaos Paraskevopoulos and Nikolaos Toskas, 25 July 2016 (pdf) and Greek government reply: Letter from Nikolaos Paraskevopoulos to Nils Muižnieks, 17 August 2016 (pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17-18.8.16)

NETPOL: Police refuse to rule out using undercover officers at anti-fracking protests (link):

"National Police Chiefs Council insists using controversial covert undercover tactics is a matter for local police commanders

In July 2015, the National Police Chiefs Council published new guidance on operations targeting anti-fracking protests. In response, Netpol produced a detailed briefing raising eighteen questions about the scale and tactics of policing operations and the necessity of undertaking significant intelligence-gathering targeting opponents of fracking. Now, nearly a year on, we have finally received a reply from Norfolk Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Sarah Hamlin, of the NPCC’s National Protest Working Group."

See: Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Guidance: (pdf) and see Netpol response (link)

A new EU Security Strategy: towards a militarised Europe? (link):

"“Europe has never been so prosperous, so secure nor so free”. It was 2003 and those were the words introducing the self-congratulatory EU Security Strategy that set the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) guidelines for the next 13 years. The former High Representative (HR), Javier Solana, drafted it to tackle indirect and external threats, as almost none existed at home. Now, the current HR, Federica Mogherini, faces very different circumstances and so the strategy does too."

See also: EU says "soft power is not enough" as German and French ministers call for "European Security Compact" (Statewatch)


Top reports

See: Resources for researchers: Statewatch Analyses: 1999-ongoing

SECILE Project:

Borderline: The EU's New Border Surveillance Initiatives: Assessing the Costs and Fundamental Rights Implications of EUROSUR and the "Smart Borders" Proposals (pdf) A study by the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Written by Dr. Ben Hayes and Mathias Vermeulen: "Unable to tackle the root of the problem, the member states are upgrading the Union’s external borders. Such a highly parochial approach taken to a massive scale threatens some of the EU’s fundamental values - under the pretence that one’s own interests are at stake. Such an approach borders on the inhumane."

How the EU works and justice and home affairs decision-making (pdf)

Statewatch's 20th Anniversary Conference, June 2011: Statewatch conference speeches

TNI/Statewatch: Counter-terrorism, 'policy laundering' and the FATF - legalising surveillance, regulating civil society (pdf) by Ben Hayes

Statewatch publication: Guide to EU decision-making and justice and home affairs after the Lisbon Treaty (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex, with additional material by Tony Bunyan

Neoconopticon: the EU security-industrial complex (pdf) by Ben Hayes

The Shape of Things to Come (pdf) by Tony Bunyan


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