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September 2017

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (28-30.9.17)

EU:Council of the European Union: Atlas Network & Internal Security Strategy

ATLAS: Working Party on Terrorism and Law Enforcement Working Party: Subject: Strengthening the ATLAS Network (LIMITE doc no: 11828-17, pdf):

"All of us remember the terrorist attacks that have occurred across the EU in recent years. Special intervention units (SIUs) are specifically trained and equipped to respond to such attacks. (...)

The ATLAS Network is an association consisting of 38 SIUs1 from the 28 Member States (MS) of the European Union (EU) and, in addition, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland. (...)

As one of the main objectives of the ATLAS Network is rapid response to crisis situations, terror incidents in particular, and international cooperation, we propose involving both the Terrorism Working Party (TWP) and the Law Enforcement Working Party (LEWP) in this discussion. Bringing the issue to the attention of both LEWP and TWP is logical, since it is important to highlight the role of the ATLAS Network not only as law enforcement format, but also in the context of countering terrorism." [emphasis added]

• ISS: Joint trio Presidency paper on the renewed EU Internal Security Strategy 2015–2020 (LIMITE doc no: 11968-REV-1-17, pdf):

"Estonia, Bulgaria and Austria decided to draft a joint ISS trio paper containing five key topics which covers the 18-month joint trio Presidency period. During the joint Presidency period the most important topics to be addressed by the Presidencies will be the following: interoperability and information exchange, ATLAS, cooperation with third countries/third country regions (especially Ukraine and the Western Balkans), violent extremism, and the Security and the Migration Union 2025." [emphasis added]

Interoperability and information exchange: "The Commission, together with eu-LISA, EDPS, FRA and other relevant stakeholders, is expected to carry out the relevant studies by the end of 2017, by which time the Commission should also have proposed an omnibus Regulation updating the legal bases of existing information systems and enabling native interoperability at EU level, as well as legislative proposals on the three main dimensions of interoperability – a European search portal, a shared biometric matching service and a common identity repository." (...)

Security and Migration Union 2025: The trio Presidency of the Council has initiated a process (the 'Vienna process'), with the involvement of subsequent Presidencies, to pursue long-term goals in the field of internal security, including security-related topics in the area of asylum, migration and borders." [emphasis added]

HUNGARY: Here are the “Soros Plan” national consultation questions! (Budapest Beacon, link):

"Pro-government propaganda outlet Magyar Idok has published the list of questions that will appear on Hungary’s upcoming “Soros Plan” national consultation. Earlier this week, the government began running propaganda spots in the media to drum up support for the government-funded questionnaire.

The “Soros Plan” national consultation is the government’s deliberate misrepresentation of George Soros’ proposals for managing the refugee crisis."

See also: Hungary Begins a New Official Hate Campaign - European Leaders Should Condemn Efforts to Stir Hate Against Foreigners, Civil Society (HRW, link)

Violation of civil and political rights - Catalonia, September 2017

"This report looks at possible violations of civil and/or political rights suffered by citizens during September 2017, principally in the territory of Catalonia, although with some incidents in locations across the Kingdom of Spain (...)

Listed below are the fundamental rights recognised by the most relevant national and international law, alongside the international treaties and legal systems and article(s) applicable in each case. Each section contains a brief description of the emerging factual elements. In some cases, the same incident may involve the violation of a number of the rights set out.

The report examines potential breaches of the rights to a fair trial, to an effective remedy and to a defence; the right to a private and family life; the rights to freedom of thought and belief; the rights to freedom of expression, opinion and the receipt and communication of information and ideas; and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly."

EU: A crucial moment for communications privacy (European Data Protection Supervisor, link):

"The current review of the ePrivacy rules is an opportunity to good to be missed. In line with the fresh air that the GPDR blows into the processing of personal data inside organisations and corporations, the ePrivacy review allows us to create a new field for competitive and privacy friendly services on the Internet and the World Wide Web to give back control to individuals. There are still plenty of creative entrepreneurs that can enter with new ideas and business models."

EU Governments Must Protect Rule of Law in Poland: Joint Letter to EU Council (Liberties.eu, link)::

"Mounting restrictions on NGOs in Poland are a further nail in the coffin of the Rule of Law, democracy and fundamental rights. We ask EU governments meeting to discuss the situation in Poland to protect the people."

EU: Our Freedom of Speech is Threatened by the European Copyright Legislation Proposal - Here's How (Liberties.eu, link):

"The European Commission's desire to modernise copyright law is much needed, but a key part of its proposal would represent a serious threat to our freedom of expression.

The European Commission seeks to modernise copyright. This is a welcome attempt, because the EU’s regulation is severely outdated: it is half as old as the World Wide Web itself and a lot has happened on the internet since the EU last tackled the issue. However, the proposal the Commission has put forward endangers freedom of expression. Liberties calls on the Commission to remove Article 13 from their proposal for a Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market in order to avoid the dramatic threats to our human rights. (...)

Article 13 of the proposed Directive would replace the current limited liability system by the need of implementing in practice automated content filtering systems that prevent copyrighted material from even getting uploaded to the Internet. It would require all internet companies to monitor all the content their users attempt to upload."

EDRI: Commission’s position on tackling illegal content online is contradictory and dangerous for free speech (link):

"Today, on 28 September, the European Commission published its long-awaited Communication “Tackling Illegal Content Online”. This follows a leaked copy we previously analysed.

The document puts virtually all its focus on internet companies monitoring online communications, in order to remove content that they decide might be illegal. It presents few safeguards for free speech, and little concern for dealing with content that is actually criminal."

See: Security Union: Commission steps up efforts to tackle illegal content online (Press release, pdf):

"To speed up detection, online platforms are encouraged to work closely with trusted flaggers, i.e. specialised entities with expert knowledge on what constitutes illegal content. Additionally, they should establish easily accessible mechanisms to allow users to flag illegal content and to invest in automatic detection technologies."

See: Communication: Tackling Illegal Content Online: Towards an enhanced responsibility of online platforms (COM 255-27, pdf) and Code of Conduct (pdf)

European Commission: Commission presents next steps towards a stronger, more effective and fairer EU migration and asylum policy (Press release, pdf)

"A more effective EU policy on return: A more effective EU policy on return With return rates remaining unsatisfactory (around 36% in 2014-2015) and an estimated 1.5 million people to be returned from EU Member States in the near future, the Commission proposes to step up return efforts on all fronts." [emphasis added]

The Commission states (COM 558-17): "And yet, according to EUROSTAT data, out of the approximately 1 million third-country nationals found to be illegally present in the EU in 2016, only half received orders to leave the EU, and less than half of that figure (226,000) were effectively returned."

Statewatch comment: This quote is a bit misleading as third country nationals "illegaly present" includes visa overstayers thought to comprise about half of the overall figure.

The Commission, in the same report, states: "Based on the lessons learned in Greece and Italy, the Commission will present later in the autumn guidelines, including a template for standard operating procedures on how to set up and use hotspots in case of disproportionate migratory pressure at the external border of any Member State." This appears to refer not just to taking the "hotspot" approach in states with sea borders but at land borders inside the EU.

And see: Commission's latest proposals: three year internal border controls, swifter returns, ensure relocations

Robots could destabilise world through war and unemployment, says UN (Guardian, link):

"United Nations opens new centre in Netherlands to monitor artificial intelligence and predict possible threats."

See: UNICRI Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (link)

EU: New 'Return Handook' to assist Member States in bypassing human rights safeguards in migrant removals

The Commission has published a new version of the 'Return Handbook', that is supposed to be used by national authorities to implement the EU Returns Directive and has been revised in order to implement a host of recommendations on "making returns more effective".

The recommendations, published in March this year by the European Commission, were condemned by over 90 civil society groups as bypassing human rights safeguards set out in EU law and "actively pushing Member States to lower the bar".

EU: ePrivacy Regulation: Do not let the EU sell our right to privacy: Still 14 days to act

"The European Union is about to change the rules protecting of our privacy through a new ePrivacy Regulation.

Numerous Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are ready to allow monitoring of our online activities for business purposes without our consent."

EU: Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 134,549 in 2017; Deaths Reach 2,654 (IOM, link):

"IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 134,549 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 24 September, with over 75 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 302,175 arrivals across the region through the same period last year.

IOM Rome’s Flavio di Giacomo reported on Thursday, 21 September that, according to official figures of the Italian Ministry of Interior, 103,318 migrants arrived by sea to Italy this year, or some 21.5 per cent fewer than last year in the same period.

Di Giacomo reported a shipwreck that occurred off the Libyan coast last week – with at least 90 missing migrants – has been confirmed."

EU: Commission's latest proposals: three year internal border controls, swifter returns, ensure relocations

The European Commission has announced a swathe of plans and proposals that will allow three-year internal border controls in the Schengen area; introduce an expanded, 50,000-place EU resettlement scheme for refugees backed by €500 million; attempt to increase the number of returns, including by "significantly reinforcing" Frontex's return operations; and inviting the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) "to coordinate a pilot project on private sponsorship schemes with interested Member States."

Spanish police to take over Catalan polling stations to thwart independence vote (Reuters, link):

"Spain’s government said on Tuesday police would take control of voting booths in Catalonia to help thwart the region’s planned independence referendum that Madrid has declared illegal.

(...)

Catalonia’s prosecutor has ordered the regional police - known as the Mossos d‘Esquadra - to take control of any voting booths by Saturday, a spokesman for the Madrid government’s Catalan delegation said.

In an order to police issued on Monday, the prosecutor’s office said they would take the names of anyone participating in the vote and confiscate relevant documents.

Anyone in possession of the keys or entrance codes to a polling booth could be considered a collaborator to crimes of disobedience, malfeasance and misappropriation of funds, the order said."

Note: the police have also been ordered to prevent any referendum-related activity in a 100 metre radius around any building designated as a polling station.

And see: Commission silent as Madrid shuts down websites ahead of Catalonia referendum (EurActiv, link)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (25-27.9.17) including: New 'Return Handook' to assist Member States in bypassing human rights safeguards in migrant removals

MEDITERRANEAN: Statement by Mission Lifelife: Attack by the Libyan Coastguard on the rescue vessel "Lifeline"

Our civilian rescue ship, the "Lifeline", was attacked yesterday by the Libyan coast guard during its first rescue operation in the Mediterranean.

While our crew provided humanitarian aid 19 miles off the Libyan coast (in international waters), the Libyan Coast Guard attacked our ship by firing shots and entering our rescue ship without the consent of our captain.

UK: Police reach settlement with family of Habib 'Paps' Ullah over 39-year-old's death (Slough Express, link):

"Thames Valley Police (TVP) has apologised for the death of a 39-year-old man from Slough who died after a drugs search in 2008.

Habib 'Paps' Ullah, of Arborfield Close, suffered a cardiac arrest and died on July 3 following a stop and search at a residential car park in Sharrow Vale, High Wycombe.

Since then his family, leading the Justice4Paps campaign, became embroiled in a nine-year battle for answers, during which two inquests were held.

The original 2010 inquest collapsed due to the revelation that police officers made changes to their statements, prompting an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation which found insufficient evidence for criminal charges against the five officers involved.

At Mr Ullah’s second inquest in March 2015, a verdict of ‘misadventure’ with a narrative attached was delivered by jurors."

UK: The end of the courtroom trial – and why we should be worried (New Statesman, link):

" When people think of justice, it’s often the same images that are conjured up. The wood-paneled courtroom, the judge in wig and gown. A jury sat attentively. Two sides fighting for justice. Grandstanding speeches. The trial is the archetype of criminal justice.

In reality, though, the trial is starting to disappear. People accused of crimes, are increasingly being incentivised to simply plead guilty and to waive their right to a trial. In the US, where a fifth of the world’s prison population reside, a shocking 97 per cent of cases don’t go to trial at all. Instead people are convicted following plea bargains struck with prosecutors.

And it is not only in the US that the trial is disappearing. Fair Trials recently published our own report – The Disappearing Trial – which shows this growing global trend towards encouraging guilty pleas. The world over, trials are increasingly seen as too costly and inefficient. Too often the justice system is seen by policy-makers as a production line. From that perspective, trials just get in the way of processing “outcomes” as quickly and efficiently as possible. Defendants are incentivised to give up their right to a trial and plead guilty to streamline the process. "

UK: Eleven men arrested on terror charges in neo-Nazi investigation (The Guardian, link):

"Eleven men have been arrested across England and Wales on suspicion of terrorism offences as part of a national investigation into the banned neo-Nazi group National Action, police have said.

Six men from the north-west of England, including a prisoner; two men from South Wales; two men from West Yorkshire; and one man from Wiltshire have been detained on a range of charges. The men are aged from 22 to 35.

Eleven properties are being searched across England and Wales as part of the investigation led by Counter Terrorism Policing North East and North West.

National Action, an antisemitic, white supremacist group, was banned as a terrorist organisation in December by the home secretary."

UK: Leicestershire Police: Eighty officers now Taser trained (Loughborough Echo, link):

"EIGHTY officers from Leicestershire’s response and local policing are now carrying a Conductive Electrical Device (commonly known as Tasers) in addition to their colleagues in the East Midlands Operational Support Service (EMOpSS).

The move, which was announced in November 2016, is intended to increase public safety and the safety of police officers. Another 70 officers are in the process of being trained which will bring the total number of Specially Trained Officers (STOs) to 150.

The officers are spread across the force area. Previously, the Taser capability available to Leicestershire Police was only provided by EMOpSS officers who provide specialist police services to the communities of Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire."

HUNGARY: Asylum system in Hungary dismantled as elections approach - Migszol update (Migszol, link):

"What was before a more or less, albeit poorly, functioning asylum system, has been turned into a carefully constructed, but unsustainable, system of detention and transit zones. Systematic pushbacks to Serbia, and more recently to Romania, continue. The fence area has developed into a militarized zone of pushbacks and detention.

Following the format of our previous monthly updates, this brief post overlooks the main developments in

Hungary in 2017 on the ground, while the next post coming up in a few days time looks at political developments. For legal developments and a monthly update on the asylum situation in Hungary, please see also the publications of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee."

UK: SMART METERS: Privacy Factsheet (Big Brother Watch, link to pdf):

"Smart meters are technology which will replace your existing gas and electricity meters. They are a mobile connected device which will send data about your energy use to your energy supplier. Currently the scheme is entirely voluntary but the Government are keen for everyone to have a smart meter by 2020. Smart meters will change the way we engage with our energy. It is important to understand what they are, what they can do and what control and choice you have."

SWEDEN: Extra police called to Gothenburg to manage neo-Nazi demonstration (The Local, link):

"Police from across Sweden will be called to Gothenburg to help manage a planned neo-Nazi demonstration in the centre of the city.

On September 30th the Nordic Resistance Movement (NMR) will hold a demonstration in Sweden's second city, following a previous march there earlier in the month.

Gothenburg's Administrative Court has significantly shortened the original route, preventing it from passing near a synagogue where celebrations of the holy Jewish holiday Yom Kippur will be taking place, as well as the city's biggest exhibition centre, where the Gothenburg Book Fair will be held.

Members of the NMR have previously suggested they will ignore the route change however, while the organization has also appealed the court’s ruling."

EU: Registration of persons on board passenger ships (European Parliament briefing, pdf):

"While EU waters ranks among the safest in the world for travellers, in case of an emergency, search
and rescue authorities must know immediately the number of people missing. To facilitate this, the
European Commission proposed to digitalise the registration of passengers on ships operating to and
from EU ports. The proposal is part of a broader review of the EU passenger ship safety legislation,
which aims to simplify the existing rules and cut administrative costs, while keeping sea travel safe.

(...)

Personal data, including nationality and date of birth, will be erased automatically once the
ship’s voyage or any incident investigation is completed. Member States will have two years to introduce the
new rules into their national legislation.
"

Kent Police officer charged with assault following IPCC investigation (IPCC, link):

"A Kent Police sergeant will appear at Margate Magistrates’ Court on 7 November to face a charge of assault by beating following an Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation.

PS Paul Coughlan, who was based at Canterbury Police station, is alleged to have used disproportionate force in striking a man who was being held in police custody in a cell.

Following the man’s detention on 29 March this year, he made a complaint about the officer’s actions which was referred to the IPCC.

The IPCC completed its investigation in July 2017 and referred its conclusions to the Crown Prosecution Service who authorised the charge this month (September 2017)."

UK: Activist Found Guilty of Terror-Related Crime for Refusing to Disclose Passwords to U.K. Police (The Intercept, link):

"A judge in a London court on Monday found activist Muhammad Rabbani guilty of a terrorism offense because he refused to turn over his passwords to police during a border search.

Rabbani, the 36-year-old international director of British advocacy group Cage, was arrested in November at London’s Heathrow Airport. Police had demanded he provide his phone and laptop passwords during an “examination” that was carried out under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act, a broad power authorities can use to interrogate and detain people in border areas without requiring any suspicion of wrongdoing.

Rabbani said he could not provide access to his devices because they contained confidential information, provided to him by one of Cage’s clients, about alleged acts of U.S. torture."

See: Court Judgment (pdf)

EU: UK/EU Security Cooperation After Brexit: the UK Government’s Future Partnership Papers (EU Law Analysis, link) by Professor Steve Peers:

" I’ll look here at the papers on two aspects of security – external security (foreign policy and defence) on the one hand, and internal security (police and criminal law cooperation) on the other. Both of them are impacted in the short term by the Florence speech, since the Prime Minister called for the current UK/EU security arrangements to apply for a period of around two years, followed by a comprehensive EU/UK security treaty. Assuming that such a transition period is agreed, the issue is what happens after that. In other words, what will be the content of that future comprehensive security treaty?"

US tests EU patience over Privacy Shield (euobserver, link):

"Outstanding issues remain, following a review of the deal with the EU commissioner for justice, Vera Jourova, who told reporters in Brussels on Monday (25 September) that the US side is yet to fulfil its side of the bargain (...)

The NSA's section 702 on foreign intelligence gathering is up for renewal before the end of the year. This rule grants the US government sweeping powers to collect foreign intelligence information.

"We are very concerned about what the new version of this act will mean for Privacy Shield," said Jourova."

EU: Tech industry sounds alarm over draft online payment rules (euractiv, link):

"Twenty-seven e-commerce companies and lobby groups have asked the European Commission to change a draft proposal to regulate payment services, arguing that additional security measures will drive shoppers away from online platforms.

The Commission wants to cut down on online fraud by requiring consumers to use card authentication measures like reader devices, to scan their fingerprints or use other biometric checks for purchases that cost at least €30.

Higher value purchases are considered riskier. That means consumers will need to take an extra step to authenticate each purchase before it’s approved.

The EU executive is still finishing its draft of the proposal and will send it to MEPs and diplomats from national governments within the next few weeks, using a fast-track legal procedure known as an “implementing act”. MEPs and member states can either approve or reject the text within three months of receiving it, but cannot make changes to it." [emphasis added]

The European Forum on Armed Drones (EFAD) (link):

"The European Forum on Armed Drones (EFAD) is a civil society network of organisations working to promote human rights, respect for the rule of law, disarmament and conflict prevention. EFAD has been formed to challenge the growing global use of armed drones and to address key concerns regarding their deployment and proliferation, through engaging with governments, European institutions and civil society, and by promoting political and public debate."

Disappointing results for predictive policing (link)

"The Max Planck Institute in Freiburg does not see any proof of effectiveness for predictive policing in preventing home burglaries. Another study is expected next year from Hamburg.

So far, there has been no proof in Germany that so-called "predictive policing“ leads to crime rates being lowered in a particular area. Two investigations aim to shed light on this: one "study of new technologies for predicting home burglaries and their consequences for policing practice“ is currently underway at Hamburg University, however the project does not end until December 2018. In the meantime, evaluation of a predictive policing project in Baden-Württemberg by the Freiburg Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law has been completed."

New reports on racism and discrimination in Ukraine, Montenegro and Slovenia (Council of Europe, link):

"The Council of Europe’s anti-discrimination commission, European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has published today new reports on Ukraine, Montenegro, as well as conclusions on Slovenia.

In Ukraine, the ECRI commended new legal provisions to combat discrimination, progress in investigating hate crimes, steps towards integrating Roma and solidarity towards internally displaced persons (IDPs). However, racist violence against LGBT and Roma and hate speech dominating public discourse remain a problem and the conditions of IDPs must be improved. Over the past three years, the report says, political discourse has been dominated by anti-Russia rhetoric; the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has had a negative effect on vulnerable groups, in general. The report (2011-23.03.2017) does not take into account the situation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, as well as certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

In Montenegro, the ECRI praised the authorities’ efforts to strengthen protection against hate crimes, empower the Ombudsman and improve the situation of Roma. However, LGBT persons are still targets of violence, Roma remain at risk of social exclusion and segregation, and no reliable data on hate crimes exists.

As for Slovenia, the authorities satisfactorily implemented two ECRI’s priority recommendations on setting up a body to combat discrimination, as well as on a compensation scheme for the “erased” persons and the regulation of their legal status. Nevertheless, Slovenia didn’t implement the recommendation on ensuring access to water for all Roma."

France’s Counterterrorism Bill Normalizes Emergency Practices (Human Rights Watch, link):

"France’s draft counterterrorism bill is now in its final stretch before becoming law. The fast-tracked bill is widely expected to pass a vote in an extraordinary session of the National Assembly on October 3 – despite concerns that it encroaches on people’s rights.

The bill doesn’t prolong France’s two-year-long state of emergency, which will formally be over when it becomes law.

What it does is rather more unsettling. It takes elements of emergency practices – intrusive search powers, restrictions on individuals that have bordered on house arrest, closure of places of worship – that have been used abusively since November 2015, and makes them normal criminal and administrative practice. It does all this in a way that weakens the judiciary’s control over and ability to check against abuse in the way the new counterterrorism powers are used by prefects, the Interior Ministry’s appointed delegates in each region."

EU: Address to ICIC on the future of transparency and access to information (European Ombudsman, link):

"Politicians and officials in the EU often refer to Regulation 1049 as “the Transparency Regulation”. Yet public access to information is not in itself transparency. It is a tool which can help us to understand the reasons why certain things that have happened, decisions taken, the influencing factors and the identity of those involved. But by definition, it is retrospective. Access can be given only to information that has already been recorded.

We need to think more broadly, not just about publishing what is already created, but ensuring that relevant and accurate information is produced and published in good time for it to be useful.

(...)

Proactive disclosure of information should be just that – automatic, anticipatory and timely. Public authorities should not be checking to see whether they have a legal obligation to publish documents proactively, but doing so instinctively, as a matter of principle and conviction. It is good governance in practice. It enhances democracy. It is the right thing to do for citizens."

EU: Restricted document: Counter-Terrorism Coordinator seeks to emulate US in gathering "battlefield data" for law enforcement agencies

The EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator (CTC) wants the EU and the Member States to put serious thought into how data collected on battlefields across the world could be used for capturing and prosecuting "foreign fighters" on EU territory, in particular by emulating and learning from the practices of the US, with whom "close cooperation" is "key". However, there are "many complex legal and practical questions" that must be answered first.

UK: Labour-backed report calls for more generous legal aid system

"An additional £400m a year should be spent restoring access to a more generous system of legal aid, according to a Labour-backed report which calls for a legally enforceable right to justice.

The two-year-long review, led by the former justice minister Lord Bach, launches an alternative vision of equality before the law and condemns austerity policies that have imposed a “disproportionate” share of cuts on the legal system."

EU: European Ombudsman on timeliness and transparency in the European Commission’s handling of infringement complaints

"Effective application of EU law is essential to ensuring the Union’s credibility. To check that Member States correctly transpose and implement EU law, the European Commission is tasked — in its role as “guardian of the Treaties” — with investigating alleged infringements.

Complaints lodged by citizens, organisations and businesses are an essential source of information for the Commission on possible breaches of EU law. Complainants, however, sometimes struggle to understand that infringement procedures are not always the best way to solve their individual problem. They also find it difficult to accept that the Commission enjoys discretionary powers to open or not to open an infringement procedure at the end of its investigations.

After receiving a range of complaints about the Commission’s handling of these cases, the Ombudsman opened a strategic inquiry to investigate whether there were underlying systemic problems. The inquiry concerned the Commission’s handling of infringement complaints under what is generally referred to as the “EU Pilot” system, which structures the informal stage of infringement proceedings. The purpose of “EU Pilot” is to conduct an informal dialogue with Member States to remedy breaches of EU law at an early stage and avoid resorting to formal infringement procedures. The inquiry covers: (i) the Commission’s duty to reach a timely decision, (ii) information to complainants and (iii) information to the public about EU Pilot cases."

See: Decision of the European Ombudsman setting out suggestions following her strategic inquiry OI/5/2016/AB on timeliness and transparency in the European Commission’s handling of infringement complaints (European Ombudsman, link)

EU-US: PNR: US takes aim at Court of Justice opinion on air traveller data

The Trump administration has taken note of the recent Court of Justice opinion setting out requirements for the transfer of air passenger data from the EU to Canada and appears to be threatening to impose restrictions on EU citizens travelling to the US if limitations are placed on the transfer of personal data to US authorities.

Poland and Hungary: The EU takes its time when it comes to punishing member states (Atlatszo, link):

"The V4 MEPs, especially from Slovakia, Poland and Hungary do not support the EU intervening in the internal affairs of the member states, even if the fundamental rights might be in danger. The Commission does not seem convinced either that imposing sanctions will be the best way to solve the conflicts with Polish and Hungarian governments. It is high time to break this deadlock."

Austria bans burqa (New Europe, link):

"Austria’s controversial new law banning niqabs and burqas comes into force on October 1. Under the new law, anyone wearing clothes that obscure their face in public will be subject to a fine of €150.

The ban was approved by Austria’s parliament in May despite protests from Muslim groups and opposition from lawyers and the country’s own president.

As reported by The Independent, Austria’s Anti-Face-Veiling Act will prohibit face coverings in all public places and buildings, including courts, schools, and transport.

Police will issue on-the-spot fines to residents and visitors to the country whose faces are “hidden or concealed by clothes or other objects in such a way that they are no longer recognisable”, authorities warned."

German election: protests in Berlin as Nazis enter the Bundestag

"For the first time in the modern history of the Federal Republic of Germany, voters have elected a far-right party to the country's parliament. But what does "far-right" mean and how will political culture change? The answers are both very complicated and really simple.

The Alternative for Germany (AfD) promotes itself as a patriotic, democratic, conservative party. However, critics from across the political spectrum say it's an association of right-wing extremists. In a pointed reference to the AfD, Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel bemoaned the fact that "true Nazis" would once again be part of the Bundestag."

UK: Criminalise reading as part of "netwar" against ISIS, says thinktank

The UK government should consider criminalising "the persistent consumption of extremist content online" and "the possession and viewing of extremist content" as part of a strategy against "the virtual threat" posed by Islamic extremism, says a new report by conservative think tank Policy Exchange.

Council: EU JHA agencies want access to all fingerprints, palm prints and facial images held under interoperability plans

The Council of the European Union's DAPIX: Working Group: Friends of Presidency on interoperability of EU information systems is discussing: Access to central EU systems for borders and security (LIMITE doc no: 12258-17,pdf):

"the Commission was called upon to propose a comprehensive framework for law enforcement access to the various databases in the area of justice and home affairs, ‘with a view to greater simplification, consistency, effectiveness and attention to operational needs'"

All the EU Justice and Home Affairs agencies have or want access to: "alphanumeric data - biographic data - fingerprints - palm prints - facial images"

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20-24..9.17)

Greece: Court decisions pave way for first forcible returns of asylum-seekers under EU-Turkey deal (AI, link):

"Two Syrian refugees are at risk of being forcibly returned to Turkey after Greece’s highest administrative court rejected their final appeals against earlier rulings declaring their asylum claims inadmissible. This could set a dangerous precedent for future returns of asylum-seekers under the EU-Turkey deal, Amnesty International said.(...)

“Today - for the first time since the implementation of the EU-Turkey deal - Greece, acting on behalf of the entire EU, took a conscious decision which will result in two refugees being sent to a country which is already struggling to meet the basic needs of almost three million other refugees,” said John Dalhuisen.

“Until such time as asylum-seekers and refugees can be guaranteed effective protection in Turkey, EU countries must stop sending them there.”"

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "This judgment could lead to mass forced returns to Turkey. And could also lead to thousands of Dublin returns to Greece from other EU Member States with the country being used as a detention state."

UK: Two deaths in immigration detention centres in 12 days (IRR News, link):

"On 7 September, an unnamed Polish man died in hospital after self-harming at Harmondsworth detention centre. Twelve days later a Chinese man was found dead at Dungavel in Scotland. Two deaths in twelve days making a total of four deaths already this year."

The Council of the European Union is considering the Internal Security Strategy

Renewed European Union Internal Security Strategy and Counter-Terrorism Implementation Paper: report of the first half of 2017 and programme for the second half of 2017 (LIMITE doc no: 10827-17, 64 pages, pdf) and see COR 1 (pdf) and:

Draft Council conclusions on the mid-term review of the Renewed European Union Internal Security Strategy 2015-2020 (LIMITE doc no: 11901-REV-1-17) The Council lays emphasis on the quick implementation of interoperability data retention.

Spain to send extra police to try to halt Catalan referendum (AP, link):

" Spain will deploy police reinforcements to the northeastern region of Catalonia to maintain order and take action if a referendum on independence pledged by the Catalan government but deemed illegal by Spain should take place, officials said Friday.

The measure comes amid rising tension between Spanish and Catalan authorities over the planned referendum. Civil Guard police this week arrested around a dozen regional government officials and seized about 10 million ballot papers. Catalan authorities insist the Oct. 1 ballot will take place. Both sides accuse each other of acting illegally and undemocratically."

And: Internet Society statement on Internet blocking measures in Catalonia, Spain (internetsociety.org, link):

"Measures restricting free and open access to the Internet have been reported in Catalonia. There have been reports that major telecom operators have been asked to monitor and block traffic to political websites, and following a court order, law enforcement has raided the offices of the .CAT registry in Barcelona, examining a computer and arresting staff."

Also: We just want to stop pleading (Open Democracy, link): "A call to the people of Spain, because the Catalan independence referendum on October 1 is about rather more than that.":

MEPs urge Spain to release Swedish-Turkish writer Hamza Yalcin (The Local.se, link):

" Nine Swedish members of the European Parliament have written to Spain's prime minister and justice minister, demanding the release of Swedish-Turkish journalist Hamza Yalcin.

The letter is signed by Swedish MEPs Max Andersson and Bodil Valero of the Green Party; Malin Björk of the Left Party; Fredrick Federley of the Centre Party; Anna Hedh, Olle Ludvigsson, Jens Nilsson and Marita Ulvskog of the Social Democrats; and Soraya Post of Feminist Initiative.

It calls on Spain to release Yalcin, who is being held on Turkey's orders. "The only crime Mr Yalcin is guilty of is criticizing Mr Erdogan," they write."

UK: Campaigners condemn change in police tactics over anti-fracking protests in North Yorkshire (Drill or Drop, link):

"Opponents of fracking plans at Kirby Misperton have accused North Yorkshire Police of violating their human right to protest.

An inspector was filmed today confirming that slow walking protests – where campaigners slowly escort trucks – would not be permitted near the Third Energy’s fracking site.

This form of protest has been used at protests against the onshore oil and gas industry throughout the UK. Earlier this month, Supt Dave Hannan, the silver commander of the operation at Kirby Misperton, said he would allow one 20-minute slow walk in the morning and another of the same duration in the afternoon. DrillOrDrop report."

UK: Banks to carry out immigration checks on customers (BBC News, link):

"Banks and building societies are to carry out checks on all current account holders to identify illegal immigrants.

The measure, part of a government clampdown, will see them given a list of people who are liable for removal or deportation from the UK or who have absconded from immigration control. Financial institutions will have to report any names they discover and freeze or close the accounts.(...)

According to the Guardian, 70 million accounts will be looked at quarterly to check the immigration status of the holders. The checks form part of a series of measures in the Immigration Act 2016 aimed at encouraging illegal immigrants to leave the UK voluntarily."

See also: Home Office wrongly denying people bank accounts in 10% of cases (Guardian, link) "Study of Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’ measures against illegal immigrants finds high error rate."

UK's terror fight 'puts unsustainable strain on police' (BBC News, link):

"The UK's counter-terrorism effort is putting an unsustainable strain on policing, the head of the National Police Chiefs' Council has said.

Chief Constable Sara Thornton said resources were being diverted from mainstream policing in England and Wales, leading to backlogs in control rooms and slower response times.

"This puts extra strain on an already-stretched service," she added."

UK: Met to review risk assessment form 'stifling' grime and garage scenes (Guardian, link): "London mayor Sadiq Khan orders review of the 696 form, long used to target a disproportionate number of music events by black and Asian artists."

BREXIT: THe General Affairs Council of the EU is meeting on Monday 25 September. The main subject is BREXIT. The Backgound Note (pdf) contains a summary of the EU's position.

IRELAND: Jobstown accused 'relieved' as charges set to be dropped (RTE, link):

""A solicitor representing a number of people who were facing charges relating to the Jobstown protest in 2014 has said his clients are relieved after learning the charges are to be dropped. Michael Finucane said last night that the Director of Public Prosecutions informed him the charges would be dropped when the case comes before the courts on 2 October."

See: Irish water charges protesters trap deputy PM Joan Burton in car (BBC News, link)

UK: IPCC: police had series of chances to help man who died after arrest (Guardian, link)

"James Herbert, 25, who had mental health problems, died after being restrained by officers and then left naked in a cell.

Police missed a string of opportunities to help a young man with mental health problems who died after he was restrained by officers, locked up in a van on a hot night and then left naked in a cell, a watchdog has said.

Avon and Somerset police knew James Herbert, 25, was ill, but rather than treat it as a medical emergency when he was seen acting strangely, they secured him with handcuffs and leg restraints, and drove him to a custody suite 45 minutes away. He suffered a cardiac arrest and died.

In its report, called six missed chances, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said the outcome for Herbert, a data recovery engineer, could have been “very different” if the officers involved had taken alternative actions. "

See: IPPC report: Six missed chances: How a different approach to policing people with mental health problems could have prevented James Herbert’s death in custody (pdf)

Direct Provision in Ireland: the holding pen for asylum seekers (IRR News, link):

"In the first of a series, asylum campaigner John Grayson examines the Direct Provision (DP) system for asylum seekers in Ireland. Part-two will examine the private companies involved in providing services under DP." and see:

Without racial justice, can there be trust? (IRR News, link):

"Institutional racism is not mentioned in David Lammy’s important review of the over-representation of BAME people within the criminal justice system. The IRR tries to understand why."

European Parliament Study: Completing the Digital Single Market for European Consumers and Citizens: Tackling Geo-blocking in the EU (pdf):

"This report summarizes the discussion during the 10th Meeting of the IMCO Working Group on the Digital Single Market. It summarizes the exchange of views between MEPs, independent academic experts and the European Commission on the topic of geo-blocking in the Digital Single Market."

"Geoblocking is the system used to limit your access to the internet, based on your geographic location. Geoblocks are used to limit or change content depending on the end-user's geographic location". (BBC News)

Committee for the Administration of Justice (CAJ): Brexit and Northern Ireland: A briefing on Threats to the Peace Agreement (pdf):

"The withdrawal of the UK from the EU will have a profound effect on the legal and constitutional underpinning of the present jurisdiction of Northern Ireland, its relations with the Irish state and UK-Ireland bilateral relations. The UK and Ireland’s common membership of the EU was an assumption in the Belfast Good Friday Agreement (BGFA) and the UK’s adherence to EU law regulates the powers and legislative operations of the devolved institutions."

EU: Who is behind the EPP’s latest attempt to tighten rules for NGOs? (euractiv, link):

"On 14 September, MEPs voted against amendments to tighten controls on EU-funded non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that act “against EU interests”. A search for the proponents of these measures points to a pro-Israeli pressure group and a Glyphosate supporter.

The amendments were tabled at the last minute by the centre-right European People’s Party, and some were taken straight from an earlier report by German MEP Markus Pieper (EPP).

In his original report, Pieper wanted to stop EU funding for NGOs “whose objectives are contrary to the fundamental values of the European Union, democracy, human rights and/or strategic commercial and security-policy objectives of the EU”."

Europe’s human rights court struggles to lay down the law (New Europe, link)

"Nearly 10,000 judgments covering 46 countries have not been implemented. The most sophisticated system in the world for defending human rights is facing a test. So far, it’s failing.

Nearly 10,000 judgments of the European Court of Human Rights have not been put into effect by national governments. Some of those cases were ruled on as far back as 1992, and they cover all but one of the 47 member countries of the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe, the court’s parent body and the Continent’s leading human rights organization.

The failure to implement these judgments — detailed in a Council of Europe database — means that practices have continued across Europe, in many cases for years, after being ruled violations of human rights. These range from segregating HIV-positive prisoners in Greece, to police brutality in Bulgaria, to not properly investigating deaths of prisoners in Romania."

European Commission: State of the Union 2017: A framework for the free flow of non-personal data in the EU (Press release, pdf):

"To unlock the full potential of the EU data economy, the Commission is proposing a new set of rules to govern the free flow of non-personal data in the EU. Together with the already existing rules for personal data, the new measures will enable the storage and processing of non-personal data across the Union to boost the competitiveness of European businesses and to modernise public services in an effective EU single market for data services. Removing data localisation restrictions is considered the most important factor for the data economy to double its value to 4% of GDP in 2020."

See: Proposed Regulation on a framework for the free flow of non-personal data in the European Union (COM 495, pdf) and Commission: SWD 304 (pdf) and SWD 305 (pdf).

And see:Council of the European Union: Draft Council Decision on open data and the reuse of Council documents (LIMITE doc no: 12007-17, pdf)

"This Decision should not apply to documents for which the Council is not in a position to allow reuse in view of third party intellectual property rights, access rights regimes in the Member States and those provided for in Regulation 1049/2001 on access to documents and the respective Council implementing rules and in view of the security rules for protecting EU classified information." and "The General Secretariat of the Council shall take appropriate measures to protect its rights, interests and public image in all the appropriate fora."

UN: Unlawful death of refugees and migrants (pdf): Report of the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard:

The present report focuses on the mass casualties of refugees and migrants in the course of their flight. It addresses killings by both State and non-State actors, and denounces a quasi-generalized regime of impunity, worsened by an absence of accurate data on the dead and missing. The Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings calls urgently on States to address this human rights crisis by prioritizing the protection of the right to life in their migration and refugee policies.(...)

Other violations to the right to life result from policies of extraterritoriality amounting to aiding and assisting in the arbitrary deprivation of life, and from the failure to prevent preventable and foreseeable deaths, as well as the limited number of investigations into these unlawful deaths. The report also presents best practices in search and rescue operations and for the dignified treatment of the dead, but points out that States do not implement them as they should, and fail to resource them adequately.

"Governments around the world know that people will die attempting to cross dangerous border regions, including deserts, rivers and seas. Here, the conflict between human rights and migration control could not be clearer: migrants are supposed to be deterred from crossing a border because they might die. It is impossible to protect the right to life while simultaneously attempting to deter entry by endangering life. Nor is it acceptable to discourage exit out of countries where lives are endangered on the grounds that doing so saves lives from the dangers of border crossing: that is simply permitting a more secret death elsewhere." [emphasis added]

Catalonia referendum: Spain steps up raids to halt vote (BBC, link):

"Spain's Guardia Civil police have detained a dozen senior Catalan officials and raided regional government ministries involved in organising a banned independence vote. Tensions were already high when Josep Maria Jové, number two in the Catalan vice presidency, and others were held. Catalan leaders are defying a court order to halt the vote, condemned by the Madrid government as illegal."

And from Statewatch correspondent (Barcelona):

"On Friday (15 September) 100,000 pro-referendum posters paid for by the Generalitat (the Catalan regional government) were removed from a printers’ warehouse in Hospitalet de Llobregat, a town adjoining Barcelona.

A number of Catalan radio stations were visited last week by the Guardia Civil (the national police force) to warn them against publicising or cooperating in any way with the 1-O vote.

On Friday the Basque municipal police force closed down an event in Vitoria (in the Basque Country) on the referendum at which Anna Gabriel, a politician from the left-wing Catalan pro-independence group CUP (Candidatura de l’Unitat Popular) was due to speak.

On Saturday a demonstration in Bilbao (Basque Country) in favour of the Catalan referendum drew some 35,000 supporters, according to the event's organisers.

In a speech in Barcelona on Friday night the prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, warned the Catalan authorities and pro-independence voters that they should not underestimate “the force of Spanish democracy. Do not underestimate it. It’s very strong.”

Germany: Parties Differ on Human Rights Approach - Platforms Show Variations in Foreign, Migration Policy (HRW, link):

"The platforms of the German parties most likely to be elected to the Bundestag differ greatly on protection of human rights in foreign policy and migration and asylum policy, Human Rights Watch said today.

“The election platforms of the main German parties offer a clear roadmap for voters when it comes to making sure their elected representatives will protect human rights,” says Wenzel Michalski, Germany director at Human Right Watch. “Of course, what matters is the actual political work after the elections, which we will closely monitor.”

EU: More concerns over the Copyright Directive: Germany questions Council Legal Service on Article 13

The mandatory introduction of automated filters to detect copyright infringements online, as proposed by Article 13 of the EU's Copyright Directive, continues to raise legal concerns. Dubbed the "censorship machine" by the European Digital Rights Intiative, the proposed filters have long been opposd by civil society groups, academics and legal experts, and they were questioned two weeks ago by a group of Member States in a note published by Statewatch. Now the German authorities have submitted their own set of questions on Article 13 to the Council's Legal Service.

UK: Undercover policing: in open letter, women call on Home Secretary to recognise institutional sexism in the police

Today, 13 women who were deceived into intimate sexual relationships with undercover policeman, over a period spanning nearly 30 years, have written to the Home Secretary to raise their concerns about the progress and recent direction of the Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing.

The women noted that, two years into the Inquiry, the names of the 1000+ groups spied on by political policing units have still not been made public, nor have the cover names used by officers while undercover. These two steps are critical to allow non-police witnesses to come forward and give evidence to the inquiry. The women also raised concerns about the recent appointment of Sir John Mitting as Inquiry Chair.

EU-AFRICA: New report says "development aid is misused and diverted through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa"

A new report by Global Health Advocates says that the EU's multi-billion euro 'Emergency Trust Fund for Africa', launched following the November 2015 Valletta Summit and designed to address "root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa", is prioritising "quick fixes driven by Europe’s short-term domestic priorities, with little involvement of local governments let alone civil society actors."

The EU’s militarisation of development aid (EurActiv, link):

"Security will be the keyword of the EU’s development policy in the near future.

On Thursday (14 September), the European Parliament gave a green light to start the discussion with other European institutions on the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP).

This program allows member states to intervene to prevent or address a crisis.

For the first time, it will be possible to use it for military purposes, especially in African countries plagued by instability. The European Commission announced it will receive €17.5 million to “address the terrorist threat in Middle East and North Africa”."

See also: The new European consensus on development: 'our world, our dignity, our future' (pdf) agreed 8 June 2016 and: European Consensus on Development (European Commission, link)

UK: Information Commissioner's Office: Big data, artifical intelligence, machine learning and data protection (pdf):

"Our main conclusions are that, while data protection can be challenging in a big data context, the benefits will not be achieved at the expense of data privacy rights; and meeting data protection requirements will benefit both organisations and individuals. After the conclusions we present six key recommendations for organisations using big data analytics. Finally, in the paper’s annex we discuss the practicalities of conducting privacy impact assessments in a big data context."

UK: Kingsley Burrell trial: Police officers 'lied repeatedly' (BBC News, link):

"Three police officers told repeated lies about a cloth being placed over the head of a mental health patient who later died, a court has heard.

Kingsley Burrell died aged 29, four days after being detained by police.

Jurors heard the men may have "put their heads together" and agreed to lie after the death in March 2011.

Paul Adey, 36, Mark Fannon, 45, and Paul Greenfield, 50, are on trial at Birmingham Crown Court, and deny charges of perjury.

The court heard numerous witnesses saw Mr Burrell's head or face covered with either a towel, sheet or blanket when he was placed in a seclusion room at the city's Oleaster mental health unit."

EU: 2017 European Police Chiefs Convention: largest ever gathering of global Police Chiefs at Europol (Europol press release, pdf):

"On 6 and 7 September 2017, over 550 police chiefs and senior law enforcement representatives from all over the world gathered at Europol’s headquarters for the 2017 European Police Chiefs Convention (EPCC).

(...)

Participants discussed main issues concerning the security of the EU and beyond, including: the spread of terrorist and violent extremist propaganda online and law enforcement’s response; the use of financial intelligence as a critical tool for successful counter-terrorism and organised crime investigations; crime in the age of technology; cybercrime; and migrant smuggling."

UK: Undercover policing: legal wins in Scotland and England

The Wrong Catch: Italy Imprisons Refugees Who Were Forced to Pilot Smuggling Boats At Gunpoint (The Intercept, link):

"When the refugees disembark at port in Sicily, those with wristbands are handed off to Italian police, who will interview them again and arrest the suspected smugglers, in an effort to break up the criminal networks that have brought over 85,000 people to Italy this year. Regardless of whether rescued by the coast guard or ships run by NGOs, every boatload of refugees that arrives in Sicily goes through a similar process.

The Italian press cheer these operations as a key part of the fight against illegal immigration, lionizing figures like Carlo Parini, a former mafia investigator who is now a top anti-human trafficking police officer in Italy. Parini leads a squad of judicial police in the province of Siracusa in eastern Sicily, one of several working under different provincial prosecutors, and his aggressive style has earned him the nickname “the smuggler hunter.”

There is only one problem: the vast majority of people arrested and convicted by these police are not smugglers. Almost 1400 people are currently being held in Italian prisons merely for driving a rubber boat or holding a compass. Most of them paid smugglers in Libya for passage to Europe and were forced to pilot the boat, often at gunpoint."

Greece: No School for Many Asylum-Seeking Kids (Human Rights Watch, link):

"Greece’s Education Ministry should move quickly to implement positive new plans for the education of asylum-seeking children on the Aegean islands and make schools accessible to all of them, Human Rights Watch said today. When the school year began on September 11, 2017, hundreds of asylum-seeking children who are being prevented from leaving the islands due to a European Union deal with Turkey remained out of school.

Greece will extend a program that provides special Greek classes and integration support for non-native speaking pupils to asylum-seeking children on the islands. But this program excludes children in the so-called refugee hotspots and other reception facilities who cannot obtain the proof of address required to enroll in school. To reach children in these facilities, the Education Ministry recently announced it would open afternoon classes at public schools on the islands."

SPAIN: €12 million more for Ceuta's border fence to "fulfil its purpose"

The Spanish interior minister, Juan Iganacio Zoido, announced on 12 September that a further €12 million will go to the border fence in Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in north Africa bordering Morocco, as the fence does not currently "fulfil its purpose".

UK government sets out proposals for post-Brexit security, policing and justice cooperation

"Britain will look to agree a comprehensive new security, law enforcement and criminal justice partnership with the EU after Brexit, to fight our shared threats from terrorism and organised crime, the UK Government said today.

In the latest future partnership paper, laying out the UK’s vision for a deep and special partnership with the EU, Britain stresses the need to build upon and enhance the internal security cooperation that already exists."

EU: Cybersecurity package: proposal for a new EU Cybersecurity Agency and supporting documentation

On 13 September the European Commission published a proposal to establish an EU Cybersecurity Agency that would have an operational role to "counter particular threats", serve as a "centre of expertise" on cybersecurity certification and support Member States in implementing EU legislation. The new body, if approved by the Council and Parliament, will replace the current Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), "with a view to effectively and efficiently supporting Member States, EU institutions and other stakeholders' efforts to ensure a secure cyberspace in the European Union."

EU: Freedom Not Fear 2017 (Digital Courage, link):

"From 6 to 9 October 2017, internet and human rights activists from all over Europe will meet at "MundoB" in Brussels for the Freedom not Fear Barcamp.

At freedomnotfear.org you will find detailed information about this event. Important: You don't need to register to participate at the Barcamp, and the Barcamp is free of charge (including lunch at MundoB)."

See: Freedom not Fear 2017: 6–9 October, Brussels (Freedom Not Fear 2017, link):

"Freedom not Fear is an annual meeting for civil rights activists from all across Europe. Representatives from non-governmental organisations meet in Brussels for four days to work for freedom in the digitised world. We plan action and we take action against increasing surveillance and other attacks on civil rights. We want to live in freedom, not in fear. Join us!"

EU-U.S. data pact faces first major test of credibility (Reuters, link):

"A pact underpinning billions of dollars of transatlantic data transfers will undergo its first annual review on Monday, with Europe seeking to ensure Washington has lived up to its promises to protect the data of European citizens stored on U.S. servers.

Feted as a milestone in transatlantic relations, which had soured after revelations of mass U.S. surveillance four years ago, the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield data pact has been in place for just over a year.

It was hammered out after the European Union’s top court struck down a previous data transfer pact in 2015 because it allowed U.S. spies excessive access to people’s data, plunging everyday cross-border data transfers into legal limbo.

However, it is already subject to two legal challenges in European courts on the grounds that it does not offer adequate privacy protections for European citizens’ data, and EU data protection watchdogs have also expressed misgivings."

New legal tool on electronic evidence: Council of Europe welcomes civil society opinion (CoE, link):

"In a “Global Civil Submission” handed to the Council of Europe today, European Digital Rights (EDRI), an association defending rights and freedoms online, has provided an opinion from civil society worldwide on the proposed protocol to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime.

Alexander Seger, the Council of Europe’s anti-cybercrime coordinator, welcomed the submission: “Clear rules and more effective procedures are required to secure electronic evidence in the cloud in specific criminal investigations. Otherwise, governments will not be able to meet their obligation of protecting the rights of individuals and ensuring the rule of law in cyberspace..."

Joe McNamee, Executive Director of EDRI said: “Global civil society is engaging in this process to ensure that any harmonisation in this crucial policy area is up to the highest human rights standards, in line with the ethos of the Council of Europe”.

In June 2017, the Cybercrime Convention Committee gave its green light to the preparation of a second additional protocol to the Convention. Negotiations are scheduled from September 2017 to December 2019.

Seventy States are either already party to the Budapest Convention, or have formally committed. At least 70 more countries have drawn on the Convention as a guideline for domestic legislation."

See: Cross-border access to data: EDRi delivers international NGO position to Council of Europe (EDRi, link)

EU: Ombudsman welcomes proposals to strengthen Commissioner ethics and transparency rules (press release, pdf):

"The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, welcomes the College of Commissioners’ decision to strengthen the ethics and transparency rules governing Commissioners’ activities, while in office and after they leave.

The measures, which include a much more detailed Code of Conduct for Commissioners and publishing the Independent Ethical Committee’s opinions on Commissioners’ post-mandate jobs, have previously been called for by the Ombudsman."

HUNGARY: Atlatszo is suing the foreign intelligence agency for documents it compiled about ‘Soros-funded NGOs’ (Atlatszo, link):

"Atlatszo is suing the Hungarian foreign intelligence agency (IH) because it refused to share a research paper that it supposedly compiled about the ‘influence attempts of Soros-funded NGOs.’ At our first court date it became obvious that no such study exists but IH also revealed that they do have some information on the topic but that is classified."

UK: Deportation threats, driving licence revoked, child benefit stopped - all for living legally in the UK (The Guardian, link):

"A Japanese woman living in London with her Polish husband has been threatened with deportation, had her child benefit stopped and driving licence revoked even though she is lawfully in the country under EU law, it has emerged.

In a two-year ordeal, photographer Haruko Tomioko, was also threatened with separation from her eight-year-old son.

She told the Guardian how her life was turned upside down, how she was ordered to pay back £5,000 in child benefit for their son and report to a Home Office immigration centre every month. If she did not comply with the reporting order, she was told she was liable to detention, a prison sentence and/or a fine of up to £5,000."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13-17.9.17)

Council of the European Union: European Criminal Records System and Third Country Nationals

Proposed: Regulation establishing a centralised system for the identification of Member States holding conviction information on third country nationals and stateless persons (TCN) to supplement and support the European criminal records information system (ECRIS-TCN system) and amending Regulation (EU) No. 1077/2011 (LIMITE doc no: 11445-17, pdf): 35 Footnotes with Member State positions. The Council developing its negotiating position.

"The question was asked whether the Commission, in setting out its time-table, had taken account of the fact that the Member States also have to adopt legislation and to set up systems locally in order to allow the ECRIS-TCN system to work properly.

It was observed that it would be difficult to distinguish between EU-citizens and TCN. For this reason, inter alia, some delegations recommended it would be good to collect fingerprints for every conviction."

The ABC secrecy trial: 40 years on (Crispin Aubrey Legacy Fund, link):

Friday 3rd November 2017, Arnolfini, Bristol 7.00 - 9.00pm (Networking & Drinks from 6.00pm)

"This event marks 40 years since the joint arrests of Crispin Aubrey, John Berry and Duncan Campbell. In the early seventies, Crispin Aubrey became a leading figure in the campaign to prevent the government deporting two Americans on national security grounds - former CIA case officer Philip Agee and Time Out journalist Mark Hosenball..."

Speakers: Panel Discussion One : Reflections from the trial and campaign: Chaired by Andrew Kelly, Bristol Festival of Ideas, ABC defendant, John Berry, ABC defence barrister Mike Mansfield QC, Sue Aubrey, wife of ABC defendant, Crispin Aubrey

Panel Discussion Two: Lessons from the trial and legacy today: ABC campaigner and Statewatch Director Tony Bunyan,Sarah Kavanagh, NUJ Senior Campaigns and communications officer and ABC defendant, Duncan Campbell.

Click here to register (link)

EU: Massive biometric "smart borders" database may be illegal

A number of MEPs think CJEU opinion on EU-Canada air passenger surveillance scheme makes biometric border control database illegal and are demanding renegotiation

Council Legal Service: "substantial difficulty" for air passenger surveillance schemes in EU and with Australia, Canada and USA, as well as other EU databases\

 Longstanding plans for an EU Entry/Exit System (EES) which would store the fingerprints, a facial image and other personal data on all travellers entering the Schengen area are running into serious problems as the implications of a recent court ruling on an EU-Canada air passenger surveillance scheme become clear.

Council of the European Union: Reception Directive & Resettlement Regulation

 Proposal for a Directive laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection (LIMITE doc no: 1149417, 115 pages pdf): Including 190 Footnotes with Member State positions. Contains discussion on detention clauses. The Council developing its negotiating position.

 Proposal for a Regulation establishing a Union Resettlement Framework and amending Regulation (EU) No 516/2014) (pdf) Contains 115 Footnotes with Member State positions.The Council developing its negotiating position.

"Without prejudice to Ireland’s right to opt in post-adoption as set out in Article 4 of Protocol 21 of the TFEU, Ireland has not opted into this proposal under Article 3 of Protocol 21 of the TFEU and as such does not have voting rights. AT: reservation on the proposal. BG, CZ, DE, ES, FI, HU, IE, IT, PL, SE, SI, SK: scrutiny reservation on the proposal. HU, SI: parliamentary reservation."

"Suggested modifications are indicated as follows:

- new text compared to the Commission proposal is in bold;
- new text compared to the previous version of this document is in bold underlined;
- deleted text is marked with […]."

UK: NOT GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION (Sites of Resistance, link): A Family Statement

"This statement is being read at sentencing at Manchester Crown Court on 14.9.17 behalf of the families involved in the Not Guilty by Association family group.

This group includes a number of the families whose loved ones were charged as defendants in the two murder trials. The group is supported by local youth workers, academics and the national campaign group JENGbA, who collectively share concerns at the potential for racial injustice in such cases.

When a young person from any community loses their life it is tragic. Like any parents we want our young people to feel safe, to grow up and live their lives."

EU: Migrants stuck on endless ferry journey as countries refuse entry (Guardian, link)

"Men stowed away on Istanbul to Odessa ferry and are stuck at sea while both Turkey and Ukraine refuse to take them.

Twelve migrants, apparently from North Africa, have been sailing to and fro between Istanbul and Odessa on a Danish passenger ferry for the last seven weeks, locked in four cabins with no country willing to take them.

According to the operator, DFDS, Turkey and Ukraine both refuse to accept the men."

Urgent Press Release: Belgian court has ruled that the PKK is not a terrorist organisation (Kurdistan National Congress, link):

"The Court of Appeals in Belgium has announced their decision after appeals were submitted by the Turkish state and Belgian prosecutors for the initial decision made.

Today a decision has been taken by the appeal court from Brussels in the case of the 36 Kurdish politicians and the Kurdish TV. The Belgian prosecutor opened a file against some prominent Kurdish politicians for being leaders of a “terrorist organisation”. The prosecutor considered the PKK to be the “terrorist organisation“. The court however decided that there is an armed conflict in Turkey and that the PKK is a belligerent party in that conflict and that therefore cannot be considered as a terrorist organisation."

EU executive warms to Franco-German call on emergency border checks (Reuters, link):

"The European Union’s executive offered initial backing on Thursday to a Franco-German proposal to allow more permanent border checks within the bloc’s free-travel zone.

Five countries in the so-called Schengen travel zone - Germany, France, Denmark, Austria and Norway - restarted border controls after 2015 attacks in Paris and in an attempt to control the movement of refugees and migrants arriving in the bloc in unprecedented numbers the same year.

Schengen rules allow for the reintroduction of such frontier controls for up to two years and the ones now in place expire in November.

Germany and France, aiming for an extension and the ability to reinstate them in future, asked the EU to change the system to extend the maximum duration to four years. "

EU COPYRIGHT DIRECTIVE: 4 Times NO: Article 13 Censorship Filter Confirmed as Illegal (Copybuzz, link):

"The Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition (‘the Max Planck Institute’) responds [PDF] to the questions on the censorship filter (Article 13) addressed to the Council Legal Services by a series of Member States (Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Ireland and the Netherlands) in the ‘non-paper’ leaked by Statewatch (see our analysis here). In the meantime, it seems that the German government also submitted a contribution to the Council, wherein they too express concerns about Article 13."

UPDATE: Final Press release (pdf) EU: JHA Council, 14 September, Brussels: documentation including terrorism and migration discussion papers

"Following recent terrorist attacks in Europe, ministers will discuss priority areas for action on counter-terrorism in the coming months.Ministers will discuss the state of play and next steps regarding migration policy. They are expected to cover several aspects including the response to the migratory flows in the Central Mediterranean, the return of irregular migrants, the continued implementation of the EU-Turkey statement, relocation and the ongoing work on the concept of 'safe third countries'."

See: Note on: Migration: state of play and next steps - Exchange of views (LIMITE doc no: 11836-17, pdf) and REV 1 (LIMITE doc. dated 13 September 2017, pdf) This contains a new sectio 6 on cooperation with African states on "countries of origin and transit" and Refugees: Council next steps (Statewatch News)

"B" points agenda for discussion (pdf) and "A" points agenda adopted without discussion (pdf)

Privacy International launches international campaign for greater transparency around secretive intelligence sharing activities between governments (link):

"Privacy International, in partnership with 30+ national human rights organisations, has today written to national intelligence oversight bodies in over 40 countries seeking information on the intelligence sharing activities of their governments.

Countries may use secret intelligence sharing arrangements to circumvent international and domestic rules on direct surveillance. These arrangements can also lead to the exchange of information that can facilitate human rights abuses, particularly in countries with poor human rights records or weak rule of law.

National intelligence oversight bodies hold intelligence agencies accountable to the public by exercising scrutiny over the legality, propriety, effectiveness, and efficiency of the intelligence activities of their governments."

See: Briefing (pdf)

EU: Commission: Proposed Regulation on a framework for the free flow of non-personal data in the European Union (pdf): Would limit government freedom to restrict the movement of data.

Denmark Suspends Refugee Resettlement Under UN Program (Bloomberg, link):

"Denmark won’t allow any refugees into the country this year under a United Nations program and will seek flexibility in determining how many may resettle in the future instead of a set quota, the Ministry of Immigration and Integration said."

EU: Centre-right MEPs revive anti-NGO funding bid (euobserver, link):

"Centre-right MEPs are pushing to restrict EU funds for NGOs amid broader aims of weakening transparency ahead of a vote in the European Parliament on Thursday (14 September) in Strasbourg.

The move follows a series of amendments, introduced by the Christian Democrats early this week, to a report on the "transparency, accountability and integrity in the EU institutions".

German Green MEP Sven Giegold, who drafted the transparency report, described the amendments in a statement as an attempt to weaken European civil society and roll back efforts to shed light on who lobbies the EU institutions."

EU: Austria and Europol call for crackdown on "under the radar" informal money transfer services

The EU and its Member States should withdraw 500 and 200 euro banknotes from circulation and tightly regulate the informal hawala international money transfer system in order to help fight terrorism, irregular migration and money laundering, according to a note sent by Austria and Europol to the Council of the EU's internal security committee on 8 September.

Theresa May blocked Scottish inquiry into spies having sex with female activists (Herald Scotland, link):

"THERESA May repeatedly refused to extend an official inquiry into rogue undercover police to Scotland, despite SNP ministers warning she was doing their victims a “disservice”.

Correspondence released under Freedom of Information has revealed escalating tension between the Scottish and UK governments over the probe into officer misconduct.

Despite rogue cops routinely spying on people in Scotland, as Home Secretary Mrs May refused to extend the inquiry’s remit, which she set, beyond activity in England and Wales."

ECHR scales back businesses' powers to snoop on staff's private messages

"The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has rules a company shouldn't have sacked one of its employees because he sent private emails from his work account during working hours.

The ECHR used the case of Romanian Bogdan Mihai Barbulescu vs Romania to stipulate what companies can and can't do when monitoring employee emails."

EU: New rules on Schengen Information System and border checks: Council's latest draft compromise text

"Delegations will find attached a Presidency revised draft compromise text of the abovementioned proposal, taking into account the discussions held at the Working Party for Schengen Matters (Acquis) on 19 June 2017 and 3, 4, 5 and 26 July 2017 and the written comments subsequently sent by the delegations."

UK: The Home Office makes huge profits from immigrants. So where is the money going to?

"As Theresa May's Government makes plans for Brexit, there are increasingly serious concerns about the economy if there is a hard Brexit and fewer migrants filling skilled work shortages.

Little attention has focused on how new immigration policies will be paid for as the costs of Brexit go up and extra funding harder to find. This might be because Theresa May has other plans for the money raised from immigration applications – and so starving the immigration system of much need cash.

Migrants pay increasingly high fees to apply for visas and citizenship – and most of this goes into the government's back pocket. Prices have soared in some cases by 25 per cent over the last year many times the inflation rate. It can cost £2,297 to become a permanent resident and an additional £1,282 for citizenship – and that's after passing a citizenship test that's more like a bad pub quiz, meeting five year residency requirements and no access to public funds. The Home Office has even started charging £5.48 for emails."

EU: How public CCTV operators can avoid eye-watering fines under the GDPR (IFSEC Global, link):

"The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force across the EU – including the UK – from 25 May 2018.

With fines for non-compliance potentially being a staggering 79 times greater than under the existing data protection regime, the stakes for organisations in a range of sectors are enormous.

As security practitioners are well aware, a CCTV image featuring people counts as personal data just like a date of birth or someone’s marriage status or political views.

Jean-Philippe Deby, business development director for Europe at Genetec, very kindly shared his thoughts on the implications for CCTV operators and the wider security industry with IFSEC Global."

What's The Worst That Could Happen With Huge Databases Of Facial Biometric Data? (Gizmodo, link):

"Facial recognition is not new. It's been a sci-fi staple for decades, and its practical roots are in the 1960s with Palo Alto researchers on RAND Tablets manually mapping out people's features. Even back then we could give a computer enough data to be able to match a person to a their photograph. The group, led by Woodrow William Bledsoe, even managed to calculate a compensation for any tilt, lean, rotation and scale of the head in a photograph.

Data inputs stayed pretty rudimentary, with manual input of details being replaced by the Eigenfaces in the '80s and '90s. This would be the start of computer vision systems leveraging the kinda freaky power of big data.

(...)

What can happen when we combine the large amount of facial biometrics data with a potentially imperfect system? What sort of societal implications would there be if you were recognised by someone, anywhere and everywhere you went? For this week's Giz Asks, we connected with experts in law, technology and facial recognition to find out."

EU-INDIA: Talks on possible Europol-India agreement may come up at summit focused on trade

"The two sides may also look to strengthen security cooperation such as by expanding the scope of counter-piracy dialogue to maritime security and establishing a new dialogue on cyber crime and space.

Also, it may support India-Europol cooperation on issues like cyber crime and counter terrorism.

"We have had recently good and concrete dialogue on cyber security and counter terrorism and on maritime security. And these are certainly key fields where we can deepen our cooperation," the EU official said.

On the new areas of cooperation, he said a strategic cooperation with Europol, which is the Europe wide agency for police cooperation, is being talked about."

See: EU hopes to resume FTA talks with India (Press Trust of India, link)

EU-POLAND: Independence of the judiciary: European Commission takes second step in infringement procedure against Poland (Commission press release, pdf):

"Today, the European Commission decided to send a Reasoned Opinion to Poland regarding the Polish law on the Ordinary Courts Organisation.

The Commission has carried out a thorough analysis of the response of the Polish authorities to the Letter of Formal Notice sent in July 2017 concerning the Law on the Ordinary Courts Organisation.

The European Commission maintains its position that the Polish Law is incompatible with EU law because by introducing a different retirement age for female judges (60 years) and male judges (65 years), it discriminates against individuals on the basis of gender. This is contrary to Article 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and Directive 2006/54 on gender equality in employment.

The Commission also raises legal concerns that by giving the Minister of Justice the discretionary power to prolong the mandate of judges who have reached retirement age, as well as to dismiss and appoint Court Presidents, the independence of Polish courts will be undermined, contrary to Article 19(1) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) read in connection with Article 47 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. "

EU: European Parliament committee reports: violence against women, prison conditions, arms exports, fight against cybercrime, space strategy

Reports adopted by European Parliament committees in July 2017 on: EU accession to the Council of Europe convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence; prison systems and conditions; the implementation of EU Common Position 2008/944/CFSP on arms exports; the fight against cybercrime; and a Space Strategy for Europe.

EU: European Parliament special committee on terrorism - list of members published

In July the European Parliament agreed to set up a special committee on terrorism that will sit for 12 months to examine "the extent of the terrorist threat on European soil" and to propose appropriate measures" for the EU and the Member States "to help prevent, investigate and prosecute crimes related to terrorism."

Its first meeting will be on 14 September and its membership of 30 MEPs has now been decided, with membership dominated by the parliament's two biggest groups - there will be ten 10 MEPs on the committee from the European Peoples' Party (EPP) and eight from the Socialists & Democrats (S&D).

CoE: Study on police oversight mechanisms in Council of Europe member states

"The following document sets out to provide an update to the main findings from a comprehensive review of policing oversight across the forty-seven Council of Europe States first set out in September 2015. The update reflects the position of police oversight mechanisms cross the forty-seven States as of 20 February 2017."

Hungary and Russia lead criticism of Ukraine's new education law (Irish Times, link):

"Hungary and Russia have lambasted Kiev over a new education law they say will deprive Ukraine’s ethnic minorities of the right to study in their own languages.

Poland and Romania have also expressed concern over the reforms, prompting Ukrainian prime minister Volodymyr Groysman to order his officials to explain to European Union states how the changes will protect minority languages spoken by millions of the country’s people.

The angriest reaction came from Budapest, where foreign minister Peter Szijjarto said Ukraine had “stabbed Hungary in the back” and announced that his government would complain about the new law to the EU and United Nations."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10-12.9.17)

EU-LIBYA: UN report highlights abuses by Libyan Coastguard during search and rescue operations

"The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) expressed concern about abuses and violations against such persons by the Libyan Coastguard during search and rescue operations, which, in some instances, further endanger the lives of people in distress at sea. Intercepted or rescued migrants are rarely provided with life jackets."

See:
Full text of UN Secretary-General report (pdf):

UK: More than 100 people arrested over London arms fair protests

"More than 100 people have been arrested as they tried to prevent weapons companies from setting up their stands for the world’s biggest arms fair, which begins this week in London.

Peace activists began a week of blockades of ExCeL centre in Docklands last Monday to stop weapons, vehicles and other military equipment arriving at the biennial Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair."

Geneva: As global arms trade surges, states greenlight reckless, harmful deals (AI, link):

"Diplomats meet in Geneva to discuss landmark Arms Trade Treaty

Several countries may be breaking treaty obligations with reckless deals

UK, France and Italy among states supplying abusive governments."

EU: Council of the European Union: Manual on cross-border operations - national fact sheets (LIMITED doc no: 11840-17, 491 pages, pdf):

"Delegations will find attached a compilation of national fact sheets, containing all the practical information necessary for carrying out cross-border operations."

UK-EU: Brexit: UK government position paper: Foreign policy, defence and development: A Future Partnership Paper (pdf):

"The UK’s commitment to European security will remain steadfast, and we will seek to agree new arrangements that enable us to sustain close UK-EU cooperation that will allow us to tackle our shared threats.

The UK therefore envisages cooperation on external action to be central to our future partnership, complementing broader national security and law enforcement collaboration to tackle complex, multi-faceted threats.

The UK remains committed to working with and alongside the EU and third countries by contributing our policy tools and expertise, defence and security capabilities, global networks and influence, and development spend to support peace and security."

See: 'DAVIS IS A BULLY’ EU's Verhofstadt rejects UK's Brexit security paper as a 'trade off' (Express, link):

"BRUSSELS has hit out at Theresa May’s latest Brexit negotiations insisting there should be be no “trade-off” on security."

Brexit: Deportations of EU citizens soar since referendum - Exclusive: The number of EU citizens being removed from the UK has now increased fivefold since 2010 (Independent, link):

"The number of EU citizens being removed from the UK has now increased fivefold since 2010. It reached 4,754 in 2016 – up from just 973 in the year the Conservatives came to power. The rapid rise followed a fall of more than 74 per cent in the previous six years, down from 3,779 in 2004.

It comes despite a significant drop in the total number of people being deported, suggesting the focus of the Home Office and its immigration enforcement units has shifted specifically towards immigrants from EU countries."

UK-EU: Briefing paper: European Union (Withdrawal) Bill (pdf):

"Clause 7 represents the Government’s request for Parliament to delegate legislative power to change the statute book so that retained EU law functions effectively after exit day. The Government’s case for delegation is based on the uncertainty over what changes will be needed, the volume of changes required and the speed at which they will need to be made.

The challenge for scrutinising this power will be assessing the extent to which it is possible to define what counts as a “failure” or “deficiency” of retained EU law. The Government requires a degree of flexibility in order to cover the scope of retained EU law, and there are a variety of reasons why changes might be needed. This scope and variety of legislative tasks in practice results in a power that, in legal terms, can be used to achieve a wide range of legislative changes, including establishing new public bodies, substantive policy changes and amendments to constitutional legislation in order to prepare for Brexit."

UK: Review highlights discrimination in criminal justice system, but a missed opportunity to examine policing

The publication of the Lammy Review into the treatment of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people in the English and Welsh criminal justice system has demonstrated the significant racial bias that many have long suspected. However, the remit of the review was drawn so narrowly that it was unable to examine the relationship between the police and BAME people - a regrettable missed opportunity according to the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, whose director, Richard Garside, commented that: "The starting point of the disproportionate criminalisation and punishment of black and minority ethnic people is their disproportionate rates of arrest by the police."

UK: Five army men held over alleged membership of banned UK neo-Nazi group (The Guardian, link):

"Five serving members of the British army have been arrested on suspicion of being members of the recently banned neo-Nazi group National Action.

A 22-year-old from Birmingham, a 32-year-old from Powys, a 24-year-old from Ipswich and a 24-year-old from Northampton, all men, have been arrested under the Terrorism Act on suspicion of being members of a proscribed organisation, West Midlands police said. An army source said a fifth serving soldier had been arrested in Cyprus.

An army spokeswoman confirmed to the Guardian that serving members were among those arrested."

UK: PREVENT is about Policing Dissent not Safeguarding (CAGE, link):

"Anti-war, Fracking, Pro-Palestinian, Anti-Austerity, Animal Rights; Aid Convoys – these have all been identified as “threats” under PREVENT.

Security and safety of people is a duty of the state, but it is also a responsibility of all citizens to report anyone they believe is about to carry out a criminal act. However, the responsibility of citizens duty extends to hold the state to account ensuring it does not go beyond the law and its role.

This can happen through the unnecessary targeting of individuals and the intrusion into people’s lawful expression of beliefs and practices, and the disruptions of their right to oppose to state policies.

Therefore, any opposition to state policies, such as PREVENT, must be seen within the framework of lawful expression and debate and not a reason to invoke ‘national security’ to silence dissent and smear dissenters as “extremists”. "

UK: If only our prisons really were like hotels: How ‘Crown immunity’ is hobbling efforts to improve fire safety in the HM Prison Service (IFSEC Global, link):

"In June 2014 Peter Kimberley, the owner of the New Kimberley Hotel in Blackpool, was jailed for 18 months and ordered to pay £5,243 in costs after being found guilty of 15 breaches of fire safety regulations.

His 90 room hotel, when inspected by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, was found to have fire exits blocked with combustible material, fire doors were locked shut, and there was insufficient water available to fight fires.

The New Kimberley Hotel, described in court as ‘a death trap’, was shut down.

But Mr Kimberley wasn’t a bad chap – just an unlucky one in his choice of career.

If instead of being a hotelier Mr Kimberley had been the Governor of a prison where exactly the same, and worse, fire safety failures had been discovered, he would not have even been arrested.

Certainly he could never have been charged, tried, convicted and sent to his own jail – because every prison in England and Wales is immune from prosecution when it comes to fire safety."

Migrant sea route to Italy is world's most lethal (The Guardian, link):

"More than 22,500 migrants have reportedly died or disappeared globally since 2014 – more than half of them perishing while attempting to cross the Mediterranean, according to a study by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

A clampdown on Europe’s eastern borders has forced migrants to choose more dangerous routes as the death toll in the Mediterranean continues to rise despite a drop in the overall number of arrivals, data compiled by the UN’s migration agency shows.

“While overall numbers of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean by the eastern route were reduced significantly in 2016 by the EU-Turkey deal, death rates have increased to 2.1 per 100 in 2017, relative to 1.2 in 2016,” reads the IOM report which is released on Monday. “Part of this rise is due to the greater proportion of migrants now taking the most dangerous route – that across the central Mediterranean – such that 1 in 49 migrants now died on this route in 2016.”"

See the report: Fatal Journeys, Volume 3 Part1: Improving Data on Missing Migrants (pdf)

IRELAND: Film on Women’s Coalition recalls the fight for peace (The Detail, link):

"A NEW documentary recalling the Good Friday agreement of 1998 is a timely reminder of how difficult it was to secure the historic peace deal.

There was no guarantee of success at the time but a whole range of factors aligned to deliver an end to decades of violence.

The US government played a key role by applying pressure from outside, but it was also crucial for the talks that pressure for change came from within.

The documentary by The Detail’s sister company Fine Point Films and directed by Eimhear O’Neill examines how the Women’s Coalition provided an important added ingredient which helped to open-up a political arena dominated by violence, by intransigent politics, and by men."

IRELAND: Firms involved in biometric database in India contracted by Irish government (The Irish Times, link):

"Two tech firms – one owned by businessman Dermot Desmond – involved in the creation of a controversial biometric database in India, are providing services for the Government’s public services card and passports.

Known as the Aadhaar project, the Indian scheme is the world’s largest ever biometric database involving 1.2 billion citizens. Initially voluntary, it became mandatory for obtaining state services, for paying taxes and for opening a bank account.

(...)

Daon, which describes itself as a “biometric enabling technology company” was also awarded a €1.9 million contract by the [Irish] Department of Foreign Affairs last year to provide a “facial recognition solution” for the passport service."

(...)

Dermot Casey, a former chief technology officer of Storyful, said that if the Daon system was used to store the data and carry out the facial matching then the Government “appears to have purchased a biometric database system which can be extended to include voice, fingerprint and iris identification at a moment’s notice”."

EU-SPAIN: The EU and the Catalan Crisis (Verfassungsblog, link):

"The events of the past week in Catalunya (and of the weeks that will follow) are very serious and worrying. Catalunya is a region of a Member State of the EU that has begun a unilateral process of independence, disregarding the Constitution, its Statute of Autonomy and the opposition of half of the Catalan population. It’s a remarkable challenge for Spanish democracy. It’s a challenge for the EU as well.

A personal disclaimer to start with: as a Spaniard, I am a supporter of an asymmetric federal Spain that recognizes the national identity of its peoples. I also support the right of a national community to decide by democratic means its own future. But having said all that, the events that have currently unfolded are nothing close to what independence should look like. The events are a serious threat to the rule of law, and it is important to stress it in these very terms."

HUNGARY: The latest brainstorm: military sports centers to popularize a military career (Hungarian Spectrum, link):

"In the last year or so the ministry of defense has been looking for ways to make military service more attractive to young men and women. First, we heard that shooting galleries would be attached to schools, and several school principals reported receiving inquiries from KLIK, the center in charge of all state schools. But a few days later the ministry of human resources, which deals with matters related to education, issued a denial. Although there will be more emphasis on “patriotic” education, the talk about the “militarization” of Hungarian schools was nothing but an unfounded rumor. If there was, at one point, some thought of using schools as sources of future military personnel, this idea had been scrapped.

Meanwhile, the ministry of defense was working on a new idea. On February 11 the ministry announced the formation of the National Defense Sports Association (Honvédelmi Sportszövetség/HS) under its auspices... As I suspected, this new military sports association is a backdoor way to try to enlarge the Hungarian Army. There will be plenty of enticements. In the sports centers that will be built, people can learn to shoot, fence, engage in martial arts and strength athletics, even joust. In addition, they can learn to drive and apply basic first aid. The Sports Association will also organize military summer camps. “Ultimately, the goal is to attract as many young people as possible who want to play a role in defending the country by applying for either reserve or professional service.”"

EU: Reality check: has Juncker delivered on his promises? (euronews, link):

"The last time Jean-Claude Juncker took Europe’s pulse its blood pressure was sky-high as it battled Brexit, populism and the refugee crisis.

Standing before MEPs last September, Juncker used his annual State of the Union address to admit the European Union was having an existential crisis.

He made a now familiar complaint about a lack of togetherness among member countries and bemoaned the bloc’s economic problems.

But, a year on, has much changed? Here we examine progress by looking at six key points from his speech 12 months ago."

UK: Police officers face gross misconduct charges over Adrian McDonald taser death (Huddersfield Daily Examiner, link):

"Three police officers have been accused of gross misconduct over the death of former Dalton man Adrian McDonald.

Adrian, who had been living in Stoke-On-Trent, died in the back of a locked police van on December 22, 2014.

He had been tasered by officers called to a house in Newcastle-Under-Lyme following reports of a burglary.

Last month the Independent Police Complaints Commission said three officers involved in the case would not face criminal charges over Adrian's death.

However this week PC Jonathan Tench, Insp Richard Bills and Det Sgt Jason Bromley of Staffordshire Police are facing an IPCC gross misconduct hearing, accused of breaching professional standards during the incident."

UN aviation agency to call for global drone registry (Reuters, link):

"The United Nations’ aviation agency is backing the creation of a single global drone registry, as part of broader efforts to come up with common rules for flying and tracking unmanned aircraft.

While the International Civil Aviation Organization cannot impose regulations on countries, ICAO has proposed formation of the registry during a Montreal symposium this month to make data accessible in real time, said Stephen Creamer, director of ICAO’s air navigation bureau.

The single registry would eschew multiple databases in favor of a one-stop-shop that would allow law enforcement to remotely identify and track unmanned aircraft, along with their operator and owner.

The initiative comes at a time when drone usage is soaring in the United States, Europe and China, raising privacy concerns and fears of collisions with commercial jets."

UK: Information tribunal dismisses Drone Wars appeal over British drone secrecy (Drone Wars UK, link):

"An information tribunal has upheld the MoD’s decision to refuse to release the number of British armed drones deployed against ISIS and their location, despite such information being released by the UK about its ‘manned’ aircraft.

In the just released open judgement (a closed judgement has also been produced but will not been made available to us), the tribunal accepted that there was clear public interest in the information Drone Wars sought as both parliament and the public could then ascertain if the UK’s armed drones were being used outside of Iraq and Syria, or if some were in storage due to personnel shortages. However the tribunal accepted the MoD’s argument that the public interest arguments in favour of disclosure were outweighed by the public interest in favour of non-disclosure as the information would “likely” impact on the effectiveness of UK armed forces.

The judgement setting out the full reasons can be read here and background papers and submissions from the MoD and Drone Wars are here."

Also on armed drones: Humans will always control killer drones, says ministry of defence (The Guardian, link): "Britain’s military will commit to ensuring that drones and other remote weaponry are always under human control, as part of a new doctrine designed to calm concerns about the development of killer robots.

The move by the Ministry of Defence comes after more than 100 leading robotics experts wrote to the United Nations urging the organisation to step in to halt the development of artificial intelligence in weaponry."

GREECE: A young woman is in jail for no reason. She’s been convicted for “joining a terrorist organisation” without any substantial proof. (AthensLive, link):

"Irianna is a Greek 29-year-old woman, born and bred in a middle class suburb of Athens (Cholargos). She has worked as a teacher and is a PhD student at the University of Athens, as well as being a volunteer teacher of Greek for young refugees. She studied Greek Philology, major in Linguistics and she did her masters thesis in teaching Modern Greek as a second or foreign language. While a student she fell in love with Konstantinos, a naval engineering student from National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), who she knew him from her school time years.

In general, Irianna had a pretty normal life for an average 29-year-old Greek young woman. Until last Friday?—?when she ended up in jail serving thirteen years’ for “possession of illegal firearms with intent to distribute them for criminal activities” and for being part of the same terrorist group as her boyfriend had been accused and acquitted."

See the petition: Justice for Irianna (change.org, link)

EU-GEORGIA: 86 Georgian citizens illegally residing in EU return home (Agenda.ge, link):

"Georgia continues to monitor the return operation of the Georgian citizens residing on the territory of the European Union (EU) countries without permission.

This week 86 Georgian citizens have been returned from European countries and specifically from the German city of Düsseldorf and the Greek capital of Athens, the office of Georgia’s Public Defender says.

The representative of the Department of Prevention and Monitoring of the Public Defender’s Office of Georgia attended the return of Georgian citizens from the airports of Düsseldorf Athens.

Border police officers of Germany and Greece handed over the Georgian citizens to the escort of Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs on board.

As reported, no incident had taken place and no force or special means had been used during the return operation."

EU-MALTA: Over €3 million of EU funds received for ISF projects (Malta Independent, link):

"On 2 September 2017, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela together with Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds and Social Dialogue Aaron Farrugia addressed a press conference during which three EU co-financed projects under the Internal Security Fund (ISF) 2014-2020 were launched.

The national internal security strategies provide the direction and the prerequisites that Malta needs to address in order to improve its capabilities in managing border control and police cooperation. Minister Abela and Parliamentary Secretary Aaron Farrugia underlined that since accession to the EU, Malta is and will continue to observe EU regulations and participate in EU initiatives which foresee the protection and security of its borders. The projects being launched will further strengthen the Ministry's capacity in this sector with particular focus on the issuance of Schengen visas."

EU: Refugees: Council next steps

- finance and train Libyan Coast Guard to end arrivals to Italy
- expedite "return" operations from the EU
- create "reception" centres across Africa
- continue actions under the "dodgy" EU-Turkey Statement
- yet another call for "relocations" within the EU
- redefine "safe third countries"

See: Note on: Migration: state of play and next steps - Exchange of views (LIMITE doc no: 11836-17, pdf)

European Commission reports on Partnership Framework, Relocations, EU-Turkey deal and European Border and Coast Guard

Includes in EU-Turkey deal report: "Additional Hellenic Police officers are needed to better control entry/exit points and for patrolling inside the hotspots. The Greek Reception and Identification Service, in cooperation with EASO, is looking into establishing electronic entry/exit control systems at all hotspots, starting with a pilot project in Moria [Lesvos]."

And: "The Hellenic Police to issue return decisions at the same time as the notification of negative first instance asylum decisions."

British arms sales to repressive regimes soar to £5bn since election (The Observer, link):

"Campaigners claim that government is putting ‘exports to despots ahead of human rights’

UK arms manufacturers have exported almost £5bn worth of weapons to countries that are judged to have repressive regimes in the 22 months since the Conservative party won the last election.

The huge rise is largely down to a rise in orders from Saudi Arabia, but many other countries with controversial human rights records – including Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Venezuela and China – have also been major buyers.

The revelation comes before the Defence and Security Equipment International arms fair at the Excel centre in east London, one of the largest shows of its kind in the world. Among countries invited to attend by the British government are Egypt, Qatar, Kenya, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia."

Greece: Crete: Evictions: Locals furious as US Fund seizes shop in Rethymnon under police protection (Keep Talking Greece, link);

"Riot police squads had rushed as early as possible outside a shop in the old city of Rethymnon, Crete, and blocked the street to prevent locals from approaching. A representative of a US Fund was to install an alarm system at the shop the Fund had seized after buying the owner’s loan from a Greek bank. A court bailiff was also present in order to count and seize the merchandise and proceed with the eviction one of the many evictions underway in Greece.

However the local community was furious. Businessmen from the Solidarity Association of Rethymnon Debtors (SAOP) but also citizens attempted to break the police chain and prevent that the store was seized.....

US Funds have bought red loans and mortgages from the Greek banks. They target not the loan or mortgage repayment but the seizure of the properties and the debtors’ eviction."

Statewatch Analysis: A Pyrrhic victory? The ECJ upholds the EU law on relocation of asylum-seekers (pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law:

"How should the EU deal with the perceived ‘migrant/refugee crisis’? It has done a number of things, but back in September 2015, when the numbers of arrivals were peaking, it did something truly remarkable – requiring Member States to relocate 160,000 asylum-seekers from the ‘frontline’ states of Italy and Greece, which were bearing most of the burden of new arrivals....

The Court rejected the arguments that the decision was not suitable to obtain its objectives. True, as Commission reports have pointed out, not many asylum-seekers have actually been relocated, but that could not be foreseen at the time – and that was implicitly partly the fault of the plaintiff Member States for not implementing the decision in practice. (The Advocate-General’s opinion dismisses this “I killed my parents, give me sympathy as a poor orphan” line of argument more bluntly)."

New Privacy International report shows that 21 European countries are unlawfully retaining personal data (link):

"Privacy International surveyed 21 EU member states' legislation on data retention and examined their compliance with fundamental human rights standards

0 out of the 21 States examined by PI are currently in compliance with these standards (as interpreted in two landmark judgements by the Court of Justice of the European Union: Tele-2/Watson and Digital Rights Ireland)..."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (1-9.9.17)

The UK’s complicity in data-driven drone strikes (LUSH, link):

"Blue skies, a universal symbol of hope for many, mean nothing but fear for those living under the threat of US-ordered drone strikes, which are picking off people on a kill list informed by UK intelligence. Safety only comes when the skies cloud over, meaning the drones cannot fly.

Those overhead drones incite constant fear for innocent civilians in some parts of the world, and some 1,207 people have so far been killed by drones outside of war zones. While the finger on the trigger may belong to the US, some of the intelligence leading to drone strikes is coming from the UK and Europe. Human rights organisation Reprieve is now calling on Theresa May to provide accountability and transparency when it comes to sharing data that could end in the unlawful loss of human life."
UK: London Underground Wifi Tracking: Here's Everything We Learned From TfL's Official Report (gizmodo, link):

"using this wifi data TfL has been able to learn an awful lot. In the month in which the trial took place last year, it logged more than 500m (anonymised) wifi connection requests from around 5.6m devices. That’s a lot of data! So what did they learn? Read on to find out more...."

Libya: Open letter - European governments are feeding the business of suffering (link):

"An open letter from MSF International President Dr Joanne Liu to European government leaders...

What migrants and refugees are living in Libya should shock the collective conscience of Europe’s citizens and elected leaders.

Blinded by the single-minded goal of keeping people outside of Europe, European funding is helping to stop the boats from departing Libyan waters, but this policy is also feeding a criminal system of abuse.

The detention of migrants and refugees in Libya is rotten to the core. It must be named for what it is: a thriving enterprise of kidnapping, torture and extortion. And European governments have chosen to contain people in this situation. People cannot be sent back to Libya, nor should they be contained there."

UK: Guardian legal chief Gill Phillips on the chilling effect of Law Commission plan to 'criminalise public interest journalism' (Press Gazette, link):

"his week The Guardian published leaked Brexit proposals from the Government which set out strict new plans for a “British workers first” immigration policy. Here Guardian head of legal services Gill Phillips warns of the chilling effect on journalism of Law Commission proposals to possibly criminalise such leaks...

Recent proposals by the Law Commission to reform the Official Secret Acts are the latest attempt to impose greater state control of information about the operation of government.

If accepted by the Government, they would have a chilling effect on public interest journalism, further criminalising the act of leaking government documents even when in the public interest, and making illegal the role of journalists in reporting on those documents."

UK: Tribunal says EU judges should rule on legality of snooper's charter (Guardian, link):

"Investigatory powers tribunal says need for European court of justice clarification is ‘obvious’ in surveillance powers case...

In a politically charged judgment on Friday, the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT) ruled that the European court of justice (ECJ) should decide whether the UK’s bulk collection of communications data, tracking personal use of the web, email, texts and calls, was legal."

See: Full-text of judgment (pdf)

European citizens want information on migration – not higher walls (The Conservation, link);

"The groups of citizens we spoke with did not see tougher border security measures by the EU as either an effective solution to the challenge of migration, or as reflecting their own views on the issue. Instead, they called for better information, greater dialogue with European citizens, and stronger efforts to manage integration between communities."

EU: European Commission: Security Union: Commission delivers on 2017 security priorities (Press release, pdf):

"The European Commission reported today on actions taken since President Juncker's 2016 State of the Union address to enhance security at the EU external border, improve information exchange between Member States, close down the space in which terrorists operate and prevent radicalisation....[including]

Enhancing security at the external border: Systematic checks against security databases of all travellers, including EU citizens,
crossing the external borders are now in place.

A political agreement has been reached on the EU Entry/Exit System, which will register entry and exit data of non-EU nationals crossing the EU's external borders.

Work is on-going to establish a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) to carry out security checks on those travelling visa-free to Europe before they arrive at our borders."

And see: Tenth progress report towards an effective and genuine Security Union (COM 466-17, pdf)

The EU as the Appropriate Locus of Power for Tackling Crises: Interpretation of Article 78(3) TFEU in the case Slovakia and Hungary v Council (http://verfassungsblog.de, link):

"Undoubtedly the CJEU’s judgment in Slovakia and Hungary v Council of 6 September 2017 is going to illuminate for some time many a discussion not only on asylum but also on institutional matters in the EU. I will not attempt a comprehensive analysis of the judgment here. My attention was captured by one particular aspect of the CJEU’s reasoning, namely the implicit recognition of the EU as the appropriate forum for taking effective action to address the emergency situation in Italy and Greece created by a sudden inflow of third country nationals."

EU intelligence agency not a priority (euobserver, link):

"A European intelligence agency would take too long to set up and distract from the urgent work currently needed to tackle terrorism, said the European Commission....

Calls for an agency reappeared earlier this week when the EU commissioner for migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said it would have helped prevent the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Belgium, France, Finland, Spain and the UK."

EU seeks new rules on internal border checks (euobserver, link):

"The European Commission is working on revising rules that allow EU states to impose internal border controls and checks throughout the passport-free Schengen area.

Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU commissioner for migration, told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday (6 September) that a proposal will soon be put forward to reform the so-called Schengen Borders Code.

"Very soon we shall be in a position to present our proposals," he said.

One EU commission official noted that a possible option for the reform would be to allow the states to use terrorism, and not migration flows, as a basis for internal controls. "

EU-BREXIT: Commission position papers

 Guiding principles transmitted to EU27 for the Dialogue on Ireland/Northern Ireland (pdf):

"The present paper does not put forward solutions for the Irish border. The onus to propose solutions which overcome the challenges created on the island of Ireland by the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union and its decision to leave the customs union and the internal market remains on the United Kingdom."

 Position paper transmitted to EU27 on the Use of Data and Protection of Information Obtained or Processed before the Withdrawal Date (pdf):

"The principles set out in this paper should also apply, mutatis mutandis, to personal data, data or information which was received /processed by the United Kingdom or entities in the United Kingdom after the withdrawal date pursuant to the Withdrawal Agreement."

Court of Justice of the European Union: The Court dismisses the actions brought by Slovakia and Hungary against the provisional mechanism for the mandatory relocation of asylum seekers (Press release, pdf)

"That mechanism actually contributes to enabling Greece and Italy to deal with the impact of the 2015 migration crisis and is proportionate.....

Since the decision is a non-legislative act, its adoption was not subject to the requirements relating to the participation of national Parliaments and to the public nature of the deliberations and vote in the Council (as those requirements apply only to legislative acts)."

See: Judgment: full-text (pdf)

And: Hungary and Slovakia defiant after EU court rebuke (euobserver, link):

"Hungary and Slovakia pledged not to change their opposition to taking in asylum seekers after the EU's top court on Wednesday (6 September) dismissed the two countries' complaints over the EU's migration quota scheme.

Slovak prime minister Robert Fico said his country respects the European Court of Justice's (ECJ's) decision to reject their complaints but that it will not change his position."

Stop your blackmail, Croatia PM tells Slovenia as tensions continue (euractiv, link):

"Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic urged fellow EU member Slovenia on Thursday (7 September) to stop its diplomatic “blackmail” related to a border issue between the two ex-Yugoslav republics and return to dialogue.

Plenkovic raised the issue at a government session after Slovenia indicated this week it could block Zagreb’s access to the borderless Schengen area and to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)."

EU: New report: Market Forces: the development of the EU security-industrial complex

Market Forces focuses on the development of EU security policies and budgets through the 2007-13 period and their successors, which were launched in 2014 and will run until 2020. These include the ESRP, which funds research to develop new technologies for law enforcement, border control, cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection and leans heavily towards technologies and techniques initially deployed or favoured by military forces: drones, data-mining tools, large-scale surveillance systems, biometric recognition and automated behaviour analysis tools. It also explicitly seeks to develop “dual-use” technologies for both civil and military use.

EU: Copyright Directive: six Member States question legality of proposals for automated upload filtering

The European Commission's proposed Copyright Directive has caused controversy since its publication, in particular with its proposals that would introduce the automated filtering of uploads to online content-sharing platforms to try to detect copyright infringements.

A note published today by Statewatch shows that concerns over the proposals raised by academics, civil society organisations, lawyers, MEPs and others are shared by some EU governments. Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Ireland and the Netherlands have asked the Council's Legal Service whether the proposal is compatible with EU law.

See Note: Written questions fro the authorities of Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Ireland and the Netherlands to the Council Legal Service regarding Article 13 and Recital 38 of the proposal for a Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market (pdf)

UK: Young black people nine times more likely to be jailed than young white people – report

"Young black people are nine times more likely to be locked up in England and Wales than young white people, according to Ministry of Justice analysis.

The official exploratory study also shows that young black people are more likely to be identified with “gang concerns” and be considered a risk to others when being sentenced than any other ethnic group."

UK: Sussex Police apologises over Taser error (BBC News, link):

"Police have apologised to a disabled father and son who they shot in error with a Taser after suspecting them of being involved in an attempted robbery.

Darren Sullivan, 49, and his 74-year-old father, John, were shot with a stun gun after being unable to respond to police orders to get down, they say.

The pair, from Bexhill, East Sussex, were released after a four-hour ordeal.

They have lodged a complaint with Sussex Police, whose Professional Standards Department is investigating.

Darren and John Sullivan were both shot with the weapon after their car was stopped in London Road, Bexhill, by armed police responding to reports of an attempted armed robbery at a post office."

EU: Brexit consequences raise doubts over future defense industrial collaboration (Defense News, link):

"Britain’s planned departure from the European Union could put pressure on missile-maker MBDA and will bar London from EU funds for weapons research and development, raising doubts over defense industrial cooperation with the U.K., according to a report from Ares, a network of European think tanks.

Ares published the report on Britain’s exit, titled “The Impact of Brexit on the European Armament Industry,” in the same week that Britain and the European Commission held a third round of high-level talks to negotiate London’s exodus.

The European Commission is due to fund arms research with a launch of the European Defence Research Programme and the demonstration stage of weapons with the European Defence Industrial Development Programme.

These two funds “could be more problematic for MBDA,” the report said. “British companies will in principle no longer benefit from Community credits outside the EU.”"

See: The impact of Brexit on the European armament industry (Ares, pdf)

UK: Families of people who died in police custody failed by system – report (The Guardian, link):

"A long-awaited unpublished official report into deaths in police custody says families who have lost loved ones have been failed by the system and recommends far-reaching reforms to the police, justice system and health service, the Guardian has learned.

The report, ordered by Theresa May in 2015 while she was home secretary, is yet to be published, prompting warnings from some groups that the government delay risks damaging public confidence.

The report by Dame Elish Angiolini QC will say there should be a ban on those detained under mental health powers being held in police cells, and being transported in police vehicles, except in exceptional cases. It will also say that holding those believed to be suffering from mental health issues in police cells should be phased out completely."

And see: Four black men die. Did police actions play a part? (The Guardian, link):

"Four deaths, all different, but with sufficient similarities for some to suggest a pattern. Yet the new details form only part of the narrative – the testimony of officers involved is not known – and the IPCC investigations will take months to conclude. Both the Met and Warwickshire police state that only when the watchdog has established the full facts can “any conclusions be made”.

Yet the deaths pose awkward questions for the police, fermenting simmering disquiet over longstanding issues of race and criminality. All four families want the truth, then justice."

ITALY: Further on Italian right, a house divided (Politico, link):

"BOLOGNA, Italy — Once, the Northern League campaigned for the break-up of Italy. Now, the party’s challenge is how to reconcile its separatist roots with the national ambitions of its leader, Matteo Salvini.

The ultimate aim of the Northern League, according to its constitution, is the independence of “Padania” — the party’s name for the broad region across northern Italy it argues should constitute an independent state. But you wouldn’t know it since Salvini became leader in 2013.

The Northern League’s bellicose leader has propelled his once marginal party into one of the largest in Italy by hammering on topics like crime, terrorism, immigration, and the ills of the European Union. Regional autonomy — once his party’s defining issue — has almost completely dropped out of his register."

EU rejects Hungary's demand to finance border fence (EUobserver, link):

"The European Commission rejected Hungarian demands to co-finance its fences along the country's shared borders with Serbia and Croatia.

"We are not financing the construction of fences or barriers at the external borders," EU commission spokesperson, Alexander Winterstein, told reporters in Brussels on Friday (1 September).

Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orban, in a letter addressed to EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, requested the money as a gesture of solidarity given the some €800 million Budapest has spent on the fences. Hungary now wants the EU to pay half.

But Winterstein also took issue with Orban's notion of solidarity, noting Hungary's refusal to take in asylum seekers from Greece and Italy."

GREECE: British assistance and EU funding for new intelligence infrastructure in Greece

"Greek police and the Citizens’ Protection Ministry are creating a new intelligence service in an attempt to upgrade the country’s data gathering and processing capabilities.

According reports, the division of Information Management and Analysis (DIDAP) will be moved by the end of October from the eighth floor of the Greek police headquarters (GADA) in central Athens, to a new building in the western suburb of Peristeri, in a bid to improve its operational capabilities.

(...)

“The operational capabilities of the service will more than double,” a senior officer told Kathimerini, adding that the GADA building is not equipped to handle the increased demands of new technologies.

Indeed, a high-ranking official at the Citizens’ Protection Ministry told Kathimerini that, the intelligence services’ surveillance capabilities are being upgraded with the help of British experts.

(...)

In 2016, DIDAP secured the sum of 820,000 euros from the European Internal Security Fund as part of a program to create a "modern” operations center and specialized software that will link databases together."

See: Intelligence services to get boost (Ekathimerini, link)

USA: Senate bill would label WikiLeaks ‘non-state hostile intelligence service’ (The Washington Times, link):

"Congress will formally consider WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service” if lawmakers adopt the annual Intelligence Authorization Act passed 14-1 by a Senate panel last month — a provision the bill’s sole dissenter now cites as his reason for rejecting it.

Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat and the only member of the Senate Intelligence Committee to cast a ballot against the 2018 authorization act during last month’s vote, said Tuesday his decision was driven by the inclusion of language specifically targeting WikiLeaks, the antisecrecy website responsible for publishing millions of pages’ worth of U.S. state secrets ranging from military documents and diplomatic cables to internal Democratic Party emails.

The provision was included at the very end of the annual intelligence authorization act passed in committee and quietly introduced in the full Senate on Friday amid summer recess."

EU: A chance to change EU security research policy for the better (EUobserver, link) by Chris Jones:

"By 2020, the European Union will have invested over €3 billion in the European security research programme, which is supposed to develop “innovative technologies and solutions that address security gaps and lead to a reduction in the risk from security threats.”

In practice, the programme has been dominated by corporations and major national research institutes who seem intent on introducing a surveillance society in the name of public security.

This is a particularly worrying prospect in a Europe where increasingly illiberal governments have used emergency situations to ensure “exceptional and temporary powers [are] permanently embedded in ordinary criminal law.” "

And see: Market Forces: the development of the EU security-industrial complex

UK: The sting: private investigators and spying on fracking and trade union activists (The Bristol Cable, link):

"Tabloid phone hacking, trade union blacklisting and the Daniel Morgan murder scandals have shone light on the murky world of private investigation. But what’s happening in our own backyard? The Cable set out to discover what’s going on locally in this unregulated industry that Theresa May as home secretary promised to regulate as far back as 2013.

(...)

As well as secretly recording the public meeting, the PI said they could spy on an individual activist for the fake oil and gas company. Danny explained that a GPS tracker fixed onto an activist’s private vehicle would provide “real-time information on where he is”.

“The tracker scenario is the best solution for you with this pain in the backside activist that you’ve got who is causing problems with your business,” Danny said. “We do about 200 trackers a week…We’ve got probably 30 jobs on, on any one day.”"

UK: Detainees 'mocked and abused' at immigration centre (BBC News, link):

"G4S has suspended nine members of staff from an immigration removal centre near Gatwick Airport, following a BBC Panorama undercover investigation.

The programme says it has covert footage recorded at Brook House showing officers "mocking, abusing and assaulting" people being held there.

It says it has seen "widespread self-harm and attempted suicides" in the centre, and that drug use is "rife".

G4S said it is aware of the claims and "immediately" began an investigation."

And see: We are locking up people indefinitely. This inhumane practice needs to end (The Guardian, link) by Paul Blomfield: "We are the only country in Europe to hold migrants in detention centres with no time limit – some of them for years. We can’t let the government off the hook"

EU: The ongoing march of the EU’s security-industrial complex (OpenDemocracy, link):

"A new report tracks the last decade of EU attempts to build a homeland security economy, using advanced technology as the ‘most promising solution’ to a multitude of ‘threats’."

See: Market Forces: the development of the EU security-industrial complex


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