Statewatch News online: Archive: July-December 2015
News Online Archives: 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015: Jan-Jun
IOM: Med: Arrivals and fatalities (dated 28.12.15, pdf): 996,645 arrivals with 839,561 in Greece and 152.864 in Italy. 3,771 dead/missing. And see: Over 3,770 Migrants Have Died Trying to Cross the Mediterranean to Europe in 2015 (link)
EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26 news stories and commentaries 28-30.12.15)
GCHQ-NSA: NSA Helped British Spies Find Security Holes In Juniper Firewalls (The Intercept, link):
"A TOP-SECRET document dated February 2011 reveals that British spy agency GCHQ, with the knowledge and apparent cooperation of the NSA, acquired the capability to covertly exploit security vulnerabilities in 13 different models of firewalls made by Juniper Networks, a leading provider of networking and Internet security gear."
Why you should never upload a photo of your boarding pass to Facebook - The barcode on a boarding pass contains sensitive data (Independent, link)
European Parliament Study: Evaluation of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies (pdf):
"It evaluates the implementation, impact and outcomes of National Roma Integration Strategies in a selection of Member States (Bulgaria, France, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, and Spain) in the broader context of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies. It concludes that these strategies suffer from severe implementation gaps and that Roma populations continue to live in significant socio-economic deprivation, suffer extensive discrimination and high levels of anti-Gypsyism."
European Parliament Study: A comparison between US and EU data protection legislation for law enforcement purposes (pdf):
"It reviews US and EU principal legal sources of data protection legislation in the law enforcement and national security context and identifies rights available to individuals. The study further considers newly introduced or proposed US laws such as the USA FREEDOM Act and the Draft Judicial Redress Act and reviews its compatibility with EU data protection standards."
EU: ECRIS: Fundamental Rights Agency: Opinion of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights concerning the exchange of information on third-country nationals under a possible future system complementing the European Criminal Records Information System (pdf)
EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (9 news stories,and big development 25-27.12.15)
EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 news stories,key developments and documents 24.12.15)
Italy grants ex-CIA spies partial pardon (The Local.it, link):
"Italy's President Sergio Mattarella on Wednesday reduced the sentences of two former CIA agents, including a station chief, over the kidnapping and extraordinary rendition of an Egyptian imam in 2003.... The CIA's former station chief in Milan, Bob Seldon Lady, was convicted in absentia along with 22 other agents in 2009 by Italian authorities, over the kidnapping of Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr, better known as Abu Omar.
The cleric was taken to the Aviano US air base in northeast Italy, flown to a US base in Germany, and on to Cairo, where he says he was tortured."
See Statewatch Observatory on CIA Rendition, transport and illegal detention
EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21 news stories, documents and commentaries, 22-23.12.15)
UK: UNDERCOVER POLICING: Undercovers arrested in 2005; Mark Kennedy in Northern Ireland; call for extension of Pitchford inquiry to Scotland; Bob lambert resigns
Undercovers arrested in 2005: Names of undercover police revealed, this scandal is worse than we thought (EXCLUSIVE: The Canary, link):
"Two undercover police officers were arrested in Scotland whilst posing as protesters during the G8 summit protests in 2005. The officers, who were part of the notorious Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) which infiltrated protest and social justice movements between 1968 and 2008, were among at least 5 undercover officers who went to Scotland to infiltrate the demonstrations."
Call for extension of inquiry to Scotland: Push to extend inquiry into police infiltration of campaigners to Scotland (The Guardian, link): "The Scottish government is pressing for a public inquiry into the undercover infiltration of political campaign groups to be broadened to examine covert operations in Scotland.
The Home Secretary, Theresa May, commissioned the judge-led inquiry but limited its remit to scrutinising operations in England and Wales." And see: Scotland Asks to Join Inquiry (Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance, link)
Mark Kennedy in Northern Ireland: Undercover officer Mark Kennedy 'monitored NI groups' (BBC News, link): "One of the undercover officers for whom Scotland Yard apologised for tricking women into sexual relationships carried out surveillance in Northern Ireland, say environmental campaigners."
Bob Lambert resigns from St Andrews and London Metropolitan University: Former undercover police officer Bob Lambert quits St Andrews University teaching post over outcry (Herald Scotland, link): " An academic at a leading Scottish university, exposed as a former undercover police officer who had sex with his female targets, has quit his post.
Bob Lambert, who also fathered a child with a woman he was spying on, has left St Andrews University and another higher education body amid an outcry about his past. "
TURKEY: There is an Imminent Threat of Massacre in Cizre, Silopi, Sur, Nusaybin and Dargeçit. Dou You Hear Us? (ihd.org.tr, link):
"Since the early morning hours of 21 December 2015, the commanders of Turkish Army have announced that, the inhabitants must leave from their home otherwise the authorities could not admit the responsibility. Similarly, in Sur, Nusaybin and Dargeçit, the Kurdish people are forced to evacuate. At this time, people are experiencing very dramatic developments which are unlawful."
UK: Big Brother is born. And we find out 15 years too late to stop him - Elected MPs were deliberately misled by Brit spy agencies (The Register, link):
"Exclusive The "Big Brother" comprehensive national database system feared by many MPs has been built behind their backs over the last decade, and even has a name for its most intrusive component: a central London national phone and internet tapping centre called PRESTON.
PRESTON, which collects about four million intercepted phone calls a year, has also recently been used to plant malware on iPhones, according to disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The phones were then targetted for MI5 "implants" (malware), authorised by a ministerial warrant."
News Digest: Round-up of news stories from across the EU (19 items, 23.12.15)
US guards with guns to patrol British airports for the first time under controversial new plans being discussed by London and Washington (Mail Online, link)
- US Department of Homeland Security wants to introduce the scheme
- It's a worldwide proposal, including including Heathrow and Manchester
- Policy makers hope it will reduce the risk of IS terrorists flying to America
See also: UK may allow US security checks on passengers before transatlantic travel (Guardian , link) and Working Party on Frontiers/Mixed Committee
(EU-Iceland/Liechtenstein/Norway/Switzerland) Subject: Summary of discussions (LIMITE doc no:12034-14.pdf): which includes at Point 5:
"Information provided by the NL delegation regarding the request of the US to introduce a border preclearance facility at the Schiphol airport."
EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (35 news stories, documents and commentaries, 21.12.15)
London: What do police know about Jermaine Bakers killing that we dont? (by Stafford Scott, Guardian, link): "An officer has been arrested in an unprecedented move. Transparency has improved, but too many in this part of London have been killed by police answers must come swiftly"
Migration: Global Report on Journalism's Biggest Test in 2015: Press release (link):
"An international report on media and the global migration and refugee crisis, issued today to coincide with International Migrants Day (December 18), says journalists often fail to tell the full story and routinely fall into propaganda traps laid by politicians.
The report, Moving Stories, is published by the Ethical Journalism Network and reviews media coverage of migration in the European Union and in 14 countries across the globe.
Around the world media coverage is often politically led with journalists following an agenda dominated by loose language and talk of invasion and swarms, said Aidan White, EJN Director. But at other moments the story is laced with humanity, empathy and a focus on the suffering of those involved.
From the Ethical Journalism Network: Full report (link) includes: The View from Brussels: Missed opportunities to call the European Union to account by Tony Bunyan. Bulgaria - A study in media Sensationalism by Rossen Bossev and Maria Cheresehva, Italy - A charter for tolerant journalism: Media take centre stage in the Mediterranean drama by Yasha Maccanico and United Kingdom - How journalism plays follow-my-leader in the rhetoric of negativity by Zak Suffee
And see: Where media fails on the reporting of migrants and refugees (Guardian, link): "Report highlights mistakes - and some malevolence - in the coverage of the crisis"
News Digest: Round-up of news stories from across the EU (20 items, 21.12.15)
We need more, not less democracy by Jacob Appelbaum 20 November 2015 (Open Democracy, link): "I hope you'll join me in installing free software for freedom, fighting against mass surveillance, and refusing to be instrumentalised by those who have failed us our intelligence services."
European Parliament Study: Combatting child sexual abuse online (pdf):
"The study provides an overview of existing legislation at European Union, Member State and the international level related to online child sexual abuse. The study also provides an account of the role of law enforcement agencies in combatting child sexual abuse online and other governmental and private sector initiatives. Some of the current trends and phenomena related to online child sexual abuse and various policy responses are discussed, complemented with recommendations for future policy formulation."
EU encourages cooperation between intelligence agencies (EDRI, link): "In the wake of the Paris attacks on 13 November 2015, the planning and implementation of measures taken in the name of fighting terrorism have been geared up on the EU level."
MIgreurop: 18 December 2015: Calais Declaration: We must refuse the encampment of foreign citizens and the closure of borders (pdf) and French (pdf):
"The situation which Calais has experienced for nearly 20 years (the Sangatte camp closed in 2002 had opened in 1999) is symptomatic of the policies which the European Union has been advocating with blind persistence: hence, the planned hotspots and processing centres will unfailingly translate, if they are effectively implemented, into the creation of immense detention centres in Italy and in Greece, but also in Niger and Turkey. «Encampment», as far away as possible from the glances of civil societies, is the final objective of the European Unions migration policies: by relentlessly sorting migrants, it thus goes so far as to violate the most basic human rights and to cause the death of numerous third-country nationals.
The Migreurop network deems it important to solemnly reaffirm that respect for rights and human dignity requires the cessation of all forms of detention and ghettoisation of the people exercising their right to leave their countries. Necessary steps towards dignified reception conditions, in the Calais region and beyond, include repealing the Dublin Regulation and any form of border controls (like those promoted by the Le Touquet treaty) introduced for the purpose of transforming them into enclosures, rather than legal and protected points of passage."
The New EU General Data Protection Regulation A First Assessment by Peter Schaar (link): "The European Academy for Freedom of Information and Data Protection (EAID), Berlin, will focus in the coming years on the impact of new EU data protection rules. For 2016 we are planning workshops for decision-makers in business, politics and administration on implementation of the new EU rules and on needs for revision of national legislation."
EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (23 news stories, documents and commentaries, 17-19.12.15)
EU: DATA PROTECTION DIRECTIVE LEAs: Council of the European Union: FINAL MULTI-COLUMN: Directive on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and the free movement of such data (pdf) and Consolidated text: DP: LEAs (pdf)
Citizens Push Back Against Polish Ruling Partys Abuse of Power (OSF, link)
"When a ruling party consolidates control, its legitimate cause for anxiety. This is whats happening right now in Poland, where the one-month-old government is taking steps to override democratic practices.
The elections on November 16 swept the national conservative Law and Justice Party (Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc, or PiS) into power with an absolute majority. Its the first time since 1989 that one party has held a majority in the parliament. The presidentwho also holds legislative powersis a PiS affiliate as well."
The Secret Surveillance Catalogue (The Intercept, link):
"Concerned about the militarization of law enforcement, a source within the intelligence community has provided The Intercept with a secret, internal U.S. government catalogue of dozens of cellphone surveillance devices used by the military and by intelligence agencies. Some of the devices are already in use by federal law enforcement and local police forces domestically, and civil liberties advocates believe others will eventually find their way into use inside the U.S. This product catalogue provides rare insight into the current spy capabilities of local law enforcement and offers a preview of the future of mass surveillance of mobile communications."
EU: Council of the European Union: Latest version: European Council (17 and 18 Decembre 2015) - Draft conclusions (LIMITE doc no: 13598-15, pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: NEW DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Full-text: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) [first reading] - Analysis of the final compromise text with a view to agreement (LIMITE doc no: 15039-15,pdf):
"Taking into account the overall balance of this compromise text, the Presidency invites the Permanent Representatives Committee to analyse the compromise text resulting from the final trilogue with a view to agreement."
and DIRECTIVE on LEAs exchanging personal data - so-called "free movement": Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and the free movement of such data - Analysis of the final compromise text with a view to agreement (LIMITE doc no: 15174-15, pdf)
"With a view to enabling the adoption of the political agreement on draft the Directive, the Presidency invites the Permanent Representatives Committee to analyse the compromise text resulting from the final trilogue, as it appears in the Annex, with a view to agreement."
See: European Parliament: Data protection package: Parliament and Council now close to a deal (pdf)
EU: European Data Proctection Supervisor (EDPS): EDPS issues an alert on intrusive surveillance (Press release, pdf) and Opinion: full-text (pdf)
"Today, as the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) published his Opinion on Intrusive surveillance technology, he said he was issuing an alert about the risks posed by the unregulated growing market for the selling, distribution and (dual) use of spyware.
Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS, said: As the unregulated market for the trading and use of covert monitoring technology continues to grow, the EU must not underestimate the appetite for such technology. By addressing weaknesses in existing legislation and policies as well as developing new legislation, the EU legislator can help protect against the very real threat posed to our privacy and data protection rights. The sale of these privacy-invasive dual-use tools and the offer of related services also needs to be more tightly regulated in the EU to prevent human rights abuses in Europe and further afield.""
And see: The Growth Industry Helping Governments Hack Terrorists, Criminalsand Political Opponents (link): "Government agencies and oppressive regimes are snapping up software that makes it easy to hack your phone or computer. These new powers could make us all less safe."
COMPLETE GUIDE: European Commission: 15 December 2015: "Package": register, control and return refugees
EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (39 news stories and lots of documents, 15.12.15)
UK: ORGREAVE: Theresa May to heed campaigners' call for inquiry into battle of Orgreave (The Guardian, link): "Theresa May has promised to carefully consider a legal submission from campaigners calling for an inquiry into alleged multiple malpractice by South Yorkshire police, relating to the 1984 confrontation during the miners strike at the Orgreave coking plant."
See: The legal case for an independent inquiry (Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, link): "On Tuesday 15 December 2015 the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) will hand in its legal submission to the Home Secretary Theresa May, asking her to consider either establishing an Independent Panel, similar to that established in 2009 to investigate the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, or a public inquiry.
This submission, with testimonials from miners and their wives and photographs from Orgreave on the day, will be handed in by Chris Peace and Mike McColgan on behalf of the OTJC."
NOTTINGHAM: Refugee Forum Conference: Changing Narratives of Asylum: Media, Legislation, and Refugee Support (link):
A conference at Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum bringing together academics, practitioners and activists to examine the different narratives around seeking asylum in the UK from different perspectives. The conference will take place on FRIDAY, 8 January 2016 from 9.45 am to 5pm at the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum (NNRF), The Sycamore Centre, 33a Hungerhill Road, Nottingham NG3 4NB.
There will be two Keynote speakers: Aidan White, Director of the Ethical Journalism Network, and Dr Helen ONions, Nottingham Law Centre (NTU), together with four workshops on asylum issues: Legal, Mental Health, Destitution, and Unaccompanied Asylum Seeker Children, plus a concluding panel.
EU: European Council: European Council (17 and 18 Decembre 2015) - Draft conclusions (LIMITE doc no: 13596-15, dated 14 December 2015, pdf): compare section on "Migration" with earlier: European Council (17 and 18 December 2015) - Draft conclusions (LIMITE doc no: 13593-15, dated 7 December 2015, pdf). Latest version says:
"For the Schengen acquis to be preserved it is indispensable to regain control over the external borders. Deficiencies, notably as regards hotspots, relocation and
returns, must be rapidly addressed.The EU institutions and the Member States must urgently:"
Comment: the following eight points are all about preserving Schengen by excluding, controlling and returning refugees.
They include opening:
- more "hotspots"
- "ensure systematic identification, registration and fingerprinting, and take measures to tackle refusal of registration and stem irregular secondary flows",
- "ensure the actual return of people not authorised to stay and provide support to Member States as regards return operations"
- "ensure implementation" of "returns and readmission" following the Valletta Summit (some hope of this...)
- to "rapidly examine" the Commission's 15 December proposals (there are two different lists in the two documents)
News Digest: Round-up of news stories from across the EU (9 items, 15.12.15)
EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17 news stories and documents, 14.12.15)
EU: Council of the European Union: European Parliament's Right of inquiry: "profoundly problematic" say Council
- Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament on the detailed provisions governing the exercise of the European Parliament's right of inquiry replacing the Decision of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission of 19 April 1995 (95/167/EC, Euratom, ECSC) - Approval of a letter (15173-15, pdf):
"the Council set out many of the issues it considers to be profoundly problematic with regard to the EP proposal. The Council is unanimous in its view that these issues are indeed of such gravity that they fall outside the scope of any negotiation." [emphasis added]
The Council is referring to a Letter, dated 30 November 2015 from Ms Danuta Hubner, Chair of the AFCO (Committee on Constitutional Affairs in the European Parliament): Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament on the detailed provisions governing the exercise of the European Parliament's right of inquiry replacing the Decision of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission of 19 April 1995 (95/167/EC, Euratom, ECSC) (LIMITE doc no: 14802-15, pdf): Extraordinarily the Council has classified the Letter as "LIMITE", meaning that it is not publicly accessible:
"Delegations will find attached a letter dated 30 November 2015 from Ms Danuta HÜBNER, Chair of the AFCO Committee in the European Parliament, addressed to Mr Nicolas SCHMIT, Minister of Labour Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy, President in Office of the Council...."
This document contains the "Second Working Document" dated 17.11.15 which in turns refers to an earlier Working Document dated 9.1.15 (pdf).
The Committee's Working Documents are based on ensuring that the Martin report (dated 14.10.11, pdf) from the AFCO and its Adoption: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament on the detailed provisions governing the exercise of the European Parliament's right of inquiry and repealing Decision 95/167/EC, Euratom, ECSC of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission (dated: 23 May 2012) The mandate to get the agreement of the Council and the Commission for a Regulation is in: European Parliament legislative resolution of 16 April 2014.
This initiative to increase the scrutiny powers of the parliament run contrary to the direction on the "deal" done by the Presidents of the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament to introduce so-called "better lawmaking": Proposal for an Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Regulation - Political agreement (LIMITE doc no: 15007-15, pdf):
EU: Council of the European Union:Smart Borders, C-T database access, and SOCTA methodology
- Smart Borders Package: Wrap-up of discussions (LIMITE doc no: 15024-15, pdf):
"The Presidency suggests that the Working Party on Frontiers invites the Commission to take duly into account the outcome of the pilot-project and the progress achieved on the access for law enforcement purposes to the EES, the consequences of the abolition of stamping, fall-back procedures and the organizational aspects of the RTP application process, in view of the ongoing preparations of the new legislative proposals concerning Smart Borders."
See: The consequences of the abolition of stamping (LIMITE doc no: 12527-15, pdf): 85 pages with detailed responses by 18 Member States and: See: EU: Smart borders: European Commission and Member States at odds over digitising passport stamps (Statewatch News Online, July 2015)
Also Study: How Smart Is Smart Security? Exploring Data Subjectivity and Resistance (pdf):
"Smart security does not necessarily contribute to a higher security level at airports. More fundamentally, the need for more security cannot just be stated but has to be discussed within the civil society. Risk-based passenger screenings are working through differentiation which inherently contains either positive or negative discrimination. Data-driven predictions must not be seen as objective knowledge but as results of a probabilistic process."
- Use of Schengen Information System (SIS) and INTERPOL Databases by EU MS to Counter Terrorism - Request for information (LIMITE doc no: 13059-15,pdf): Questionnaire:
"Member States are asked that full use is "made of the existing Schengen framework to reinforce and modernise external borders' control". The European Council agreed to proceed "without delay to systematic and coordinated checks on individuals enjoying the right of free movement against databases relevant to the fight against terrorism based on common risk indicators".
- Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment 2017 - Revised methodology (LIMITE doc no: 14913-15,pdf) See Annex from Europol.
EU: Council of the European Union: Better law-making "deal" and Programme of Trio of Council Presidencies
- Law making "deal" between leaders of the Council, Commission and the European Parliament: Proposal for an Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Regulation - Political agreement (LIMITE doc no: 15007-15, pdf):
"In the interinstitutional negotiations, the European Parliament has been represented by Mr Guy VERHOFSTADT (ALDE, BE), the Council by Minister Nicolas SCHMIT and the Commission by First Vice-President Frans TIMMERMANS... The agreement will be submitted to the Council for formal adoption following legal linguistic revision by the three institutions' experts. It will be signed after the completion of the internal procedures of each of the three institutions concerned."
- Trio of Council Presidencies: The future Netherlands, Slovak and Maltese Presidencies: Taking forward the Strategic Agenda - 18 month programme of the Council (1 January 2016 - 30 June 2017) (Doc no: 15258-15.pdf) For Justice and Home Affairs see pages: 17-20: Including:
* Evaluation of and possible amendments to the Dublin Regulation
* work on an EU relocation mechanism
* Further efforts to enhance resettlement opportunities
* Proposals for strengthening the role of the European Asylum Support Office
* Effectiveness of the Schengen area
* Proposal to amend the Asylum Procedure Directive (Directive 2013/32/EU) to strengthen Safe Country of Origin provisions
* Work related to irregular immigration, including return and readmission
* Migration Action Plan with Turkey
* Reinforcement of Frontex, including discussions over the development of a European Border and Coast Guard System
News Digest: Round-up of news stories from across the EU (9 items, 14.12.15)
EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21 news stories and documents, 12-13.12.15)
EU: Council of the European Union: Smart Borders or carry on "stamping documents"?: The consequences of the abolition of stamping (LIMITE doc no: 12527-15, pdf): 85 pages with detailed responses by 18 Member States.
"At the meeting of this Working Party on 10 September 2015, the Presidency presented a new set of questions focusing on three issues that needed to be further examined. These three issues are the possible inclusion of holders of residence permits in the EES, the possible recording of the refusals of entry in the EES and the carrying out of the checks within the territory of a Member State after the abolition of stamping....
In the light of positions expressed by a large majority of delegations, the Presidency invites the Commission to further explore legal ways for allowing the inclusion of the residence permit holders in the EES or to propose alternative solutions which would be capable of addressing the concerns expressed by the Member States in their replies .Concerning the possible inclusion of the refusals of entry, a large majority of delegations are in favour. Therefore, the Presidency invites the Commission to give further consideration to this possibility in the preparation of the future legislative proposals..."
and: Response from Bulgaria (pdf)
See: EU: Smart borders: European Commission and Member States at odds over digitising passport stamps (Statewatch News Online, July 2015): "The EU wants to replace ink-on-paper passport stamps with a digital alternative as part of its plans for an Entry/Exit System supposed to detect visa "overstayers". Member States are not convinced by the idea."
EU: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings - Preparation of discussions in Coreper (LIMITE doc.no: 14888-15, pdf): 53 pages:
"the Presidency intends sending this text to the meeting of Coreper on 10 December. Coreper will be invited to agree to submitting this text as an overall compromise text to the European Parliament in view of the 9th trilogue on 15 December 2015 (Strasbourg)".
EU: G6 Justice and Home Affairs Minister: Joint Statement after the G6 meeting with Interior Ministers in London (Statement 10 December 2015, pdf)
"continue and enhance cooperation within Europe and with the US on important initiatives, includingpassenger name records - welcoming political agreement on an EU Passenger Name RecordsDirective and the EU/US Umbrella agreement on data protection and privacy - as well as terroristfinance and further agreements to ensure effective data sharing in the interests of public security andprotection; and enhance the security of the external border of the EU."
The G6 states: Formally, the group is made up of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland and the UK. They are also joined by representatives of the US.
See: 2014 meeting: G6 meeting leads to renewed calls for travel surveillance (Statewatch)
US visa crackdown 'a step too far' (aljazeera.com, link):
"US politicians vote to change visa waiver for people with links to certain countries.... On Tuesday, politicians voted to stop anyone who has visited Syria, Iraq, Iran or Sudan during the past five years - or nationals of those countries - from travelling to the US under a visa-free scheme that is available to many Europeans, even for dual citizens who also live in a non-effected country...
the US plans to introduce visa requirements for ANYONE who is from or has visited Syria, Iraq, Iran or Sudan in the last five years. "Under the new rules, visa-waiver scheme members would have to share counterterror information with the US. All visitors would be checked against Interpol databases, and members would have to issue "e-passports" with biometric data. David O'Sullivan, the European Union ambassador to Washington, said new rules on biometric passports would be "cumbersome" and warned that many Europeans would lose the right to visa-free travel.""
UK: The shadowy programme which allows migrants to be deported on suspicion alone (politics.co.uk, link): "Broadly speaking Nexus cases can be split into two categories. The first part of the operation is focused on the removal of people who are not entitled to be in the UK. There will, of course be straightforward scenarios where somebody has entered the country illegally and once identified by the operation is removed. But it has also been reported that some people are being removed simply for 'not exercising their treaty right to work or be self sufficient.'"
Behind Metadata (link): "Series of case studies, interviews and tools that explore the far reaches of metadata in its capacity to protect, investigate and expose abuses of power".
The global war against NGOs (Washington Post, link):
"Tyrants big and small are showing more sophistication in bullying and bulldozing NGOs. They use state media to vilify and tarnish groups and their leaders the smear foreign agent is popular - then move in with security and regulatory goons. Autocrats also are fond of zombie democracy - regime-friendly simulations of civil society designed to crowd out the real thing.
NGOs fill a gap left by inept governments. The real losers are billions of people who will suffer more when NGOs are silenced and shuttered."
EU High Representative: Letter to Minister for Foreign Affairs (pdf):
"Dear Colleagues, Ahead of our discussion at the Foreign Affairs Council on 14 December, I want to report on the work already done to set in place a coherent and effective EU external action to counter-terrorism (CT), and to suggest some priorities for further common engagement."
As usual there is the involvement of EU Justice and Home Affairs agencies acting externally in an operational capacity:
"the internal/external nexus: strengthening operational cooperation between the EU Member States and partner countries, mobilising more the JHA agencies (CEPOL, EUROPOL, FRONTEX, EUROJUST), including by posting of liaison officers/magistrates, and JHA tools, supporting the work of INTERPOL in the region to increase connectivity and the feeding and use of INTERPOL databases."
EU-USA: JUDICIAL REDRESS BILL: Senate Judiciary delays data privacy bill (thehill.com):
"The Senate Judiciary Committee has pushed consideration of a privacy rights bill that is pivotal to a pair of information-sharing agreements between the United States and the European Union. The legislation would give European citizens the right to take legal action in the U.S. if their personal information is misused. Its passage is a prerequisite to an umbrella agreement inked this fall that allows the two governments to exchange more information during terrorist and criminal investigations."
And see: Marc Rotenberg President, EPIC Adjunct Professor, Georgetown Law Hearing: ""The Judicial Redress Act does not provide adequate protection to permit data transfers and it does not address the many provisions in the Privacy Act that need to be updated."
EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10 news stories and important documents, 11.12.15)
UPDATE: EU border force plan faces resistance from governments (Reuters, link): "A proposal to give the EU's executive the power to send forces unbidden into member states to defend the common European frontier will face resistance from some countries when it is published this week.... European Union officials call it a largely theoretical "nuclear option" and stress that any infringement of national sovereignty would be balanced by the power of a majority of member states to block Commission intervention - similar to checks agreed during the euro debt crisis."
See document below.
EU: European Commission: Communication A European Border and Coast Guard and effective management of Europe's external borders (COM 673-15, pdf), Proposals to come.
Massive expansion in Frontex's role, its all here: "the right to intervene", "European Return Intervervention Teams", hotspots, "rapid reserve pool" and more including:
"cooperation with third countries where it can coordinate operational cooperation between Member States and neighbouring third countries in the field of border management, including by deploying liaison officers to third countries or launching joint operations on Union territory or on the territory of third countries. This will notably remedy the situation which is currently faced in the cooperation with the Western Balkan countries where, despite the agreement of the third countries in question, Frontex is unable to provide operational assistance as it does not have the mandate to send border guard teams to countries such as Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia."
EU: Historical "trove" of documents concerning early discussion of data retention, the EAW and setting up cooperation with the USA post-11 September 2001:
- Request for a negotiation mandate for the Presidency on judicial cooperation in criminal matters on the basis of Articles 38 and 24 TEU (Restricted doc no:6438-rev-2-02, pdf, 5 April 2002):
"The Council agrees on the principle of proposing to the United States that an agreement be negotiated between the European Union and the United States, on the basis of Article 38 of the TEU, in the field of penal cooperation on terrorism."
On 21 September 200 I the US reacted to these conclusions in the following way (letter from the US Mission in Brussels to the Presidency): "Judicial cooperation: The US is prepared to explore the possibilities for a formal agreement with the EU on judicial cooperation in criminal matters, with a view to overcoming impediments in existing agreements with EU Member States."
- Proposal for an EU arrest warrant (LIMITE doc no: 13425-01,pdf) Dated 31 October 2001
- Data retention: Expert meeting on cyber crime: Data retention: At Europol HQ (April 2002, pdf): including: "List of minimum and optional data to be retained by Service providers and Telcos"
- Draft Data retention Framework Decision: From the Belgium Council Presidency (July-December 2001): CONFIDENTIAL: English translation of Belgian proposal for Third Pillar legislation (pdf)
See also Statewatch's unique Justice and Home Affairs Archive (1976-2000): Containing 8,550 documents - ongoing
EU: Frontex: Africa-Frontex Intelligence Community: AFIC Joint Report 2015 (pdf)
UPDATED: The European Parliament has "egg on its face": EU Passenger Name Record (PNR): Civil Liberties Committee backs EP/Council deal (Press release, 10.12.15, pdf):
"The agreed directive will provide for the transfer by air carriers to EU member states' "Passenger Information Units" (PIUs) of PNR data of passengers of "extra-EU flights" (i.e.from a third country to an EU member state or vice-versa). It will allow, but not oblige, member states to apply its provisions also to "intra-EU flights" (i.e. from an EU member state to one or more of the other). If a member state wishes to apply this directive to intra- EU flights, "it shall give notice in writing to the Commission to that end", says the text." (emphasis added]
All 28 Member States in a Declaration (see below) have said they intended to invoke this sweeping new power.
In the agreed "compromise" text: Proposal for a Directive on the use of Passenger Name Record data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime - approval of final compromise text (LIMITE doc no: 14670-15, 46, pages, dated 2 December 2015, pdf): it states that:
"The text agreed contains the voluntary inclusion of intra-EU flights"
Thus the European Parliament agreed the compromise deal in the trilogue meetings. However, Member States have just circulated a Note following the Justiice and Home affairs Council of 3-4 December 2015:
"Draft declaration by the Member States to the minutes of the Council
"Article 1a of the PNR Directive allows Member States that so wish to apply it to intra-EU flights on a voluntary basis, upon notice to the Commission to that end.
Considering the current security situation in Europe, *Member States declare that by the date of transposition provided for in Article 15 they will make full use of the possibility provided for by Article 1a under the conditions set by the Directive.* [thanks to EDRI]
In short, yes it is "voluntary" but all Member States have agreed to extend the scope of the Directive from recording PNR data from flights in and out of the EU to also include all flights between Member States within the EU - at a stroke the scope of the measure massively extended. It will be interesting to see how the European Parliament will react.
EU: Ombudsman launches public consultation on transparency of "trilogues" (link):
"The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, has invited feedback from individuals, NGOs, business associations and other organisations on the transparency of "trilogues".
Trilogues are informal negotiations between the Parliament, the Council and the Commission aimed at reaching agreements on new EU legislation. The public consultation will feed into the European Ombudsman's overall assessment of what steps can be taken to make trilogues more transparent.
Ms O'Reilly stated: "Trilogues are where the deals are done. The vast majority of draft EU laws now pass through the trilogue process before being finalised. Europeans have a right to an EU law-making process that is as open as possible, while elected representatives also need the space to negotiate."
See also: European Parliament: Abolish 1st [and 2nd] reading secret deals - bring back democracy warts and all (pdf)
EU-PNR: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): EDPS supports EU legislator on security but recommends re-thinking on EU PNR (Statement, pdf):
"An EU PNR scheme programme would be the first large-scale and indiscriminate collection of personal data in the history of the Union. Since it is likely to cover at least all flights to and from the EU and may also involve intra EU and/or domestic flights, millions of non-suspect passengers would potentially be affected by the EU PNR proposal.
The EDPS urges caution before such a scheme is agreed and recalls that the Court of Justice of the European Union defined a high threshold for the untargeted and indiscriminate collection of data in its decision on the Digital Rights Ireland case, which invalidated the data retention Directive." [emphasis in original]
The Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) has voted: 38 in favour, 19 against and 2 abstentions on accepting the deal/compromise with the Council - it now goes to the next plenary session: see: Approval of final compromise text (pdf).
EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22 news stories and important documents, 10.12.15)
EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (12 news stories and documents, 9.12.15)
EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (12 news stories and document, 8.12.15)
EU: Council of the European Union: Data Protection Regulation & NIS (network and information security)
- Proposal for a Regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) [first reading] - Preparation for trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 14902-15, pdf): a consolidated version of the General Data Protection Regulation (191 pages)
- NIS: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning measures to ensure a high common level of network and information security across the Union - Presidency report on the state of play of trilogues (Doc no: 14673-15, pdf)
EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13 news stories and documents, 7.12.15)
EU-UK:Prüm LEAs data exchange: House of Lords Select Committee on the EU - report: The United Kingdoms participation in Prüm (pdf):
Under the PRUM Decision EU law enforcement agencies (LEAs) can automatically access DNA, fingerprint and vehicle registration data from other EU Member States' databases. The purpose of this Report was to agree, or not, to the UK re-join PRUM
"We accordingly recommend to the House that it endorse the Governments proposal that the United Kingdom should rejoin the Prüm Decisions and the related Framework Decision on the accreditation of forensic service laboratories."
Comment: Rejoining Prüm also gives UK police access to the Eurodac database (holding the details and fingerprints of asylum applicants)
EU: Council of the European Union: Letter from Council President Tusk: Letter by President Donald Tusk to the European Council on the issue of a UK in/out referendum (pdf) and see: The nine labours of Cameron: Analysis of the plans to change EU free movement law (EU Law Analysis, link)
EU Council of the European Union: NIS, Western Balkans C-T, Information sharing & DP Regulation
- NIS: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning measures to ensure a high common level of network and information security across the Union - Preparation for the trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 14606-rev-2-15, pdf) 157 pages: Multi-column document with Commission proposal, Council and European Parliament positions and "compromise" position"
- EU Western Balkan counter-terrorism initiative: integrative plan of action (Doc no: 13887-15, pdf): "EU Western Balkan
Counter-Terrorism Initiative Integrative Plan of Action (WBCTi iPA) 2015-2017"
- Information sharing on Counter-Terrorism (LIMITE doc no: 14911-15, pdf):
"The Paris attacks highlighted gaps in information sharing and checks at external borders. The informal lunch discussion in restricted format is an opportunity to exchange views on how MSs can make best use of the various information sharing mechanisms. ...
The data suggest that there remains a disparity between the actual threat posed to some MS and the amount of information that is shared and... half of all MS have still not used the Europol Information System (EIS) for counter-terrorism purposes and only 1595 foreign terrorist fighters have been registered,,,
Information on the percentage of persons checked against the relevant databases on all EU external borders is available only for some MS, and it is unsatisfactory: between 1,5 and 34 % of persons enjoying the right to free movement have been checked (Switzerland checks 100 %)."
- DP Regulation: German delegation: Regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) - Principle of purpose / further processing of data (LIMITE doc no: 14900-15, pdf): "The matter of the principle of purpose/further processing of data (Article 5 (1) (b), Article 6 (3a) and (4), Recitals 38 and 40) must be handled so that purpose has legal certainty and the fundamental rights of data subjects are appropriately balanced with legitimate economic interests."
EU: The new Europol: no more European FBI, not yet European NSA.. (EASFJ Freegroup, link):
"On November 30th the European Parliament Civil Liberties Committee has informally endorsed (with 43 to 5 with 4 abstentions) the text that the Council will soon adopt as its position on the post-Lisbon European Union Agency for Law enforcement Cooperation and Training (Europol).
Following the informal interinstitutional practice of the so called legislative trilogues (and notably of the so-called early second reading agreements) the Chair of the LIBE Committee has already addressed a letter to the President of the Permanent Representatives Committee announcing that when the Council will formally send the text to the plenary LIBE will recommend the Councils text be approved without amendments in Parliaments second reading so that the legislative procedure will be finalized and the text informally agreed (after some linguistic corrections) could be published in the coming months in the Official Journal.
I have already expressed my personal strong reservations on the legitimacy of such informal practices notably because they are done in secret when treaty require the transparency of legislative debates (and negotiations) also for the Council. In the Europol case the latest public texts were: the first reading of the EP adopted on 25 of February 2014 (at the end of the previous legislature) and the general approach of the Council on 5 of June 2014. Ten secret trilogues have been held in the following 16 months until suddenly at the end of November 2015 a draft compromise has finally emerged and has been submitted to the vote of of the Coreper and of the Parliamentary committee paving the way to the formal legislative procedure."
See also: European Parliament: Abolish 1st [and 2nd] reading secret deals - bring back democracy warts and all (pdf)
News Digest: Round-up of news stories from across the EU (16 items, 7.12.15)
IRELAND: Guildford Four lawyer Gareth Peirce gets Irish honour (Irish Times, link):
"British solicitor and human rights activist Gareth Peirce is among 10 people who have received the Presidential Distinguished Service Award.
Ms Peirce and the others were honoured at a reception hosted by President Michael D Higgins in Áras an Uachtaráin and attended by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan and Minister for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan.
Ms Peirce came to prominence with her successful defence of the Guildford Four, who were acquitted and released from jail in 1989. They had served 14 years in prison for the 1974 Guildford pub bombings."
EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (28 news stories and important documents, 5-6.12.15)
Undercover spying unit worked with Scottish police forces (Herald Scotland, link):
"Jason Kirkpatrick, an activist and filmmaker who worked closely with Kennedy without knowing he was a police officer, has written to the First Minister about the exclusion of Scotland from the Pitchford Inquiry. He has suggested two remedies: widen the existing inquiry; or, conduct a separate Scottish inquiry.
Kirkpatrick, who has Core Participant status at Pitchford, wrote that he believed Kennedy interfered with his media liaison work at the G8, adding: I may [also] have been targeted to have an intimate relationship by a possible undercover officer, "Khris" from London, in order to interfere with my press work.
These actions that took place in Edinburgh, of which the Scottish Government may not have previously been aware, certainly raise questions demanding answers about possible illegal police tampering with legitimate journalistic functions, and free speech as guaranteed by the ECHR.
He called on Scotland to be part of the Pitchford Inquiry, but added: If this request is denied, it is then necessary for the Scottish Government to initiate its own inquiry, to guarantee that such abusive practices as those described above will be properly examined if they have taken place in Scotland. "
ECHR: RUSSIA: MASS SURVEILLANCE: Arbitrary and abusive secret surveillance of mobile telephone communications in Russia (Press release, pdf):
"The case concerned the system of secret interception of mobile telephone communications in Russia. The applicant, an editor-in-chief of a publishing company, complained in particular that mobile network operators in Russia were required by law to install equipment enabling lawenforcement agencies to carry out operational-search activities and that, without sufficient safeguards under Russian law, this permitted blanket interception of communications."
and Judgment: Full-text (pdf) also: Russia passes law to overrule European human rights court (BBC News, link)
EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 news stories and documents, 4.12.15)
EU: Final text of the new Europol Regulation: Proposal for a REGULATION on the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation and Training (Europol) and repealingreplacing and repealing Council Decisions 2009/371/JHA, 2009/934/JHA, 2009/935/JHA, 2009/936/JHA and 2009/968/JHA and 2005/681/JHA (152 pges, pdf)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 3 and 4 December 2015: "B" Points agenda (for discussion, pdf), "A" Points agenda: legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) and "A" Points agenda: non-legislative, adopted without discussion, pdf) see: Background briefing (pdf)
Final Press release: 3-4 December (pdf)
All Member States think mass surveillance 'is still allowed'. Majority want new EU proposal. Will the Council never learn? Justice and Home Affairs Council; 3 December: "Data retention: The Council had a general discussion on the consequences of the invalidation of the Data Retention Directive by the European Court of Justice in April 2014. All member states considered that retaining bulk electronic communication data in a generalized manner is still allowed. A majority of delegations also considered that an EU-wide approach has to be considered in order to put an end to the fragmentation of the legal framework on data retention across the EU, and invited the Commission to present a new legislative initiative whenever possible."
The Council also "took note" of a progress report: Migration crisis : aspects of judicial cooperation and fight against xenophobia - progress report (pdf).
And discussing putting Schengen on hold for two years:: Integrity of the Schengen area, LIMITE doc: 14300-15, (pdf)
plus: Regulation: establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third country national or a stateless person - State of play (pdf):
"During these discussions, a number of delegations raised general scrutiny reservations and reiterated their positions according to which they consider that it would be preferable to evaluate the functioning of the temporary emergency relocation schemes, adopted by the Council on 14 and 22 September3, before the discussion on the proposal on the crisis relocation mechanism continues.
They are of the view that shortcomings in the implementation of the relocation decisions, including the functioning of the hotspots and the prevention of secondary movements, should be addressed as a matter of urgency." [emphasis added]
and: Conclusions of the Council and the Representatives of the governments of the Member States on Statelessness (pdf): were adopted:
While: "Recalling: that the right to a nationality is a fundamental right recognised by Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that this is one of the basic principles of the 1997 European Convention of Nationality...."
These non-binding Conclusions simply: "Invite: the Commission to launch exchanges of good practices among Member States..."
EU: Law enforcement agencies exchanging personal data: Article 29 Working Party on data protection: Opinion 03/2015 on the draft directive on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal
penalties, and the free movement of such data (pdf):
Transfers to third-party states: "the WP29 favors the introduction of a strict prohibition on the massive, repeated and structured transfers of personal data to third countries authorities and reiterates that exceptions to the prohibition of transfers to inadequate countries should be interpreted restrictively. It supports article 36(2)(b) as introduced by the European Parliament, which states that: All transfers of personal data decided on the basis of derogations shall be duly justified and shall be limited to what is strictly necessary, and frequent massive transfers of data shall not be allowed. [emphasis added]
News Digest: Round-up of news stories from across the EU (9 items, 4.12.15)
UK-EU: British homes to get smart meters under EUR 315 billion Investment Plan for Europe (link): "More than 7 million smart meters will be installed in homes across Great Britain under a new GBP 1 billion mass roll-out programme backed by the European Investment Bank alongside six commercial banks (Barclays, Crédit Agricole CIB, HSBC, Santander, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd) and Infracapital. The European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide GBP 360 million to this initiative that will significantly increase the roll-out of smart meters to reduce energy use and help households save money."
EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (28 news stories and documents, 3.12.15)
SNOWDEN: USA: FBI extradition letter to Denmark, Norway,Sweden and Finland (pdf)
EU: Council: Heads of JHA Agencies meeting, 3 - 4 November 2015 (pdf)
Agencies agreed to focus in particular on:
ensuring fundamental rights, data protection and privacy of the people in Europe in the area of freedom, security and justice;
developing further support to Member States for the management of irregular migration;
streamlining inter-agency cooperation in the Hotspots and tackl ing irregular migration at the Western Balkan route;
enhancing joint operational activities aimed at addressing the threats to Europe and the Schengen free movement area.....
Report Tear Gassing by remote control - The development and promotion of remotely operated means of delivering or dispersing riot control agents (pdf):
"The Remote Control project is a project of the Network for Social Change hosted by Oxford Research Group. The project examines and challenges changes in military engagement, in particular the use of drones, special operations forces (SOF), private military and security companies (PMSCs) and cyber and intelligence activities".
EU-PNR: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive of the Council and the European Parliament on the use of Passenger Name Record data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime - approval of final compromise text (LIMITE doc no: 14670-15, 46, pages, dated 2 December 2015, pdf):
"At the informal trilogue of 2 December 2015, a compromise package has been reached with the rapporteur, the text of which is set out in the Annex to this note. Text underlined reflects changes to the Commission proposal stemming from the Council general approach, and text in bold without underlining reflects Parliament amendments already discussed by either the Working Party (GENVAL) or JHA Counsellors. Changes to the text after trilogue of 2 December 2015 are indicated in underlined bold italics....
The text agreed contains the voluntary inclusion of intra-EU flights"
and see: Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the use of Passenger Name Record data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime Presentation of compromise text (LIMITE doc no: 14740-15, dated 30 November 2015, 85 pages, pdf) Multi-column document with Commission proposal, Council and European Parliament positions and "compromise"
EU: BORDERS: Sealing off Europe: Council Presidency proposals for protecting the "integrity of the Schengen area"
- Council Presidency issues proposals to "prepare debate" at JHA Council meeting on 3 and 4 December
- Smart borders discussions rumble on in background
A Frontex operation should be set up in northern Greece, identity controls within the Schengen area should be increased and the Council should call for the reintroduction of border controls in "one or more" unnamned Schengen states, according to proposals from the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU.
See: Note from: the Presidency to: Permanent Representatives Committee (Part 2)/Council, Integrity of the Schengen area, 14300/15, 1 December 2015 (pdf)
And see: Exclusive: leaked document reveals EU plans to suspend Schengen for two years (EU Law Analysis, link)
Smart borders: Working Party on Frontiers/Mixed Committee, Summary of discussions, 13193/15, 17 November 2015 (pdf)
FRANCE-EU: Valls to Pittella: if Parliament doesn't agree on PNR, Member States will do it themselves
French prime minister Manuel Valls has written to Gianni Pittella, chair of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, demanding the adoption of the EU Passenger Name Record Directive on air travel surveillance by the end of the year: "And in truth, if we cannot [agree the PNR Directive], there can be no justification in the view of our public opinions. I therefore fear that certain Member States will have no alternative but to use intergovernmental channels. This is not what I want because I have faith in the Community method, but you will agree that protecting citizens must take precedence over these concerns."
Earlier in the letter, he sets out what he (and the Council as a whole) are demanding the Parliament agree to:
"...it is of the utmost importance that the EU PNR system is fully operational and effective. To this end, we must ensure, in particular, the following main points: the obligatory inclusion of inter-European flights, which will help further foil the terrorists' strategies to avoid detection; a period of one year before data is masked, and four years before it is destroyed; and the inclusion in the record of serious national offences (not just transnational offences). These measures are supported by all Member States, who all face the same issues, as it was clearly outlined in the conclusions adopted by the Justice and Home Affairs Council of 20 November 20 15. If we do not include these points in the text, this tool will be devoid of its effective scope, which will weaken our collective ability to prevent further terrorist attacks."
See the: Letter from Manuel Valls to Gianni Pittella (pdf) and recent news on the PNR Directive negotiations: Mass surveillance legislation creeps closer: leaked compromise text
EU to gold plate international anti-terrorism obligations with "urgent" new law
The EU will update its terrorism law to meet international obligations at the same time as introducing new powers "to tackle the evolving terrorist threat in a more effective way, thereby enhancing the security of the EU and the safety of its citizens." The Commission has not carried out an impact assessment of the proposals due to the "urgent need" for new anti-terrorism measures.
The proposal: European Commission, Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on combating terrorism and replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA on combating terrorism, COM(2015) 625 final, 2 December 2015 (pdf)
EU-ITALY: Statewatch Briefing: The Italian Roadmap 2015 Hotspots, readmissions, asylum procedures and the re-opening of detention centres (pdf) by Yasha Maccanico
The following is an annotated translation of the Italian Roadmap produced on 28 September 2015, which also refers to eight attachments which are not available. By way of introduction, it is worth noting that it illustrates the Italian Interior Ministrys position and plan for reception of migrants and refugees in the context of the current crisis in late September. Some preliminary comments are in order, including:
- The absence of any reference to access to legal representation or a right of appeal for those deemed irregular and/or excluded from the relocation and/or asylum procedures or those for the granting of international protection.
- The great plans for relocations appear increasingly uncertain and have currently stalled, considering the number of places offered by Member States to date, as reported by the Commission on 24 November 2015, which have been stuck at the figure of 3,216 (out of 160,000) for two weeks.
- In the section on forced returns and cooperation with third countries, the document refers to both the more for more principle and the laissez-passer travel document procedure, both of which were dropped due to opposition by African states in the Valletta Conference on 11-12 November 2015
- Contributions pledged by member states for the Africa Trust Fund, which the Roadmap (p. 13) describes as potentially useful for the purpose of setting up and implanting an AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System) in third countries in Africa, are well below the required levels, as reported by the Commission on 27 November 2015
EU: Will aid stop migration?
The EU has announced a 350 million aid package described as "the single biggest EU measure in response to the Syrian refugee crisis to date," which will fund programmes aimed at helping "up to 1.5 million Syrian refugees and overstretched host communities in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq."
According to a Commission document, the fund has "two main strategic objectives" - to "stabilise the overstretched host countries (Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq)" and "reduce the pull factors and root causes of the migration crisis (in the entire region)".
EU: HOTSPOTS: « Hotspots » and « processing centres »: The new forms of the European policy of sorting, encampment and outsourcing of exiles (pdf)
Public meeting in Calais, France on 12 December: "the « hotspots » terminology (especially for Italy and Greece) and « processing centre » (in Niger in particular) have become the new keywords in the European institutions communication. Activists and researchers gathered in Calais will exchange views both on these projects and the effects which can already be observed in a number of regions declared as front lines of the fight against the so-called illegal emigration. Participants from Greece, Turkey, Italy and Niger will share their experiences and analysis in order to strengthen the defence of human rights and the collective struggles in favour of freedom of movement in Calais, Europe and beyond."
French: « Hotspots » et « processing centres » : Les nouveaux habits de la politique européenne dencampement, dexternalisation et de tri des exilées (Migreurop, link)
EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (2.12.15)
EU: Internal security: "common risk indicators", internet monitoring, a European police register, entry bans and more
On 23 November the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council sent produced a detailed note outlining who is doing what within the Council to implement the EU's Renewed European Union Internal Security Strategy, which was adopted in June 2015.
The strategy covers everything from terrorism to environmental crime and the note provides information on dozens of projects trying to put it into practice. This includes work on "common risk indicators" for border guards, cooperating with technology corporations to launch a counter-terrorism "IT platform", proposals to interconnect national police databases through a "register", and cooperation to better implement "certain categories of entry ban".
EU-PNR: Mass surveillance legislation creeps closer: leaked compromise text
According to Politico, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU are close to an agreement on the Passenger Name Record Directive, which would require the mass surveillance of air travel as a first step towards the surveillance of all mass transport.
Statewatch has obtained Kirkhope's proposals for the text, which have been discussed recently with his shadow rapporteurs. See: EU-PNR Directive, Kirkhope proposals (pdf).
And: the most recent compromise text "negotiated between the Presidency and the rapporteur Kirkhope". Five key issues remain: the definition of serious crime; the inclusion of intra-EU flights; data retention provisions; data protection; and the inclusion of non-carrier economic operators (e.g. tour companies). See: Presidency, Presentation of compromise text, 14740/15, 30 November 2015
GREECE-TURKEY: PRESS RELEASE: No More Lives Lost in the Aegan Sea! (pdf)
"The undersigned organizations call on the EU and the Greek Government:
to develop sufficient and effective resettlement programmes for refugees from third countries to the territory of European countries
to develop refugee relocation programmes from Greece to other EU countries under which there will be significant increase in both the number of refugees relocated and the eligible countries of origin
to offer to Greece the financial and technical support needed
to remove the fence from the Greek-Turkish border and in any case to take all the necessary steps to ensure safe access to the land Greek-Turkey border for people entitled to international protection
to take all the necessary steps so that the people entitled to international protection entering Greek territory are enjoying appropriate reception conditions that respect foremost human dignity."
Signed by AITMA, ARSIS, Network for the Social Support of Immigrants and Refugees, Greek Helsinki Monitor, Greek Forum of Refugees, PRAKSIS, Initiative for Detainees' Rights.
And see: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (1.12.15)
Commission registers call for EU sanctions on Hungary (EUobserver, link): "The European Commission registered Monday (30 November) a European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) calling for a procedure against Hungary over alleged breaches of EU fundamental values.
The decision, mainly based on legal grounds, was taken while the Hungarian commissioner Tibor Navracsics was npt present. Navracsics, who is from the Fidesz, the party of Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, protested in a letter to his fellow commissioners."
See: Wake up Europe ! Agir pour préserver le projet démocratique européen (The European Citizens' Initiative, link)
EU: The European Counter-Terrorism Centre: proposed powers and information systems
In October the Justice and Home Affairs Council sought to boost Europol's counter-terrorism work. This note contains an overview by Europol on "progress concerning counter terrorism related information exchange, and in particular Focal Point (FP) Travellers (relating to foreign fighters), as well as the development of the European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC) at Europol." The ECTC is supposed to start working on 1 January 2016.
Foreign Terrorist Fighters: Criminalising stay in a terrorist territory? An evaluation in light of criminal law, human rights and public international law parameters (pdf): Executive summary of a study published by the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security: "The central question in this research is to what extent can appropriate criminalization of voluntary stay in a territory controlled by a terrorist organization be determined taking into account: fundamental principles of criminal law, i.e. the principle of legality and the requirements that only human conduct is criminally punishable and only if it is wrongful (the criminal law parameters); relevant international human rights, in particular those guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) (human rights parameters); and public international law principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and the authority to assert criminal jurisdiction (public international law parameters)."
The summary concludes that: "the proposed criminalisation of voluntary stay in a territory controlled by a terrorist organization' cannot be meaningfully realised within the existing legal parameters."
News Digest: Round-up of news stories from across the EU (5 items, 1.12.15)
EU: Data Protection Regulation: more trilogue documents
Statewatch is publishing more documents from the Council of the EU on the negotiations over the new Data Protection Regulation, currently the subject of trilogue discussions between the Council, the Parliament and the Commission. The documents include a note from the Presidency to Member States' delegations on "outstanding issues where further input is needed": data breaches, data protection officers and administrative fines, amongst other things.
EU-TURKEY: Talking Turkey: 3 billion to control migration
In the days leading up to the EU-Turkey summit that EU Council President Tusk said would "change the rules of the game when it comes to stemming the migration flow," the Commission issued its Decision on the project's funding: the 3 billion "Refugee Facility for Turkey" (pdf).
The Facility is supposed to be funded with 500 million from the EU and 2.5 billion from the Member States, and has the aim:
"to assist Turkey in addressing the immediate humanitarian and development needs of the refugees and their host communities, national and local authorities in managing and addressing the consequences of the inflow of refugees."
See also: Mülteci-Der (Association for Solidarity with Refugees): Put an end to the dirty deal and respect the human rights at the EU-Turkey summit on 29 November, 2015! (pdf): "We denounce this dirty deal over the lives of refugees. We say that no political, economical or social argument could be more precious than human lives. We call the EU and Turkish leaders to terminate this dirty deal at today's summit, to respect human rights and human honour in all their policies and practices and to be transparent in their negotiations and in their asylum/migration policies/practices."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (30.11.15)
FRANCE: Climate summit and protests during a state of emergency
"As Le Monde observed and as the Human Right League denounced, the state of emergency is being used to harass ecological activists and to block demonstrations denouncing the irresponsibility of governments facing climate change and expressing the demands of civil societies during the COP21 meeting. Even an organic farm was raided by the gendarmes, perhaps looking for bombs in the cabbages, and placards denouncing environment policies were seized as terrorist materials."
EU: STATELESSNESS: New Toolkit: "Protecting Stateless Persons from Arbitrary Detention"
"Evidence shows that detention of stateless people is a worrying trend across Europe. This is happening despite the fact that protection against arbitrary detention is well entrenched under international and regional law, as is the protection of stateless persons.
"There is a huge gulf between state obligations to respect international human rights standards and the actual realisation of those rights in practice. The lack of protection and the growth of the immigration detention industry has left many vulnerable to grave human rights abuse.
"Against this backdrop, the European Network on Statelessness has embarked on a three year project to map the extent of the issue, to create advocacy tools and to train lawyers and NGOs to protect stateless persons from arbitrary detention.
"ENS has published a series of country reports highlighting the gaps and raising awareness about the extent of the issue and impact on stateless people and a toolkit for practitioners from across Europe"
See: Protecting Stateless Persons from Arbitrary Detention (European Network on Statelessness, link) including the toolkit, personal stories, and country reports from Malta, the Netherlands and Poland.
News Digest: Round-up of news stories from across the EU (14 stories, 30.11.15)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18 news stories and crucial new documents: 28-29.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
EU-TURKEY: Meeting of heads of state or government with Turkey - EU-Turkey statement, 29/11/2015 (pdf):
[Point 7] "The EU and Turkey agreed to implement the Joint Action Plan which will bring order into migratory flows and help to stem irregular migration. As a consequence, both sides will, as agreed and with immediate effect, step up their active cooperation on migrants who are not in need of international protection, preventing travel to Turkey and the EU, ensuring the application of the established bilateral readmission provisions and swiftly returning migrants who are not in
need of international protection to their countries of origin." [emphasis added]
And: Press remarks by President Donald Tusk after the meeting of EU heads of state or government with Turkey (pdf):
"we expect a major step towards changing the rules of the game when it comes to stemming the migration flow that is coming to the EU via Turkey. Our agreement sets out a clear plan for the timely re-establishment of order at our shared frontier." [emphasis added]
Press coverage: Germany's plan to strike EU-wide refugee-sharing deal stalls (Guardian, link): "Angela Merkel holds surprise mini-summit in Brussels with nine EU countries after meeting EC resistance to pro-quota pact with Turkey.... Months of European efforts to come up with common policies on mass immigration unravelled when Germany led a coalition of the willing of nine EU countries taking in most refugees from the Middle East, splitting the EU on the issues of mandatory refugee-sharing and funding.... Merkels mini-summit brought together the leaders of Germany, Austria and Sweden the countries taking the most refugees Finland, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Greece (and probably France)...."
Refugee crisis: European Commission statistics up to 27-11-15 (pdf)
Comment on the current situation: The "relocation" process is at a complete standstill and worse the number of "relocation" offers seems to have actually fallen from 3,546 places on 6 November to 3,216.
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Council of the European Union: (General Data Protection Regulation) [First reading]: Presidency debriefing on the outcome of the trilogue - Preparation for trilogue - Chapters I, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X and XI (LIMITE doc no:14319-15, pdf) 372 pages: Multi-column document:
"Annex a comparative table which compares in 4 columns the Commission proposal, the position of the European Parliament in 1st reading, the Councils General Approach and compromises tentatively agreed at previous trilogues as well as compromise suggestions by the Presidency. Text marked in brackets will be discussed by the Permanent Representatives Committee at a later stage in relation to other provisions of the text." and
Presidency debriefing on the outcome of the trilogue - Preparation for trilogue - Chapters I, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X and XI (LIMITE doc no:14318-15, 12 pages,pdf): Examines key differences between the Council and the European Parliament:
"the Presidency submits for examination with a view to confirmation to the Permanent Representatives Committee compromise suggestions on the main outstanding issues relating to Chapters I, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X and XI of the draft General Data Protection Regulation. On the basis of the outcome of this examination, the Presidency will engage in trilogue with the European Parliament with the aim to find an early second reading agreement...."
and includes this extraordinary proposal by the Council:
"In Article 21(2), the European Parliament insists that a legislative measure restricting certain obligations and rights should contain the right for data subjects to be informed about such a restriction. Since the wording proposed by the European Parliament is not acceptable for Council, the Presidency suggests to reformulate as follows:
the right for data subjects to have a general indication about the restriction, unless this may be prejudicial to the purpose of the restriction." [emphasis added]
Paris climate activists put under house arrest using emergency laws (Guardian, link): "French police arrest activists for flouting ban on organising protests during climate talks next week... At least 24 climate activists have been put under house arrest by French police, accused of flouting a ban on organising protests during next weeks Paris climate summit, the Guardian has learned.... The author and climate change campaigner, Naomi Klein, accused French authorities of a gross abuse of power that risks turning the summit into a farce.
Climate summits are not photo opportunities to boost the popularity of politicians, she told the Guardian. Given the stakes of the climate crisis, they are by their nature highly contested. That is democracy, messy as it may be. The French government, under cover of anti-terrorism laws, seems to be trying to avoid this, shamefully banning peaceful demonstrations and using emergency powers to pre-emptively detain key activists. "
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (30 news stories and documents: 27.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
UK: Warning of backlash over car number plate camera network (Guardian, link):
"Police chiefs face public backlash over the way system is operating, says governments CCTV commissioner... Britains network of number plate recognition cameras amounts to one of the largest data gatherers in the world and threatens to spark a public outcry against police mass surveillance, the CCTV commissioner has warned.... Porter expressed frustration at the refusal of police to publish details about the number and location of automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras, and evidence of their effectiveness. Given the large-scale data acquisition of such a system, I find this surprising, he told the Guardian."
See: Surveillance Camera Commissioner Annual Report 2014/15 (pdf)
News Digest (20 stories, 27.11.15)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10 news stories: 26.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
EU: European Commission: Firearms: Report from the Commission: Evaluation on the control of the acquisition and possession of weapons (pdf)
"the evaluators flagged the lack of key data relating to both market and security aspects. Regarding the market aspect, available statistics at national and EU level usually did not distinguish civilian from military firearms (therefore making it difficult to isolate data on civilian firearms). Even when this was possible, data were not always available at Member States level for all countries (due to confidentiality), thus not allowing tracing trends of production over time. , Finally the main company operating in the sector did not provide large access to information....
Due to the lack of comprehensive data, it has been difficult for the evaluator to assess the effectiveness of the Directive in connection to the security objectives. In particular, the analysis was hampered by the lack of an information base including specific and detailed data on criminal offences committed with legally owned firearms, converted alarm weapons and reactivated firearms in EU MS.."
EU: Refugee crisis: Statewatch Briefing: Italy: MSF report on reception conditions in Pozzallo (pdf):
On 17 November 2015, MSF published a report on reception conditions in the CPSA (Centro di Primo Soccorso e Accoglienza, First Aid and Reception Centre) in Pozzallo which was submitted to the Commission of Inquiry into the system for reception, identification and holding of migrants, highlighting a number of serious shortcomings. MSF has been operating in the centre since February 2015, in order to attend to the medical and humanitarian needs of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers who disembark in Sicily, in cooperation with the Ragusa provinces health authority (ASP, Azienda Sanitaria Provinciale).
EU: Visa Information System: private companies gathering data, insufficient funding for data protection
The first data protection report on the EU's Visa Information System, which holds the personal information (including biometrics) of all EU visa applicants and holders, was adopted last month by the system's 'Supervision Coordination Group', made up of national data protection authorities and coordinated by the European Data Protection Supervisor's office. Issues noted in the report, which covers the period from 2012 to 2014, include the use of private contractors to process personal information collected for visa applications, a lack of financial resources for data protection authorities, and various infringements of data protection law and principles by the authorities.
The report: Visa Information System Coordinated Supervision Group, Activity Report 2012-2014 (pdf)
NORWAY SHUTS BORDERS from 26 November - 6 December:due to "migratory pressure": Temporary reintroduction of border controls at the Norwegian internal borders in accordance with Articles 23 and 25 of Regulation (EC) 562/2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) (pdf)
and see: Norway runs anti-refugee ads in Afghanistan (The Local.no, link): "Ads from the Norwegian government are in Afghan newspapers this week warning that potential asylum seekers will be returned by force."
'Reckless' Police Scotland spied on journalist's sources and breached communication rules, watchdog probe finds (Daily Record, link):
"SCOTLANDS police force has admitted spying on the sources of journalists. Theyve been found to have breached communications rules in a major investigation by a watchdog thats branded them reckless. Police Scotland didnt follow guidelines on five occasions while investigating how information relating to a case made it into the public domain.
A report by the Interception of Communications Commissioners Office (IOCCO) said they failed to seek judicial approval during efforts to find the source a journalist had used for a news story. The Rt Hon. Sir Stanley Burnton, Interception of Communications Commissioner, said today: It is evident from these applications that Police Scotland sought communications data in order to determine either a journalists source or the communications of those suspected to have been acting as intermediaries between a journalist and a suspected source.
He added: I am satisfied that four individuals were adversely affected by these contraventions and that the failures identified can properly be viewed as reckless"
And see Press release: Statement by the Interception of Communications Commissioner (pdf). and Full report (55 pages, pdf)
France's new emergency powers interfere with rights to privacy, freedom of association (IFEX, link): "France should apply broad new powers granted under an expanded state of emergency law in as narrow and limited manner as possible to avoid trampling on human rights, Human Rights Watch said today. The law expands the government's emergency powers under a 1955 law. It also extends the state of emergency by three months as of November 26, 2015, when the 12 days te government can carry out a state of emergency without a parliamentary extension ends."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 news stories: 24.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
Centre for Crime and Justice Studies: Challenging state and corporate impunity: is accountability possible? (pdf):
David Whyte introduced the event and reflected on the lessons of the previous two conferences. Secondly, Suresh Grover considered how the police can be made accountable in the context of institutional racism. Tony Bunyan considered how researchers can lend their efforts in supporting movements towards more comprehensive state accountability. Sarah Lamble discussed how accountability is restricted by being presented in an individualist context, and suggests how it can be used more effectively when broadened to the community. Deborah Hargreaves reflected on how the current neoliberal agenda prevents effective corporate
accountability; and how this can be challenged in order to improve social responsibility. Finally, Ewa Jasiewicz reflected on the difficulties associated with the use of journalism to aid movements for international accountability.
EU: COUNTER-TERRORISM: Council of the European Union: EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator: Report: State of play on implementation of the statement of the Members of the European Council of 12 February 2015 on counter-terrorism (LIMITE doc no: 14438-15, pdf). Update on a swathe of measures.
European Area of Freedom, security and Justice (freegroup, link) comments:
"Statewatch leaked document on the state of play of EU Antiterrorism policy (and its perspectives..) On the Statewatch site is now accessible a very interesting document of the EU Counter terrorism Coordinator in preparation of the Justice and Home affairs Council meeting of December 4, 2015. Without prejudice of the political and legal judgment that anyone can have on the initiatives listed below the text gives a very comprehensive (and relatively objective ) view of the current state of play of the EU initiatives. It remains a mystery why this kind of purely descriptive documents are not directly accessible to the public, to the European and national parliaments."
EU: Can Member States still use: DATA RETENTION?: Council of ghe European Union: Retention of electronic communication data - General debate (pdf)
"The current state of play is as follows: the transposition law of the Data Retention Directive has been invalidated in at least 11 Member States (AT, BE, BG, DE, LT, NL, PL, RO, SI, SK, UK). Amongst these, 9 countries have had the law invalidated by the Constitutional Court (AT, BE, BG, DE, SI, NL, PL, RO, SK). In 15 Member States (CY, CZ, DK, EE, ES, FI, FR, HR, HU, IE, LU, LV, MT, PT, SE) the domestic law on data retention remains in force, while they are still processing communication data."
EU: Drones at the borders: technical study outlines possibilities for EU institutions and Member States
Statewatch has obtained a detailed technical study produced by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) that provides "an analysis of the possible use of RPAS [remotely piloted aerial systems] for border surveillance/monitoring, communications and signal detection (especially mobile phone communication signals)." The report sets out "a series of [technical] criteria... that could be used for assisting the design/procurement of RPAS for border surveillance operations."
The study: European Commission Joint Research Centre: Identification of current limitations for the use of unmanned aerial systems for border surveillance: Part A: Analysis of possible use for surveillance/monitoring, communications, signal detection (pdf)
EU Shared values? Ongoing disagreement amongst Member States on proposed anti-discrimination law
EU Member States still can't agree on a Directive proposed in 2008 that would "extend the protection against discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation to areas outside employment," covering "social protection, including social security and healthcare; education; and access to goods and services, including housing.
According to a progress report published by the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council on 16 November 2015: "A very large majority of delegations have welcomed the proposal in principle," and: "Most delegations have affirmed the importance of promoting equal treatment as a shared social value within the EU." However....
Romania To Pay Damages Over 1989 Protests (Balkan Insight, link):
"Romania has been told to pay compensation to eight people of 2,400 euro each for the length of criminal proceedings in a case related to their ill-treatment in December 1989. "The European Court for Human Rights announced the ruling on Tuesday.
"Between 21 and 23 December 1989, the applicants took part in anti-communist demonstrations in Bucharest, which led to the fall of the communist regime."
Judgment: Case of Alexandrescu and others v Romania (Applications nos. 56842/08 and 7 others) (pdf)
News Digest (18 stories, 25.11.15)
Statewatch Observatory: Refugee crisis in the Med and inside the EU 21 October - 24 November 2015 (pdf) New key documents and decision-making by the Council of the European Union, European Commission and Agencies plus Commentaries - 86 entries
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22 news stories and documents: 24.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
Latest European Commission: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis (Updated on 24 November, pdf):
Summary: No more offers of "relocation" places in past two weeks, so still only 3,216 places offered to meet need for 160,000. This stasis is feeding into the new barriers (both physical and new "rules" limiting entry) being constructed and putting pressure on Serbia, Macedonia and Greece.
- Relocation offers by Member States (pdf): 14 Member States 3,216 places (out of 160,000).
159 (was 168 oreviously) people have been "relocated". There have been no more offers of relocation.
- Returns: since September (pdf) Joint Frontex Return flights: 608 (previously, 569) people have been returned, plus 153 from Italy (no change), none from Greece.
- "Hotspots: staffing in Greece and Italy (pdf)
- Member States' financial pledges since 23 September 2015, million (pdf)
- Member States' Support to Civil Protection Mechanism for Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia (pdf)
See: Commission statistics ongoing: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis
EU: Council calls for Summit with Turkey on migration: Invitation letter by President Donald Tusk to the EU heads of state or government for a meeting with Turkey (pdf):
"I have now decided to call a meeting of the Heads of State or government of the EU with Turkey this coming Sunday (29 November). The meeting will mark an important step in developing our relations and contribute to managing the migration crisis."
EU-Turkey meeting on refugees likely as pressure builds on Greek border (ekathimerini.com, link): "Amid reports of a possible meeting soon between the European Union and Turkey on the refugee crisis, the pressure continued to mount on Greeces northern border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), where hundreds of migrants are stuck demanding passage."
News Digest (20 stories, 24.11.15)
UK: Mayor on track to roll-out police body cameras across the Met (College of Policing, link): "The Mayor of London and Commissioner of the Metropolitan police today confirmed that plans to introduce police body worn video to all frontline police officers are moving ahead, as a new report finds strong public support for the cameras.
"A three year contract to provide 22,000 body worn video devices across the Met has now been awarded, with the first deliveries due early next year. The move follows the worlds largest trial of the cameras, across ten London boroughs over 12 months. In a new report by the Mayors Office for Policing And Crime and the College of Policing, the use of the cameras has been welcomed by Londoners and found to reduce some types of complaints and allegations against police officers."
Full report: Police, Camera, Evidence: Londons cluster randomised controlled trial of Body Worn Video (pdf)
And see: Bouncers and council officials with body cams 'posing privacy risk' (Wired, link) and Cameras worn by Met's armed police are 'blocked whenever they aim their guns' (Evening Standard, link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (14 news stories and documents: 23.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
The new Directive on immigration of students and researchers: a small step or a big leap forward? (EU Law Analysis, link):
"the new Directive has gone some distance towards accomplishing its intended objectives, but its effect could be further augmented in the near future by a broader reform of EU law on highly-skilled immigration in general."
And see: "Researchers" Directive: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, pupil exchange, remunerated and unremunerated training, voluntary service and au pairing [Recast] [First reading] - Confirmation of the final compromise text with a view to agreement (LIMITE doc no: 13974-15, 71 pages, pdf)
UK: Metropolitan police apology on undercover police relationships: campaigners respond
From Police Spies Out of Lives, a support group for legal action by eight women deceived into-long term intimiate relationships with undercover police officers: "On 20 November 2015 the women won a very significant development: after a four-year legal battle, the Metropolitan Police apologised. The apology was part of a settlement with all but one of the women."
See: Met Apology and Met police concede violation of womens human rights (link).
Analysis: Police Apology for Relationships: Where Next? (Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance, link): "The only way we will get the truth is if those who were targeted tell their stories. The only way that can happen is if they know that their former friend and comrade was in fact a police spy. If the Inquiry is to serve its purpose, and if the Met are truly contrite, then they must publish the cover names of all undercover officers from the political policing units."
And: the apology from the Metropolitan Police (pdf): "As part of the settlement, the details of which are confidential, the MPS agreed to publish the full apology that
has been given personally to those seven women."
FRANCE-EU: What does a state of emergency mean in France? (France 24, link): "French President François Hollande was quick to declare a state of emergency in the wake of Fridays bloody terror attacks in Paris. But what does the "etat d'urgence" mean for the country and its citizens as they go about their daily lives?" And: Mass raids after Paris attacks spark civil rights fears (Al Jazeera, link) and COP21 climate marches in Paris not authorised following attacks (The Guardian, link)
see also: EU: Ministers commit to reinforcing Europol's counter-terror capabilities (press release, pdf): "Following the horrific attacks in Paris on Friday 13 November, Europol continues to provide 24/7 support to the counter-terrorist investigations in France and Belgium. This includes following up investigative leads from Europol's intelligence databases, facilitating cooperation via Europol's in-house network of liaison officers from nearly 40 countries, and contributing specific expertise on various aspects of the case." and see: Point 7, 'Information sharing', of the 20 November JHA Council conclusions on counter-terrorism (pdf)
And: Paris is being used to justify agendas that had nothing to do with the attack (Guarian, link): "The Paris attackers werent Syrian, and they didnt use encryption, but the US government is still using the carnage to justify attempts to ban them both"
News Digest (14 stories, 23.11.15)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17 news stories and documents: 21-22.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
EU: Council of the European Union: "Researchers" Directive: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, pupil exchange, remunerated and unremunerated training, voluntary service and au pairing [Recast] [First reading] - Confirmation of the final compromise text with a view to agreement (LIMITE doc no: 13974-15, 71 pages, pdf)
See: European Parliament: Deal on new rules to attract non-EU students, researchers and interns to the EU (pdf):
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21 news stories and documents: 20.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 November 2015: Conclusions of the Council and Member States on counter-terrorism (pdf) and Conclusions of the Council of the European Union and of the Member States meeting within the Council on enhancing the criminal justice response to radicalisation leading to terrorism and violent extremism (pdf)
- Draft Conclusions of the Council of the European Union and of the Member States meeting within the Council on enhancing the criminal justice response to radicalisation leading to terrorism and violent extremism (14350-15, pdf)
- Draft Conclusions of the Council of the EU and of the Member States meeting within the Council on Counter-Terrorism (14375-15, pdf)
Agenda main: B-points (pdf) and A points (adopted without discussion, pdf. Both in French
See; EU ministers order tighter border checks in response to Paris attacks (Guardian, link): "French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve says clampdown to take instant effect on temporary basis"
EU Commissioner Avramopoulos proposes establishment of European Intelligence Agency (ANAMPA, link):
"European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos proposed on Friday the establishment of an European Intelligence Service, upon his arrival to the extraordinary EU Interior Ministers meeting in Brussels
As he stated, after the European Counter Terrorism Center in Europol that was formed after the attack at Charlie Hebdo, "now it is the right time to take a step further and to lay the foundations for the creation of a European Intelligence Agency.."
and: EU calls for European intelligence agency (expatica, link) :
""I believe it is a moment to make one more step forward and put the basis for the creation of a European intelligence agency," he added. But powerful Germany quickly spoke out against the plan, saying it would infringe the sovereignty of European countries, many of whom have long been cautious about sharing intelligence.
"We should not concentrate our energy on creating a new european intelligence agency," said German Interior minister Thomas de Maiziere. "I cannot imagine that we are ready to give up our national sovereignty."
House of Commons Research Library: Briefing Paper: Draft Investigatory Powers Bill (pdf): "The Draft Investigatory Powers Bill was published by the Home Office on 4 November 2015. It seeks to update and consolidate existing legislation governing the use of investigatory powers, including the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000."
News Digest (22 stories, 20.11.15)
Data retention powers referred to European court (Guardian, link): Court of appeal declines to overturn legal victory over Dripa surveillance legislation by Tory MP David Davis and Labours Tom Watson.... However, the court of appeal judges noted that courts in six other EU states Austria, Slovenia, Belgium, Romania, Holland and Slovakia have declared national data retention laws to be invalid on the basis of the previous Digital Rights Ireland case. They asked the Luxembourg court to expedite the Dripa appeal.
UK: Met Police apology for women tricked into relationships (BBC News, link):
"The Metropolitan Police has made an "unreserved apology" to seven women who were tricked into relationships with undercover officers. Scotland Yard said the women were deceived "pure and simple". The public apology and compensation covers sexual relationships conducted by officers from two now-disbanded undercover units. In a statement, the women said it would never "make up for what we and others have endured". ...
In their statement the women criticised the police for failing to extend their apology to the children affected by the relationships which were "hidden from the public for decades". "The police still refuse to publicly acknowledge the harm caused to the children born of and into these relationships or even bring themselves to refer to them in their apology today," they said."
1,200 undercover police officers operating across England and Wales (Guardian, link): "Watchdog lambasts senior officers responsible for tactic and calls for reform of national group overseeing covert deployments"
EU: Migrant journeys: respecting the dead (IRR, link): An interview with Catriona Jarvis, former judge of the United Kingdom Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber), and now a writer/ activist on human rights initiatives.
"Where states fail to take all reasonable steps to safeguard and identify the dead so as to enable surviving family to recover, lay to rest and mourn their loved ones, potential breaches of the right to dignity and to freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment arise, as well as failure to respect the right to family life and to physical and moral integrity of those left behind...
across Europe, and indeed globally, there is an urgent need for a new visa regime to allow not only humanitarian visas for those fleeing serious harm, but also visas to permit lawful movement of bereaved family members and procedures for repatriation of bodies in such situations."
See also: Statewatch Viewpoint: In Potters Fields (pdf) by Catriona Jarvis: A potter's field, pauper's grave, or common grave, is a term for a place used for the burial of unknown or indigent people.
Historic initiative: journalists take European Parliament to court: Journalists from all over Europe have asked the European Court of Justice to rule on the hidden records of MEPs' allowances after the EP denied the journalists' request (link) and see: Statement (pdf)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18 news stories and documents: 19.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council 20 November 2015: Background Note (pdf)
See: Follow-up to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris (LIMITE, 14122/15, 16 November 2015, pdf) and Draft Conclusions of the Council of the EU and of the Member States meeting within the Council on Counter-Terrorism (LIMITE doc no: 14298-15, pdf). Also Briefing below.
Statewatch: Briefing: Counter-terrorism: what the EU is discussing after the Paris attacks
A recent note distributed to a whole host of national officials provides more details on the security measures interior ministers will discuss at the emergency EU Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting on Friday: border control, surveillance, firearms control and countering terrorist financing.
Full briefing: Counter-terrorism: what the EU is discussing after the Paris attacks (pdf)
The note (dated 16 November) was written by the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU and Gilles de Kerchove, the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, and raises a number of issues for discussion on what further counter-terrorism measures to pursue following the attacks in Paris on Friday.
The document: Follow-up to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris (LIMITE, 14122/15, 16 November 2015, pdf)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 November 2015: Draft Conclusions of the Council of the EU and of the Member States meeting within the Council on Counter-Terrorism (LIMITE doc no: 14298-15, pdf): includes:
"implement immediately the necessary systematic and coordinated checks at external borders, including on individuals enjoying the right of free movement,...
in the context of the current migratory crisis, carry out a systematic registration, including fingerprinting, of all migrants entering into the Schengen area and perform systematic security checks by using relevant databases in particular SIS II, Interpol SLTD database, VIS and national police databases, with the support of Frontex and Europol, and ensure that hotspots are equipped with the relevant technology. Europol will deploy guest officers to the hotspots in support of the screening process, in particular by reinforcing secondary security controls,...
provide, in its proposal to update the Frontex Regulation, a solid legal basis for the contribution of Frontex to the fight against terrorism and organised crime and access to the relevant databases.... Frontex will: contribute to the fight against terrorism and support the coordinated implementation of the Common Risk Indicators (CRIs) before the end of 2015, assist the Member States to tighten controls of external borders to detect suspicious travels of foreign terrorist fighters and smuggling of firearms, in cooperation with Europol, work closely with Europol and Eurojust, in particular in the context of the hotspots..."
and see: EU travellers to face stricter checks under French border plan (Guardian, link): "Exclusive: Britons likely to be worst hit by demands for more rigorous border controls in wake of Paris attacks... All EU citizens would face much tighter and systematic ID checks when leaving or entering Europes 26-country free-travel area, under new demands France is making of its EU partners following the terror attacks in Paris.
If endorsed by EU interior ministers on Friday, the French demands would severely affect Britons travelling to and from the continent because the crackdown would apply not to the internal but to the external borders of the free-travel zone known as Schengen, of which Britain is not a part. The Franco-British border is an external Schengen border."
French government Proposals on Counter Terrorism for the extraordinary JHA Council on 20 November (pdf) See above
EU: Lack of EU data retention law "a matter of concern" for Member States
The issue of a "common legal framework" for telecoms data retention is resurfacing at EU level in discussions on the "effective collection, sharing and admissibility of e-evidence" and "the needs of effective criminal justice in the digital age."
On 4 November the Presidency of the Council of the EU (currently held by Luxembourg) sent a note on "collecting e-evidence in the digital age - the way forward" to national officials involved in the Council's CATS Committee, in order to prepare for an early December debate amongst national justice ministers that will "provide political guidance on the way forward."
EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record): Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive of the Council and the European Parliament on the use of Passenger Name Record data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime (pdf):
"Inclusion of intra-EU flights
10. Article 1a of the Council general approach allows Member States to request PNR data from intra-EU flights. The phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters has reinforced the operational need of such (possible) inclusion since the general approach on the PNR Directive was reached in April 2012. Rapporteur KIRKHOPE has, however, not been able to persuade a majority of the LIBE MEPs of the necessity of such extension.
11. Following discussions with Member States at expert level, the Presidency has indicated to the rapporteur that it is not in a position to propose a compromise on this crucial item....
The negotiations have shown that an initial storage period of 30 days is generally considered much too short from an operational point of view. Article 9 has been redrafted .... Taking into consideration the operational needs the initial retention period is set at two years... initial storage period during which the PNR data are not masked out could be reduced to 12 months..."
EU: Statewatch Viewpoint: In Potters Fields (pdf) by Catriona Jarvis:
A potter's field, pauper's grave, or common grave, is a term for a place used for the burial of unknown or indigent people.
This article takes up the crucial issue of what happens to those who have died in the Mediterranean? Are their deaths recorded and the next of kin informed? What systems are in place to ensure relatives, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons know what happen to their relatives and where they are? This harrowing account traces what does, and does not happen. And asks the question, why is there no EU-wide procedure in place to ensure that the dead do not just disappear into unknown graves?
EU agency identifies 2,000 foreign fighters (ekathimerini.com, linl): "Wainwright says that half of all the entries for the database come from only five of the EU's 28 member states and one international partner."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 news stories and documents: 18.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
EU: Fundamental Rights Agency: Surveillance by intelligence services: fundamental rights safeguards and remedies in the EU Mapping Member States legal frameworks (pdf):
"This report which constitutes the first part of FRAs response to this request aims to support the adoption and meaningful implementation of oversight mechanisms in the EU and its Member States. It does so by analysing the legal frameworks on surveillance in place in EU Member States, focusing on so-called mass surveillance, which carries a particularly high potential for abuse."
EU: Verhofstadt calls for creation of EU intelligence agency (euractiv, link):
"Faced with the failure of European security cooperation, the leader of the Liberals in the European Parliament has called for the creation of an EU intelligence agency... At a debate in Brussels on Wednesday (18 November), the Belgian politician focussed on the situation in Syria and the fact that France had broken new ground by activating article 42.7 of the Lisbon Treaty... "
The activation of article 42.7 is a development that passed largely unnoticed, but that is of fundamental importance. Previously we would have invoked article five of NATO or article 222 of the Treaty of the EU, which concerns domestic security," the MEP said. Verhofstadt believes the activation of article 42.7 necessarily implies the creation of a European coalition that other states can contribute to."
European Commission; The European Commission today adopted a package of measures to make it more difficult to acquire firearms in the European Union (Press release, pdf) and Commission Proposals to strengthen control of firearms: Questions & Answers (pdf). and see: Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 91/477/EEC on control of the acquisition and possesion of weapons (link)
Also: Remarks of Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos at the Press Conference on the Preparation of the 20 November Justice and Home Affairs Council and the Firearms Package (pdf):
"We are planning a revision of SIS to facilitate the implementation of travel bans.... We will also have a proposal for a Directive modifying the existing EU framework on Terrorism by the end of November already. This will harmonise criminalisation of offences linked to terrorist travel, passive training, financing and facilitation of such travel to address the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters...".
EU plans tough new anti-terrorism laws (DW, link): "Brussels is to widen the number of actions punishable under anti-terrorism legislation in response to the Paris attacks. New laws will make it harder for individuals to access firearms. "
EU: Two-speed Europe is the future of enlarged EU, Juncker says (Reuters, link):
"I think that, eventually, it will no longer be possible that 33, 34 or 35 states will proceed with the same speed and the same momentum in the same direction," Juncker said. His comments mark a clear departure from the line of the previous EU executive, led by Jose Manuel Barroso. Barroso opposed allowing a split within the EU and creating core and non-core EU countries - a two-speed Europe.
The EU now has 28 members. It is in negotiations to accept all the Balkan countries not already members and Turkey in the long term. Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland already apply most of the EU legislation, even though they are not members of the European Union, because it makes cooperation and trade with the large neighbour easier. Of the 28 EU countries, 19 share the euro currency and more laws and procedures than non-euro zone members. They have a banking union with a single bank supervisor, a bank resolution fund and a European deposit guarantee scheme."
EU: European Parliament Study: Supporting European security and defence with existing EU measures and procedures (105 pages, pdf):
"Focusing on the support of non-CSDP policies for CSDP measures, both in the field of crisis management and defence, this study submits that CSDP cannot effectively contribute to EU external action by itself, but only in coherence with other EU policies and instruments."
European Parliament: Deal on new rules to attract non-EU students, researchers and interns to the EU (pdf):
"Harmonised EU entry and residence rules that will make it easier and more attractive for students and researchers from third countries to study or do research at EU universities were informally agreed by MEPs and ministers on Tuesday. The deal also has provisions to clarify and improve conditions for non-EU interns, volunteers, school pupils and au pairs, so as to facilitate cultural exchanges. These rules still need to be approved by Parliament as a whole and the Council of Ministers."
European Parliament study: Practices and approaches in EU Member States to prevent and end statelessness (pdf):
"The aim of the present study is to describe the practices and approaches in all EU Member States concerning the prevention and eradication of statelessness. For that purpose the study analyses the relevant international and European standards (Chapter 2) and assesses the national practices in light of these standards (Chapter 3). Since the prevention and eradication of statelessness depends on proper mechanisms to identify stateless populations, the subject of procedures for determining statelessness is addressed. We also investigate whether installing such a procedure creates a pull factor (Chapter 4). The study ends with a detailed analysis of the possible role of the European Union in preventing and reducing statelessness (Chapter 5)."
The findings include:
And see: European Network on Statelessness (link)
News Digest (16 stories, 18.11.15)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (30 news stories and documents: 17.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
EU: European Commission: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis (17.11.15, link)
"What is next? The Commission will give priority to the following actions:
Framework decision on terrorism: following the adoption of the additional protocol to the Council of Europe convention of terrorism, the Commission will propose a directive harmonising the criminalisation of offences linked to terrorist travel, passive training, financing and facilitation of such travel.
Freezing of terrorist assets: the Commission intends to finalise its assessment of possible benefits of additional measures in the area of terrorism financing, including measures relating to the freezing of terrorist assets under Article 75 TFEU, to illicit trade in cultural goods, to the control of forms of payment such as internet transfers and pre-paid cards, to illicit cash movements and to the strengthening of the Cash Controls Regulation.
Prüm framework: this is an information exchange tool that is yet to be used to its full potential. It can offer automated comparison of DNA profiles, fingerprint data and vehicle registration data which are key to detecting crime and building an effective case for prosecutions. The system is falling short of its potential because at this stage only a limited number of Member States have implemented their legal obligations and integrated the network with their own systems. The Commission will continue to prioritise the enforcement of the existing Prüm framework as a matter of urgency and is exploring in parallel the need for and possible benefits to propose a directive to improve cross-border law enforcement information exchange.
Border Package and Smart Borders: Common high standards of border management are essential to fighting terrorism. The Border Package to be presented before the end of the year will create a European Border Guard with much stronger obligations in terms of cooperation. The Smart Borders initiative planned for 2016 will provide for a much more effective EU entry/exit system permitting to trace the movements of third country nationals across the EU's external border."
EU-US: Safe Harbour 2.0 framework begins to capsize as January deadline nears (Ars Technica, link): "Safe Harbour 2.0, currently being drawn up by the EU and US authorities, "will not provide a viable framework for future transfers of personal information" across the Atlantic according to a group of human rights and privacy organisations. In a letter sent to the European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vera Jourová, and to the US Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, the 20 EU and 14 US NGOs instead urge the politicians "to commit to a comprehensive modernization of privacy and data protection laws on both sides of the Atlantic.""
See: EU-US NGO letter on Safe Harbor after Schrems (pdf) and: Europe, tech giants face off over consumer privacy (USA Today, link)
News Digest (18 stories, 17.11.15)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21 news stories and documents: 16.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
EU-USA: Speech by Commissioner Jourová: The future of U.S.-EU data transfer arrangements at the Brookings Institution (pdf)
"One of the essential elements of our agreement is therefore the Judicial Redress Bill that has recently been voted by the House. The Judicial Redress Bill would extend the rights US citizens and residents enjoy under the 1974 Privacy Act also to Europeans."
And see: Marc Rotenberg President, EPIC Adjunct Professor, Georgetown Law Hearing: ""The Judicial Redress Act does not provide adequate protection to permit data transfers and it does not address the many provisions in the Privacy Act that need to be updated."
GERMANY: 'Triple agent' admits he spied for CIA for cash (The Local.de, link): "A German suspected triple agent charged with treason admitted Monday to spying for the CIA, telling a court he had done so out of dissatisfaction with his secret service job.... If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison."
G20 Statement on the fight against terrorism (pdf)
"We reaffirm that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group.... through swift implementation of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards in all jurisdictions.... combatting radicalization and recruitment, hampering terrorist movements, countering terrorist propaganda and to prevent terrorists from exploiting technology, communications and resources to incite terrorist acts, including through the internet. The direct or indirect encouragement of terrorism, the incitement of terrorist acts and glorification of violence must be prevented.... tackle this phenomenon, including operational information-sharing, border management to detect travel, preventive measures..."
Presumption of innocence directive agreed (Fair trials, link):
"In the last two weeks, the European Parliament and Council (bringing together the EU Member States) agreed a final text for the Directive on the Presumption of Innocence (POI) and the right to be present at ones trial, which will become the fourth EU law on fair trial rights adopted since 2010. It makes some welcome improvements, some proposed by the Legal Experts Advisory Panel (LEAP), but in other respects is arguably an opportunity missed."
See also: The new Directive on the presumption of innocence: protecting the golden thread (EU Law Analysis (link)
The Edward Snowden guide to practical privacy - NSA whistleblower talks turkey about personal surveillance (The Register, link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18 news stories: 14-15.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
The Secure & the Dispossessed: How the Military and Corporations are Shaping a Climate-Changed World (link):
"What if government and corporate elites have given up on stopping climate change and prefer to try to manage its consequences instead? In the weeks running up to the major UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21), this event will examine issues raised by a new book, The Secure and the Dispossesed: How the Military and Corporations are Shaping a Climate-Changed World (Transnational Institute).
The book unveils a new climate security agenda in which dystopian preparations by the powerful are already fuelling militarised security responses to the unfolding climate crisis. But it also puts forward and tells the stories of the inspiring alternatives that promise a just transition to a climate-changed world."
Book place at book launch on 18:30 Wednesday 25 Nov 2015.
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19 news stories and key documents (13.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
Finland: Unclear Legal Framework for Guaranteeing Journalists Rights Covering Protests (CoE, link)
UK: The Race Relations Act 1965 blessing or curse? (IRR, link):
"How should we be evaluating the impact of the race relations acts, the first of which became law fifty years ago? ... The fight for racial justice that the Claudia Joneses, Frances Ezzrecos and Vishnu Sharmas began some sixty years back, goes on and now in a context where the dominant discourse makes it that much harder to argue for equality, justice and an acceptance of difference. Back to the future."
CoE: Third party intervention: Commissioner Muinieks intervenes before the European Court of Human Rights on migration cases concerning Spain (link):
"Today, Commissioner Muinieks has submitted written observations to the European Court of Human Rights in relation to two complaints concerning alleged pushbacks of migrants from the Spanish city of Melilla to Morocco.
Basing his observations on his visit to Melilla in January 2015 as well as on other credible reports, the Commissioner underscores the existence of an established practice of summary returns of migrants who attempt to enter Melilla in groups by climbing the fence surrounding the city. Such returns, which affect Sub-Saharan Africans in particular, take place outside of any formal procedure and without identification of the persons concerned or assessment of their individual situation. This prevents the persons concerned from effectively exercising their right to seek international protection he writes in his third party intervention."
and Written submission to the court: CoE ECHR-Spain (pdf)
European Parliament Study: Migrants in the Mediterranean:Protecting Human Rights (62 pages, pdf) Concludes that current policies are more geared to keeping so-called "illegal" migrants out and to return them rather than with effective measures to protect human rights and saving lives. Well worth reading.
European Parliament Study: Implementation of the Lisbon Treaty: Improving Functioning of the EU: Foreign Affairs (pdf):
EU: Another bad day for democracy: CJEU Judgment: Selon le Tribunal de lUE, les analyses dimpact destinées à éclairer la Commission dans lélaboration de ses propositions dactes législatifs ne sont pas, en principe, accessibles au public avant la divulgation des propositions (pdf):
"According to the EU General Court, impact analyzes to inform the Commission in drafting its legislative proposals are not in principle accessible to the public before the disclosure proposals. Premature access to these documents might seriously undermine the decision-making process of the Commission
In 2014, ClientEarth, a non-profit organization whose purpose is the protection of the environment, asked the Commission for access to two impact analyzes related to the environmental policy of the Union. The Commission refused to grant such access by indicating that, given the fact that the impact assessments were intended to assist in preparing legislative initiatives in the environmental field, the disclosure of these documents could be dramatically affect its decision-making processes affecting its discretion and reducing its ability to find compromises. Moreover, such disclosure was likely to result from external pressures that could hinder the difficult decision processes in which a climate of trust should prevail. Dissatisfied with the Commission's response, ClientEarth introduced in each case an appeal to the EU Court for the annulment of the refusal of the Commission.
By its judgment today, the Court dismisses the arguments of ClientEarth and confirms that the Commission was entitled to refuse access to the desired documents."
EU: New EU accession reports: LGBTI rights in the Western Balkans and Turkey (link): "the European Commissions published its annual progress reports on accession states progress towards EU Membership. The reports include important and extensive information on the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in those 7 countries."
German spying on EU states to be made illegal (euractiv, link): "The German government has agreed that political espionage against EU countries and institutions by German intelligence services should be banned."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (28 news stories and key documents (12.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
Frontex: 540 000 migrants arrived on Greek islands in the first 10 months of 2015 (link) Frontex still putting out dodgy numbers: "Overall, the number of detections of illegal border crossings at the EUs external borders between January and October stood at an unprecedented 1.2 million"
Frontex gets headline news with this kind of press release and by its own admission it includies double-counting:
"Clarification: Frontex provides monthly data on the number of people detected at the external borders of the European Union. Irregular border crossings may be attempted by the same person several times in different locations at the external border. This means that a large number of the people who were counted when they arrived in Greece were again counted when entering the EU for the second time through Hungary or Croatia."
Whereas UNHCR reported: Refugees/Migrants Emergency Response - Mediterranean (infographic, link) 502, 840 arrivals (during the year to 29 October, 2015)
EU-AFRICA: Valletta Summit: VALLETTA SUMMIT, 11-12 NOVEMBER 2015 ACTION PLAN - Final (pdf) and VALLETTA SUMMIT, 11-12 NOVEMBER 2015: Declaration - Final (pdf)
see: Remarks by President Donald Tusk at the press conference of the Valletta summit on migration (pdf)
and Europe fund to tackle African migration 'not enough' (BBC News, link): "Senegal's President Macky Sall has described a $1.9bn (£1.2bn) European fund set up to tackle irregular migration as a good beginning but said more money was needed.... "The Senegalese leader also pointed to tax avoidance by multinationals that he estimated cost Africa billons of dollars. "We have sufficient resources in Africa if we could combat tax evasion - that would stop us calling for aid. "Terrorism is an issue, wherever war is waged people flee - where there's less development people flee towards development," he said. "We have to look at migration serenely, take the drama out of it. And we have to tackle the traffickers.""
EU Commission: A European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (pdf): "made up of 1.8 billion from the EU budget and the European Development Fund (EDF), to be complemented by contributions from EU Member States and other donors. To date, Member States' contributions amount to around 78.2 million " The Member States are meant to match the Commission's contribuition... and List of Member State donors and contributions in Alphabetical order (as at 11/11/2015) (pdf)
Europe in 'race against time' to save open borders - EU's Tusk (Reuters, link): ""We must hurry, but without panic," he said after a summit with African leaders that will be followed by an emergency EU summit later on Thursday in Valletta to discuss migration and notably efforts to secure a deal with Turkey to slow departures."
CoE: CPT report on Bulgaria (pdf) and Government response (pdf)
"In their response, the Bulgarian authorities acknowledge the findings of the CPT. They set out proposals to address the concerns raised and describe the measures to be taken.
The CPT notes the persistence of a number of problems and shortcomings in the functioning of, and material conditions in, places of detention. In particular, it underlines the significant risk of ill-treatment facing persons held in police custody or in prison. The CPT also notes that detained persons are often not informed about their rights, for instance the right to notify a third party of their custody or to benefit from the services of a lawyer from the moment of their arrest. Overcrowding, the still endemic corruption and prison healthcare are further problems highlighted which require action."
Germany spies among friends: controversy grows over espionage activities (DW, link): "NSA spying triggered a severe backlash from the German public, further damaging the US' reputation. But the BND has also been found with dirt on its hands. Spying among friends is not such an unusual practice in Berlin."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21 news stories and commentaries 11.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
Statewatch Analysis:Valletta Summit: EU-AFRICA Fortress Europes neo-colonial project (pdf) by Tony Bunyan
"The overall strategy in the latest draft, is not new, it is simply presented differently. The EU fundamental concern is to stop people, refugees or migrants, moving up the continent of Africa until they reach the shores of the Mediterranean where they become the EUs problem.
This goes together with the demand for the creation of civil registry systems across Africa with biometrics (fingerprinting), quick returns, new readmission agreements and the enforcement of its neo-colonial project through the externalisation of Europe's asylum responsibilities.
EU: ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS: European Parliament: Draft Report: on public access to documents: Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Rapporteur: Laura Ferrara (pdf) This report is short on detail. Includes:
"Notes that the Treaty of Lisbon has done away with the reference to safeguarding the efficiency of legislative decision-taking;
Deplores the failure to implement Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 as regards the obligation for the institutions to keep complete registers of documents; calls for a European policy on registers to be established and for implementing measures to standardise the classification and presentation of the institutions documents...
Trilogues: Points out that transparent law-making is of the utmost importance to citizens; calls on the institutions actively to circulate documents forming part of, or related to, legislative procedures and to improve communication with persons who might wish to obtain them; considers in particular that the EU institutions should, by default, make as many documents as possible accessible to the public via a single publicly accessible common portal making for ease of consultation"
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "Article 15.3 of the Lisbon Treaty does not say "make as many documents as possible accessible to the public" it says make all documents concerning the legislative process public."
News Digest (22 stories, 11.11.15)
UK: DIP Bill: Unfettered bulk data collection powers presage mass surveillance and a debate about haystacks (Hawktalk, link):
"The choices are:
(a) build the largest haystack about all the population because you know that the needle has to be in there somewhere; or
(b) have the powers to look at all the relevant smaller haystacks that are around when you have inkling as to what kind of needle you are looking for.
In Article 8 Human Rights terms, does Parliament enact legislation that allows the national security agencies to collect bulk personal data when there is no prior suspicion, so these agencies can do speculative searches in the hope they get lucky? Or do you have the traditional civil liberties view that you need a modicum of prior suspicion before you go looking?
The Home Office prefer the former; the civil liberties lobby the latter - and that is one of the key divisive issues at the heart of the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill (DIP) published last week."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18 news stories and commentaries 10.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
EU: Cameron's Chatham House speech: Full speed ahead for the renegotiation of the UKs EU membership? (EU Law Analysis, link):
" Todays Chatham House speech by David Cameron set out more detail of the UKs demands for renegotiation of its EU membership. It was accompanied by a letter from Cameron to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, which set out a summary of his requests."
European Parliament Studies:
- Implementing the Lisbon Treaty: Improving the Functioning of the EU on Justice and Home Affairs (pdf)
"This Study examines the functioning of EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) cooperation in light of the reforms and innovations introduced by the Lisbon Treaty since the end of 2009. It identifies the main challenges and deficits characterising the practical and effective implementation of these transformations and suggests specific ways for the European Parliament to address them."
- WORKSHOP: Dual use export controls (92 pages, pdf)
"The study concludes that the systems effectiveness could be improved in a number of ways, but that this requires an effort to mobilise political will at different levels and across different institutions within the EU and its Member States, and to enhance human resources, cooperation and capacity-building."
- Communication: EU Enlargement Strategy (COM 611-15, pdf)
- Key findings of the 2015 report on Turkey (Press release, pdf):
"the report emphasises an overall negative trend in the respect for the rule of law and fundamental rights. Significant shortcomings affected the judiciary as well as freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Turkey saw a severe deterioration of its security situation. The settlement process of the Kurdish issue came to a halt despite earlier positive developments on the issue. It is imperative that the peace talks resume."
- Turkey: 2015 Report (SWD 216-15, pdf): "Civil society has remained active, growing in numbers and continuing to be involved in many spheres of public life, but restrictions to freedom of assembly remain a serious concern."
and see: EU report slams Turkey over rule of law, free speech (euractiv, link)
Malta summit: Experts raise concerns over lopsided EU-Africa migrant deals (Malta Independent, link): "
"Forced into action by its biggest refugee crisis since World War II, the European Union is pressing some northern African nations to sign lopsided deals that would send thousands back without sufficient protection, African diplomats and migration experts are warning.
Concern is growing that the EU will use its considerable political and economic clout including access to more than 1.8 billion euros ($1.9 billion) in aid to buy off vulnerable countries on the sidelines of a two-day summit with African leaders starting Wednesday in Malta.
Still wary of Europe's colonial past, some Africans believe the EU is desperately trying to outsource its refugee challenges rather than accept that people will still try to come to the continent."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 news stories and a lot of key documents, 9.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
EU: Council of the European Union: Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council, 9 November 2015: Press release: Council Conclusions on Measures to handle the refugee and migration crisis (pdf)
Background Note (pdf) and B Points Agenda (French, pdf) for discussion and A Points Agenda: non-legislative (French, pdf), adopted without debate.
EU: Updated Justice and Home Affairs Council: 9 November 2015: Draft Council conclusions on measures to handle the refugee and migration crisis (LIMITE doc no: 13799-15, pdf)
Paragraph 17: "As part of an information strategy geared at reducing pull factors, it should be clearly explained that migrants must register in their first Member State of arrival; that, under EU law, asylum seekers have no right to choose the Member State responsible for examining their application; and that migrants without a need of protection will be swiftly returned. Furthermore, a clear message should be passed that migrants cannot refuse to cooperate with the relevant national authorities. Henceforth, all necessary measures will be taken by Member States to prevent, deter and draw the consequences of such movements and non-cooperation."
EU-AFRICA: Valletta Summit, 11-12 November 2015: Background Note (pdf): Among the aims is to tackle "Root causes" which are wars, persecution and poverty. Another is: "Return and readmission
Leaders are expected to make progress on return arrangements and readmission agreements. In particular, they should strengthen cooperation in order to facilitate the return and sustainable reintegration of irregular migrants, both from EU member states and associated countries and from African countries of transit and destination. The summit should also call for strengthening the capacity of authorities of countries of origin to respond to readmission applicants. A special emphasis is expected to be put on identification and issuance of travel documents."
The reference to "travel documents" is to the EU's proposal that EU-issued Laissez-passer documents be sufficient for returning refugees. The Council's legal basis is relying on 1994 Recommendations (Statewatch JHA Archive 1976-2000) for issuing these co-called EU laissez-passer return documents which were adopted before the European or national parliaments had any say. Furthermore these "Conclusions" are "soft law", non-binding but enabling two or more Member States to undertake operational measures - again parliaments have no say. Measures which will have such a profound effect on refugee's rights and freedoms should be the subject of formal EU legislative procedures.
There are currently 17 readmission agreements (link) are in force with the following countries: Hong Kong, Macao, Sri Lanka, Albania, Russia, Ukraine, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Moldova, Pakistan, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey (inoperative) and Cape Verde
See also: Valletta Summit: Documentation
UK: Draft Investigatory Powers Bill: official documents (Statewatch database, link):
In early November 2015 the UK government published proposed new surveillance legislation - the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill. All the relevant official documentation is published here (pdf format) and will be updated as the Bill develops.
DRONES: Italys new license to kill (Il maniesto, link): "War. Italy will soon be the second European power, after the U.K., to wield lethal, American-armed drones. But despite their inaccuracy and yet another encroachment of U.S. foreign policy in Rome, few in Parliament seem to care."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (23 news stories and a lot of key documents, 7-8.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
News Digest (16 stories, 9.11.15)
Northern Ireland: Castlereagh break-in allowed to happen, says former PSNI officer (Irish Times, link): "Several special officers had to move after security breach at Belfast police station in 2002"
And see: Inside Castlereagh: Files stolen from Special Branch HQ (Statewatch News Online, June 2002)
Germany: Governments and NGOs: Germany Spied on Friends and Vatican (Spiegel Online, link):
"Efforts to spy on friends and allies by Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the BND, were more extensive than previously reported. SPIEGEL has learned the agency monitored European and American government ministries and the Vatican....
Since October's revelations, it has emerged that the BND spied on the United States Department of the Interior and the interior ministries of EU member states including Poland, Austria, Denmark and Croatia. The search terms used by the BND in its espionage also included communications lines belonging to US diplomatic outposts in Brussels and the United Nations in New York. The list even included the US State Department's hotline for travel warnings.
The German intelligence service's interest wasn't restricted to state institutions either: It also spied on non-governmental organizations like Care International, Oxfam and the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva"
UK: Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation: The big reveal (7.11.15, link to site):
As sharp-eyed commentators have noted, the launch of the Investigatory Powers Bill was accompanied by a significant avowal: the use by intelligence agencies (but not the police) of a bulk collection power (relating to communications data but not to content or internet connection records) under s94 of the Telecommunications Act 1984, the details of which had never been made public.
A number of people have asked whether I was made aware of this power during my Investigatory Powers Review.
The answer is that I was informed promptly and in some detail about the exercise of this power at the outset of my Review. Until this week, that knowledge was extremely restricted and neither I nor the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC), which also knew about it, was authorised to reveal it."
See: How and why MI5 kept phone data spy programme secret (BBC News, link)
EDWARD SNOWDEN: Interview: Five hours with Edward Snowden (pdf): "Suddenly he opens the door. DNs Lena Sundström and Lotta Härdelin had a unique meeting with the whistleblower who has fans all over the world but risks lifetime imprisonment in the home country he once tried to save..."
EU: European Commission: Communication: on the Transfer of Personal Data from the EU to the United States of America under Directive 95/46/EC following the Judgment by the Court of Justice in Case C-362/14 (Schrems) (COM 566-15, pdf): "Until such time as the renewed transatlantic framework is in place, companies need to rely on the alternative transfer tools available. However, this option entails responsibilities for data exporters, under the supervision of the DPAs."
The Commission in its Communication stresses the following point: "the Safe Harbour arrangement can no longer serve as a legal basis for transfers of personal data to the U.S"
and see USA: Congressional Research Service (CRS): The EU-U.S. Safe Harbor Agreement on Personal Data Privacy: In Brief (pdf)
UK: Reasons to be fearful about surveillance (Guardian, link): "The debate over the draft bill in the coming months will set the balance between security and privacy in this country. Heres how" and The spooks will keep spying on us Brits: we clearly dont care (link) also: This surveillance bill threatens investigative journalism (link)
EU: European Commission: Refugee crisis statistics
- State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis (6-11.15, pdf) contains for first time data on:
- Joint Frontex return flights (pdf) Main countries are Pakistan and Nigeria
- State of Play of Hotspot capacity (Greece and Italy, pdf): "Total Reception Capacity: Lesvos: 700 (Moria) 780 (Kara Tepe) with Frontex: 54 Officers (Debriefing, screening, fingerprinters and registration teams. Border Surveillance Officers, Advance Level Document Officer)"
- Member States' Support to Emergency Relocation Mechanism (Communicated as of 29 October 2015) (pdf): "14 Member States 3,546 places (of 160,000)"
- Member States' Support to Civil Protection Mechanism for Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia (Communicated as of 6 November 2015) (pdf)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26 news stories and a lot of key documents, 6.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
CoE: Report to the Austrian Government on the visit to Austria carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 22 September to 1 October 2014 (pdf) and Government response (pdf)
"Among other themes, the report focuses on the treatment of persons detained by the police and conditions under which foreign nationals were held in detention pending deportation"
News Digest (16 stories, 6.11.15)
UK: Only 'tiny handful' of ministers knew of mass surveillance, Clegg reveals (Guardian, link): "Former deputy PM says he was astonished to learn how few cabinet members were aware of scale of UK spies reach into lives of British citizens.... The government finally admitted on Wednesday that the mass surveillance of British citizens began in 2001 after 9/11 and was stepped up in 2005, using powers under national security directions largely hidden in the 1984 Telecommunications Act."
and: The surveillance bill is flawed but at last we have oversight (Guardian, link): "In government I was shocked by the scale of MI5s secret database. Its powers are at least now in the open... That the existence of this previously top secret database was finally revealed in parliament by the home secretary on Wednesday, as part of a comprehensive new investigatory powers bill covering many other previously secret intelligence capabilities""
See Home Secretary: Statement in the House of Commons by the Home Secretary on 4 November 2015 (pdf):
"The Bill will make explicit provision for all of the powers available to the security and intelligence agencies to acquire data in bulk. That will include not only bulk interception provided under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and which is vital to the work of GCHQ, but the acquisition of bulk communications data, both relating to the UK and overseas.
That is not a new power. It will replace the power under Section 94 of the Telecommunications Act 1984, under which successive Governments have approved the security and intelligence agencies access to such communications data from communication service providers."
See: A Quick Overview of the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill (SCL, link)
UK government claims DIP Bill on data retention is outside scope of EU law Why they're wrong (by analogy): Does the UKs new data retention bill violate the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights? (EU Law Analysis, link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (23 news stories, documents and commentaries, 5.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
EU seeks autonomous drones, "data fusion" and "enhanced command and control centres" for border control
The EU has made 24 million available for research into autonomous drones, "data fusion" and "enhanced command and control systems" in order to improve the surveillance of Europe's borders and "to support missions ranging from surveillance to detection of marine pollution incidents, and including early identification and tracking of illegal activities and illegal communication."
Italy: Interior MInistry circular on the "relocation" procedure
On 6 October 2015, the interior ministry sent a circular to the prefetti [government envoys responsible for security] outlining the provisional measures for international protection adopted for the benefit of Italy and Greece, including the start of "relocation" procedures. These instructions are in response to the decisions of the European Council meetings held on 14 and 22 September 2015.
Asylum seekers "in clear need of protection", belonging to nationalities whose recognition of international protection is above 75% according to the last quarter's Eurostat data, may enter the "relocation" procedure.
EU: Long-distance border controls to "check travellers data along his/her journey" and remotely detect "abnormal behaviour"
The EU is offering 3 million for research projects that can work out how to gather massive amounts of data from individuals crossing the EU's borders without "increasing the risk of loss of privacy".
This unlikely-sounding task is part of the latest work programme for the European Security Research Programme (pdf), which sets out research priorities for 2016 and 2017.302 million of a total six-year budget of 1.7 billion will be available over the next two years for projects dealing with crime, terrorism, natural and man-made disasters, critical infrastructures, cybersecurity and border controls.
EU: Presumption of innocence: Council confirms the agreement found with EP (Council Press release, pdf)
and Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the strengthening of certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at trial in criminal proceedings - Confirmation of the final compromise text with a view to agreement (pdf) Final text in Annex.
Hungary prepares law allowing spies to pose as journalists (euractiv, link):
"During the Cold War, it was commonplace that journalists also worked for the secret services. This practice had been largely discontinued since, but reportedly Hungary wants to return to it and enforce it by law. State intelligence agents could be stationed inside newsrooms under an amendment to the national security law proposed by Interior Minister Sándor Pintér..."
UK: MI5 'secretly collected phone data' for decade (BBC, link):
"the programme, which sources said was used to track terrorists and save lives, was "so secret that few even in MI5 knew about it, let alone the public".
The government's independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, David Anderson QC, told the BBC the legislation used to authorise the collection was "so vague that anything could be done under it". He added: "It wasn't illegal in the sense that it was outside the law, it was just that the law was so broad and the information was so slight that nobody knew it was happening".
The surveillance bill is as big a threat to state security as to individual liberty (Guardian, link) and UK unveils plan to spy on Internet use, raising privacy fears euractiv, link): ""What the British are attempting to do, and what the French have already done post Charlie Hebdo, would never have seen the light of day in the American political system," Michael Hayden, former director of the U.S. National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency, told Reuters." also: UK cyber-spy law takes Snowden's revelations of mass surveillance and sets them in stone (The Register, link) And see: Interception, Authorisation and Redress in the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill (UK Human Rights Blog, link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18 news stories 4.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
UK: NEW SURVEILLANCE BILL: Draft Investigatory Powers Bill (299 pages, pdf) and Home Secretary: Statement (link)
Interception of communications and equipment interference: draft codes of practice (link) including Equipment interference: draft code of practice - showing the limits to the protection of journalistic confidential information.
These documents (26) are related to the draft Investigatory Powers Bill (link) including Factsheet Targeted Interception (pdf) "Only nine agencies can apply for an interception warrant. These include the Security and Intelligence Agencies, five Law Enforcement Agencies and the armed forces... ." and "the Bill will include a requirement for the Prime Minister to be consulted before the Secretary of State can decide to issue a warrant to intercept an MPs communications"
and "Remote access": Factsheet Targeted Equipment Interference (pdf): "Equipment interference (EI), sometimes referred to as computer network exploitation, is the power to obtain a variety of data from equipment. This includes traditional computers or computer-like devices such as tablets, smart phones, cables, wires and static storage devices. EI can be carried out either remotely or by physically interacting with equipment." snd "More sophisticated EI operations may involve remotely installing a piece of software on to a device. The software could be delivered in a number of ways and then be used to obtain the necessary intelligence."
HM government transparency report on the use of disruptive and investigatory powers (link)
Counter-Terrorism website with links to all documents (link)
And see: Report of the Investigatory Powers Review (pdf, June 2015, link) and Annexes (pdf link)
Also: Here Are The Spying Powers UK Authorities Will Have If Theresa Mays New Law Passes (Buzzfeeed, link): "Police, armed forces, and intelligence agencies now explicitly have powers to hack and modify computer systems, both individually and in bulk" and:Snowden surveillance revelations drive UK and US policy in opposite directions.(Guardian, link): "Draft bill would enhance British governments surveillance powers as US works to limit NSA data collection following whistleblowers call for debate"
News Digest (14 stories, 4.11.15)
EU-USA: EPIC: Joint Hearing Before the United States House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Subcommittees on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade and Communications and Technology: Testimony and Statement for the Record of Marc Rotenberg President, EPIC Adjunct Professor, Georgetown Law Hearing on Examining the EU Safe Harbor Decision and Impacts for Transatlantic Data Flows (pdf): EU negotiators are pinning all their hopes for a deal on the EU-USA "Umbrella Agreement" on exchange of personal data on the protection given to EU citizens under the recently passed US Judicial Redress Act. Marc Rotenberg comments in evidence:
""The Judicial Redress Act does not provide adequate protection to permit data transfers and it does not address the many provisions in the Privacy Act that need to be updated."
and: EU and US pledge to fix data transfer rules (euobserver, link) and Safe Harbour 2 doesnt need change on surveillance, top US official insists (euobserver, link): "A top US State Department official has rebuffed critics who argue that Europe can only seal a new data sharing deal if US laws enabling electronic surveillance are changed"
EU: ECHR: Grand Chamber hearing concerning non-governmental organisations complaint of being refused access to information (Press release, pdf): "The case concerns the authorities refusal to provide an NGO with information related to the work of court-appointed defenders."
UK: SURVEILLANCE BILL: May calls for internet companies to store details of website visits (Guardian, link): "Home secretary tries to sweeten snoopers charter by stating that police will need judicial approval to access internet connection records"
LONDON: Met police clamps down on feared unrest on Million Mask March (Guardian, link): "Thousands of extra officers and tough public order restrictions to be deployed amid fears of repeat of violence on Bonfire night protest... Scotland Yard is to deploy thousands of extra police officers and impose tough public order restrictions over fears that a Bonfire night protest in London against austerity and increased state surveillance will turn violent. The Million Mask March planned for Thursday night is part of a global protest movement organised by the internet activist group Anonymous.""
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (23 stories and important documents: 3.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
Europe, Still Angry at U.S. Spying, Prepares to Increase Its Own (The Intercept, link): "Just as the United States is taking a first step toward placating European privacy concerns about U.S. surveillance, several European countries are passing laws dramatically expanding their own spy programs."
Yet another emergency EU Summit (Heads of State): Invitation Letter from Council President Tusk to Members of the European Council (pdf) to be held on 12 November at 14.30 straight after the Valletta EU-Africa Summit and there is also to be another extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council on 9 November 2015. President Tusk concerned at some EU states introducing "different measures at internal Schengen borders"
EU: European Commission: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis (3 November 2015, pdf) Details figures on funding, "hotspots" (Greece and Italy) and returns
EU: Commissioner Avramopoulos and Minister Asselborn in Athens: First Relocation Flight from Greece (pdf):
"On Wednesday 4 November, Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and Luxembourg Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean Asselborn will travel to Greece. Together with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, European Parliament President Martin Schulz and Greek Alternate Minister of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction responsible for Migration Policy Ioannis Mouzalas they will meet with the first group of asylum seekers to benefit from the EU's relocation scheme from Greece. Thirty asylum seekers will travel by plane from the Athens International Airport to have their applications processed in Luxembourg."
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director comments:
"Instead of turning the first relocation flight from Greece into a photo-opportunity the Commissioner would be be employed sorting out the mess at home in Brussels by tackling the lack of humanitarian aid and civil protection on the beaches and camps in Greece and right up through the centre of the EU and by getting member states to come up with the number of refugees they are going to "relocate" and when."
EU: Letter from European Commission and Council to Member States (30.10.15, pdf) Outlines where EU Member States response to the refugee crisis is "still falling short":
- The European Asylum Support Office needs the secondment of 374 experts, so far it has only 153 promises, Frontex needs 775 border guards and so far has 353 from nineteen states
- the Syria Crisis Trust Fund needs 500 million euro - it has 50 million euro
- the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa: EU funding will reach 1.8 billion euro which should be matched by EU Member States - so far: "the contrast with Member State' pledges of below 30 million euro is stark. In the run-up to the Valletta Summit, it is indispensable that the national effort comes closer to the EU funding"
UK-SYRIA: House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee report: The extension of offensive British military operations to Syria (pdf): The Committee has a majority of Conservative (government party) members:
"We believe that there should be no extension of British military action into Syria unless there is a coherent international strategy that has a realistic chance of defeating ISIL and of ending the civil war in Syria. In the absence of such a strategy, taking action to meet the desire to do something is still incoherent....
In the absence of a UN Security Council Resolution, how the Government would address the political, legal, and military risks arising from not having such a resolution?"
and see: Cameron drops plans to hold vote on airstrikes on Isis in Syria (Guardian, link) "Prime minister sought backing of Labour MPs who favoured extending RAF role into Syria but fears defeat in face of likely Tory rebellion"
EU refugee crisis and humanitarian emergency: House of Lords, Select Committee on the European Union report: EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling (pdf):
"Evidence suggests that a majority of those currently entering the EU as irregular migrants are prima facie refugees, as defined by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. It is, therefore, important that as much focus is placed on the humanitarian aspects of the crisis as on law enforcement....
We recommend that, as part of its review of EU legislation, the Commission should propose an EU framework that builds on the humanitarian aspects of the UN Protocol that concerns migrant smuggling. It should criminalise only acts committed for financial gain. Clauses should be added to avoid the criminalisation of individuals and organisations acting for humanitarian purposes. Inhuman and degrading treatment should be included as aggravating factors in the sentencing of smugglers." [emphasis added]
News Digest (14 stories, 3.11.15)
UK: Private security firm paid to fill void left by police cuts (The Telegraph, link):
"Bosses of a private security firm behind paid-for patrols in an Essex town claim they are having to fill the void left by vast police cuts. "Security company AGS runs the service in Frinton-on-Sea, every night between 7pm and 7am.
"More than 300 worried householders have signed up to pay more than £100 per year to be covered by the scheme, which provides a hotline to on-duty guards patrolling the coastal town. "
See: Police cuts: Commissioners threaten to sue Government over 'unjustified' budget reforms (The Independent, link): "Seven police and crime commissioners are threatening legal action against the Government over its unjustified and deeply flawed funding reforms that could see millions of pounds slashed from the budgets of several police forces already rocked by spending cuts." And: Public could 'crowdsource' funds for Hampstead police force as fears grow over violent crime (Camden New Journal, link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (24 stories 2.11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
News Digest (14 stories, 2.11.15)
Greek conscripts: 'we won't take part in fighting migrants' (libcom.org):
"A collective statement on the migrant crisis from Diktyo Spartakos (Spartacus Net), a far leftist formation inside the Greek army, and signed by conscript soldiers from 50 different units.
The following inspirational statement deserves the widest possible circulation. It is from Greek conscripts in 50 units of the Armed Forces. The statement is notable for linking all the current horrors inflicted on workers everywhere to a single cause the ongoing crisis of the capitalist system. In this crisis, which demands sacrifices in lost and ruined lives, all workers, whatever their condition, have a common cause and a common interest.. "
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (24 stories and lots of documents, 31.10-1-11.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
EU-AFRICA: Refugee crisis: Valletta Conference 11-12 November 2015: Update: Latest and full documentation and See: EXCLUSIVE. EU-Africa: Valletta, the summit of dissent (afronline.org, link)
Valletta Summit Political Declaration Version Zero (LIMITE doc no: 13384-15, 23 October 2015, pdf)
Valletta Summit Action Plan - Working Draft Four (LIMITE doc no 12560-rev-3-15, 26 October 2015, pdf)
Valletta Summit on Migration, 11-12 November 2015 (LIMITE doc no: 13153-15, 16 October 2015, pdf)
Valletta Summit Action Plan - Working Draft Three (Limite doc no: 12560-rev-2-15, 12 October 2015, pdf
Valletta Summit Action Plan - Working Draft Two (LIMITE doc no 12560-rev-1-15, 7 October 2015, pdf)
1st version: Possible elements for the Outcome Document for Valletta - annotated version LIMITE doc no 11534-15, 26 August 2015, pdf)
GAMM-AFRICA: EU Action on Migratory Pressures - A Strategic Response 5th Biannual Update (LIMITE doc no: 16600-14, pdf)
Draft Council Conclusions on the EU Horn of Africa Regional Action Plan 2015-2020 (28 pages, LIMITE doc no: 13200-15, pdf)
""[T]hree issues affecting EU interests in the region have gained particular salience: the influence of the wider region on the Horn of Africa, violent extremism and migration and forced displacement....The high number of people in the region who are willing to migrate is by far larger than the limited possibilities of legal avenues for migration, be it within the region or outside. Lack of opportunities for legal migration or complex and expensive procedures mean that many migrants feel that they have no other option than to use irregular channels."
See also: EU: Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria prioritised for "pilot initiative on return" (Statewatch database)
EU: Council of the European Union: Data Retention, LEAs personal data exchange Directive, PSC/COSI
- Eurojusts analysis of EU Member States legal framework and current challenges on data retention (LIMITE doc no: 13085-15, pdf) Very useful summary:
"The transposing law of the DRD has been struck down in at least eleven Member States (AT, BE, BG, DE, LT, NL, PL1, RO, SI, SK, UK2). Amongst these, nine countries have had the law invalidated by the Constitutional Court (AT, BE, BG, DE, SI, NL, PL, RO, SK)."
- Data Protection Directive: exchange of personal data between law enforcement agencies - Prepartion for trilogue: Chapter V: Transfer of personal data to 3rd countries (LIMITE doc no: 12838-15, pdf): Multi-column with Commission proposal, Council and European Parliament positions and "compromise"
- Meeting of two powerful Council committees: Political and Security Committee (PSC) and Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security (COSI): Summary of discussions held on 22 October 2015 (LIMITE doc no: 13450-15, pdf): Seeking to reinforce "internal-external" coherence:
"Delegations will find enclosed the joint letter of the PSC Chair, Ambassador Walter Stevens, and of the acting COSI Chair, Jean-Louis Bordet, on the result of discussions held on 22 October 2015"
UK: Lawyers believe Shaker Aamer has strong claim against UK government (Guardian, link): "Released Guantánamo inmate claims British intelligence officer was present while he was tortured in Afghanistan"
and: Before Shaker Aamer: others who made it back to Britain from Guantánamo Bay (Guardian, link): "Shaker Aamer is one of at least 16 UK citizens or residents to have been detained at the US base. A number have alleged that British authorities were complicit in their mistreatment"
UK: New Lords revolt looms over plans to allow police to view everyone's internet browsing history (Independent, link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (34 stories and documents, 30.10.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
EU: REFUGEE CRISIS: Another step after months and months of dithering: Entropy or incompetence? IPCR (Integrated Political Crisis Response) is the joint responsibility of the European Commission and European External Action Service (EEAS): Council of the European Union Press release: 30 October: Migratory crisis: EU Council Presidency steps up information sharing between member states by activating IPCR (pdf):
"The EU Integrated Political Crisis Response arrangements (IPCR) reinforce the European Union's ability to take rapid decisions when facing major crises requiring a response at EU political level."
See: Finalisation of the CCA review process: the EU Integrated Political Crisis Response (IPCR) arrangement (2013, pdf)
"Some major emergencies or crises, of internal and/or external origin are of such a wideranging impact or political significance, that they require timely policy coordination and response at EU political level. This could result from the number of affected or involved Member States, or the cross-sectorial nature of the crisis, the imminence thereof, or from time constraints, or a combination of these factors...." [emphasis added]
and: Concept Note on "Arrangements for Crisis Coordination at EU political level (2012, pdf):
"whether the CCA [EU Emergency and Crisis Coorination Arrangement] in its current configuration is the politically and strategically agile tool required by the EU as a whole to respond quickly and adequately to a serious crisis situation; as appropriate, develop proposals that incorporate all relevant EU level actors and crisis coordination tools...." [emphasis added]
European Parliament: Follow-up to the European Parliament resolution of 12 March 2014 on the electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens (Text adopted, pdf) and Mass surveillance: EU citizens' rights still in danger, says Parliament (Press release, pdf):
"Too little has been done to safeguard citizens' fundamental rights following revelations of electronic mass surveillance, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday. They urge the EU Commission to ensure that all data transfers to the US are subject to an "effective level of protection" and ask EU member states to grant protection to Edward Snowden, as a "human rights defender". Parliament also raises concerns about surveillance laws in several EU countries.
This resolution, approved by 342 votes to 274, with 29 abstention"
IOM Mediterranean Update (link): Number of arrivals: 724,228, with 579,642 in Greece and 140,636 in Italy (30 October):
"With the latest tragic drownings in the Aegean on Wednesday and Thursdayalong with four new deaths reported today off SpainIOM now estimates that the total number of migrant deaths on Mediterranean sea routes to Europe have surpassed 3,329 in the first ten months of 2015."
UK: SYRIAN REFUGEES: Home Affiars Select Committee report: The work of the Immigration Directorates (Q2 2015) (pdf): While many consider that the UK taking only 20,000 Syrian refugees over five years is woefully few the Committee says that even this number will be difficult to achieve:
"We welcome the Prime Ministers commitment made on 7 September 2015 to resettle 20,000 Syrians before the end of this Parliament. To meet this undertaking would require an average of 4,000 Syrians to be resettled each year. According to the Governments own figures, in the last 10 years the highest number of refugees resettled in any one year is 1,039 in 2012. At no point in the recent past has the UK come near to resettling 4,000 refugees in one year....
We note that unlike other countries the UK has not provided the UNHCR with a specific pledge of the number of places for the end of 2016..."
Report: NSA electronic catchword targeting in EU nations widespread (DW, link): "An NSA catchword surveillance list contains numerous European and German targets, according to a German news magazine. According to its report, a German federal investigator has concluded that US spying was widespread."
Former federal judge turned government-appointed special investigator Kurt Graulich had found a "large number" of NSA catchwords aimed at entities in two-thirds of all EU nations, German news magazine "Der Spiegel" said on Friday. Graulich, who was appointed by Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition in July, is due to submit his 300-page report next Thursday to the German parliament's inquiry into the activities within Germany of the US National Security Agency (NSA) from 2004 until late 2013. "
News Digest (16 stories, 30.10.15)
Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits Hungary to examine detention of foreign nationals (link): "Strasbourg, 30.10.2015 A delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out an ad hoc visit to Hungary from 21 to 27 October 2015.... The purpose of the visit was to examine the treatment and conditions of detention of foreign nationals deprived of their liberty under aliens legislation or the recently amended criminal legislation according to which, inter alia, crossing the border fence or damaging it constitute a criminal offence... A detailed report on the visit will be submitted to the Government in due course."
UK: Cameras worn by Met's armed police are 'blocked whenever they aim their guns' (Evening Standard, link): "Body-worn cameras issued to Met firearms officers have been condemned as unfit for purpose by the police watchdog.
"The video cameras are mounted on the shoulders of marksmen but the watchdog found their view is obscured whenever an officer raises a rifle to his shoulder to aim or fire the weapon."
Statement from Independent Police Complaints Commission: IPCC issues learning to Metropolitan Police during investigation into shooting in South London (pdf)
See also: Security fears arise over body-worn plodcam footage (The Register, link): "Fears have been raised over the security of information from the new police bodycam recordings held in the public cloud by US company Taser."
UK: UPDATE: Police force behind Newsnight laptop seizure reveals BBC did not contest Terrorism Act application (Press Gazette, link)
Newsnight journalists laptop seized by UK police under Terrorism Act (Guardian, link): "BBC says police accessed communications between Secunder Kermani and Isis member in Syria, in move criticised by press freedom campaigners...
The editor of Newsnight, Ian Katz, said on Wednesday: While we would not seek to obstruct any police investigation, we are concerned that the use of the Terrorism Act to obtain communication between journalists and sources will make it very difficult for reporters to cover this issue of critical public interest."
SERBIA: Soft' Censorship Threatens Serbian Press Freedom (Balkan Insight, link): "The Serbian governments use of "soft" censorship remains a threat to press freedom, a report issued on Thursday by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, WAN-IFRA, and the Center for International Media Assistance, CIMA, in Washington says." Full report: Media reform stalled in the slow lane: Soft Censorship in Serbia (pdf)
UK: Parliaments human rights committee to investigate lethal drone strikes (The Guardian, link): "The prime ministers policy of ordering targeted drone killings overseas outside designated war zones is to be scrutinised in the first inquiry launched by the new chair of parliaments human rights committee." See: MPs right to push for answers over Governments kill policy (Reprieve, link) and also: UK to double drone fleet and boost SAS kit in fight against Isis militants (International Business Times, link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18 stories and documents, 29.10.15) See: Crisis News updated during the day
News Digest (10 stories, 29.10.15)
EU naval anti-smuggler operation not working, needs intervention in Libya: French admiral (Libya Herald, link):
"The EU naval operation to clamp down on illegal migrant crossings from Libya is not working, according to its deputy commander, Rear Admiral Hervé Bléjean. The only way to stop the flow, he said in Rome yesterday, was by going to Libyan territory, both the countrys inshore waters and on land and hitting the smuggler networks.
The operation will only be effective when we can work close to the networks, go after the big fish not the little ones who go out to sea, he said.
In the three week since it started, the operation, codenamed Sophia and designed to arrest the smugglers and seize their boats them had not done so at all so far, the French rear admiral admitted."
UK-USA-IRAQ: Chilcot report on Iraq war to be published next June or July (The Guardian, link): "Sir John Chilcot has announced that he is to publish his report into the Iraq war next June or July following intense pressure from David Cameron to speed up his timetable."
See also: Peter Oborne's unofficial Chilcot Inquiry into Iraq war (BBC News, link) and We don't need to wait for Chilcot, Blair lied to us about Iraq. Here's the evidence by Peter Oborne (OpenDemocracy, link)
NORTHERN IRELAND: Joint MI5-PSNI report on paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland
"All the main paramilitary groups operating during the period of the Troubles remain in existence... Seventeen years after the 1998 Belfast Agreement, paramilitary groups remain a feature of life in NI [and] maintain a relatively public profile in spite of being illegal organisations.
"However, the most serious current terrorist threat in NI is not posed by these groups but by dissident republicans (DRs) - paramilitary groups not on ceasefire and who reject the 1998 Belfast Agreement... Their activities pose a severe threat to NI's security and stability and, at any given time, a terrorist attack is highly likely. There is also a smaller threat posed by dissident loyalist paramilitary groups. This report does not focus on dissident groups."
See: Paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland: An assessment commissioned by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on the structure, role and purpose of paramilitary groups focusing on those which declared ceasfires in order to support and facilitate the political process (pdf)
And: Statement by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland before the House of Commons, 20 October 2015 (pdf)
News coverage: IRA's 'army council' still exists and influences Sinn Féin strategy report (The Guardian, link) and Confusion as PSNI say IRA Army Council exists... but gardai say 'not on their side of the border' (Irish Independent, link)
Sweden to keep shelters for asylum seekers secret (euractiv, link): "The Swedish Migration Agency has decided to keep the locations of refugee housing facilities secret, following 21 being torched since March.
Yesterday, the municipality of Danderyd, a town located north of Stockholm, announced that a new residence for 70 asylum seekers will be opened in November, in facilities that previously belonged to a public school. But around 2AM this morning (28 October), the building was set alight. On Tuesday (27 October), a building that was meant to be used for refugee accommodations in Färingtofta, in southern Sweden, was likewise destroyed in an arson attack.
In order to prevent more fires, the Migration Agency has decided to make it harder for the public to locate the addresses of planned homes for asylum seekers. This means that 66,000 residences will be kept a secret. "The level of security has deteriorated and it's worrying with all these fires. We will keep the residences a secret so that they won't become common knowledge," said Willis Åberg, operations manager at the Migration Agency, according to Radio Sweden" [emphasis in original].
European Parliament Studies:
- Cybersecurity in the European Union and Beyond: Exploring the Threats and Policy Responses (pdf)
"It sets out to develop a better understanding of the main cybersecurity threats and existing cybersecurity capabilities in the European Union and the United States. The study further examines transnational cooperation and explores perceptions of the effectiveness of the EU response, pinpointing remaining challenges and suggesting avenues for improvement."
- The law enforcement challenges of cybercrime: are we really playing catch-up? (pdf):
"While this study shows that cybercrime poses significant challenges for law enforcement, it also argues that the key cybercrime concern for law enforcement is legal rather than technical and technological. The study further underlines that the European Parliament is largely excluded from policy development in the field of cybercrime, impeding public scrutiny and accountability."
ECRE/AIDA: The new asylum procedure at the border and restrictions to accessing protection in Hungary (pdf):
"increasing pressure has triggered a series of changes in the Hungarian asylum system which raises multiple legal and policy concerns. At the same time, Hungary appears to be a transit country for a large number, if not most, of refugees and asylum seekers arriving there, who seek to continue their journey towards other European countries....
the Asylum Information Database (AIDA), the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) has sought to gain an in-depth understanding of the new border procedure applied at the Hungarian border and the conditions facing asylum seekers in the new transit zones. This enquiry is followed by an assessment of the treatment afforded to persons who enter the country irregularly, as well as by a discussion on the broader effects of the recent restrictions imposed by Hungary for refugees seeking protection in Europe "
EU: DIRECTIVE ON LEAs EXCHANGE OF PERSONAL DATA: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): A further step towards comprehensive EU data protection: EDPS recommendations for the police and justice sectors (Press release, pdf)
"The EDPS calls on the legislators to ensure that none of the provisions of the Directive decrease the level of protection that is currently offered by EU law and by the instruments of the Council of Europe....
Careful attention should be given to the modalities for international transfers of personal data to bring them in line with the recent CJEU ruling in the Schrems case. This ruling will have an impact on new legal instruments and agreements to be concluded by the EU with non-EU countries in the field of law enforcement (including, for instance, the EU-US Umbrella Agreement) so that they pass the strict test established by the Court"
Full-text of EDPS Opinion (pdf)
EU-UK: Meijers Committee report: Accommodating British EU-demands and democratic change of the Treaties (pdf):
"An agreement by the Heads of Government to change the Treaties, would give rise to serious concerns over legality, transparency, parliamentary scrutiny and democratic oversight. The Meijers Committee argues that the European Council should not be the exclusive forum to consider changes to the Treaties in an effort to accommodate British political demands. The Meijers Committee stresses that national parliaments, the European Parliament and, possibly, a Convention have a role to play and should not be left out of the current negotiations only to be confronted later on with a political agreement cast in stone."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26 stories and documents, 28.10.15) See: Rolling Crisis News updated during the day
UN Special Rapporteur raises alarm over effect of counter-terrorism policy on civil society
A UN Special Rapporteur on human rights has warned of a global "ideological pandemic" that has seen more than 60 states across the world pass counter-terrorism measures that have been used "to stifle legitimate opposition and to choke public interest and human rights organisations".
In an address the the UN's General Assembly, Ben Emmerson, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, "urged governments across the world to ensure that the NGO sector be allowed to continue to play an indispensable role in co-ordinated efforts to counter the spread of terrorism."
His findings are detailed in a new report examining the impact of counter-terrorism measures on civil society: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism (pdf)
Opening remarks by Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights at the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies, Maison de la Paix, Geneva: Lessons from the Syrian Refugee Crisis: Towards New Global Coordination 27 October 2015 (Full-text, pdf)
and see: Derogatory speech against migrants can lead to murders, UN official warns (euractiv, link): "Politicians who use derogatory language about refugees and migrants may be responsible for causing violence and racism, UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein warned yesterday (27 October). "Once you classify people along lines such that they pose a threat - that these are 'hordes', that we are being 'invaded', that there are 'swarms' of people coming, you have started the process of dehumanizing them as we know from history," he said." and U.N.'s Zeid says politicians' anti-migrant rhetoric can be deadly (Reuters, link)
Northern Ireland: Secret service surveillance secrecy leads to court case collapse
A court case in Northern Ireland involving some of the "most sophisticated" surveillance "ever seen" collapsed last week after MI5 refused a judge's order to provide more detail on tracking devices it had used to monitor the movements of three brothers accused of conspiracy to murder police and prison officers.
EU: Parliament agrees with Council, votes against net neutrality
"The European Parliament has voted against a set of amendments on Tuesday, Oct. 27, that would help preserve net neutrality in the EU, angering and disappointing supporters of the rejected legislation, and calling into question the future of a democratized web in Europeand even the inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, couldn't persuade them otherwise." See: Against Advice From Inventor Of The World Wide Web, EU Votes Down Net Neutrality (Tech Times, link):
And: Parliament green lights roaming and net neutrality (EurActiv, link): "EU Digital Commissioner Günther Oettinger addressed opposition to the internet rules following the Parliament vote yesterday afternoon. 'If the concerns of the organisations are ever realised, I'm prepared to propose a change,' Oettinger said."
What is net neutrality? The Electronic Frontier Foundation explains (link)
Text as adopted: Position of the Council at first reading with a view to the adoption of a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL laying down measures concerning open internet access and amending Directive 2002/22/EC on universal service and users rights relating to electronic communications networks and services and Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union (pdf)
FINLAND: Council of Europes anti-torture Committee reports on Immigration Detention in Finland (International Detention Coalition, link): "On 20th August 2015, The Council of Europes Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) published the report on its fifth visit to Finland, which took place from 22 September to 2 October 2014."
See: Report to the Finnish Government on the visit to Finland carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment (CPT) from 22 September to 2 October 2014 (pdf)
News Digest (12 stories, 28.10.15)
EU: Council of the European Union: Future of the SIS/SIRENE configuration of the Working Party for Schengen Matters (LIMITE doc no: 12887-17, pdf)
"Currently, the political guidance seems to come more from outside than inside the WG... Hot topics (foreign fighters, illegal migrants, return)"
EU: Europol seeks "workable solution" on law enforcement access to encrypted data
Europol, the EU's policing agency, has called for: "a workable solution to the issue of encryption which allows legitimate users to protect their privacy and property without severely compromising government and law enforcement's ability to investigate criminal or national security threats."
The demand to make it easier for law enforcement authorities to access encrypted communications comes in Europol's latest 'Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment' (IOCTA) (4.4 MB, pdf), which was published at the end of September.
UK-ECHR: Legal safeguards regarding covert surveillance of a detainees consultations with his lawyer were insufficient at the time of his custody (Press release, pdf) and Judgment: Full-text (pdf):
"The applicant in the case of R.E. v. the United Kingdom (application no. 62498/11), who was arrested and detained in Northern Ireland on three occasions in connection with the murder of a police officer, complained in particular about the regime for covert surveillance of consultations between detainees and their lawyers and between vulnerable detainees and appropriate adults. In todays Chamber judgment in the case the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been: a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence) of the European Convention on Human Rights as concerned the covert surveillance of legal consultations.."
EU-FRANCE: French delegation: Temporary reintroduction of border controls at the French internal borders in accordance with Articles 23 and 24 of Regulation (EC) 562/2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) (pdf):
"Delegations will find attached a copy of a letter received by the General Secretariat of the Council on 16 October 2015 concerning the temporary reintroduction of border controls by France at its internal borders from 13 November - 13 December 2015.... Subject: Reintroduction of controls at the internal borders with Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, the Swiss Confederation, Italy and Spain on the occasion of COP 21, which is to be held in Paris from 30 November to 11 December 2015"
News Digest (17 stories, 27.10.15)
UK: Lord Justice Pitchford: Undercover Policing Inquiry: Core Participants Ruling (pdf):
"The Inquiry received applications from over 380 individuals, groups and organisations. Many established the criteria for core participant status. In those cases the applicants were notified that designation would be made."
and see: Undercover police inquiry accidentally reveals witnesses data (The Guardian, link)
EU-NSA SURVEILLANCE: European Parliament: Follow-up to the European Parliament resolution of 12 March 2014 on the electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens (pdf)
and see: Europe Is Spying on You (nytimes.com, link): article on the threats of surveillance law just published by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, in the New York Times: "When Edward Snowden disclosed details of Americas huge surveillance program two years ago, many in Europe thought that the response would be increased transparency and stronger oversight of security services. European countries, however, are moving in the opposite direction. Instead of more public scrutiny, we are getting more snooping."
Greek Minister Rejects Criticism Over Allowing Transit of Migrants (WSJ, link):
"In interview, Yiannis Mouzalas criticizes Europes slow response to influx... Greece can guard its borders perfectly and has been doing so for thousands of years, but against its enemies. The refugees are not our enemies, Yiannis Mouzalas said in an interview....
In practice what lies behind the accusation is the desire to repel the migrants, said Mr. Mouzalas. Our job when they are in our territorial sea is to rescue them, not [let them] drown or repel them."
EU-USA: DATA PROTECTION: Commissioner Jourová's remarks on Safe Harbour EU Court of Justice judgement before the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (Libe): Strasbourg, 26 October 2015 (pdf)
and European Parliament: The CJEU's Schrems ruling on the Safe Harbour Decision (pdf) and also: German Data Protection Authorities Suspend BCR approvals, question Model Clause transfers (dataprotectionreport.com, link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (16 stories and documents, 26.10.15)
News Digest (18 stories, 26.10.15)
Eurozone crosses Rubicon as Portugal's anti-euro Left banned from power (The Telegraph, link)
"Portugal has entered dangerous political waters. For the first time since the creation of Europe's monetary union, a member state has taken the explicit step of forbidding eurosceptic parties from taking office on the grounds of national interest. "
and see: Four Things You Need to Know About Portugal's Political Crisis (link)
Greece: PM Tsipras: Greece rejects proposal for 'refugee ghetto', EU accepts gov't alternative (ANA-MPA, link):
"Three proposals that included the creation of a ghetto for 50,000 refugees in Attica were rejected, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said early on Monday, following the conclusion in Brussels of a mini-Summit of European leaders on migration.... sipras said that the three proposals included the creation of the equivalent of a city, with 50,000 refugees, within Greece; the option of an EU country to bar entry to refugees from another EU country, which would have created a domino effect stressing Greece; and a new operation by EU border police Frontex in northern Greece to check migratory flows towards the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). In explaining the rejection of each of the proposals..."
EU-UK: House of Lords: Select Committee on the European Union: Potential impact on EU law of repealing HUman Rights Act (Unrevised transcript of evidence taken, pdf): Unrevised transcript of evidence from Professor Steve Peers, Professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Dr Tobias Lock.
Greece agrees to host 50,000 refugees as part of new EU plan (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Greece committed on Sunday to opening enough reception centers to house 30,000 refugees by the end of the year, with the United Nations to provide another 20,000 places, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said. "We will increase reception capacities to 100,000 places in Greece and in the western Balkans," he said following a meeting of 11 European leaders in Brussels....
the final agreement included a Greek commitment to increase to 30,000 by the end of this year the number of places it has to host migrants - officials said it currently has some 7,000-10,000. A further 20,000 people should be sheltered in private accommodation in Greece, the statement said, while another 50,000 places should be available in countries further north." and
EU leaders criticize each other at summit on refugees (ekathimerini.com, link):
"European leaders lashed out Sunday at each other's handling of the continent's greatest immigration crisis since World War II, even as they came together to seek ways to ease the plight of the tens of thousands marching across the Balkans toward the European Union's heartland.... Many say the EU needs to get control of the refugee flow at the bloc's external border between EU-member Greece and Turkey. Migration experts, however, say the flood of refugees won't be halted until the world resolves the war in Syria, which is driving millions out of the country."
EU: Refugee crisis: 25-10-15: Final Statement: Leaders' Meeting on refugee flows along the Western Balkans Route: Leaders Statement (pdf):
Greece to build camps to hold 30,000 refugees plus 20,000 in rented homes and UNHCR a further 50,000 further north
- "Under the current circumstances, we will discourage the movement of refugees or migrants to the border of another country of the region. A policy of waving through refugees without informing a neighbouring country is not acceptable. This should apply to all countries along the route...
- Greece's intention to increase reception capacity to 30.000 places by the end of the year and commit to supporting Greece and UNHCR to provide rent subsidies and host family programmes for at least 20.000 more. Financial support for Greece and the UNHCR is expected. This is an important precondition to make the emergency relocation system work...
- We will work with the UNHCR who has committed to support our efforts in improving our capacities. An additional capacity of 50.000 would allow for a better and more predictable management of the flow....
- We will work with the European Commission and Frontex to step up practical cooperation on readmission with third countries; cooperation will be intensified with Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, in particular in the area of returns....
- Upscaling the Poseidon Sea Joint Operation in Greece, in particular Frontex's presence in the Aegean Sea, and strengthening significantly Frontex support to Greece in registering and fingerprinting activities...
- We reconfirm the principle that a country may refuse entry to third country nationals who, when presenting themselves at border crossing points, do not confirm a wish to apply for international protection (in line with international and EU refugee law, subject to a prior non-refoulement and proportionality check)...
It should be noted that there is nothing further on "relocation"
The European Commission has called a meeting - mini-summit- in Brussels of the leaders of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia: Leaders' Meeting on the Western Balkans Route: Draft Leaders Statement (pdf): Note this "Draft" was circulated on Saturday 24 October the day before the meeting organised by the Commission.
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (32 stories and lots of documents, 24-25.10.15)
SHUT DOWN "HOTSPOTS": Frontex slows down registration procedures in Hot Spot Moria, leaving refugees for days in life-threatening conditions (w2eu.net, link):
"Since Frontex has entered the scene, registration processes were dramatically slowed down. Frontex procedures of screening individuals takes a long time which has caused great delays and thus created a situation of humanitarian emergency for the hundreds of people waiting outside. The official opening of this hotspot on Lesvos coincided with increased numbers of new arrivals and deteriorating weather conditions...
The ongoing tragedy in the Hot Spot and around, mirrors the failure of Europe to protect refugees and the violence of the border regime on which European Migration policies are based. Screening and registration are priority, peoples lives are not.
We demand the immediate end of hotspot procedures and the instant withdrawal of Frontex personnel. The EU has to immediately put an end to the slowing-down of registration procedures produced by Frontex which is life-threatening. We denounce the procedure of speeding up returns in the strongest possible terms." and:
Moria/Lesbos: Rain-sodden feet, frozen white hands, hypothermic pregnant women and trampled down children (w2eu.net, link):
"The Hot Spot of horror is what Moria turned to the last week and since its inauguration when numbers of new arrivals were high and the weather conditions harsh with constant rain falls. The authorities together with the UNHCR and all other involved actors of the humanitarian aid regime failed in protecting hundreds of refugees from what was a predictable catastrophe." [emphasis in original]
EU: "Returns" package
Under the so-called "hotspot" process refugees are first "nationality screened" (national officials lead by Frontex) and then divided into two groups: a) those to be returned and held in "closed" camps (they have no legal representation or right of appeal) and b) those to be "relocated" within the EU who are "asylum" processed, by EASO and national officials, to be held in "open" camps.
1. European Commission: CONTACT GROUP Return Directive (2008/115/EC) 14 October 2014: Preparation of Return Handbook (80 pages, pdf)
2.European Commission: Recommendation: Preparation of Returns Handbook (COM 6250, pdf)
3. European Commission: ANNEX: Return Handbook (116 pages, pdf): "The content of this handbook deals essentially with standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals and is based on EU legal instruments regulating this issue (in particular the Return Directive 2008/115/EC)."
4. European Commission: EU Action Plan on return (COM 453-15,pdf)
5. Addressing the Refugee Crisis in Europe: The Role of EU External Action (Commission and EEAS, pdf)
6, Council conclusions on the future of the return policy (pdf):
"Member States must systematically issue return decisions, take all necessary steps to enforce them and provide adequate resources, including funding and staff, necessary for identifying and returning illegally staying third-country nationals. All measures must be taken to ensure irregular migrants' effective return, including use of detention as a legitimate measure of last resort. In particular, Member States should reinforce their pre-removal detention capacity to ensure the physical availability of irregular migrants for return and take steps to prevent the abuse of rights and procedures."
7. Directive on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals (pdf)
8. Council of Europe: Guidelines on forced returns (pdf)
Portugal's Democracy Cracks Under Weight Of Austerity (Huffington Post, link): "The countrys president reappointed a center-right government despite majority support for anti-austerity parties."
EU-USA COOPERATION: Council of the European Union: Europol Joint Supervisory Body: Report on the Europol's implementation of the TFTP agreement (Doc no: 12338-15, pdf)
"The present assessment of the JSB is focussed on how Europol fulfils its task under the TFTP Agreement. In this respect, the JSB likes to restate its assessment that due to the nature of the TFTP, the situation in terms of mass data transfer remains unchanged. The JSB restates that, in view of the nature of the TFTP and the scope of the agreement there is a massive, regular, data transfer from the EU to the US. There is a clear tension between the idea of limiting the amount of data to be transmitted by tailoring and narrowing the requests and the nature of the TFTP." [emphasis added]
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (34 stories and documents, 23.10.15)
EU: Council of the European Union: Access for law enforcement purposes to the EES (LIMITE doc no: 12531-15, pdf):
"a large majority of delegations agreed that access to the Entry-Exit System (EES) for law enforcement authorities (LEA) should be provided as of the start of the operation of the future system....
i) the possibility of the use of the future EES as a criminal identification and investigation tool, ii) the data that should be inserted in the system, the data to be used for searches of the system and the data that should be obtained as a result of a hit, iii) the minimum retention period for access to LEA purposes and, iv) the possibility of transfer of EES data to third countries...
whether intelligence agencies or other specific types of administration units should be authorised to act as designated authorities..." [emphasis added]
EU and 17 states sign foreign terrorist fighter agreement (link) See: Council Decision authorising signing (pdf)
Background: EU moving towards new terrorism laws; Europol on organised crime and terrorism (Statewatch database)
News Digest (20 stories, 23.10.15)
Czech Republic: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Zeid urges Czech Republic to stop detention of migrants and refugees (pdf)
"The High Commissioner expressed concerns that the authorities continue to practice this policy, even though those detainees who have been able to challenge the detention in court have been released. He noted that most detained migrants and refugees are not in a position to swiftly challenge their detention in court as is their right -- because they do not receive information about free legal aid and because civil society organizations that work with refugees have reportedly been receiving very restricted access to detention facilities like Bìlá-Jezová (80 km north of Prague)." [emphasis added]
and: Czech ombudsman criticises conditions in refugee facility (pdf):
"The severe conditions which children and families with children have to endure in Belá-Jezová constitute a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Objectively speaking, children in the facility have worse living conditions than inmates in Czech prisons. Belá-Jezová is a former military facility where the living conditions are, in many ways, much worse than those in Czech prisons. Prison inmates are people who committed a crime and were convicted for it. On the other hand, the people in Belá have not been convicted of any crime and no sentence has been imposed on them. The fact that hundreds of children are detained in this facility goes against our notion of the Czech Republic as a civilised country." [emphasis added]
Full-text of Ombudsman report (pdf)
Also: UN: Czechs violate refugee rights to deter others (euobserver, link)
Prevent duty heavy-handed and discriminatory (IRR, link):
"In the week that the government announced new counter-extremism measures, the IRR publishes contributions from its seminar on Securitisation, Schools and Preventing Extremism, held at Garden Court Chambers on 7 October, where participants considered the consequences of a new statutory duty on public bodies to prevent non-violent extremism and whether it breached the Equality Act."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (33 stories and documents, 22.10.15)
Boat refugees been sunk five times (link): Great interview by Eric Kempson (Lesvos) on the shameful EU role and that of Turkish coastguard.
See also: Masked Greek Coastguards again? Attacks on Boats Risk Migrant Lives (HRW, link):
"Armed masked men have been disabling boats carrying migrants and asylum seekers in the Aegean Sea and pushing them back to Turkish waters, Human Rights Watch said today.
Human Rights Watch spoke to nine witnesses who described eight incidents in which masked assailants often armed intercepted and disabled the boats carrying asylum seekers and migrants from Turkey toward the Greek islands, most recently on October 7 and 9, 2015. The witnesses said that the assailants deliberately disabled their boats by damaging or removing the engines or their fuel, or puncturing the hulls of inflatable boats. In some cases, the boats were towed to Turkish waters".
Boats from Greece confront refugees at sea with guns (Youtube, link): "Published on Sep 8, 2015 CBS News has obtained video showing a group of men on a boat confronting migrants at sea near the Greek coastline. The men cut the migrants' fuel lines, leaving them stranded at sea. CBS News correspondent Holly Williams reports."
EU: Council of the European Union: Europol Regulation, Counter-terrorism and CT short term actions
- Preparation of the upcoming trilogues and technical meetings on the draft Europol Regulation (DS LIMITE doc no: 1532, pdf) 31 pages. Including the Internet Referral Unit at Europol (EU IRU):
"If the EU IRU is expected to actively identify threats from, for example, terrorism propaganda, according to Europol, it is indispensable that a dialogue with the concerned private parties is possible. This would mean that e.g. Facebook is in a position to respond to a referral by Europol, by pointing out that the same IP address or the same person also has other accounts that
Europol has not yet discovered. The same applies to other service providers, which generally have a very good overview of their customers activities on their own platform, but possibly and probably also as regards other platforms."
- EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator: Follow-up to the statement of the Members of the European Council of 12 February 2015 on counter-terrorism: State of play on implementation of measures (LIMITE doc no: 12318-15, pdf): The explicit interface between counter-terrorism and refugees and migrants:
"the new Hot spot approach developed along the Commission proposals, and especially the EU Regional Task Force in Catania allow Frontex and Europol officers to cooperate on the spot and to make the best possible use of screening and debriefing interviews of migrants....
Europol: Member States have increasingly provided information on foreign terrorist fighters to Europol since January 2013. The total number of contributions is now 1069 (620 by the end of February 2015), with 9724 person entities stored in Focal Point (FP) Travellers (3600 in March 2015), out of those 1969 are confirmed fighters/travellers. Interpol has become a significant contributor to FP Travellers with more than 3000 persons reported by September 2015...
The IRU (see story above) has already carried out 500 referrals, over 90 % of which have been successful leading to the removal of the flagged content.... The IRU is also tackling the facilitation of illegal immigration, with a continuous analysis of social media-related information on a 7/7 basis." [emphasis added]
- Fight against terrorism: implementation of short-term actions (LIMITE doc no: 12551-15, pdf)
"The Council considers it necessary and important to consolidate and strengthen the IRU within Europol. Member States are invited to increase contributions for referrals to the EU IRU and to second experts to the EU IRU. The Commission is invited to provide the EU IRU with appropriate resources as soon as possible and to inform COSI thereof in November..."
Germany probes new case of US spying (The Local.de, link):
"German authorities have launched a probe into allegations of a new case of suspected spying linked to the US National Security Agency, a media report said Saturday... The latest probe by Germany's federal prosecutors targets persons unknown for "espionage activities", Der Spiegel said. It centres on the personal laptop of a department chief in the chancellery onto which a spying virus known as "Regin" was allegedly installed, the magazine said."
News Digest (16 stories, 22.10.15)
EU: Valletta Conference 11-12 November 2015: Update and background
Valletta Summit Action Plan - Working Draft Three (LIMITE doc no: 12560-rev-2-15, pdf) and: Draft Council Conclusions on the EU Horn of Africa Regional Action Plan 2015-2020 (28 pages, LIMITE doc no: 13200-15,pdf)
""[T]hree issues affecting EU interests in the region have gained particular salience: the influence of the wider region on the Horn of Africa, violent extremism and migration and forced displacement....
"The high number of people in the region who are willing to migrate is by far larger than the limited possibilities of legal avenues for migration, be it within the region or outside. Lack of opportunities for legal migration or complex and expensive procedures mean that many migrants feel that they have no other option than to use irregular channels."
See also: EU: Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria prioritised for "pilot initiative on return" (Statewatch database)
European Commission: President Juncker calls Leaders Meeting in Brussels on refugee flows along the Western Balkans route (pdf) Leaders from the following countries have been summoned: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia.
and see: Balkan summit highlights Juncker-Tusk leadership gap (euobserver, link): "By calling a mini summit on Sunday (25 October), European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has decided to push forward the Commission's role in addressing the migrant crisis. By doing so, he has also highlighted an apparently widening gap with the president of the European Council Donald Tusk, a fellow member of the centre-right EPP party."
and yet another "Extra" Justice and Home Council has been called on 9 November, in Brussels.
European Parliament Studies:
- EU cooperation with third countries in the field of migration (pdf):
"This study, commissioned by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, reflects on the imbalances of EU external action as well as on the lack of evidence on the impact and efficiency of EU funding regarding the objectives of the migration policy, which are sometimes conflicting with the development goals.
The study brings forward recommendations for rationalization and coordination of action, more balance between the different components of the GAMM, more transparency for a better evaluation and scrutiny, and a reinforced partnership approach with third countries."
- The European Parliament as a driving force of constitutionalism (pdf):
"The report demonstrates that EPs formal and informal powers in legislation, comitology, Commission investiture, the budgetary process, economic governance and international agreements have increased strikingly since the Treaty of Rome. This empowerment is partially explained by the concern for democratic legitimacy on the part of some member states (and the Commission).
To another important part the empowerment may be explained by the fact that treaties frequently contain ambiguous provisions and thus allow room for informal rules to emerge through bargaining specifying the details of treaty provisions."
EU: Audiovisual Media Services Regulation and The Newspaper Exception' (EU Law Analysis, link):
"As services have developed, however, the boundary between a text-based newspaper and audiovisual has become blurred, as newspaper companies started to expand what was offered, specifically the inclusion of video sections on the newspaper site. Do such activities still really qualify for the newspaper exception? This contentious question arose in a reference from the Austrian courts in the New Media Online case, which the ECJ ruled on yesterday."
See: Judgment (link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17 stories and documents, 21.10.15)
EU: DATA PROTECTION DIRECTIVE: Law enforcement agencies: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties and the free movement of such data (LIMITE doc no: 12643-rev-1-15, pdf) Outcome of Proceedings, 90 pages, with 129 Member State positions.
EU-USA: DATA PROTECTION: The House of Representatives today approved the Judicial Redress Act of 2015 (H.R. 1428) by voice vote. Introduced by Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations (link)
For a Thousand Lives: Be Human: An Appeal from European Filmmakers and Other Film Professionals to our Governments and to the E.U (link): Over 5,500 cinema directors and actors sign a petition:
"Every day, people fleeing war, terror, political persecution and misery are drowning in the sea, suffocating in the back of a truck or tumbling to their death in ports or train stations in their desperate attempts to reach Europe. According to Amnesty International, more than 23.000 people have lost their lives that way since 2000. These deaths are a direct consequence of E.U. immigration policies. The guilt doesnt just lie with the traffickers; Europe cannot deny its share of responsibility.
To make matters worse, those who reach Europe often find themselves in degrading living conditions and are subjected to inhumane treatment. The E.U. is spending up to twenty times more money on border control, than on welcoming centres for refugees."
News Digest (24 stories, 21.10.15)
Statewatch: News Online 21 October 2015 (pdf): News 18 stories with documentation and Refugee crisis: 18 News stories and documentation
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21 stories and documents, 20.10.15)
Weekend Greece Arrivals Exceed Peak Summer Day Total (IOM, link): as at 20-10-15: 651,132 refuge arrivals (Greece: 507,825 Italy: 139,711) and 3,138 dead/missing people.
"IOM Greece reports, after consultations with the Hellenic Police, an unprecedented number of migrants arriving in Greece this weekend, with totals exceeding arrivals during peak summer sailing days. On Friday (16/10) over 8,900 migrants crossed into Greece; on Saturday (17/10) arrivals exceeded 9,100; and on Sunday (18/10), arrivals approached 9,200.
A total of over 27,000 migrants entered Greece last weekend, the majority of whom arrived on the island of Lesvos (16,448). The island of Chios, which previously saw arrivals of up to 300-500 migrants a day, over the weekend, witnessed the arrival of over 4,300 migrants."
See: Statewatch Observatory: Refugee crisis: Humanitarian emergency - updated daily
USA: NSA: Transparency about spying on the rest of the world, "Approved for Public Release"
A sterling effort at transparency from the NSA/the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court: declassification of 'Procedures used by the National Security Agency for targeted non-United States persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information pursuant to section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, as amended' (pdf)
Far-right parties always gain support after financial crises, report finds (euractiv, link): "Extreme and populist right-wing parties have always been the biggest political beneficiaries of financial crises, according to a new study."
Report: Going to Extremes: Politics after Financial Crisis, 1870-2014 (pdf)
Archives shed light on Nazi atrocities in Greece (The Local.de, link): "From the number of Cretans to be executed for every dead German soldier to advice on which brothel to use, new research is shedding light on Nazi wartime atrocities in Greece. Greece's defence ministry on Monday unveiled its first findings from research into formerly classified Wehrmacht papers found in archives in the United States. The senior historian working on the project spoke of an "endless list" of killing, looting and burning of villages, drawn from local dispatches to the Wehrmacht high command and personal diaries."
EU: Fundamental Rights Agency: Disabilities: Implementing the UN CRPD: An overview of legal reforms in EU Member States (link): "Many people with disabilities often face legal and societal barriers that prevent them from taking an active and full part in society. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has helped galvanise efforts to advance the rights of people with disabilities across the EU since it entered into force in 2008.
and Report (pdf)
News Digest (22 stories, 20.10.15)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (29 stories and documents, 19.10.15)
UK: New "counter-extremism" strategy launched
The UK government has launched its new "one-nation Counter-Extremism Strategy" targeted at "all forms of extremism". "Extremism" has been defined by Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May as "vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values". The strategy precedes forthcoming anti-extremism legislation.
Northern Ireland: The Good Samartian Bombing: challenge to the Attorney General to order a new inquest
Press release from the Pat Finucane Centre: "The family of Eugene Dalton, killed in what has become known as The Good Samaritan Bombing in Derry in 1987, have applied to challenge a decision of the Attorney General for Northern Ireland not to order a new inquest into his death. On Monday 19 October the High Court in Belfast will hear the arguments of both sides as to whether this challenge should be granted leave for a full hearing on this important Conflict related Legacy matter."
News Digest (12 stories, 19.10.15)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (23 stories and documents, 17-18.10.15)
Establishing control of refugees took precedence over providing humanitarian aid
First hotspot inaugurated on Lesvos (ekathimerini.com, link): "If this had taken place 10 months ago, we could have avoided what we went through this summer, Avramopoulos said. More importantly, we would have been able to treat all those people who are seeking for a better life in Europe in a more humane manner, he said. Additional hotspots on Chios, Samos, Kos, and Leros are expected to be fully operational by end-November."
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:
"Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos's statement does not hold water. His DG produced on 13 January 2015 a: "Fact Sheet: Facts and Figures on the arrivals of migrants in Europe" (pdf) predicting what was to unfold this year - it said 276,113 refugees had arrived in 2014. The simple truth is that the EU had no plans to swiftly put in place humanitarian aid and protection from January 2015 in Italy and Greece. This aid has only come now, ten months late, with the so-called "hotspots" which ties aid to registration and fingerprinting (with "proportionate coercion" if necessary). Estabilishing control of refugees took precedence over providing a "humane" response."
EU: Greece and Italy "state of play" from the European Commission including "return flights": First groups "nationality screened" for "return"
Refugee crisis: Map of the 'Hotspots' designated in Greece (pdf): Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos and Map of the 'Hotspots' designated in Italy (pdf): Lampedusa, Pozzallo, Augusta, Porto Empedode and Trapani
EU-USA "UMBRELLA" AGREEMENT: Study: Fundamental Rights European Experts Group (FREE): (97 pages, Complete-text, pdf) prepared by Douwe Korff: "The Agreement , in our view, cannot be approved by the European Parliament in its present form
UK: MoD police admits 170 officers are under investigation - Concern at allegations against armed personnel responsible for guarding key military bases and nuclear weapons (Observer, link) and see: FIO request response: Ministry of Defence Police: NUMBER OF POLICE OFFICERS AND POLICE STAFF UNDER INVESTIGATION OR DISMISSED (pdf)
The Drone Papers (The Intercept, link) "The Intercept has obtained a cache of secret documents detailing the inner workings of the U.S. militarys assassination program in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia. The documents, provided by a whistleblower, offer an unprecedented glimpse into Obamas drone wars."
- The Assassination Complex - Secret military documents expose the inner workings of Obamas drone wars (link)
- A Visual Glossary Decoding the language of covert warfare (link)
- The Kill Chain: The lethal bureaucracy behind Obamas drone war (link)
- Find, Fix, Finish: For the Pentagon, creating an architecture of assassination meant navigating a turf war with the CIA (link)
- Manhunting in the Hindu Kush: Civilian casualties and strategic failures in Americas longest war (link)
- Firing Blind: Flawed Intelligence and the Limits of Drone Technology (link)
- The Life and Death of Objective Peckham: Stripped of British citizenship and killed by an American drone (link)
- Target Africa: The U.S. militarys expanding footprint in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula (link)
- The Alphabet of Assassination: A guide to the acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms used in The Drone Papers. We defer to definitions provided in the source text where available; other interpretations are based on open source material (link) and
- Small Footprint Operations 2/13 (link)
- Small Footprint Operations 5/13 (link)
- Operation Haymaker (link)
- Geolocation Watchlist (link)
Snowden and Ellsberg hail leak of drone documents from new whistleblower (Guardian, link): "Classified documents on US assassination program released to the Intercept welcomed by men who exposed NSA surveillance and Pentagon Papers"
EU-USA DATA PROTECTION: Statement of the Article 29 Working Party on: Maximilian Schrems judgment (pdf):
"If by the end of January 2016, no appropriate solution is found with the US authorities and depending on the assessment of the transfer tools by the Working Party, EU data protection authorities are committed to take all necessary and appropriate actions, which may include coordinated enforcement actions....
Regarding the practical consequences of the CJEU judgment, the Working Party considers that it is clear that transfers from the European Union to the United States can no longer be framed on the basis of the European Commission adequacy decision 2000/520/EC (the so-called Safe Harbour decision). In any case, transfers that are still taking place under the Safe Harbour decision after the CJEU judgment are unlawful." [emphasis in original]
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (31 stories and documents, 15-16.10.15)
EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Text of "Revised": EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan (dated 16.10.15, pdf)
REFUGEE: CRISIS: EU COUNCIL: SUMMIT CONCLUSIONS (16.10.15, pdf):
"welcomes the joint Action Plan with Turkey as part of a comprehensive cooperation agenda based on shared responsibility, mutual commitments and delivery. Successful implementation will contribute to accelerating the fulfilment of the visa liberalisation roadmap towards all participating Member States and the full implementation of the readmission agreement. Progress will be assessed in spring 2016."
European Court of Human Rights: Judgment: The Court delivers its Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Perinçek v. Switzerland (Pres release, pdf):
"In todays Grand Chamber judgment1 in the case of Perinçek v. Switzerland (application no. 27510/08) the European Court of Human Rights held, by a majority, that there had been: a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The case concerned the criminal conviction of a Turkish politician for publicly expressing the view, in Switzerland, that the mass deportations and massacres suffered by the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 and the following years had not amounted to genocide."
Seven people die off Lesvos as tensions flare at crowded reception facility (UNHCR, link):
"Authorities in Greece have reported up to seven people were killed four of them children in a collision between a smuggling boat and a Greek Coast Guard vessel off the coast of Lesvos, the UN refugee agency said today.... The collision between the Coast Guard patrol vessel and a wooden fishing boat carrying 38 people occurred off the island's north-western coastal town of Molyvos, the Greek Coast Guard said on Thursday (October 15). Seven bodies, including those of the four children, were subsequently recovered. Thirty-one people were rescued following the incident. The Greek authorities have announced that they are investigating the matter, UNHCR said." and see:
Seven migrants killed when their boat, reportedly fleeing, collides with Greek coast guard vessel (japantimes.co.jp, link): "LESBOS, GREECE A wooden boat carrying dozens of migrants from Turkey to Europe sank Thursday near the island of Lesbos after colliding with a Greek coast guard vessel, leaving at least seven people dead, including four children, rescuers said. The boat sank within minutes of the crash with a 30-meter (100-foot) patrol vessel on Thursday morning, in circumstances that were being investigated.... An AFP photographer who witnessed the crash from the shores of Lesbos said the boat went down just two or three minutes after the collision, which took place some 2 km (1.2 miles) from land.
Afghan Migrant Shot Dead in Bulgaria near Border with Turkey, (novinite.com, link):
"An Afghan man died in Bulgaria after being indirectly hit by a bullet of border police on Thursday, authorities say. The incident took place around 22:00 local time (EEST), the Interior Ministry's Chief Secretary, Georgi Kostov, has announced. Pretrial proceedings have been launched.
It happened as border police detected the movement of 54 people trying to enter Bulgaria near the town of Sredets, in the country's south-east, not far from the border with Turkey. After shooting in the air as a warning sign, a bullet "rebounded" hitting one of them in the back of the neck by mistake, Kostov has explained, without elaborating." [emphasis added]
News Digest (16.10.15)
TTIP: I didnt think TTIP could get any scarier, but then I spoke to the EU official in charge of it (Independent, link) "With just eight words she exposed everything that's wrong with the deal, and why it needs to be defeated" by John Hilary (War on Want)
EUROPOL-INTERPOL forum targets migrant smuggling networks (press release, pdf)
FRANCE: Burqa ban five years on - 'We created a monster' (The Local, link)
REVEALED: The boom and bust of the CIAs secret torture sites (TBIJ, link)
The Life and Death of Objective Peckham - Stripped of British citizenship and killed by an American drone (The Intercept, link)
UK: GCHQ can monitor MPs' communications, court rules (The Guardian, link)
UK: Grayling's court charge forces magistrates to punish the poor - it's time for reform (politics.co.uk, link)
UK: Large retailers must prepare to publish first Modern Slavery Act compliance statement, says expert (Out-Law.com, link)
UK: University of Sussex to pay student protester £20,000 in damages (The Guardian, link)
UK: University refuse to reveal their links with The Arms Trade (The Tab, link)
USA: Say welcome to the special anti-drone shoulder 'rifle' (CNet, link)
How is NSA breaking so much crypto? (freedom-to-tinker.com, link): " James Bamford published an article quoting anonymous former NSA officials stating that the agency had achieved a computing breakthrough that gave them the ability to crack current public encryption. The Snowden documents also hint at some extraordinary capabilities: they show that NSA has built extensive infrastructure to intercept and decrypt VPN traffic and suggest that the agency can decrypt at least some HTTPS and SSH connections on demand. However, the documents do not explain how these breakthroughs work, and speculation about possible backdoors or broken algorithms has been rampant in the technical community. Yesterday at ACM CCS, one of the leading security research venues, we and twelve coauthors presented a paper that we think solves this technical mystery."
EU: What Schrems, Delvigne and Celaj tell us about the state of fundamental rights in the EU (link)
EU doesnt need a CIA - but better intelligence would help (euractiv, link)
IEMed Mediterranean Yearbook 2015 (link)
Hidden cameras and human rights: the ECHR clarifies the position (EU Law Analysis, link)
Germany: German parliament votes for new data retention law (DW, link): "Germany's lower house of parliament has voted to resume collecting and retaining metadata about phone calls and internet use. Berlin says the new legislation is a balanced compromise."
EU-USA "UMBRELLA" AGREEMENT: Study: Fundamental Rights European Experts Group (FREE): prepared by Douwe Korff
- NOTE on the EU-US Umbrella Data Protection Agreement (pdf)
"We believe the following aspects of the Umbrella Agreement violate, or are likely to lead to violations of, the Treaties and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights:
The Umbrella Agreement appears to allow the sharing of data sent by EU law enforcement agencies to US law enforcement agencies with US national security agencies (including the FBI and the US NSA) for use in the latters mass surveillance and data mining operations; as well as the onward transfer of such data to third parties, including national security agencies of yet other (third) countries, which the Agreement says may not be subjected to generic data protection conditions
The Agreement should therefore, in our view, cannot be approved by the European Parliament in its present form
- ANNEX: ARTICLE-BY-ARTICLE ANALYSIS of the EU-US Umbrella Data Protection Agreement: [TEXT OF THE AGREEMENT IN BOLD; COMMENTS ARE IN ORDINARY TYPE] (pdf)
- Data flow: Chart 1 (pdf) and Data flow Chart 2 (pdf)
- Letter from Commissioner: announcing "deal" (pdf)
- EU-USA Umbrella Agreement: Full-text (pdf)
Spain: Impunity for border control killings in the Canary island: No charges in case involving Guardia Civil patrol boat which sank dinghy near Lanzarote in 2012
On 13 October 2015, El Diario newspaper reported that the third instruction court in Arrecife shelved the case involving the sinking of a dinghy by a Guardia Civil patrol boat in December 2012 which resulted in a Moroccan boy's death and the disappearance of six other passengers.
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 stories and documents, 14.10.15)
Frontex: 710 000 migrants entered EU in first nine months of 2015 (link) Frontex gets headline news with this kind of press release but are they accurate?
"Clarification: Frontex provides monthly data on the number of people detected at the external borders of the European Union. Irregular border crossings may be attempted by the same person several times in different locations at the external border. This means that a large number of the people who were counted when they arrived in Greece were again counted when entering the EU for the second time through Hungary or Croatia."
This is why the Frontex figures always exceed those of IOM and UNHCR: Mediterranean Arrivals Near Record 600,000 (IOM, link) and October 2 (UNHCR) refugee and migrant arrivals in Greece are expected to hit the 400,000 mark soon, despite adverse weather conditions. Greece remains by far the largest single entry point for new sea arrivals in the Mediterranean, followed by Italy with 131,000 arrivals so far in 2015.With the new figures from Greece, the total number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean this year is nearly 530,000"
EU-USA: DATA PROTECTION: Must-read data protection law. DPA says neither model clauses NOR consent are sufficient for transfer to USA: Schleswig-Holstein: Model Clauses ist Kaput! [Update 1] (link)
EU: European Parliament: Mass surveillance: EU citizens' rights still in danger, MEPs say (pdf):
"Too little has been done to ensure that citizens' rights are protected following revelations of electronic mass surveillance, say civil liberties MEPs in a resolution passed on Tuesday. They urge the Commission to come up immediately with alternatives to Safe Harbour, following the ruling by the European Court of Justice. They are also concerned about the surveillance laws in several EU countries."
EU: SUMMIT ON THE MED: Council President Tusk invitation letter to Heads of State Summit: 15-16 October, 2015:
"Even if the influx of refugees slows down during winter, we must be ready for spring and the threat of bigger waves flowing to Europe".(pdf)
"Let us be clear about one thing. The exceptionally easy access to Europe is one of the main pull factors. In this context we should consider:
1. The future of the Dublin system, which is now in force - whether to keep it as it is or to look for alternatives;
2. The specific role of hotspots in light of different opinions as to their character and purpose;
3. The strengthening of our external borders, including a possible EU border guard."
EU: From fingerprints to facial scans: Why the French want biometrics on all EU travellers (ZDnet, link): "France wants to collect biometric data from all EU nationals and foreign travellers crossing the outer borders of the Schengen area."
See: Council of the European Union: French Delegation: Smart borders for all (pdf) and France says protect free movement with mass fingerprinting, face scans and entry-exit logs (Statewatch)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (27 stories and documents, 13.10.15)
EU: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council Presidency Letter to the President of the European Council for the Summit meeting on 15-16 October 2015 (pdf): A summary of the actions taken and future plans: Includes two sets of Conclusions and 1994 Recommendations (EU return Laissez-passer) in which national and European parliaments have no say at all:
"To increase the effectiveness of the EU's return system, Ministers reiterated their willingness to implement all measures, including the use of detention as a legitimate measure of last resort. They underlined the need to reinforce pre-removal detention capacities to ensure the physical availability of irregular migrants for return....
an integrated system of return management by building on synergies between all relevant stakeholders [see footnote]....
The Council also highlighted the importance of all EU actors exploiting the full potential of EU diplomacy on the ground and prioritizing readmission in all relevant contacts at political level with countries of origin of irregular migrants, thus helping to identifying potential leverage. On this issue, Commissioner Avramopoulos stressed his strong support for the organization of planned joint return flights to Pakistan by the end of the month...
addressing the future management of the external borders of the European Union. In the current circumstances, further efforts need to be undertaken on hotspots, with a focus on green [land] borders....
Influx of migrants to the European Union will not abate in the short run."
Footnote: New initiatives to try and persuaded, or "bribe", the so-called "more for more principle" if African states agree to the return of refugees:
"Notably the European Integrated Approach on Return towards Third Countries (EURINT), the European Reintegration Instrument Network (ERIN) and the European Return Liaison Officers network (EURLO), as well as Immigration Liaison Officers (ILOs), Frontex Liaison Officers and European Migration Liaison Officers (EMLOs), to be deployed by end of 2015 to Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Pakistan, Serbia, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Sudan, Turkey and Jordan." [emphasis added]
Watch The Med Alarm Phones 1 Year Anniversary Statement 12.10.2015 (pdf):
"While we are confronted with a lot of despair, we have also been inspired uncountable times by the willingness to overcome the sea and to move on to desired places throughout Europe.
They grew stronger, louder and more visible every day in the past months: the incredible social and political struggles of refugees and migrants for the freedom of movement. To overcome the Mediterranean Sea in small overcrowded boats is one of the most dangerous aspects of these migration journeys towards the European Union as safe and legal pathways are closed down and fenced off by its government."
ECRE Comments on the proposal for an EU common list of safe countries of origin (AIDA, link):
"ECRE seriously questions the compatibility of the safe country of origin concept with international refugee law, as it is at odds with the obligation on states under the 1951 Refugee Convention to treat refugees without discrimination based on their country of origin. The use of safe country lists, whether nationally designated or at EU level, further contributes to a practice of stereotyping certain applications on the basis of their nationality and increases the risk of such applications not being subject to a thorough examination of a persons fear for persecution or risk of serious harm on an individual basis, which is at the core of the refugee definition and crucial to ensuring full respect for the principle of non-refoulement....
In that regard, ECRE is opposed to the adoption of a common EU list of safe countries of origin as proposed by the Commission, as it is part of a worrying development in EU asylum law to increasingly assume a negative outcome of an asylum procedure on the basis of the nationality or profile of the applicant as being manifestly unfounded prior to a proper examination of the application."
and see: ECRE Comments on the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing an EU common list of safe countries of origin and amending the recast Asylum Procedures Directive (COM(2015) 452) (pdf)
EU: Europol Supervisory Body report: Victims of trafficking in human beings: a data protection perspective (pdf):
"The Europol Joint Supervisory Body experienced that on national and on international level more attention and harmonisation is needed for data processing activities by all competent authorities - police, prosecutors and investigative judges - involved in the fight against trafficking in human beings."
EU: Fingerprints, facial scans, EU border data slurp too tasty for French to resist - France wants proposed rules applied to EU citizens as well (The Register, link):
"French authorities want fingerprint and facial scans of everyone entering or leaving the EU. The proposal from the French delegation came as the European Commission puts more pressure on interior ministers to adopt its so-called smart borders package. The Commission plan is to set up a digital dragnet to monitor all non-EU nationals entering and exiting the EU....
But hot on the heels of their own version of the Patriot Act, France (PDF) wants to broaden the scope of the smart borders package for all travellers, also including European nationals.
See: Council of the European Union: French Delegation: Smart borders for all (pdf) and France says protect free movement with mass fingerprinting, face scans and entry-exit logs (Statewatch)
Germany: Data retention bill that is to be adopted without substantial changes this week: Draft Act introducing a storage obligation and a maximum retention period for traffic data (pdf)
Spain-Morocco: Two deaths at Spain-Morocco border after marines overturn raft
Two migrants died and 20 others were injured at the Spanish-Moroccan border on Friday 9 October after a raft on which they were travelling was overturned by the Moroccan Royal Marines, according to a report on the website of Spanish radio station Cadena SER.
Cadena SER cited eyewitness testimony from people working with the NGO Caminando Fronteras, who said: "The immigrants were travelling in a raft which was intercepted and overturned by the Royal Marines with great violence; they were subsequently beaten."
News Digest (13.10.15)
The U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework Is Invalid: Now What? (Mondaq, link)
Obama Wont Seek Access to Encrypted User Data (NYT, link): "it is not possible to give American law enforcement and intelligence agencies access to that information without also creating an opening that China, Russia, cybercriminals and terrorists could exploit."
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Council of the European Union:
- Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) - Chapter III - Presidency de-briefing on the outcome of the trilogue on 16/17 September 2015 and Preparation for trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 12733-rev-1-15, pdf) 103 pages. Chapter III: "RIGHTS OF THE DATA SUBJECT" and multi-column positions of Council, Commission, European Parliament and "compromise" position
EU: European Commission: Letter to Hungary: and detailed Annex: Comments and preliminary concerns on recent legislative changes related to the migration crisis (pdf)
"This preliminary assessment reveals a number of concerns and questions on substance and implementation relating inter alia to:
- a possible quasi-systematic dismissal of applications for international protection submitted at the border with Serbia
- a possible lack of sufficient safeguards in the asylum procedure implemented at the border, including as regards the existence of effective remedies to challenge a decision on the admissibility of an asylum application
- the criminal sanctions introduced relating to the crossing of the border and a possible lack of adequate safeguards ensuring respect of the rights of defence and effective remedies in the criminal proceedings
- the closing of border crossing points
- the powers granted to the military forces in border management and questions as to the existence of adequate safeguards and remedies
- a possible general lack of specific procedures or safeguards for children"
EU: REFUGEE CRISIS: VALLETTA CONFERENCE: 11-12 November 2015: Council of the European Union: Valletta Summit Action Plan - Working Draft Two (LIMITE doc no , 12560-rev-1-15, 7 October 2015, pdf)
EU SUMMIT: European Council meeting 15-16 October 2015: European Council (15-16 October 2015) - Draft conclusions (pdf): "achieve concrete operational measures at the forthcoming Valletta Summit with African Heads of State or Government, focusing, in a fair and balanced manner, on effective return and readmission, dismantling of criminal networks and preventing illegal migration... See earlier version: Possible elements for the Outcome Document for Valletta - annotated version (LIMITE doc no 11534-15, pdf)
UK: REFUGEE CRISIS: Call from the Legal Community for Urgent Action:This statement calls for an urgent, humane and effective governmental response to the refugee crisis. Its signatories include retired judges, Queens Counsel, barristers, solicitors and law professors (Letter in Guardian and Times, link):
"Like many others, we consider that the UK Governments offer to resettle 20,000 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees from camps in the Middle East, spread over 5 years, is too low, too slow and too narrow."
Afghan migrant shot dead trying to enter Bulgaria (DW, link): "A migrant has died in a scuffle with border guards, according to Bulgarian officials. The man allegedly traveled with a large group of refugees from Afghanistan and was trying to enter the EU from Turkey."
News Digest (12.10.15)
EU transfer of data to third countries: Could the Schrems decision trigger a regulatory race to the top? (verfassungsblog.de, link)
UK: Theresa May to appoint Labour peer to scrutinise snooper's charter (Guardian, link): "Ann Taylor, a defence minister under Gordon Brown, is to chair joint committee on investigatory powers bill but home secretarys choice is controversial"
Police called to meeting of beard fans in Sweden after passer-by confuses them with Isis terrorists - The group was waving a black flag which, a member has admitted, looks a bit like the Isis emblem (Indepedent, link)
EU: Gáspar Miklós Tamás: This is post-fascism: Gáspár Miklós Tamás (b. 1948) is one of Hungarys most prominent intellectuals and an important political voice in Europe. Trained as a philosopher and author of numerous books and articles, he was a leading dissident in the 1980s. Today he calls himself a Marxist and is very critical of Hungarys Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his nationalist ideas:
"You have written about what you call post-fascism. Do you still think that concept is useful to understand what we are seeing in Europe now?
I have been vindicated, unfortunately. So yes, this is what we have [in Hungary, editors remark], this is postfascism. It has all the democratic trappings, there is no need for a formal dictatorship. We have a minority media world, where people as myself can talk with no consequence for them because it doesnt reach more than 5 to 10 percent of the population...."
If we look at Europe, what currents are the dominating ones right now, in your opinion?
".. The right is on the march. And I think the refugee crisis will result in a much nastier Europe than we had a year ago. Thats already the case."
If we change the perspective to the refugees. When they refuse to accept these borders and fences and keep on going, do you see that as a political act, in some way?
A little, yes. They instinctively realize that they have rights independent of citizenship. And thats very important. Very important! And in my opinion they are right in that. Rights are either universal or they are not rights. Because rights that are not universal are called privileges. Theres a difference. To realize that, you dont need to be Marxist. Its enough to be a Kantian. Its absolutely disgraceful how people think of rights in terms of privileges..."
and see: What is Post-fascism? (Open Democracy, link) by Gaspar Miklos Tamas.
EU: European Parliament studies:
- The protection role of the Committee on Petitions in the context of the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (pdf):
"It considers the petitions received on disability issues and examples of CRPD protection mechanisms implemented at level of the UN, the EU and the Member States. Recommendations are made to assist the EP in deliberating on disability issues in its protection role."
- EU funds for Migration policies: Analysis of Efficiency and best practice for the future (pdf):
"This study provides an overview of EU funding and agencies in the field of migration, asylum and integration. It begins with a brief assessment of their effectiveness and efficiency before examining whether the design of management, budgeting and control systems is effective in preventing the misuse of resources. The study illustrates good practices, lessons learnt and recommendations on how to achieve greater transparency in the implementation of future EU funding programmes."
See: also: MED CRISIS: Billion-euro budgets to be distributed to Member States; plus latest news reports (Statewatch database): "The European Commission has announced the approval of 23 more national programmes for the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund, paving the way for the release of up to 2.4 billion to Member States to "improve migration management, foster cooperation and make Europe safer".
UN: EU Med Operations: Resolution 2240 (2015), Security Council Authorizes Member States to Intercept Vessels off Libyan Coast Suspected of Migrant Smuggling (Full-text, pdf)
See: U.N. council OKs mission against human trafficking off Libya (Reuters, link):
" The United Nations Security Council on Friday authorized European Union naval operations for one year to seize and dispose of vessels operated by human traffickers in the high seas off Libya. The 15-member council adopted the British-drafted resolution with 14 votes in favor. Venezuela abstained.
The resolution approved the second of three phases of an EU naval mission intended to help stem the flow of migrants and refugees into Europe, which has escalated into a major crisis in recent months. The third phase of the EU mission, which is not covered by the resolution, would involve European operations in Libyan territorial waters and coastal areas."
EU: Declaration of the High-level Conference on the Eastern Mediterranean - Western Balkans Route (Full-text, pdf):
"Improve and share data collection, tracking of movements of population, joint needs assessments, mapping or analysis of socio-economic impact in order to ensure a more targeted and effective response and anticipate trends, while respecting privacy of personal data and legal safeguards...
Enhance capacity to manage borders and to ensure prompt registration of all refugees and migrants and effective, rapid and quality processing of asylum applications, in full respect of human rights and in line with international standards. Support swift return to their countries of origin of persons not entitled to international protection, in full respect of the principle of non-refoulement....
Enhance police and judicial cooperation, including intelligence-gathering, sharing and analysing, as well as capacity building of law enforcement and judicial authorities, with a specific focus on the conduct of financial investigations...."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (25 stories and documents, 9.10.15)
EU SUMMIT: European Council meeting 15-16 October 2015: European Council (15-16 October 2015) - Draft conclusions (pdf):
"achieve concrete operational measures at the forthcoming Valletta Summit with African Heads of State or Government, focusing, in a fair and balanced manner, on effective return and readmission, dismantling of criminal networks and preventing illegal migration... See: Possible elements for the Outcome Document for Valletta - annotated version (LIMITE doc no 11534-15, pdf)
"devise technical solutions to reinforce the control of the EU's external borders to meet both migration and security objectives, by making full use of technological developments in order not to hamper free circulation and to facilitate travel" : See: France says protect free movement with mass fingerprinting, face scans and entry-exit logs and:
"press ahead with the establishment of further hotspots...
step up implementation by the Member States of the Return Directive...
development of a European Border and Coast Guard System...
enlarge the Frontex mandate on return to include the right to organise joint return operations on its own initiative and enhance its role regarding the acquisition of travel documents for returnees...
promote the acceptance by third countries of an improved European laissez-passer as the reference document for return purposes.[*]"
[*] The Council's legal basis is relying on 1994 Recommendations for issuing these co-called EU laissez-passer return documents which were adopted before the European or national parliaments had any say. Furthermore these "Conclusions" are "soft law", non-binding but enabling two or more Member States to undertake operational measures - again parliaments have no say. Measures which will have such a profound effect on refugee's rights and freedoms should be the subject of formal EU legislative procedures.
UK: With the death of Ken Leech, on 12 September from a stroke, we have lost a pillar of the anti-fascist movement (IRR, link):
"He was always there for the calling on in the struggle against racism a thoughtful stalwart, a socialist who would stand up and be counted, unafraid of getting his hands dirty from community politics... Ken, who was a guiding light of the Christian Socialist Movement, marched with CND and championed gender equality and justice for lesbian and gay clergy, of course never got any preferment in the established Church. It is not there then that his legacy lies, but in the subversive orthodoxy that he practised and preached."
EU: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 8-9 October 2015: Final Press release: 8-9 October 2015 (pdf)
"B" Points agenda (for discussion, including some non-legislative items), "A" Points - legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) and "A" Points -non-legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) and see: Background Note (9 pages, pdf)
Agreed: Council conclusions on the future of the return policy (pdf)
See: Director of IOM: Swing Asks EU to Respect Rights of Vulnerable Migrants Arriving on its Shores (to be delivered later today at a high level EU conference in Luxembourg on refugees and migration flows through the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkans, link):
"Mr Swing underscored that care needed to be taken when dealing with asylum seekers who do not neatly fit into the category of refugees. Many of those on the move defy easy categorization. Many will be covered by the 1951 Refugee Convention and many others will not. But it is too simplistic to conclude that all of them fall into a single broad category of economic migrants, he said.
I am speaking of a wide range of vulnerable migrants - families with children; persons seeking to re-unite with their families already in Europe; unaccompanied and separated children; victims of trafficking; single and pregnant women, the elderly, the sick and the injured. The majority are coming from countries facing great strife, abject poverty or simply, hopelessness, he noted."
and Migrant crisis: EU considers faster deportations (BBC News, link) also: EU to step up deportation of economic migrants (euractiv, link): "European Union governments are set to agree today (8 October) to accelerate the repatriation of illegal immigrants among the hundreds of thousands who have failed to win asylum, as they try to cope with a surge in refugees from war-torn Syria. Diplomats say interior ministers meeting in Luxembourg should agree, among other things, to back the detention of those who may abscond before expulsion and exert more pressure on African and other poor states, including via aid budgets, to make them accept the return of citizens refused entry to Europe."
EU-USA "UMBRELLA" DATA PROTECTION AGREEMENT: European Parliament Study: A comparison between US and EU data protection legislation for law enforcement purposes (pdf)
"The proposed Judicial Redress Act will not solve the structural imbalance between the protection of US and non-US persons. The Draft Act has a limited scope, referring only to covered records.... Therefore, the Judicial Redress Act does not necessarily guarantee equal rights to EU and US persons....
A further indispensable point concerns the still ongoing collection of foreign intelligence in the framework of Section 702 of the FISA Amendment Act and Executive Order 12333. The FREEDOM Act did not bring about any major changes regarding these instruments with regards to the protection of EU citizens. A future instrument regulating data exchange should address these two issues, as serious questions on their compatibility with EU fundamental rights arise (see recent opinion of Advocate General Bot in the Schrems case"
This is the first study carried out by the EP: The US legal system on data protection in the field of law enforcement. Safeguards, rights and remedies
for EU citizens (pdf)
See: European Ruling is Merely a Symbolic Victory for Privacy (NYT Editorial, link): "The Court of Justice is right to question whether the personal information of Europeans is being protected adequately in the United States. But mass surveillance by European governments is just as intrusive of privacy, and requiring data storage in Europe offers little comfort." echoied by another US VIIEW OF EU COURT JUDGMENT: Europes top court goes off the rails - The court has ripped apart a data transmission system that will be a nightmare to repair.(politico, link) Also Commission advice on Transfers Abroad: Currently there are other ways of tranferring data to a third states - by-passing the adequacy rule (link), though these may not hold when the judgments of the CJEU are taken into account.
France says protect free movement with mass fingerprinting, face scans and entry-exit logs
France has proposed extending the EU's proposed "smart borders" systems from non-EU nationals to all EU nationals and residents as well, a move which would require fingerprinting, face scans, systematic database searches and entry and exit logging for everyone entering the EU. The smart borders proposals are one of many items on the agenda of the JHA Council meeting yesterday (8 October).
EU: EXCHANGE OF PERSONAL BETWEEN LEAs: Council of the European Union: Adopt: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties and the free movement of such data - General approach (pdf) and will now enter trilogue with the European Parliament.
See also: EU Data protection reform on track: Commission proposal on new data protection rules in law enforcement area backed by Justice Ministers (pdf) Commission press release
Commissions proposal to put Turkey on safe countries' list under attack (euractiv, link): "Commission plans to put Turkey on a list of "safe countries", to which migrants can be quickly returned as they would not risk oppression, have run into opposition from several European nations, sources said on Thursday (8 October).... Several member states refuse to add Turkey - home to two million refugees from the Syrian war - because of its poor record on judicial independence, minority rights and freedom of expression, several diplomatic sources told AFP." and see:
Turkey frowns at EU refugee aid plan (euractiv, link): "Turkey has given a lukewarm response to a European Union plan to assist Ankara in coping with over two million Syrian refugees, indicating that funding needs to be drastically increased.... Turkish officials, so far, are not rushing to embrace the plan."The EU is in a hurry but we are not," a Turkish official, who asked not to be named, told AFP."
See: Commission Press release: EU-TURKEY: Draft Action Plan: Stepping up EU-Turkey cooperation on support of refugees and migration management in view of the situation in Syria and Iraq (6.10.15, pdf)
Draft Report: on the Special Report of the European Ombudsman in own-initiative inquiry OI/5/2012/BEH-MHZ concerning Frontex (pdf): Rapporteurs: Roberta Metsola, Ska Keller
and REPORT: on the draft Council Implementing Decision fixing the date of effect of Decision 2008/633/JHA concerning access for consultation of the Visa Information System (VIS) by designated authorities of Member States and by Europol for the purposes of the prevention, detection and investigation of terrorist offences and of other serious criminal offences (pdf): Rapporteur: Timothy Kirkhope
News Digest (9.10.15)
EU ministers agree no airport-style security on rail (Reuters, link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 stories and documents, 8.10.15)
Greeces Tsipras in Lesvos: Hiding the refugee crisis under the carpet (link):
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras visited Lesvos on Tuesday, Oct. 6, accompanied by Austrian chancellor Werner Feymann, to ostensibly appraise the refugee crisis on the islands firsthand, but what they saw there did not correspond to the everyday reality. Journalist Sofia Christoforidou was at the Mytilene harbor and tweeted updates on the preparations there while waiting for the PMs visit....
Tsipras and Faymann came from the back entrance, saw few refugees, everything in order at port, and they departed....
Boat arrivals in Lesvos northern beaches, which usually number in the dozens daily, practically stopped for the duration of the two leaders visit....
Hours after Tsipras visit, the boats came back, and the arrivals of refugees continued."
EU: Secret trilogue law-making: Giegold: I've no problem with livestreaming secret talks on EU law (euractiv, link):
"The lead MEP on a European Parliament transparency report has said that he was lobbied all the time during secret negotiations over EU law, and had better access to classified documents just because he is German. Sven Giegold exclusively told EurActiv he wouldnt care if trialogue discussions were livestreamed and branded a European Commission push for better regulation an attack on parliamentary democracy.
I think that there is a problem of transparency and accountability, and that has to be changed. Theres also a problem of integrity. Theres a problem with transparency because theres no minutes, because it is not clear when they take place, it is not clear who has participated.
There is also a lack of accountability, because it is not transparent about who has defended which position in the negotiations. Lastly, there is a problem with integrity. The documents that are meant to be secret are not secret. Ive seen it very often that lobbyists have documents given to them through sources in the Parliament, or more often through the Council."
News Digest (8.10.15)
White House says EU court erred with privacy ruling (washingtonexaminer, link)
DRONES: Covert threat to privacy (Times, Malta, link): "Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAs) or drones as they are most commonly known, are remotely piloted aircraft devices which have gone from being military-grade technology to EBay-available gadgets in the span of a few years. The European Commission expects this industry to create some 150,000 new jobs in the EU alone by 2050."
Path cleared for judge to block NSA phone surveillance program (politico.com, link)
EU ministers to discuss 'smart borders' (euobserver, link): "Among the ideas is the future roll-out of a 1 billion digital dragnet known as 'smart borders'. Smart borders is a two-tiered system of biometric scans of visiting non-EU nationals the registered travellers programme (RTP) and the entry-exit system (EES) The European Commission had presented the package in 2013 but it was temporarily shelved following concerns over projected costs and possible law enforcement access.An EU diplomat on Wednesday (7 October) said the Commission is set to make new smart border proposals before the end of year." and see: EASA proposals on new drone rules.(pdf) Put out for consultationt that closed on 25 September.
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (39 stories and documents, 6-7.10.15)
The partys over: EU data protection law after the Schrems Safe Harbour judgment (EU Law Analysis, link): "In this post, Ill examine the reasons why the Court put its foot down, and invalidated the Commissions Safe Harbour decision which allows transfers of personal data to the USA, in the recent judgment in Schrems. Then I will examine the consequences of the Courts ruling"
Secret EU plan to throw out thousands of migrants (The Times, link):
" Hundreds of thousands of failed asylum seekers will be deported from Europe within weeks under secret plans leaked to The Times.
Brussels will threaten to withdraw aid, trade deals and visa arrangements if countries such as Niger and Eritrea refuse to take back their economic migrants. The proposals also envisage EU states detaining thousands of migrants to prevent them from absconding to avoid deportation.....
Tony Bunyan, the director of Statewatch, an EU civil liberties watchdog, said: Refugees, who have fled from war, persecution and poverty, do not want to return to the country they have come from. The returns policy proposed is not going to work, he said. It cannot be seriously expected that Turkey would accept the return of hundreds of thousands of refugees.
See: Council of the European Union: Draft Council conclusions on the future of the EU return policy (LIMITE doc no: 12420-15, pdf) for adoption at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 8-9 July 2015
EU ministers to fast-track migrant deportation (euobserver, link): "EU ministers are coming up with plans on how to best to use the deportation of failed asylum seekers as a deterrent for others. A leaked paper from the Council, representing EU member states, says some 800 million will be set aside on larger efforts to remove people without the proper paper work from the EU back to their home countries....
"The idea that returns can be fast-tracked through issuing EU laissez-passer to return refugees to third countries is reminiscent of the apartheid pass laws", said Statewatch director Tony Bunyan."
EU-USA: DATA PROJECTION JUDGMENT FALL-OUT:
- Data deal with US must be immediately suspended and replaced by new, solid framework for data transfers, says Civil Liberties Committee Chair Claude Moraes (pdf): "The European Commission must immediately suspend the 'Safe Harbour' framework with the US and initiate a new, secure data protection framework that will guarantee the rights and privacy of European citizens, says the Chair of the European Parliament Civil Liberties Committee, Claude Moraes, following today's ruling of the European Court of Justice in the case regarding Facebook's transfer of EU citizens data to the US."
- Issued by the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party: The Court of Justice of the European Union invalidates the EU Commission Safe Harbor Decision (pdf): "The Working Party welcomes the fact that the Courts decision reaffirms that data protection rights are an inherent part of the EU fundamental rights regime... For several years, the Working Party has been studying the impact of mass surveillance on international transfers and has on several occasions presented its concerns.
Todays Court judgment confirms that due to in particular the existence of mass surveillance and the absence of possibility for an individual to pursue legal remedies in order to have access and to obtain rectification or erasure, serious questions exist regarding the continuity of the level of data protection when data are transferred to the United-States."
- First Vice-President Timmermans and Commissioner Jourová 's press conference on Safe Harbour following the Court ruling in case C-362/14 (Schrems) (pdf) Extraordinarily on the planned EU-USA "Umbrella" Agreement on the exchange of personal data for criminal offences (all offences however minor) Commissioner Vera Jourová seeks to claim:
"The Umbrella agreement is something different than Safe Harbour. It does not itself enable data transfers." [emphais aded]
Whistleblower Edward Snowden hails 'Safe Harbor' data sharing verdict (DW, link): "US whistleblower Edward Snowden has praised the European Court of Justice's decision to invalidate a 15-year-old pact allowing data transfers between the US and EU. White House says it's "disappointed" by the verdict. "
EU-Africa: The 'Khartoum Process': beefing up borders in east Africa
The 'Khartoum Process' is intended to limit the number of people travelling to Europe via the "Horn of Africa migration route" and involves east African states, EU Member States, the European Commission and the African Union. Formally known as the 'EU-Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative', it has been criticised by the human rights organisation AEDH as attempting "to arrange the material conditions to avoid that they [migrants and refugees] come to Europe, especially by establishing asylum processing centres" within African countries. The 'Process' foresees, amongst other things, the enhancement of law enforcement powers and border controls in east African states.
European Parliament study: EU funds for Migration policies: Analysis of Efficiency and best practice for the future (pdf):
"This study provides an overview of EU funding and agencies in the field of migration,asylum and integration. It begins with a brief assessment of their effectiveness and efficiency before examining whether the design of management, budgeting and control systems is effective in preventing the misuse of resources. The study illustrates good practices, lessons learnt and recommendations on how to achieve greater transparency in the implementation of future EU funding programmes."
European Parliament study: Shaping and controlling foreign policy: Parliamentary diplomacy and oversight, and the role of the European Parliament (pdf): "The paper examines the role and functions of parliaments in shaping and controlling foreign policy, also by discussing some case studies (US, German, British and French). It reflects particularly on the gradual parliamentarisation of Member State-dominated EU foreign policy."
News Digest (7.10.15)
UK: Pictured: Police SNIPERS spotted on roof at peaceful anti-austerity march sparked by Tory conference (Mirror, link)
UK: Theresa May announces drive to limit right to claim asylum in UK (Guardian, link): "Home secretarys plan to reduce claims from those able to reach UK criticised by refugee groups, while business leaders attack overall immigration policy." and Theresa May speech marks new low in politics of migration (Guardian, link) "Home secretary portrays those who have made it to Calais or Britain as the wealthiest and strongest, implying they are in some way queue-jumpers"
USA: Law Enforcement Tech: A Civilian Oversight Primer (EFFI, link)
Europe's data authorities step into post-Safe Harbour spotlight (euractiv, link): "Data protection officials are assuming increasing prominence following Tuesday's (6 October) ECJ decision to outlaw Safe Harbour, which called them to take on a bigger role in Europe's privacy debacles. National data protection authorities from member states will convene on Thursday (8 October) in Brussels, in order to coordinate a response to the ECJ decision."
Analysis: What does Theresa Mays speech mean for immigrants and refugees? (Free Movement, link)
EU Ombudsman welcomes ECB's move towards greater speaking engagement transparency (link): "The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, has welcomed new moves by the European Central Bank (ECB) towards ensuring that the public interest is better protected when members of the ECB Executive Board agree to external speaking engagements. She looks forward to further useful engagement on this, and on other transparency and ethical issues."
EU Refugee crisis: Returns policy - unworkable
Council of the European Union: Draft Council conclusions on the future of the EU return policy (LIMITE doc no: 12420-15, pdf) for adoption at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 8-9 July 2015. Including:
"The Council invites the Commission and the EEAS, and the Member States, in particular through their representations outside the EU, in close cooperation with the liaison officers mentioned in paragraph 9, to promote the EU laissez-passer (standard travel document for the expulsion of third-country nationals) which should become the travel document commonly accepted for return purposes by third-countries. Moreover, Member States commit to using more regularly the EU laissez-passer in return operations." (Point 14, emphasis added])
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:
"The Commission and the Council have never understood that refugees, who have fled from war, persecution and poverty, do not want to return to the country they have come from. The idea that returns can be fast-tracked through issuing EU laissez-passer to return refugees to third countries is reminiscent of the apartheid pass laws.
This is compounded by the Council is relying on 1994 Recommendations as the legal basis for issuing these co-called EU laissez-passer return documents which were adopted before the European or national parliaments had any say. Furthermore these "Conclusions" are "soft law", non-binding but enabling two or more Member States to undertake operational measures - again parliaments have no say. Measures which will have such a profound effect on refugee's rights and freedoms should be the subject of formal EU legislative procedures."
EU: European Court of Justice: SAFE HARBOUR JUDGMENT: The Court of Justice declares that the Commissions US Safe Harbour Decision is invalid (Press release, pdf): and Full-text-judgment (pdf)
"The Data Protection Directive provides that the transfer of personal data to a third country may, in principle, take place only if that third country ensures an adequate level of protection of the data..... The United States safe harbour scheme thus enables interference, by United States public authorities, with the fundamental rights of persons, and the Commission decision does not refer either to the existence, in the United States, of rules intended to limit any such interference or to the existence of effective legal protection against the interference."
See: Intial response from max schrems (pdf) and see his Facebook and see: Facebook row: US data storage leaves users open to surveillance, court rules - EU court ruling that privacy is being compromised could force many digital companies to relocate operations (Guardian, link)
European Parliament failure to bring proceedings against Hungary: "According to internal European Parliament emails seen by Playbook (Politico), the Parliaments civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, chaired by Claude Moraes from U.K. Labour, has rejected a request by the Liberal faction ALDE group supported by Greens, far-left parties and Italys Five Star Movement to trrigger an Article 7.1 procedure against Hungary for its behavior towards refugees. The move was blocked by the two big parties, who instead put to a vote a Socialist proposal to request that the Commission follow through on a June request that it present a proposal to establish an EU mechanism on democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights.
News Digest (6.10.15)
Unclear net neutrality proposal returns to European Parliament civil society groups call for action (EDRI, link)
Edward Snowden: US has not offered me plea deal - Whistleblower says he has offered to do time in prison as part of a deal to return to US, but we are still waiting for them to call us back (Guardian, link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15 stories/documents: 5.10.15)
EU: Council of the European Union: The future management of the EU's external borders (LIMITE doc no: 12541-15, pdf):
"How can the collective responsibility of Member States and Frontex evolve, e.g. for ensuring a better and at times compulsory allocation of border guards and equipment from low risk areas to those most affected by illegal migration?" [emphasis added]
EU: TURKEY: EU Action on Migratory Pressures - targeted update and the outcome of discussion on Turkey (LIMITE doc no: 9491-15, 15 pages, pdf):
"Turkey had the capacity to act as a significant transit point for migrants from the wider Middle East-North Africa region: migrants may legally enter Turkey but then illegally enter the EU. Along with Syrians, Moroccan, Tunisian, Libyan, Georgian, Jordanian, Lebanese and Iranian passport holders do not require a visa to enter Turkey."
EU: Council of the European Union: Accession to the ECHR: Accession of the European Union to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) - State of play (Limite doc no: 12528-15, pdf): "On 18 December 2014 the CJEU declared the Draft Accession Agreement incompatible with the EU Treaties on a number of grounds.... [for example] entrust a judicial review of EU actions in (some) CFSP matters - for which the CJEU has no competence - to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)."
EU and Turkey to discuss plan to stem flow of migrants (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is due to meet with Juncker on Monday. A spokesman for the European Commission said the meeting was "precisely about seeing how to step up cooperation to jointly tackle the refugee crisis" and said any new announcements would be made at a news conference on Monday. Asked about the newspaper report, a spokeswoman for the German government said Merkel, Juncker and Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann had held a phone call on Wednesday but she declined to comment on the content of their discussion."
See also: Erdogan brings Turkish election campaign to Strasbourg, Brussels (euractiv, link): "Supporters and foes gathered in Strasbourg on Sunday (4 October) on the occasion of a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has apparently turned his European tour into part of his election campaign..... The European Commission and Turkey have agreed on a plan to stem the flow of refugees to Europe by patrolling Turkey's frontier with Greece and setting up new camps, a newspaper cited sources in the Commission and the German government as saying yesterday.... However a senior EU official involved in the negotiations with Turkey told Reuters that the newspaper report went beyond what was currently under discussion between Brussels and Ankara. "It's a bit exaggerated," he said."
and EU and Turkey have struck plan to stem flow of migrants - newspaper (Reuters, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Exchange of personal data between law enforcement agencies & UNHCR
- Council agrees its negotiating position: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties and the free movement of such data - General approach (pdf)
- Proposal for a COUNCIL DECISION on the position to be adopted, on behalf of the European Union, in the sixty-sixth session of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (pdf) and the detail in: Annex (pdf)
EU and Turkey 'agree on refugee plan' (The Local.fr, link): "The European Union and Turkey have agreed in principle to a plan of action to help ease the flow of migrants into the bloc, a German newspaper reported on Sunday.... Under the plan, Turkey would agree to stepped-up efforts to secure its frontier with the EU by taking part in joint patrols with the Greek coastguard in the eastern Aegean coordinated by EU border protection agency Frontex, the report said.
Any migrants picked up would be taken back to Turkey, where six new camps for up to two million people would be built, co-financed by the EU."
News Digest (5.10.15)
When Shaker Aamer is free from Guantánamo the slurs will start - Because they know theyve done him wrong its likely the UK and US security services will start briefing against the man they tortured (Guardian, link)
UK: Keyword warning software in schools raises red flag - Education Pro enables teachers to monitor students' online activity and sends "violation" alerts over trigger terms. (aljazeera.com, link): "Schoolchildren in the UK who search for words such as "caliphate" and the names of Muslim political activists on classroom computers risk being flagged as potential supporters of terrorism by monitoring software being marketed to teachers to help them spot students at risk of radicalisation."
Drone Warfare: Boxed up, barely used and 4 years late: Watchkeeper, the Armys affordable £1.2bn drone programme (BIJ, link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15 stories/documents: 3-4.10.15)
Frontex asks for 775 border guards - refugees to be "nationality" screened (link):
"This is the largest number of border guards Frontex has ever requested in the history of the agency. The officers are to assist mainly Italy and Greece in the registration and identification of migrants coming from Libya and Turkey. Since the beginning of this year over 470 000 migrants arrived in Greece and Italy alone. No country can possibly handle such high migratory pressure at its borders by itself. It is crucial that all those arriving in the EU are properly registered and identified, said Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri.
Frontex requested 670 officers mainly screeners, debriefers and interpreters to be deployed in Italy and Greece, in addition to 105 officers to be deployed at various external land borders of the European Union.
The screening officers play a key role in helping authorities to determine the nationality of the incoming migrants in order to identify and register them. Debriefers gather information about the activities of smuggling networks." [emphasis added]
"Screening officers" will be carrying out "nationality screening" (Frontex in European Parliament hearing on 23 September 2015), followed by registration and fingerprinting after which refugees will be divided into two groups, those destined for "return" to their country of origin to be held in closed camps and those to be relocated in the EU through asylum procedures in open camps.
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (24 stories/documents: 2-10-15)
EU: Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU):
Data protection legislation of a Member State may be applied to a foreign company which exercises in that State, through stable arrangements, a real and effective activity (Press release, pdf) and Full text of Judgment (pdf)
and: Persons whose personal data are subject to transfer and processing between two public administrative bodies must be informed in advance (Press release, pdf) and Full text of Judgment (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Cybercrime evaluation & UK and SIS
- Interesting detailed report: Evaluation report on the seventh round of mutual evaluations "The practical implementation and operation of European policies on prevention and combating Cybercrime" - Report on Slovakia (Declassified document no: 9761/1/15 REV 1 DCL 1, 139 pages, pdf)
- Putting into effect of the provisions of the Schengen acquis on data protection and on the provisional putting into effect of parts of the provisions of the Schengen acquis on the Schengen Information System for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland - State of play (pdf): "agreed inter alia on a set of recommendations addressed to the United Kingdom and considered that further proceedings were necessary in order to conclude the evaluation with a view to adopting an implementing decision setting the date for the final putting into effect by the United Kingdom of the provisions referred to in Article 1(a)(ii) of Decision 2000/365/EC, in so far as they relate to the functioning of the SIS."
News Digest (2.10.15)
Mass surveillance in Germany rebuked by Council of Europe (euractiv, link): "The Council of Europe has issued a damning indictment of mass surveillance in Germany. In a recent report on Germany, Nils Muinieks, the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, criticises the fact that democratic control of the intelligence services is practically impossible and that mass surveillance can be carried out virtually unchecked.."
UK: Police watchdog calls for Taser guidance after inquest into fire death - IPCC recommends that officers be given more comprehensive guidance about use of stun guns in the presence of flammable liquids (Guardian, link)
Germany: Pegida founder faces hate speech charges (The Local.de, link): "Lutz Bachmann, founder of Pegida ("Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West") has been charged by state prosecutors in Dresden with incitement to racial hatred. The charges by state prosecutors in Dresden go back to anti-immigration Facebook posts made by Bachmann in autumn 2014, which surfaced on the public internet in January."
Justice and Home Affairs Council, 08-09/10/2015 (pdf):
"The Council will have a discussion on the future management of EU external borders and of the return policy. On the latter the Council is expected to adopt conclusions.... Ministers will also take note of a progress report on a directive on the use of passenger name record data (PNR) for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime....
Mixed committee: Under the visa policy, ministers will hold a policy debate and will take stock of work regarding a regulation on the Union code on visas (recast) and a regulation establishing a touring visa. As for the future of the return policy, they will discuss a Commission communication concerning an EU action plan on return, and a Commission recommendation establishing a common 'return handbook' to be used by member states' competent authorities when carrying out return related tasks.
Justice ministers will try to reach a general approach on a directive on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and the free movement of such data. This issue will be discussed under the Mixed committee format." [emphasis added]
EU: What is the role of "hotspots"? A European Commission official told the parliament's LIBE (Civil Liberties) Committee this morning (Thursday) that the 'hotspots' concept would mean:
"People may be placed in closed centres for the return procedure
For relocation people will be the possibility of centres - which are open to a degree are necessary
Attempts will be made to convince them to stay in the reception centre in order to be resettled
Centres: Hotspots for relocation would be open centers and closed centres for returns"
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director comments:
"How many people are going to be forced to "return" and held in closed camps? The pre-screening process will be carried out by Frontex and member state officals who will decide who is to be "returned" - prior to them being allowed to make an asylum application. Will refugees being vetted for return have interpreters and lawyers to help and represent them? And is there a right of appeal?"
And see Hotspots for asylum applications: some things we urgently need to know (EU Law Analysis, link) and:
Italy: Sicily hotspot to be prison-like centre (euractiv, link): "It will be one of Italy's brand new hotspots for identifying newly-arrived migrants -- but as the Pozzallo reception centre in Sicily prepares its fingerprinting kits, the EU-led plan for these facilities is still plagued with unresolved issues... When Pozzallo becomes an official hotspot at the end of November, new arrivals will instead be obliged to provide their fingerprints as part of an asylum request, or be taken to a detention centre to await expulsion from Italy. The hotspots will be closed-door centres, sharply reducing the chance that people can flee and head north off their own backs. Those very likely to win refugee status -- Syrians, Eritreans and Iraqis -- will be fast-tracked and taken to a separate centre, where they will be divided up and distributed to other countries within the European Union.... What will happen if Syrian or Eritrean nationals refuse to give their fingerprints, seeing as they cannot be expelled? Would they be kept in a detention centre until they change their minds?." Se also: Centro accoglienza Pozzallo primo hotspot in Italia (corrierediragusa.it, link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (25 stories and documents, 1.10.15)
EU: Council of the European Union: Council Decision regarding the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled
- Presidency Compromise Proposal (LIMITE doc no: 7576-Rev-1-15, pdf)
- Previous version of above (LIMITE doc no: 7576-15, pdf)
- Guidance for further work (LIMITE doc no: 7321-15, pdf)
- Open Issues (pdf) (LIMITE doc no: 5110-15, pdf)
CoE: Anti-immigrant sentiment was rising in Germany before refugee influx: Council of Europe committee on national minorities (Press release, link):
"Before the recent flow of refugees from war-torn Syria and other parts of the Middle East and Africa entered Germany, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiments and attacks against asylum seekers had been on the rise already, according to a new opinion by the Council of Europes Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM). Adopted in March but released today with a first reaction on the findings from the German government the Advisory Committee opinion assessed data from 2010 to 2015, noting increased anti-Muslim sentiment and negative attitudes towards immigrants and asylum-seekers. It criticizes marches attended by thousands of persons, under the banner Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West (Pegida, in its German acronym), for example.
Despite these developments, the Advisory Committee praises the German Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency for its considerable efforts to raise awareness of anti-discrimination legislation in place. The Advisory Committee calls on Germany to stop the practice of ethnic profiling and take steps to build trust between persons belonging to minorities and the police. It recommends ensuring that racist elements of criminal offences are systematically taken into account by law enforcement." [emphasis added]
See: ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON THE FRAMEWORK CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF NATIONAL MINORITIES: Fourth Opinion on Germany adopted on 19 March 2015 (pdf) and Government response (pdf)
European rights body concerned over rising racism in Germany (DW, link): "The Council of Europe has said reports of rising racism against Muslims and refugees in Germany are concerning. However, the human rights body also noted that protection for minority rights is high." and Rising racism worries Council of Europe (The Local.de, link)
News Digest (1.10.15)
End of roaming charges: Council confirms agreement with EP (Council of the European Union, link)
GUE/NGL MEP denounces TiSA at the WTO in Geneva (link): "German GUE/NGL MEP Helmut Scholz, who is attending a World Trade Organization Conference on TiSA (Trade in Services Agreement) in Geneva today, denounces many aspects of this agreement. Helmut Scholz (GUE/NGL coordinator on the International Trade Committee: "Many people are very concerned about the TTIP negotiations between the EU Commission and the U.S. Government. But fewer people are aware that there are parallel negotiations going on that address a number of the same issues as in the TTIP. Full liberalisation of all services is on the agenda in Geneva, Tokyo, Brasilia, Beijing and many more capitals where trade negotiators meet. In fact, for the EU Commission the exact same team is negotiating TiSA and the services aspects of TTIP.
Safe Harbor No Future? How the General Data Protection Regulation and the rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) will influence transatlantic data transfers (EASFJ, link)
Don't look now, but there's another EU data protection court case about to bite - ECJ to decide on which privacy watchdog can fine whom (The Register, link): "The Weltimmo case involves a tricky legal question on jurisdiction for data protection issues when a company sells in one country, but is headquartered in another."
Hungarian startup offers encryption with no backdoor key (Politico, link)
Human rights are no longer a 'top priority' for the Government, says Foreign Office chief - Top official says 'prosperity agenda' now takes precedence over fighting injustice (Independent, link)
EU: SECRET, CLOSED, TRILOGUES: NGO Letter to the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament (pdf):
"We, the undersigned organisations, hereby express our concern regarding the pervasive use of so-called "trilogue" negotiations within the EU decision-making process. It is our view that the trilogues have, regardless of intent, become a means for EU institutions to bypass democratic good practices, prevent public participation and are contrary to the principles of transparency and accountability recognised under the EU treaties, including citizens' right to access public documents.
In light of the outlined problems, we are calling for a major reform of the trilogue process in order to end this unacceptable democratic deficit in the EU decision-making. We call for the publication of all documents in a timely and systematic manner.
Further, we ask that disclosure not be limited to the multicolumn meeting documents, but also to public access to the meetings and access to any reports or notes discussed over the course of the process, in line with the procedures for normal Parliament committee meetings. There is an overriding public interest in the timely and systematic disclosure of these documents in order to enable proper public scrutiny of EU decision-making."
Signed by 16 EU NGOs including Statewatch
EU: European Parliament study: The European legal framework on hate speech, blasphemy and its interaction with freedom of expression (446 pages, pdf):
"this study provides an overview of the legal framework applicable to hate speech and hate crime on the one hand and to blasphemy and religious insult on the other hand. It also evaluates the effectiveness of existing legislation in selected Member States and explores opportunities to strengthen the current EU legal framework, whilst fully respecting the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The study also provides the European Parliament with guidelines on dealing with hate speech within the EU institutions."
EU: Council of the European Union: Visa Package - Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union Code on visas (Visa Code) (recast) - Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a touring visa (LIMITE doc no: 11858-15. pdf):
"there are several outstanding issues, which are perceived as sensitive and for which political guidance from Ministers would help significantly to advance the discussions... - "The mandatory issuing of a multiple entry visa (MEV) valid for three or five years to
- VIS registered regular travellers (Art. 21(3) and (4))
- The deletion of the current Article 15 of the Visa Code providing for a travel medical insurance (TMI)
- The scope of the definition of close relatives of Union citizens (Art. 2(7))
- The issuing of visas at the external border under a temporary scheme (Art. 33)"
Hotspots for asylum applications: some things we urgently need to know (EU Law Analysis, link) by Frances Webber:
"Through the mechanisms it is setting up for the relocation of refugees from Italy and Greece, the EU is trying to regain control of refugee movement in the EU. The tough screening process it is setting up at points of entry into the EU seems designed as a crude instrument to separate out a minority of good refugees from what EU ministers want to convince us are a majority of bad economic migrants, and to dispatch the latter rapidly and efficiently. But life is not that simple, and the hotspots screening procedures could result in large numbers of people being returned to unsafe or unviable situations without proper consideration of their claims....
Frontexs removal remit covers not just those whose claims are exhausted and so have no claim to remain on the territory, but also those who have not claimed protection. Does this mean that Frontex officials have a roaming mandate to go around Italy and Greece rounding up all those who have not registered a claim for asylum? The opportunity to claim international protection should be available at any time, up to the point of removal; but how will this right be guaranteed?
Without clear and robust safeguards in place, the EU's relocation package could turn out to be a figleaf for a quiet but massive removal operation against, rather than a protection operation for, those arriving on Europe's shores."
HUNGARY: The right of asylum has practically vanished in Hungary Pardavi (budapestbeacon.com, link):
"The right of asylum in Hungary has practically vanished because the refugees do not receive adequate care, applications for asylum are not fairly evaluated and very few receive refugee status, Hungarian Helsinki Committee co-chair Márta Pardavi says in her assessment of the status of refugees in Hungary. By continuously taking alarming political steps, Hungary will soon find itself in the same role as Greece, with one European court after another ruling that it is not a safe place to which to return refugees, says Pardavi, adding that if Hungary continues to visibly withdraw from every common European Union initiative to handle the refugee crisis, it will dig itself deeper in this game of denial."
And see Helsinki Committee: NO COUNTRY FOR REFUGEES New asylum rules deny protection to refugees and lead to unprecedented human rights violations in Hungary (pdf) and The Hungarian Helsinki Committees opinion on the Governments amendments to criminal law related to the sealed border (pdf)
A Death in Athens: Did a Rogue NSA Operation Cause the Death of a Greek Telecom Employee?: (Intercept, link)
"The day before his death, Costas boss at Vodafone had ordered that a newly discovered code a powerful and sophisticated bug be deactivated and removed from its systems. The wiretap, placed by persons unknown, targeted more than 100 top officials, including then Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and his wife, Natassa; the mayor of Athens; members of the Ministerial Cabinet; as well as journalists, capturing not only the countrys highest secrets, but also its most intimate conversations. The question was, who did it?
according to a highly classified NSA document provided by Snowden and previously published by The Intercept, covertly recruiting employees in foreign telecom companies has long been one of the NSAs deepest secrets."
EU Council of the European Union: EUNAVFOR Med: EU agrees to start the active phase of the operation against human smugglers and to rename it "Operation Sophia" (pdf):
"The EU naval operation against human smugglers in the Mediterranean will be able to board, search, seize and divert vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling or trafficking on the high seas, in line with international law.
The Political and Security Committee also agreed that EUNAVFOR Med should be renamed "Sophia" after the name given to the baby born on the ship of the operation which rescued her mother on 22 August 2015 off the coast of Libya."
See also: European Union Naval Force - Mediterranean: Update: September 2015 (pdf)
REFUGEE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Spreading Anti-Migrant Sentiment is Endangering Lives, IOMs Swing Warns World Leaders (IOM link):
"United Nations At the opening of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, IOM Director General William Lacy Swing warned that growing anti-migration sentiment in Europe is unnecessarily endangering the lives of migrants, while ignoring the overall benefits that migration has historically provided to the world..... Swing called on them to ensure that migration is governed in a responsible and humane fashion. One in seven people on the planet is a migrant one billion in total and billions more are impacted by migration daily. Migrants cannot remain just a number to be counted, said IOMs Director General. Governments must ensure that migrants rights are truly protected once and for all. This General Assembly, in its historic 70th year, presents world leaders with the opportunity to acknowledge that migration is inevitable, necessary and desirable.
EU-USA: US govennment statement challenges the EU Court of Justice: Safe Harbor Protects Privacy and Provides Trust in Data Flows that Underpin Transatlantic Trade (US EU Mission, link):
"the Advocate General's opinion rests on numerous inaccurate assertions about intelligence practices of the United States..... The United States does not and has not engaged in indiscriminate surveillance of anyone, including ordinary European citizens."
See: CJEU: According to Advocate General Bot, the Commission decision finding that the protection of personal data in the United States is adequate does not prevent national authorities from suspending the transfer of the data of European Facebook subscribers to servers located in the United States (pdf): "The Advocate General considers furthermore that the Commission decision is invalid" and see: Opinion: Full-text (pdf)
EPIC(USA): Statement: Advocate General Correctly Determines that Safe Harbor Fails to Protects Privacy and Does Not Establish Trust, Threatening Data Flows that Underpin Transatlantic Trade (link)
US embassy defends 'invalid' EU data pact (euobserver, link): "The United States has spoken out against a European Court of Justice opinion which invalidated a 15-year old data-sharing pact. The US embassy to the EU on Monday (28 September) said a preliminary judgment by Yves Bot, the courts advocate general, was based on numerous inaccurate assertions about intelligence practices of the United States"."
EU: Access to documents: Meijers Committee: Memorandum concerning the non-paper on transparency dated 17 April 2015 (pdf):
"This memorandum presents a point-by-point discussion of the recent proposals presented in the Council by the six pro-transparency countries. While the proposals generally have positive and broadly uncontroversial implications, this does not hold for proposals 3 and 5 in particular. Moreover, the scope of most of the proposals is not yet entirely clear. This memo has therefore identified certain elements that require further examination to allow further discussion of the presented plans."
And see: NON PAPER April 2015: Denmark - Estonia - Finland The Netherlands Slovenia - Sweden Enhancing transparency in the EU (pdf)
UK: Trends in Crime and Criminal Justice (Houses of Parliament: Research Bulletin, link): "Prison populations are increasing while crime is declining; thought in part to reflect changes to sentencing and policy."
EU: 499,826 refugees have arrived: See UNHCR: Refugees/Migrants Emergency Response (detailed information, link): 2,962 dead/missing. 129,000 people have arrived in Italy and 368,394 in Greece: Map: arrivals on Greek Islands (pdf)
Lesvos Volunteers: How to help refugees in Lesvos, Greece? (link): "Several amazing teams are working on the north coast of Lesvos. They provide the refugees arriving by boat with dry clothes and shoes, rain ponchos, sleeping bags, food, medical help, information, buses, etc."
Press Release: Extreme Poverty during the refugees journey (Greek Forum of Refugees, link):
"The Greek Forum of Refugees strongly feels the need to present and denounce the conditions that the refugees are dealing with, as soon as they arrive, in the European continent. The continent, that started values such as Democracy and Solidarity, proves being unable to apply them practically. Europe can do and offer, much more than what has been done until today. The GFR receives every day messages from European citizens that would like to offer help. Unfortunately, the leaders' policies, worldwide, do not keep up with this movement and the least that we can do is to denounce it."
Press release: Greek (pdf) and English (pdf)
MOAS Launches New Mission in Southeast Asia (migrantreport.org, link): "The Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) will launch a rescue operation in Southeast Asia during the winter months, when thousands of Rohingya are expected to embark on the dangerous sea crossing out of Myanmar.... MOAS has helped establish a robust search and rescue presence in the Mediterranean Sea, which today sees a number of publicly and privately funded vessels working to stop preventable deaths, said MOAS founder Christopher Catrambone. Our job in the Mediterranean is not over, but we now feel it is our responsibility to use the Phoenix in another part of the world facing an equally challenging but severely underreported crisis, he said." and:
Mediterranean crisis: MSF ceases operations on Phoenix rescue ship (link): "Harrowing time in Libya: In almost five months of operations, the six-person MSF team on board the MY Phoenix has cared for 6,985 people rescued from unseaworthy wooden and rubber boats. Fleeing places like Eritrea, Somalia, Nigeria, Syria, Gambia and Libya, those rescued have told horrific stories of their countries of origin, their journey and their harrowing time in Libya. They have been treated by MSF for a range of conditions ranging from mild dehydration and hypothermia to kidney failure and gunshot wounds. MSF on the Mediterranean: Since operations began on 2 May, MSF teams on board of the MY Phoenix, Bourbon Argos and Dignity I have assisted some 16,113 people on the Mediterranean Sea."
Security services accused over Aamer's lengthy detention - Supporters of Britons last Guantánamo detainee celebrate as questions remain as to why his release took so long (Guardian, link): "The post 9/11 world was just a few days old when Shaker Aamer was first imprisoned. Captured by Afghan bounty hunters while attempting to flee from Kabul with his pregnant wife and their three children, he was sold on twice, and found himself in US hands. By the end of the year he was being held at the notorious interrogation centre that American forces and the CIA had established at the Soviet-era airfield at Bagram, north of the capital.
Whatever happened there may explain why Aamer has languished for so long at Guantánamo, remaining behind bars long after every other British national and resident had been set free. The interrogators that MI6 and MI5 had sent to Bagram were warned that they must not take part in the torture that was being inflicted on the inmates; all received written instructions that we cannot be party to such ill treatment nor can we be seen to condone it. In practice, this meant that they would remove themselves from the room before the abuses began."
UK-GCHQ: From Radio to Porn, British Spies Track Web Users Online Identities (Intercept, link):
"The mass surveillance operation code-named KARMA POLICE was launched by British spies about seven years ago without any public debate or scrutiny. It was just one part of a giant global Internet spying apparatus built by the United Kingdoms electronic eavesdropping agency, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ.... more than two dozen documents being disclosed today by The Intercept reveal for the first time several major strands of GCHQs existing electronic eavesdropping capabilities.
One system builds profiles showing peoples web browsing histories. Another analyzes instant messenger communications, emails, Skype calls, text messages, cell phone locations, and social media interactions. Separate programs were built to keep tabs on suspicious Google searches and usage of Google Maps."
EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record): European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): EU PNR: EDPS warns against unjustified and massive collection of passenger data (Press release, pdf):
"the EDPS published his Second Opinion on the use of Passenger Name Records (PNR) for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime, he said that there is a lack of information to justify the necessity of an EU PNR scheme....
Since the proposed EU PNR scheme is likely to cover at least all flights to and from the EU, and may also involve intra EU and/or domestic flights, more than 300 million non-suspect passengers would potentially be interested by the EU PNR proposal. Building on his earlier Opinions on PNR addressing the same issue, the EDPS says that the available information does not justify why the massive, non-targeted and indiscriminate collection of passengers' personal information is necessary and why it is urgently needed.
The EDPS points out that the EU legislator must ensure that it fully complies with the strict requirements laid down by the Court since the Court, applying the Charter, looks with great scepticism upon any measure which, like the Data Retention Directive, would appl[y] to persons for whom there is no evidence capable of suggesting that their conduct might have a link, even an indirect or remote one, with serious crime."
and Full-text: Second Opinion (pdf)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 stories and documents, 25.9.15)
REFUGEE CRISIS: EUNAVFOR: Meijers Committee: Military action against human smugglers: legal questions concerning the EUNAVFOR Med operation (pdf):
I. There are no indications that combating migrant smuggling contributes to the restoration of international peace and security or to ending the ongoing humanitarian crises;
II. Without express consent from third states or authorization from the UN Security Council, the EU lacks jurisdiction over vessels or assets in third-country territorial waters;
III. Without express consent from third-country coastal states or authorization from the UN Security Council, there is no clear legal basis for coercive measures against vessels or assets on the high seas;
Collusion and covert policing: colonial roots, contemporary issues (IRR, link): A Race & Class seminar on Collusion and covert policing: colonial roots, contemporary issues. Thursday 15 October 2015, 6-8pm Institute of Race Relations, 2-6 Leeke Street, London WC1X 9HS: "Professor Mark McGovern (Edge Hill University) will be discussing his work on the history of collusion in the context of contemporary developments in covert policing at a seminar to launch the October edition of Race & Class, leading with his article on State violence and the colonial roots of collusion in Northern Ireland."
Places are limited and booking is essential, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record): Council of the European Union: Preparation of trilogues - Data Protection issues (LIMITE doc no 12032-15, pdf)
"The outcome of that exchange of views will be the basis for the first trilogue on the draft Directive to be held on 24 September 2015. The Presidency will suggest to discuss the data protection elements of the proposed Directive at a trilogue on the PNR file in the near future."
September 11: From Verona to Belfast (IRR, link) by Phil Scraton: "September 11, 2001. The day imprinted on a disparate international collective consciousness. As two planes hit New Yorks twin towers, another engulfed the Pentagon in flames and United Airlines Flight 93 plane came down in Pennsylvania en route to its target, I slipped traversing a ramp in Verona, severing my quadriceps tendon. Undiagnosed but in great pain, I flew home. A week later the tendon was repaired but I was soon in intensive care, pulmonary emboli blood clots to both lungs. It was touch and go."
SPECIAL: EU Ombudsman investigating secret "trilogue" decision-making but:
The Council challenges the right of the European Ombudsman to conduct an inquiry into secret "trilogues" (in which most EU legislation is decided)
In May 2015 Emily O'Reilly, the European Ombudsman, began an Own-initiative Inquiry on the "transparency of trilogues (pdf), But the Council of the European Union challenges the right of the Ombudsman to carry out such an inquiry: Council response to the Ombudsman (pdf)
"Trilogues" are meetings of the two EU co-legislators: the Council of the European Union (the 28 EU governments) and the European Parliament (with the European Commission in attendance). The purpose of trilogues is to speed up decision-making by agreeing new legislative measures quickly at 1st reading.
Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex, comments: "The Council's objection to the Ombudsman's competence is totally unfounded"
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "Over 80% of all new EU laws are agreed in these secret trilogues - they should have no place in a democracy worthy of the name - they should be held in the open with full public access to documents so that we can see what is being decided in our name."
As part of the Inquiry the Ombudsman has organised a Consultation meeting (link) on 28 September 2015 (10.00 - 12.00 in Room JAN 4Q1 of the European Parliament in Brussels).
Statewatch was amongst the first to criticise secret trilogues: See: Secret trilogues and the democratic deficit (September 2007, pdf) - European Parliament: Abolish 1st [and 2nd] reading secret deals - bring back democracy warts and all (pdf) - Proposed Commission changes to Regulation on access to documents fail to meet Lisbon Treaty commitments (pdf)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 stories and documents, 24.9.15)
REFUGEE CRISIS: EU SUMMIT: Informal meeting of the Heads of State or Government (Brussels, 23 September 2015) - Press release (pdf):
"ensure identification, registration and fingerprinting of migrants (hotspots) and at the same time ensure relocation and returns, at the latest by November 2015"
EU to fortify external borders to stem migrant flow (euobserver, link): "The EU is forging ahead with plans to restore control of its external borders amid a refugee crisis unlike anything seen in recent history. Among the ideas announced in the early morning of Thursday (24 September), is the establishment of EU-run quarantine centres for new asylum arrivals by the end of November and a proposal for an EU border and coast guard system by December...The quarantine centres also known as hotspots will separate legitimate asylum seekers from others not entitled to international protection. People will be finger printed and registered. Rejected applicants will be returned back to their home countries." [emphasis added]
Agence Europe reports: "The hotspots (or "migration management support teams", as the Commission now calls them), were the subject of an in-depth discussion at the summit. According to the European leaders, these teams will ensure the welcome, identification and digital finger-printing of migrants arriving in Europe, and will use the procedures for returning the migrants or relocating them to other member states... The European leaders also spoke about the usefulness of moving towards a European coastguard system, a source stated. Although the summit statement does not mention this, the Commission will propose such a system at the end of 2015.."
EU Summit: Continuation of a failed strategy to tackle refugee crisis (AI, link)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (36 stories and documents, 23.09.15) and Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (35 stories and documents, 22.09.15)
REFUGEE CRISIS: European Commission Communication: Managing the refugee crisis: immediate operational, budgetary and legal measures under the European Agenda on Migration (pdf)
"Migration Management Support Teams working in 'hotspot' areas (see Annex II). The Support Teams will have an instant impact on the most critical point in the chain where the most affected Member States are finding the sheer number of arrivals too great to manage effectively. Staff deployed by EU agencies and other EU Member States will help identify, screen and register migrants on entry to the EU. This is the first step to a secure future for those in need, and an early opportunity to identify those who should be returned to their home countries." [emphasis added]
Comment: This appears to beg the question about refugees' right to ask for asylum - especially as the Council Decision has prioritised refugees from Syria, Iraq and Eritrea - when they are many refugees from Afghanistan and Somali amongst others?
Commission Press release (pdf)
Annex 1: Priority Actions under the European Agenda for Migration to deliver within six months (pdf)
Annex 2: Migration Management Support Teams working in 'hotspot' areas (pdf)
Annex III The Rapid Border Intervention Teams mechanism (RABIT) (pdf)
Annex IV Financial Support to Member States under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund (link)
Annex V Member State and Commission Contributions to the World Food Programme (link)
Annex VI The EU Regional Trust Fund ("MADAD Trust Fund") in response to the Syrian Crisis (link)
Annex VII Implementing the Common European Asylum System (link)
Link to: Annexes to Communication (link)
European Commission proposals on refugee crisis (Statewatch) and Council of the European Union: COUNCIL DECISION establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf) plus Commission press release: European Commission Statement following the decision at the Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council to relocate 120,000 refugees (pdf) contains little new detail on what was agreed. 120,000 people are to be relocated over 2 years.
REFUGEE CRISIS: EU at "war" in the Med: European Parliament: Refugee crisis: present and future EU military operations in the Mediterranean (Press release, pdf):
"The EU military operation against people smugglers in the Mediterranean is about to enter its next phase. After gathering intelligence and setting up the structure, the operation will now focus on arresting traffickers and disabling smugglers vessel. The details of the operation were discussed by MEPs during a meeting of the security and defence subcommittee on 22 September....
At the hearing, Michael Gahler (EPP, Germany) asked what would happen if traffickers were found on "suspicious" ships. Would these ships then be confiscated and sunk to avoid them being used to transport refugees? Answering to Gahler, Wosolsobe said the idea was to put smuggler vessels out of use, but not necessarily destroy them. They could be brought back to European shores.""
European Commission: More Responsibility in managing the refugee crisis: European Commission adopts 40 infringement decisions to make European Asylum System work (pdf) See: 40 EU migrant procedures against 19 countries (ANSA, link): "The European Commission on Wednesday opened 40 infraction procedures on migrants against 19 countries. They are accused of not fully implementing the rules of the common European asylum system, especially in regard to registration and repatriation. Italy was not among the 19.".
European Parliament study: Exploring new avenues for legislation for labour migration to the EU (pdf):
"The paradox between the need for international labour migration to counter the impending demographic crisis in Europe and the lack of commensurate policy
instruments to attract and integrate labour migration from third countries into the EU is one of the key strategic issues for Europe."
EU-USA: Data Protection: American Mass Surveillance of EU citizens: Is the End Nigh? (EU Law Analysis,link):
"Facebook is only a conduit in this case: Schrems real targets are the US government (for requiring Facebook and other Internet companies to hand over personal data to intelligence agencies), as well as the EU Commission and the Irish data protection authority for going along with this. In the Advocate-Generals opinion, the Commissions decision to allow EU citizens data to be subject to mass surveillance in the US is invalid, and the national data protection authorities in the EU must investigate these flows of data and prohibit them if necessary."
CJEU: According to Advocate General Bot, the Commission decision finding that the protection of personal data in the United States is adequate does not prevent national authorities from suspending the transfer of the data of European Facebook subscribers to servers located in the United States (pdf): "The Advocate General considers furthermore that the Commission decision is invalid" and see: Opinion: Full-text (pdf)
Also: Safe Harbor: European Court Advocate General says Agreement should be declared invalid (EDRI, link) and Facebook case may force European firms to change data storage practices (Guardian ,link): "Changes may be required after European court advocate general accuses US intelligence services of mass, indiscriminate surveillance"
UNHCR: 120,000 people the bloc is seeking to share equivalent to just 20 days' worth of arrivals at the current rate .(ekathimerini.com, link)
Germany: Strategic Initiative Technology: We Unveil the BND Plans to Upgrade its Surveillance Technology for 300 Million Euros (netzpolitik.org, link): "Fiberglass tapping, real-time Internet traffic analysis, encryption cracking, computer hacking: Germanys foreign intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst is massively expanding its Internet surveillance capabilities. We publish its secret 300 million Euro investment programme Strategische Initiative Technik. Members of Parliament and civil society criticise the agencys new powers and demand an end of the whopping armament programme."
First Tunisia-EU counter-terrorism dialogue in Tunis (tap.info.tn, link): "he first enhanced political dialogue security and counter-terrorism was held Monday in Tunis, the European Union Delegation to Tunisia said Tuesday. The meeting was attended by Deputy Secretary General at the European External Action Service (EEAS) Christian Leffler and EU Counter-terrorism Co-ordinator Gilles de Kerchove."
EU: Council of the European Union: COUNCIL DECISION establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf)
Commission press release: European Commission Statement following the decision at the Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council to relocate 120,000 refugees (pdf) contains little new detail on what was agreed. 120,000 people are to be relocated over 2 years.
JHA Council enforce migration plan by majority voting: Migrant crisis: EU ministers approve disputed quota plan (BBC News, link):
"EU interior ministers have approved a controversial plan to relocate 120,000 migrants across the continent over the next two years. It will see migrants moved from Italy, Greece and Hungary to other EU countries. Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary voted against accepting mandatory quotas. After the vote, Slovakia's prime minister said he would not accept the new quotas. Finland abstained from the vote. Poland, which had opposed the proposal, voted for it.
The BBC's Europe correspondent Chris Morris said it was highly unusual for an issue like this - which involves national sovereignty - to be decided by majority vote rather than unanimous decision."
Comment: So far the EU has agreed to relocate 40,000 refugees who arrived on or after 15 August 2105 over a 1 year period and now 120,000 over 2 years. But the UNHCR says that : "477,906 people have arrived in Europe via sea so far this year" . The European Commission states that "Syrians, Eritreans, Iraqis" are to be prioritised - which leaves out the tens of thousands who have fled from Afghanistan. The Commission also states that: "Initial screening of asylum applicants [to be] carried out in Greece, Hungary and Italy" - where does this leave the tens of thousands of refugees who already passed through Greece and Italy since March this year?
EU backs refugee plan in teeth of east European opposition (euractiv, link): The European Union approved a plan on Tuesday (22 September) to share out 120,000 refugees across its 28 states, overriding vehement opposition from four ex-communist eastern nations... The Czech minister tweeted that he had voted against, along with colleagues from Slovakia, Romania and Hungary, with Finland abstaining" and EU governments push through divisive deal to share 120,000 refugees: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania vote against the decision to impose quotas, as lack of consensus threatens to feed resentment (Guardian, link) Of the 120,000: A little more than half are to be moved to the rest of the EU from Greece and Italy. The remaining 54,000, initially planned to relieve Hungary, whose government takes the hardest anti-immigration line in the EU and refuses to accept the help, will be reserved for other needy countries on the Balkan migratory route, such as Croatia and Slovenia. If the 54,000 are not resettled within 18 months, more refugees can be moved from Greece and Italy."
EU: Council of the European Union: European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT) 2015 (53 pages.pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Migration crisis : aspects of judicial cooperation and fight against xenophobia - Preparation of the Council meeting (Justice Ministers (LIMITE doc no:11898-15, pdf)
Eurojust supports the frontline Member States by participating in the Hotspots and coordinates its efforts with relevant EU agencies. Currently, Eurojust participates in the Hotspots in Italy (Catania) and Greece (Piraeus) and its further participation in other Hotspots should be strengthened by helping prosecutors on the ground. In this framework, Eurojust should further support host Member States by providing for coordination with other Member States and by assisting, where appropriate, in the setting up of Joint Investigation Team (JIT)."
EU: Council of the European Union: Follow-up to the statement of the Members of the European Council of 12 February 2015 on counter-terrorism: State of play on implementation of measures (LIMITE doc no: 12139-15, pdf):
"the new Hot spot approach developed along the Commission proposals, and especially the EU Regional Task Force in Catania allow Frontex and Europol officers to cooperate on the spot and to make the best possible use of screening and debriefing interviews of migrants."
EU: Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council, Tuesday 22 September 2015, Brussels: Background Note (pdf) and Main Agenda (pdf): Only one item on relocation.
UN Secretary-General statement: Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary- General on the situation facing refugees and migrants in Europe (pdf) "He calls on all European States to ensure that they abide by their international obligations, including the right to seek asylum, and the prohibition of refoulement. All persons must be received with dignity and their human rights must be respected. The Secretary-General has followed with increasing concern the closing of some borders in Europe, as well as the lack of proper reception facilities as well as the increased use of detention and criminalization of irregular migrants and asylum seekers."
Visegrad countries trigger crisis ahead of EU refugee summit (euractiv, link): "Meeting in Prague on Monday (21 September) the so-called Visegrad group Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have once again rejected plans to redistribute asylum-seekers under a quota system proposed by the European Commission."
Hungary approves new anti-migrant powers despite outcry (France 24, link): "Hungary on Monday gave the army drastic new powers to protect its borders, as the UN chief said he was extremely concerned about the treatment of migrants and refugees in overstretched Europe. On the eve of two key European Union meetings, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to leaders across the 28-nation bloc, urging them to show leadership and compassion as the continent grapples with it worst migration crisis since World War II. The secretary-general is extremely concerned about the deteriorating situation facing refugees and migrants arriving across Europe, said a statement in which he expressed concern about European borders being closed, the lack of proper facilities to receive newcomers and the increased use of detention against them.
It also gave troops the right to use rubber bullets, tear gas and net guns at the border "in a non-lethal way, unless it cannot be avoided"." [emphasis added]
EU: European Parliament study: Big Data and smart devices and their impact on privacy (pdf)
"In this context, and focusing on the development of Big Data practices, smart devices and the Internet of Things (IoT), this Study shows that the high degree of opacity of many contemporary data processing activities directly affects the right of the individuals to know what is being done with the data collected about them.
This Study argues that the promotion of a datadriven economy should not underestimate the challenges raised for privacy and personal data protection and that strengthening the rights of digital citizens should be the main focus of the current debates around the GDPR."
UK: MI5 pays UK Muslims to spy on terror suspects - UK intelligence agency has paid up to £2,000 for reports on alleged radical activity (Guardian, link):
"MI5 is paying Muslim informants for controversial short-term spying missions to help avert terrorist attacks by homegrown Islamist extremists.... A source, not from Whitehall but with knowledge of the payments, said: Its been driven by the [intelligence] agencies, its a network of human resources across the country engaged to effectively spy on specific targets. Its decent money.
They did not divulge the number of informants receiving government funding or how much of the agencys national security budget is allocated to such transactions. However, the use of payments to gather information prompted calls for caution from senior figures in the Muslim community, who warned that such transactions could produce tainted intelligence."
EU: Council of the European Union: Directive on the exchange of personal data between law enforcement agencies:
- STATE OF PLAY: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties and the free movement of such data (116 pages, LIMITE doc no: 11972-15, pdf) With 269 Member state positions.
"Delegations will find attached the full text of the Directive in subject. Chapters II, III, VI and VIII will be discussed at the Friends of the Presidency meeting on 21-22 September and Chapters I, IV, V, VII, IX and X in Coreper on 23 September 2015".
- As above Correction (LIMITE doc no: 11972-cor-1-15, pdf)
- Preparation of general approach: Chapters I, IV, V, VII, IX and X (LIMITE doc no: 11978-15, pdf) Note to COREPER. is necessary to put in perspective - the idea is to agree big chunks of the Directive in Coreper next week, and then to go to the October JHA Council.
EU: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive on the fight against fraud to the Union's financial interests by means of criminal law (PIF Directive) - Judgement in case C-105/14 (Taricco) (pdf): European Public Prosecutor is nearer to agreement: The Council and EP may soon be able to agree on the definition of fraud in the PIF Directive. This is likely to speed up work on the proposed European Public Prosecutor and the reform of Eurojust:
"The European Parliament, supported by the Commission, have continued to insist on the inclusion of VAT Fraud in the scope of the Directive, and thus of the deletion of the above-mentioned paragraph. In substance, they have noted that VAT fraud such as carrousel fraud constitutes a major problem as regards criminal attacks against the Union's financial interests that should fall under the responsibility of the future European Public Prosecutor's Office... It appears that the judgment in the Taricco case contributes to clarify the legal situation concerning criminal penalties in relation to VAT fraud, as it is now seems that such fraud is already covered by the PIF Convention."
EU-USA UMBRELLA AGREEMENT ON DATA PROTECTION: A LEAKY UMBRELLA ? (EASFJ, link):
"Given these shortcomings, to me the exultation of the agreement seem premature. The European legal bodies which need to approve the ratification of the agreement, in particular the European Parliament and the parliaments of the Member States are called upon to thoroughly examine the agreement, in particular, its compatibility with the provisions of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Depending on the results of such assessment it might be necessary to renegotiating and caulking the umbrella."
EU: ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS: European Commission: Report on the application in 2014 of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents (pdf) The report notes that:
"The Commission remains by far the institution handling the largest number of both initial and confirmatory requests pursuant to Regulation 1049/2001. The Commission handles more than twice as many requests as the Council and the European Parliament together."
This should come as no surprise as the Commission's public register is hugely incomplete and, remarkably, the register's website only gets 2,750 visits and 3,749 page views a month - the Statewatch European Monitring and Documentation (SEMDOC) covering all Justice and Home Affairs measures since 1993 gets over 50,000 "hits" a month. .
See Statewatch's Observatory FOI in the EU
EU: European Parliament study: A quest for accountability? EU and Member State inquiries into the CIA Rendition and Secret Detention
"The study identifies significant obstacles to further accountability in the five EU Member States [Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and the United Kingdom] under investigation: notably the lack of independent and effective official investigations and the use of the state secrets doctrine to prevent disclosure of the facts, evade responsibility and hinder redress to the victims."
The British family helping thousands of refugees on Lesbos (YouTube, link):"Eric Kempson and his family live on the Greek island of Lesbos. For months they have struggled to give the most basic of humanitarian assistance to thousands of desperate people arriving in boats from Turkey. This is their story."
Multinational border protection teams to be rolled out (euractiv, link): "Given the continuing refugee crisis, the European Commission wants to secure the EU's external borders with a European border surveillance system. Until it can be implemented, Frontex will commit extra personnel.... EU commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told Die Welt on Thursday (17 September), "The Commission will, by the end of the year, put forward a proposal for a European Border Guard System. "The aim is that multinational border guard teams monitor the external borders of the EU...."
EU-USA "Umbrella" agreement on the exchange of personal data: In EU-US data sharing we trust but can we have that in writing, say MEPs Signs of split between EU apparatchiks and elected reps (The Register, link):
"European lawmakers wont blindly accept an EU-US agreement on new data sharing laws without important legal questions being answered and fine print being read, according to several prominent MEPs....Despite the commission presenting the agreement as a done deal, it will not take effect until it is approved by the European Parliament and a Judicial Redress Bill has been signed by the US Congress....
Although the deal would give EU citizens the same rights as Americans to seek judicial redress before US courts if US authorities deny access to, or rectification of, their personal data, those rights are not absolute. Certain types of data are exempt.
However, although welcoming the move towards greater data protection, Green MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht said he would like the text of the agreement to be examined by the parliaments own legal department."
Statewatch obtained the full text of draft, initialled by officials: Agreement between the United States of America and the European Union on the protection of personal information relating to the prevention, investigation, detection, and prosecution of criminal offenses (pdf) And see: Letter from Vera Jourová to Claude Moraes, chair of the civil liberties committee (14 September, pdf): "Let me once again stress that the prerequisite for the signature and conclusion of the Umbrella agreement is the adoption of the Judical Redress Bill by the US Congress." and see: Statement by EU Commissioner Vìra Jourová on the finalisation of the EU-US negotiations on the data protection "Umbrella Agreement" (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: "President Tusk decided to convene an extraordinary, informal meeting of the heads of state or government on Wednesday 23 September 2015 at 18:00 to discuss how to deal with the refugee crisis." (link) This will follow the extra meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers on Tuesday, 22 September 2015.
Will the Council invoke QMV (Qualified Majority Voting) to push through relocation plans? Tusk calls new EU summit on refugees - Countries still deadlocked over plan to relocate asylum-seekers (politico, link) and Germany says majority decision may be needed on refugees - Steinmeier says will be necessary if things don't work otherwise (ANSA, link): "German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier on Friday proposed putting the issue of quotas to redistribute refugees to a majority vote among EU member States to break through the current impasse."
EU: Refugee Crisis: European Parliament: MEPs give go-ahead to relocate an additional 120,000 asylum seekers in the EU (Press release, pdf):
"An emergency proposal to relocate 120,000 asylum seekers from Italy, Greece and Hungary among EU member states was backed by Parliament on Thursday. The first temporary emergency rules for relocating an initial 40,000 over two years from Italy and Greece only were approved by Parliament on 9 September.... Parliament backed the Commission's proposal (without amending it) by 370 votes to 134, with 52 abstentions. It then approved a legislative resolution by 372 votes to 124, with 54 abstentions, informing the Council that this approval is without prejudice to the position it will subsequently take on the proposal establishing a permanent crisis relocation mechanism, on which Parliament will co-decide on an equal footing with the member states."
"Under the Commission proposal, additional 120,000 asylum seekers would be relocated from Italy (15,600), Greece (50,400) and Hungary (54,000). [but] Luxembourg's Minister for Immigration and Asylum,Jean Asselborn, speaking on behalf of the Council's presidency, informed Parliament that "there will be an important change to the initial proposal: Hungary does not consider itself to be a frontline country and it does not want to benefit from the relocation scheme. "
How this plan will be implemented (eg: which refugees/asylum-seekers will qualify) will be decided by the Justice and Home Affairs Council on Tuesday 22 September 2015.
Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Acts in 2014: REPORT OF THE INDEPENDENT REVIEWER ON THE OPERATION OF THE TERRORISM ACT 2000 AND PART 1 OF THE TERRORISM ACT 2006 by DAVID ANDERSON Q.C. Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, SEPTEMBER 2015 and see:
Counter-extremism bill could play into terrorists' hands, says watchdog - Independent reviewer David Anderson QC says proposed legislation could lead to backlash from Muslim communities (Guardian, link)
Migrant crisis: UN 'shocked' over clashes in Hungary (BBC News, link):
"UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said he is "shocked" after Hungarian police fired tear gas and water cannon to force migrants back from its border. Mr Ban said such treatment of asylum seekers was "unacceptable". Hundreds were involved in clashes at the Hungary-Serbia border on Wednesday, trying to breach a razor-wire fence."
CoE: Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on Luxembourg (link):
"The report notes that most of the detained persons met by the CPT did not report any ill-treatment by the police. However, a number of allegations were received of verbal abuse and excessively tight handcuffing. As regards safeguards against ill-treatment, the CPT recommendations to the Luxembourg authorities include that all persons detained by the police be given access to a lawyer from the very outset of their deprivation of liberty....
the CPT calls upon the authorities to put an end to the practice of handcuffing detained persons to fixed objects and recommends that each police establishment be equipped with premises suitable for detention. The security cells in police stations, "cages" measuring less than 2m², should no longer be used as facilities for questioning suspects or for prolonged detention."
UK: Attorney General refuses to say whether UK has blanket drone policy (Reprieve, link):
"The British Attorney General has today refused to say whether the Government has a blanket or case-by-case policy on carrying out targeted killings in countries with whom the UK is not at war. Jeremy Wright was answering questions from MPs on the Justice Select Committee, who questioned him over the UKs adoption of a US-style drone programme, as recently announced by the Prime Minister.
However, Mr Wright refused to give further details on the nature of the legal advice he had provided to his Government."
USA: Government Accountability Office (GAO): CONFIDENTIAL INFORMANTS: Updates to Policy and Additional Guidance Would Improve Oversight by DOJ and DHS Agencies (pdf)
"five of the eight components policies are not fully consistent with the Guidelines provisions for overseeing informants illegal activities. For example, the Guidelines require agencies to document certain information when authorizing an informant to participate in an activity that would otherwise be considered illegal (e.g., purchasing illegal drugs from someone who is the target of a drug-trafficking investigation)."
EU: Refugee crisis: Turning point for Europe: humanity remembered by Monish Bhatia and Ann Singleton (Open Democracy, link):
"Both governments and ordinary people should respond to the humanitarian crisis with a renewed sense of humanity... Last week the public and media became aware, through one image across Europe (and the world) of the plight of people fleeing for their lives. Within the UK this image produced an awakening after months and years of warnings about the consequences of policy failures, wars and discrimination against migrants. Evidence of the catastrophic failures of UK and EU migration policies, which are based solely on immigration control, borders and security, have been disbelieved or treated with scepticism by policy makers, officials and many academics."
U.N. chief 'shocked' by treatment of migrants on Hungary-Serbia border (Yahoo Newes, link):
""I was shocked to see how these refugees and migrants were treated, it's not acceptable," Ban told a news conference. "All the countries have their domestic problems, but since they are the people fleeing the wars and persecutions, then we must show our compassionate leadership," he said. "First and foremost we have to provide life-saving assistance and shelter and ... sanitation, then we can discuss how they should be treated, accommodated," Ban said."
Justice and Home Affairs Council, 22/09/2015 (link): "The Council will start at 14:30. Ministers will continue discussions on migration. They will focus on the Commission proposal for the emergency relocation of 120 000 persons in need of international protection from member states exposed to massive migratory flows to other EU member states." and Parliament fast-tracks vote on 120,000 refugee relocation plan (pdf)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (27 items, 16.09.15)
EU: DATA RETENTION: European Commission: European Commission statement on national data retention laws (Press release, pdf):
"We have seen press reports suggesting that the European Commission is threatening to take Germany to court over concerns regarding its national data retention law.
As the European Commission has repeatedly said since the European Court of Justice annulled the EU Data Retention Directive: the decision of whether or not to introduce national data retention laws is a national decision. The European Commission has no intention to go back on this statement or reopen old discussions.
We are aware that data retention is often the subject of a very sensitive, ideological debate and that sometimes there can be a temptation to draw the European Commission into these debates. The European Commission is not ready to play this game."
EU: SMART BORDERS: euLISA (European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice): Smart Borders Pilot Interim Report on the technical conclusions of the Pilot project (190 pagers, pdf) The Council asked for a detailed report on the "Smart Borders" initiative:
"The COM-led Technical Study (the first step of the Proof of Concept) identified the suitable options and solutions for the Smart Borders package to be tested during the Pilot. The aim of the Pilot (the second step of Proof of Concept) carried out by eu-LISA is to verify the feasibility of the proposed options and validate the selected concepts for both automated and manual border controls in operational environments with real travellers across Europe by November 2015." [emphasis added]
See also: Borderline: The EU's New Border Surveillance Initiatives: Assessing the Costs and Fundamental Rights Implications of EUROSUR and the "Smart Borders" Proposals (pdf)
Germany piles on the pressure in refugee talks (euobserver, link): "Chancellor Angela Merkel, together with Austria's Werner Faymann, called for an emergency summit of EU leaders next week to address the crisis at the highest level, a few hours after her interior minister hinted at cuts in EU funding for countries opposed to sharing refugees." and: EU interior ministers will meet again on 22 September, the Luxembourg presidency of the EU Council announced. The aim will be "a decision on a provisional mechanism for the relocation of 120,000 people in need of international protection", it said in a statement, after ministers failed to agree on Monday.
EU-USA: Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) Agreement: Europol Joint Supervisory Body: Europol JSB inspection of the implementation of the [EU-USA] TFTP Agreement (pdf):
"The JSB restates that, in view of the nature of the TFTP and the scope of the agreement there is a massive, regular, data transfer from the EU to the US. There is a clear tension between the idea of limiting the amount of data to be transmitted by tailoring and narrowing the requests and the nature of the TFTP."
EU: Deflecting Responsibility to Protect Refugees (HRW, link)" Lack of Consensus on Mandatory Relocation; Shift Focus to Countries Outside EU... Faced with Europes biggest refugee crisis since the collapse of Yugoslavia, EU governments can only agree to push responsibility to countries outside the Union, said Judith Sunderland, associate Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. The EU is supposed to have a Common European Asylum System, yet EU governments cant even agree on how to share responsibility for those in need of refuge."
Report on: Justice and Home Affairs Council: agreement on strengthening Fortress Europe Update (16.9.15):
The Decision to relocate 40,000 refugees is effective only for those who:
"have arrived or are arriving on the territory of those Member States [Greece and Italy"] as from 15 August 2015 until 16 September 2017"
Both the European Commission and the European Parliament wanted the relocation programme to run from April 2015. The Council Decision to only start tjhe programme from 15 August 2015 excludes hundreds of thousands of refugees who arrived before this date. It would appear that the Council only wants to include those who will be caught by the new "hotspots" being set up in Greece and Italy where all new arrivals will be fingerprinted and registered. (Press release, 14.9.15: Relocation of 40 000 refugees from Greece and ltaly agreed by Council pdf)
There are a plethora of documents and statements from the Council of the European Union on the refugee crisis - the clearest guide to the their coercive thinking on creating "hotspots" for registration and fingerprinting, accelerated asylum procedures, "returns" and more see: Migration: EU action, state of play and next steps (Doc no: 11782-1-15, 11 September 2015, pdf)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council: agreement on strengthening Fortress Europe
News coverage of yesterday's Justice and Home Affairs Council has focused on the Council's agreement to relocate 40,000 refugees, and its failure to agree the relocation of a further 120,000 refugees. While the issue of relocation may have proved problematic for the EU's Member States, conclusions issued by the Luxembourg Presidency show that they are broadly in agreement on a whole host of other migration policies.
See also: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
EU-USA 'UMBRELLA AGREEMENT' ON DATA PROTECTION: FULL TEXT
The European Parliament's civil liberties committee will later today (15 September) be updated by a Commission official on the finalisation of the EU-US negotiations on the data protection "Umbrella Agreement". Statewatch has obtained the full text of draft, initialled by officials: Agreement between the United States of America and the European Union on the protection of personal information relating to the prevention, investigation, detection, and prosecution of criminal offenses (pdf)
And see: Letter from Vera Jourová to Claude Moraes, chair of the civil liberties committee (14 September, pdf): "Let me once again stress that the prerequisite for the signature and conclusion of the Umbrella agreement is the adoption of the Judical Redress Bill by the US Congress."
The meeting will be broadcast live: Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (link)
EU: Chinese to Schengen countries to submit biometric data (Xinhua, link): "The European Union's delegation to China recently announced that Schengen nations will require Chinese visa applicants to provide biometric data beginning Oct 12." See: Visa Information System to start operations in China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea and Taiwan on 12 October 2015 (Statewatch News Online, June 2015)
EU: MED CRISIS: Germany reintroduces border controls; latest news updates from across Europe
Germany has reintroduced border controls in response to the number of migrants and refugees travelling to the country. The border with Austria is the main focus, and all train travel between Austria and Germany has been halted. The European Commission has said that Germany's decision "underlines the urgency to agree on the measures proposed by the European Commission in order to manage the refugee crisis."
EU: Extraordinary meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council to discuss Mediterranean crisis: official documents
The Justice and Home Affiars Council (interior and justice ministers of EU Member States) is meeting today to discuss the EU response to the ongoing migration crisis. Here you can find official documents related to the meeting, both public and leaked.
EU privacy watchdog planning international board on tech ethics (EurActiv, link): "The EU's Data Protection Supervisor made an unexpected move today (11 September) by releasing an opinion on technology and ethics, aimed to fill in gaps in consumer protection rules left unaddressed by the ongoing EU privacy reforms." See the opinion: Towards a new digital ethics: dignity, data and technology (pdf) and EDPS press release (pdf)
UK-EU: UNDERCOVER POLICING: What to consider before making a submission to the Pitchford Inquiry (Undercover Research Group, link): "Have you had an encounter with an undercover copper as part of your political activism? The Pitchford Inquiry is an opportunity for that story to be heard as part of a wider investigation into the targeting of protest by undercover police. We explain the practicalities of what this means and of how you can get involved." See also: Netpol calls for activists to participate in public inquiry into undercover policing (Netpol, link)
And: Police teaching teachers about "domestic extremism": Police tell teachers to beware of green activists in counter-terrorism talk (tes, link)
EU: End mass snooping and protect whistleblowers, MEPs yell at EU (The Register, link): "The European Parliament on Tuesday voted to adopt the conclusions of a report as a non-legally binding resolution that defends encryption, anonymity and digital freedom."
Full report, as adopted: Human rights and technology: the impact of intrusion and surveillance systems on human rights in third countries (pdf) and how MEPS voted (VoteWatch Europe, link)
EU: Court of Justice: UK and Ireland can participate in Eurosur
The Court of Justice of the EU has ruled against a petition from Spain that called for halting the participation of the UK and Ireland in the European Border Surveillance System (Eurosur). See: Judgment of the Court (Case C-44/14, 8 September 2014) (pdf) and Tribunal UE permite a Londres participar en Eurosur pese a rechazo de España [EU court allows London to participate in Eurosur despite Spain's protests] (La Vanguardia, link)
EU aid arrives and so does fingerprinting: Report from Lesvos: Meeting with the Mayor: "A new center in a football pitch with 40 computers that can take fingerprints checked via Interpol and register the migrant/refugees. This center will operate for a week on a 24/7 basis. They will take people to the centre by bus then get on the ship to Athens. The second part of the plan is to organise 3 new centres, one in Mytilene, one in Kapi Lesvos (NE of Lesbos) and one in Petra where they will register the refugees and also they will also use as departing harbour Sigri which is nearer to the mainland and the trips could be faster."
Refugees forced to scramble for food by police in Hungary (Guardian, link): "PM says Hungary facing a rebellion by illegal migrants as officers filmed throwing sandwiches towards desperate crowds at centre in Röszke" and see Packed In A Dinghy With Syria's Refugees (Sky News, link): Remarkable video on the crossing from Assos in Turkey to Lesvos, including attempted interception by Turkish coastguard boat and shots were fired into the air - but the dinghy crosses into Greek waters.
HUNGARY: Refugees encounter prisoners building Hungary's border fence video Guardian, link): "Refugees entering Hungary witness the building of the countrys new border fence with Serbia. Hungary has pressed on with the fence, which is due to be finished in October, as authorities move to restrict illegal entry next week. The fence is being built by prisoners along the 109 mile border with Hungarys former Yugoslavian neighbour"
AUSTRIA: New spy agencies would have vast powers (The Local.at, link): "Austrias parliament is due to vote next month on whether to create ten new surveillance agencies with wide-ranging powers to spy on organisations and individuals."
Denmark says it already has 'fair share' of refugees (euobserver, link): "Denmark will not take part in a mandatory distribution of asylum seekers, as suggested by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Danish integration minister Inger Stoejberg said. She told told Danish news agency Ritzau on Friday (11 September) that an informal distribution of refugees is already taking place across Europe and that Denmark has granted asylum to 'a fair share' of them."
EU-USA "Umbrella agreement" on the exchange of personal data: EPIC Pursues Public Release of EU-US Agreement on Data Transfers
EPIC has filed an expedited FOIA request to obtain a secret agreement between US and EU law enforcement agencies concerning the transfer of personal data. Citing legislation pending in Congress and NGO concern about the scope of the data protection safeguards, EPIC said "there is an urgency to inform the public" about the contents of the agreement. EPIC has pursued numerous FOIA cases and routinely made the information obtained available to Congress and the public. The agency has 10 days to respond to EPIC's request about the law enforcement "umbrella agreement."
And see: Statement by EU Commissioner Vìra Jourová on the finalisation of the EU-US negotiations on the data protection "Umbrella Agreement"
Brussels, 8-9-15 (pdf) and Commission: Q & A (pdf) plus:
Germany: The Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information: A welcome step but still only a little piece of the puzzle. (pdf): "Given that the negotiations were not public, it is not possible at this stage to come to a final assessment of the agreement from a data protection point of view.
Details relating to retention periods and to data protection supervision are not yet known. In addition, for the implementation of the right to action under this Agreement, the Congress still has to adopt a Bill guaranteeing Europeans in the US access to judicial redress which is equivalent to the redress to which US-citizens are entitled in Europe."
And see: EU-US data protection "Umbrella Agreement" - Commission Services Non-Paper on state of play of negotiations (April 2014: Doc no: 8761-15, pdf)
Includes: "The two sides agree that: "the agreement will be without prejudice to transfers or other forms of cooperation between US and Member State's competent authorities responsible for safeguarding national security" and in addition in relation to the whole agreement: "Directive n. 12 specifies that the agreement shall be without prejudice to the activities in the field of national security" - this alone should undermine any acceptable agreement."
European Commission: Returns Handbook: Full text (106 pages, pdf):
"The content of this handbook deals essentially with standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals and is based on EU legal instruments regulating this issue (in particular the Return Directive 2008/115/EC)."
Humanitarian crisis: News (10.9.15)
Danish police: Refugees can travel on to Sweden (The Local.dk, link): "The Danish National Police said on Thursday that arriving refugees and migrants will now be allowed to pass through Denmark on the way to Sweden."
Denmark-Germany trains resume amid influx (The Local.de, link): "Denmark's train operator said early Thursday it expected rail traffic across the German border to resume later in the day, after police ordered services to be suspended due to an influx of migrants. "
New spike in refugees entering Austria (The Local.at, link): "Austria witnessed a new spike in migrant numbers overnight with more than 3,000 people crossing unimpeded from Hungary, authorities said on Thursday."
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: RIGHTS OF THE DATA SUBJECT: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) - Chapter III, preparation for trilogue (106 pages, LIMITE doc no 11696-15, pdf) Multicolumn: Commission proposal, positions of Council and the European Parliament and "compromise"
UK: INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY COMMITTEE OF PARLIAMENT: That Sir Alan Duncan, Mr Dominic Grieve, Mr George Howarth, Fiona Mactaggart, Angus Robertson, Mr Keith Simpson and Ms Gisela Stuart be appointed to the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament under Section 1 of the Justice and Security Act 2013.
Refugee crisis: Europe's leading newspapers urge governments to act now in open letter - Europe must show that it is built on the principles of solidarity, equality and liberty (Independent, link):"Our leaders must show courage and insight if they are not to fail this test of our shared European civilization. We need to act, and we need to act now:
Bernd Ulrich, Die Zeit, Germany, Ezio Mauro, La Repubblica, Italy, Antonio Caño, El Paìs, Spain, Johan Hufnagel and Laurent Joffrin Libération, France, Amol Rajan, The Independent, UK, Oliver Duff, i, UK, Lisa Markwell, The Independent on Sunday, UK, Christian Broughton, independent.co.uk, Andreas Paraschos, Kathimerini, Cypres, András Murányi, Népszabadság, Hungary, Matú Kostolný, Denník N, Slovakia, , Adam Michnik, Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland, Jan Helin, Aftonbladet, Sweden
Christian Jensen, Information, Denmark, Anna B. Jenssen, Morgenbladet, Norway"
EU: HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Council of the European Union encouraging MS to use more entry bans (dated 8 September 2015): Draft Council Conclusions on alerts in the SIS for the purpose of refusing entry and stay pursuant to Article 24 of the SIS II Regulation upon a return decision (doc no: 11648-15, pdf). The document notes:
"At its meeting on 25 and 26 June 2015, the European Council concluded that "Member States will fully implement the Return Directive, making full use of all measures it provides to ensure the swift return of irregular migrants; return decisions issued by the Member States will be introduced in the Schengen Information System" [emphasis added]
The Council wants a "new legislative package" but in "short-term" want to use a "soft law" (non-binding, but enabling) set of Council "Conclusions" and:
"The Permanent Representatives Committee is invited to confirm agreement on the draft Council Conclusions as set out in the Annex and to submit them to the Council (Justice and Home Affairs) on 14 September 2015 for adoption as an A point."
Statewatch notes that: "A Points" are nodded through without debate.
EU: Council of the European Union: Migration: EU action and state of play (dated 9 September 2015, LIMITE doc no: 11782-15, pdf) including:
(8) those "claiming for asylum have to be immediately channelled into an asylum procedure relying on the EASO support teams. Registration and fingerprinting of migrants have to be closely linked to effective return policies for those who do not need protection. Frontex will help Member States by coordinating the return of irregular migrants.
(9) The deficiencies of the current system of fingerprinting, whereby incoming migrants claiming asylum cannot be forced to give their fingerprints, should be addressed by fully using or eventually amending relevant asylum legislation. In the meantime, the guidelines to facilitate the systematic taking of fingerprints as agreed by Member States should be followed thoroughly, including, if necessary, through the application of Article 15 of the Return Directive on detention." and notes that Stage 2 of EUNAVFOR is ready and:
"the next phase of the operation, focusing on conducting boarding, search, seizure and diversion on the high seas of vessels suspected of being used for human
smuggling or trafficking"
Statewatch comments: It is not clear that the Council is aware, despite the Stage 1 intelligence-gathering, that only refugees are in the boats crossing into Greece from Turkey and that the motorised rubber-dinghies are destroyed after everyone is safely ashore.
CZECH REPUBLIC: Deputy PM calls for Mediterranean Shield to sink empty smugglers ships (Prague Post, link):
"NATO should start a naval operation in the Mediterranean that should sink people smugglers ships and protect the Turkish border, Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babi said today. Babi said he wanted to discuss the issue with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg who will come for a two-day visit to the Czech Republic this afternoon. I want to call on Stoltenberg to start the operation. With its joint forces, NATO should protect the Turkish border and the Mediterranean. It should sink the smugglers empty ships and help in further operations against the dangerous criminals and murderers whose business is threatening both the refugees and Europe, Babi wrote in a press release."
Statewatch comments: The Czech Minister seems to be unaware that only refugees are in the boats crossing into Greece from Turkey and that the motorised rubber-dinghies are destroyed after everyone is safely ashore.
(9.9.15) European Commission proposals on refugee-migrant crisis
Press release: Refugee Crisis: European Commission takes decisive action (pdf): "the European Commission is today putting forward a comprehensive package of proposals which will help address the refugee crisis."
Commission Recommendation of XXX establishing a common "Return Handbook" to be used by Member States' competent authorities when carrying out return related tasks (3 pages, pdf)
EU Action Plan on return (15 pages, COM 453-15, pdf)
Addressing the Refugee Crisis in Europe: The Role of EU External Action (JOIN 40-15, pdf)
Communication: Public Procurement rules in connection with the current asylum crisis (COM 454-15, pdf)
Proposal for a Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy, Greece and Hungary (28 pages, pdf)
Annexes: accompanying the Proposal for a Council decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy, Greece and Hungary (22 pages, COM(2015) 451 - ANNEXES 1 to 4, pdf)
Proposal for a establishing a crisis relocation mechanism (23 pages, COM 450-15, pdf)
Annex: Regulation to establishing a crisis relocation mechanism and amending Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third country national or a stateless person (Annex to: COM 450-15, pdf)
Proposal for a establishing an EU common list of safe countries of origin for the purposes of Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection, and amending Directive 2013/32/EU (COM 452-15, pdf): " the
European Commission has come to the conclusion that Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo* , Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey are safe countries of origin within the meaning of Directive 2013/32/EU and should be included in the EU common list of safe countries of origin." [emphasis added]
Annex to: common list of safe countries of origin: above (COM 452-15 Annex 1, pdf)
Refugee Crisis: European Commission takes decisive action - Questions and answers (pdf)
Dated:: 9.9.15: EU: Humanitarian emergency: European Parliament: JOINT MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION: on migration and refugees in Europe: on behalf of the EPP Group; on behalf of the S&D Group; on behalf of the ALDE Group; Judith Sargentini, Ska Keller, Jean Lambert, Ulrike Lunacek, Bodil; Valero, Philippe Lamberts, Benedek Jávor, Bart Staes, Margrete Auken; on behalf of the Greens/EFA Group (pdf):
"not to sanction those who voluntarily help migrants on humanitarian grounds, including carriers by asking the Commission to consider revising Council Directive 2001/51/EC; takes note of the EUNAVFOR Med operation against smugglers and traffickers in the Mediterranean;
Regrets that the leaders of some Member States and the far right parties are using the current situation to fuel anti-migration sentiments while blaming the EU for the crisis, leads to growing numbers of violent actions against migrants."
See also: European Council (15-16 October 2015) - Annotated draft agenda (pdf): "Further to the Commission proposals and to the intensive work undertaken at the JHA Council on 14 September and 8/9 October, the European Council will hold a substantial discussion on migration in all its aspects. In this context, it will also take stock of the preparations for the Valletta Summit and the follow-up to the June European Council conclusions on a high-level conference on the Western Balkans route."
GREECE: EXCLUSIVE: Migrants claim rogue Greek coastguard are ROBBING them at gunpoint and puncturing their dinghies in the Mediterranean (Mail Online, link):
- Migrants claim that they have have been robbed of their life possessions while on the perilous crossing to Greece by pirates
- They claim that the masked, armed men may be a rogue element of the Greek coastguard and claim their descriptions fit
- The UNHCR, Doctors Without Borders and Save the Children are told MailOnline they are looking into the claims
- Greek coastguard deny the claim, adding pirates are 'posing as authorities'... but admitted last month that one was a government employee
See also: The writing was on the wall (Statewatch)
EU: Humanitarian emergency: EU refugeee crisis: The time has come to act (pdf) Statement of the European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly
"In recent days we have seen several Member States, many ordinary citizens, and civil society groups demonstrating remarkable and humbling leadership as they welcome refugees to their communities.
EU institutions and all Member States must now take their cues from those citizens and act to alleviate the immediate suffering. The EU must use its immense diplomatic, economic and moral capacity to find ways to tackle the wider issues of Middle Eastern security."
EU: MED: Humanitarian emergency: Council of the European Union discusses response in run-up to the Valletta Summit on 11-12 November 2015: Possible elements for the Outcome Document for Valletta - annotated version (LIMITE doc no 11534-15, pdf)
and see: Non-paper from the European External Action Service: Valletta Summit on Migration (11-12 November 2015) - Possible elements for the outcome document (LIMITE doc no: 10908-15, pdf)
Also: Dimitris AVRAMOPOULOS: Brussels, 01 06. 2015 Ares(2015) 2397724: Letter to Ministers (pdf)
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "These documents offer little that has not been agreed before. They speak of "tackling the root causes of "irregular" migration" which are clear to all as being war, persecution and poverty. They call for increasing efforts to get African countries to sign up to readmission agreements to support a forced returns policy to the country of origin or transit state - and there seems to be an unbelievable reluctance to accept that most people do not want to be returned from the countries they have fled which could, in many cases, to be deemed refoulement.
The absolute need at this time is for an effective humanitarian aid and civil protection programme, not the creation of so-called "hotspots" charged with the rapid processing of asylum applications in order to effect a quick "returns" policy - under the watchful eyes of Frontex and Europol."
and see: EU's refugee plan: how does it work? (ekathimerini.com) EU plans with figures
UK: Ministers drew up 'kill' list of British jihadis fighting with Isis in Syria - National Security Council meeting considered list of targets that went beyond Reyaad Khan, who was killed in RAF drone strike last month (Guardian, link)
EU, US ink 'umbrella agreement', ensures data protection between authorities (CBR, link): "Deal protects personal data exchanged between police and judicial authorities. The EU and the US have reportedly signed on the dotted lines to protect personal data shared for law enforcement purposes, including terrorism investigations." and see: German Data Protection Commissioners Call for Improvements to the General Data Protection Regulation (link)
Migrant crisis: Greece acts over Lesbos 'explosion' fears (BBC News, link): "he Greek government and the UN refugee agency have brought in extra staff and ships to deal with some 25,000 stranded migrants on the island of Lesbos. A processing centre has been also set up on an abandoned football ground to help the migrants to get to Athens. A Greek minister said on Monday Lesbos was "on the verge of an explosion". Meanwhile, hundreds of migrants broke through police lines on Hungary's border with Serbia and started walking towards the capital, Budapest. The migrants faced down pepper spray used by police as they broke out of a holding centre in a cornfield and marched down a motorway towards Budapest. They later agreed to be taken by bus to another reception centre."
And: LESVOS-GREECE: New migrant clashes on Lesvos as EU chief warns exodus could last years (ekathimerini.com, link): "Fresh clashes erupted between police and migrants on the Greek island of Lesvos Tuesday, the latest flashpoint of the crisis shaking Europe as EU President Donald Tusk warned the refugee exodus could last for years. With authorities warning Lesvos was on the verge of explosion, a dozen or so coastguards and riot police armed with batons struggled overnight to control some 2,500 migrants in the island's main port, screaming keep back as the crowds surged towards a government-chartered ferry bound for Athens."
SPAIN: It's time Spain learnt some lessons from its own Civil War refugees (The Local.es, link): "When Alberto Letona sees images of Syrian refugees he can't help think of his own family, who 80 years ago fled the Spanish civil war and sought refuge with strangers.... My mother was only a little Basque girl of seven when General Franco and his troops rebelled against the democratically elected government of the Spanish Republic. It was 1936 and the Spanish Civil War would go on for almost three years with a death toll of half million and further 450,000 fleeing into exile.
"We are ashamed" Statement on the desperate situation in the Mediterranean: "The EU is behaving shamefully": It is time for the European Parliament to act: for circulation and joining in support
"In August four of us, from Statewatch and the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control, visited Lesvos where we were horrified to see the situation for refugees deteriorate day by day, with no sign of effective intervention 'on the ground' from International Organisations or the governments of the European Union.
The trip made us ashamed of the EU's response, but applies equally to the whole situation caused by EU member states and EU policies, in the Mediterranean, the Balkans, Middle East and Africa:
The MEPs should show leadership in this crisis by insisting that the other EU institutions develop an effective humanitarian protection policy on arrival for refugees , and create EU-wide legal channels to be open to migrants (the initiatives are so far limited to the highly skilled and seasonal migrants), by the end of the year. If they do not do so, then the EP should censure the Commission (ejecting it from office) and shut down the Council and European Council, by blocking all funding for their administration. If the parliament does not act now it will be meaningless to hold further elections."
To sign the Statement (pdf) please send an email with Support "We are ashamed" statement in the subject line to: email@example.com Please sign up as: an organisation/group or your name (group) or as an individual
Report from Lesvos by Fiona O'Malley (7.9.15):" The beach near Eftalou, Lesvos...Groups of around 50 or 60, packed into black rubber dinghies, have been making the trip from Turkey to Lesvos every day for the last eight months or so."
Migrant crisis: UN calls for emergency evacuation of 17,000 refugees on Lesbos (trendolizer.com, link)
EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Greece asks EU for humanitarian aid to cope with migration crisis (ekathimerini.com, link)
"Greece asked the European Union on Monday for humanitarian aid to help it cope with what it called "a volatile situation" following the large flow of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa onto its shores.
It requested the EU activate its civil protection mechanism, the bloc's crisis-response body, to provide staff, medical and pharmaceutical supplies, clothes and equipment, the Interior Ministry said."
See: EU Civil Protection Mechanism (link)
Cameron authorised targeted airstrike in Syria in August - Politics live (Guardian, link) and Syria: refugees and counter-terrorism - Prime Minister's statement (gov, link)
Migrant crisis: UN calls for emergency evacuation of 17,000 refugees on Lesbos (link):"Thousands of refugees are crammed in squalid conditions on Aegean island, waiting for papers from Greek authorities to travel to mainland "
UK: Striking workers may have to identify themselves to police, carry a letter of authorisation and wear an armband under proposed reforms (independent, link): "Every worker wanting to join a strike picket could be forced to identify themselves to police, carry a letter of authorisation and wear an armband, under proposed reforms to trade union laws that could be in breach of international agreements, human rights groups have warned."
LESVOS-GREECE: Two arrested for hurling homemade bombs at refugee tents on Lesvos (ekathimerini.com, link):
"As tensions rise on Lesvos, police on Sunday arrested two teenagers for hurling homemade petrol bombs at tents set up by refugees near the port of the eastern Aegean island, injuring a 30-year-old Syrian man.
Also on Sunday, police using riot batons clashed with refugees beating one unconscious and leaving several others injured, reports said. One person was taken away in ambulance, according to the same reports."
EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Hungarian Parliament toughens laws on border crossing (Budapest Business Journal, link):
"In a parliamentary session begun this morning [Friday], MPs voted on a package of laws early this afternoon that would include stronger penalties for illegal crossings of the Hungarian border, with 140 voting in favor and 33 voting against...detailing the role of the army and police in safeguarding Hungary's borders in the event of a declaration of a state of emergency.
The amendments passed in Parliament today includes revisions to the Penal Code that will treat illegal border crossings, the damage, or the obstruction of the construction of the border fence punishable as a separate crime. The law will also expedite the asylum procedure of refugees and make it more efficient, broaden the defense of the countrys borders, establish provisions for setting up transit zones on the country's borders, and tighten penalties leveled at people smugglers." and Refugee crisis: Hungary may deploy military to southern border, says PM Viktor Orban (Independent, link)
GREECE: Baby migrant boy found dead on coast of Agathonisi, Greek coast guard says (ekathimerini.com, link): "A newborn migrant boy was found dead early on Saturday after his parents reached the steep shores of the Greek island of Agathonisi in a boat from Turkey, the Greek coastguard service said. The baby boy was taken to hospital on the nearby island of Samos, where he was pronounced dead."ope with its heart open?"
Exclusive: the regrets of French agent who sank the Rainbow Warriorl (mediapart, link): "The French naval frogman who sank the Greenpeace boat Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand in July 1985, causing the death of photographer Fernando Pereira, has spoken publicly for the first time. Jean-Luc Kister, who was ordered to sink the boat that took part in protests against France's nuclear tests in the Pacific, has given a long interview to Mediapart's editor-in-chief, Edwy Plenel, the journalist who broke the story of French involvement in the attack 30 years ago. This interview is published simultaneously with a public apology given by Kister on New Zealand state television."
EU-ISF:GREECE: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Closing the borders, identifying all migrants/refguees and dealing with "potential radical or extremism groups": The EU Internal Security Fund plan for Greek border control under the EU external borders fund - Greece: National programme (49 pages, pdf)
"Indicatively EBF has funded the purchase of land and sea patrol means and equipment such as thermal cameras and fingerprint scanners.... the procurement of special smart devices equipped with face identification, contemporary surveillance devices for digital recording, transmission of information and fingerprint scanners, could transform any kind of simple patrol to smart patrol policing." and
"in order to ensure effective management of the external maritime borders, in particular at critical area of Eastern Aegean. An investment plan, assisted with adequate technology, is scheduled to step up the surveillance capacity in that region. Investments will integrate with the Frontex sea border operations... The maintenance of high level of security in both Greece and European Union as well as the effective prevention and suppression of radicalization towards terrorism and violent extremism could be addressed through the coordination and cooperation between law enforcement authorities and other national authorities in Greece, including Europol.." and:
"The newly established Intelligence Management and Analysis Division aims at implementing an intelligence-led policing model so as to enhance the coordination between the concerned agencies and the detection of internal security threats at local and national level. Another action which could address the gaps mentioned in baseline, is to identify and register all places of gatherings of potential radical or extremism groups such as worship areas, cultural and artistic heritage places in the Greek territory and depict them in a GIS platform, giving the ability for further process of these large amount of data, providing demographic information with specific patterns. One of the latest techniques to do so is to use Visualization Tools, since one can recognize patterns in a graphic display at just a glance. The confidential content of collected data and the output of analysis, require high level of protection on behalf of Hellenic Police, in order to minimize the possibilities of potential leak." [epmphasis added]
EU: CRISIS: Letter from Hollande and Merkel to Monsieur Donald TUSK President du Conseil europeen, Monsieur Jean-Claude JUNCKER President de la Commission europeenne and Monsieur Xavier BETTEL Premier ministre du Luxembourg (3 September. pdf):
"the creation of Home dtspositifs ("hotspots") in Italy and Greece should be accelerated to ensure as soon as possible (identification, recording, notes the fingerprint of migrants, the determination of the need for protection International and, if necessary, return to the country of origin. This should be fully operational at the latest before the end of the taxation year. The Commission and the European Union of competent agencies will formulate all the necessary support. Germany and France are willing to contribute their expertise in this context, the Commission should be ready to study the creation of new reception facilities in other Member States....
European Union should continue and expand its efforts to dismantle the criminal networks trafficking in human beings. In this context, cooperation with key partners, in particular Turkey, but also I'Egypte, Tunisia and Niger, should be reinforced in order to improve the management of the borders and to implement effective measures to control and curb irregular migration."
Refugees are Also Migrants. And All Migrants Matter (bordercriminologies, link): "The recent debate over word choice has taken turns that undermine humanitarian principles and cloud the view of how migration is unfolding."
HASTA CUANDO TOLERAREMOS LAS GUERRAS DESATADAS POR LA CRUEL EUROPA CONTRA LOS PUEBLOS DEL TERCER MUNDO, CONTRAS SUS MUJERES, SUS HOMBRES, SUS NIÑOS Y NIÑAS ! WHEN TO TOLERATE THE WARS unleashed by EUROPE AGAINST CRUEL Third World peoples, against their wives, MEN, THEIR CHILDREN ...! (link) with telling images and.
EJK - Lost Souls (YouTube, link) Images from Mytilene, Greece
LONDON: Refugees Welcome Here - National Day Of Action, Saturday 12 September: Marble Arch 12.00 then Rally at Downing Street 2pm (link)
KOS: Refugees attacked 'with bats', stun grenades in Greece (The Turkish Weekly, link): "Authorities in Greece have used stun grenades on refugees in Mytilene port, while in Kos island, reports of attacks on asylum seekers by a group calling them to go home have emerged, local media and a human rights organization said Friday. On Friday morning, Greek Coast Guard and police used stun grenades to control thousands of refugees, mostly Afghans, in the port of Mytilene, local media said. Around 1,000 Afghans had allegedly tried to occupy Blue Star 1 ferry at the port, shouting "Athens- Athens". After the use of force on the refugees, the ferry eventually managed to sail away from the port, Greek media said."
EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Agreed text of Council decision on relocation of refugees from Italy & Greece, to be adopted officially on 14 September 2105: Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and of Greece (pdf): and see: EP: Report: On the proposal for a Council decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf) Ska Keller MEP (Rapporteur)
GREECE: US removes November 17 group from terrorist list (ekathimerini.com, link):"he US State Department has removed November 17 from Washingtons list of terrorist organizations. The State Department revealed that Secretary of State John Kerry decided on August 24 that the terrorist group, which murdered 23 people between 1975 and 2002, should no longer be included among international terrorist organizations"
EU: HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Migrants refuse to leave train near Hungary camp (BBC News, link) Migrants thinking they were going to Germany refuse to get off train and go to a "camp" to be "registered"- recalling historical parallels
EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS the "military" operation enters 2 phase: Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the joint press conference with Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, following the Informal meeting of EU Ministers of Defence, Luxembourg, 3 September 2015 (pdf):
"Now the operation has fulfilled all the military objectives of Phase one, that were related to the collection of information and intelligence. That is why I have proposed to EU Defence ministers today to discuss the transition to Phase two of the operation - that would mean going to the capture and disposal of vessels, including those escorting the migrants and refugees." [emphasis added]
Comment: The operations described would appear to relate to those traveling from north Africa to Italy, especially Libya. The small motorised-rubber dinghies travelling from Turkey to Greece are destroyed after the journey and all the occupants are migrants/refugees.
Special: EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS:Joint Letter from Germany, France and Italy to High Representative (pdf) and Non-Paper: Common external migration policy (pdf)
The suggestions regarding Africa mainly focus on immigration control, and offer little concrete as regards Eritreans in particular. The ministers ought to examine whether EU trade and fisheries measures have exacerbated the problems of the countries concerned. As regards the Western Balkans, the numbers of Albanians and Kosovars who obtain refugee status is not negligible, and so the decision to apply 'safe country of origin' status is questionable.
As for those reaching or heading for the EU, the non-paper offers little concrete, failing to mention relocation, resettlement, search and rescue, or human rights breaches by Member States as regards the reception and transit of migrants.
There is no mention of the plans to destroy smugglers boats, but it is clear that this will still be discussed. This seems like an ever-more pointless diversion at a time of great humanitarian tragedy.
EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS::EU goes to "war": to authorise stage 2 in the planned military operation: Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini upon arrival at the Informal Defence Ministers meeting in Luxembourg, 3 September 2015 (pdf): "I will put forward a proposal to Defence Ministers to pass from phase 1 of the operation, which was information gathering and sharing, to phase 2, which is the fight against smugglers and traffickers in the high seas."
See: See: MED-CRISIS: TWO "RESTRICTED" EU DOCUMENTS made public by Wikileaks Exposes full military plan: European External Action Service (EEAS): Military Advice on the "Draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean" (RESTRICTED doc no: 8802-15, pdf): "INFORMATION STRATEGY: the EUMC identifies a risk to EU reputation linked to any perceived transgressions by the EU force through any public misinterpretation of its tasks and objectives, or the potential negative impact should loss of life be attributed, correctly or incorrectly, to action or inaction by the EU force.." [emphasis added]
And: Political and Security Committee: PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean (RESTRICTED doc no: 8824, pdf): "PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean, as finalised by the Politico-Military Group, reinforced by Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management, on 12 May 2015."
Statewatch launches Observatory on: EU MED crisis - a humanitarian emergency: The Observatory covers the arrival of migrants and the reactions and failures within the EU (both governmental and within communities)
Lonndon refugee rally: Tens of thousands plan to join demonstration and call for action to tackle crisis (Evening Standard, link) and Solidarity with Refugees (Facebok)
UK: Petition Accept more asylum seekers and increase support for refugee migrants in the UK (Uk.gov, link): There is a global refugee crisis. The UK is not offering proportional asylum in comparison with European counterparts. We can't allow refugees who have risked their lives to escape horrendous conflict and violence to be left living in dire, unsafe and inhumane conditions in Europe. We must help. Sign Up; 411,363 signatures so far Already over the 100,000 threshold.
EU-MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: Shocking images of drowned Syrian boy show tragic plight of refugees - Young boy found lying face-down on a beach near Turkish resort of Bodrum was one of at least 12 Syrians who drowned attempting to reach Greece (Guardian, link): "Warning: this article contains images that readers may find distressing."
and see: Drowned Kurdish boy on beach: the hypocrisy and the truth of what happened (undercoverifo, link): "First, that child He had a name Aylan Kurdi. He had a home: it was in Kobani. He had a brother: he was 5 years old and his name was Galip he too drowned. They died with their mother, Rehan, and eight other refugees when their boat overturned not long after leaving Turkey for the Greek island of Kos. The father, Abdullah, survived heartbroken."
MEPs clash over renewed calls for a European Intelligence Agency (Parliament, link)
Lest we forget, this humanitarian crisis was wating to happen: EU: Frontex: Preliminary Figures Indicate 270,000 Irregular Migrants and Asylum Seekers Reached EU in 2104 Double Previous Record Set in 2011 (Migrants at Sea, link)Germany"
European Parliament Question: Commission response: FINGERPRINTING: COERCIVE MEASURES MUST BE "PROPORTIONATE": Question to the European Commission: Subject: Unlawful use of force at Pozzallo and Lampedusa reception centres, Italy, to collect migrants' fingerprints including those of minors for identification purposes from MEPs:Barbara Spinelli (GUE/NGL) , Eleonora Forenza (GUE/NGL) , Curzio Maltese (GUE/NGL) , Elly Schlein (S&D) , Laura Ferrara (EFDD) , Ignazio Corrao (EFDD) and Answer from Mr Avramopoulos on behalf of the Commission (links) "Any coercive measures used by Member States must be proportionate, justified and respect the dignity and physical integrity of the individual concerned. Moreover, children under the age of 14 should not be fingerprinted." and see: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers - Including "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" (Statewatch) and Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting (Statewatch)
EU Ministers to Discuss Naval Mission Against Migrant-Trafficking (Prensa Latina, link):
"Brussels, Sep 1 (Prensa Latina) Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs of the European Union (EU) will discuss this weekend in Luxembourg the expansion of a naval mission against human trafficking in the Mediterranean, EU sources confirmed today. During preliminary meetings scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, representatives of the 28 member states will discuss the possibility of starting the second phase of the military operation, strongly criticized by humanitarian organizations. According to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, the analysis will begin because mission commander, Enrico Credendino, pointed out the need to advance in the mission's implementation."
See: MED-CRISIS: TWO "RESTRICTED" EU DOCUMENTS made public by Wikileaks
Exposes full military plan: European External Action Service (EEAS): Military Advice on the "Draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean" (RESTRICTED doc no: 8802-15, pdf):
"INFORMATION STRATEGY: the EUMC identifies a risk to EU reputation linked to any perceived transgressions by the EU force through any public misinterpretation of its tasks and objectives, or the potential negative impact should loss of life be attributed, correctly or incorrectly, to action or inaction by the EU force.." [emphasis added]
And: Political and Security Committee: PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean (RESTRICTED doc no: 8824, pdf): "PMG Recommendations on the draft Crisis Management Concept for a possible CSDP operation to disrupt human smuggling networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean, as finalised by the Politico-Military Group, reinforced by Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management, on 12 May 2015."
ITALY: Report by ASGI (Associazione Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione): The readmission of foreign citizens in Ventimigla (June 2015): UNLAWFUL ASPECTS (pdf):
Since 11 June 2015, the Italian-French border of Ventimiglia has been the scene of a considerable number of readmissions of migrants, citizens of states which do not belong to the EU, who were first blocked in French territory or upon entry into French territory and then readmitted into Italian territory, presumably on the basis of the Bilateral Agreement between the Government of the Italian Republic and the Government of the French Republic on cross-border police and customs cooperation signed in Chambery on 3.10.1997. On 24/25 June, our organisation carried out a fact-finding visit
Legal case demands details about how CIA used windowless warehouse in Lithuania as secret prison (BIJ, link): "Now, lawyers for Mustafa al-Hawsawi one of five men facing a military trial in Guantánamo Bay for allegedly planning the 9/11 attacks have filed a case with Lithuanian prosecutors to demand more clarity about what went on in the site." See Statewatch Observatory on Rendition
Czech police arrests 200 refugees and marks them with numbers on their forearms (http://blisty.cz, link):" Czech police continues, nonsensically, arresting refugees which are trying to reach Germany across the territory of the Czech Republic. In the early hours of Tuesday morning in southern Moravia, the Czech police removed some 200 refugees from trains arriving from Austria and Hungary which continued their journey to Germany. The Czech police wrote registration numbers on the refugees' forearms with felt tips (a practice reminiscent of Nazi concentration camps). The refugees are now in detention on police premises in several Moravian towns. The police said it will interrogate them and "then they will decide what to do with them". The refugees were travelling from Budapest and said that they had purchased valid train tickets and that Hungary had allowed them to board the trains." and Just awful: Czech police take 200 #refugees off trains & mark them with numbers on their forearms (link)
GREECE: LESVOS: Kara Tepe! Well Done International Rescue! (Youtube, link) and see: Report: Kara Tepe, transit camp for refugees, Lesvos (Greece) Outline development proposals (pdf) also: Greek island of Lesbos overwhelmed by 13,000 refugees says the IRC (IRC, link)
EU: he EU has just become a member of three private-sector anti-terrorism bodies: Joint Decision of the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the participation of the European Union in various organisations for cooperation to prevent and counter terrorism (pdf)
"The European Union will participate in the following organisations aimed at preventing and countering terrorism:
The Hedayah Centre for Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates;
The International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law, Valletta, Republic of Malta;
The Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, Geneva, Swiss Confederation."
EU: ECHR judgment on Lampedusa refugees/migrants: ECHR breach re detention, reception conditions, collective expulsion:(French, pdf) and Press release: Unlawful detention of Tunisian migrants in degrading conditions on the island of Lampedusa in Italy pending collective expulsion (pdf)
Finnish Government and the Desire to Constitutionalize Mass Surveillance: Toward Permanent State of Emergency? (verfassungsblog.de, link):
The Finnish Government, however, wants to swim upstream. In order to satisfy the intelligence wish lists of both the Ministry of Defence and the The Finnish Security Intelligence Service (SUPO), the Government decided in August 20 to start preparing a legislation that would authorize both the military and the SUPO to use electronic mass surveillance for intelligence purposes. Although this work has just started, one may already presume that the prepared legislation will be based on Ministry of Defence Working Group Report on the Guidelines for Developing Finnish Intelligence Legislation, which was published in January, and which is available also in English. (pdf)
EU: Council of the European Union: Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council on 14 September 2015: There is no mention of the need to provide humanitarian aid and civil protection:
"After a presentation of migration flows by the European agencies Frontex and EASO (European Asylum Support Office), the meeting should discuss the programming of future work, in particular the return policy, international cooperation, and investigation and measures to prevent trafficking of migrants." [emphasis added]
Greece, Lesvos: The writing was on the wall:
A compilation of key articles and documents setting out the history of the migrant crisis in Lesvos, Greece which is not new - it dates from at least 2002. They show the development of reception centres, detention centres and "open camps" and the deadly role of the Greek Coastguards (which continues this summer). and include:
- Migration and state crimes: A critical criminological approach and case study of Greece (pdf) by Stratos Georgoulas (University of the Aegean). Examines the history of the Pagani detention centre and see p101 on the activities of the Coast Guard. - Map "Pagani" in the middle of nowhere (link) and "Images" (link)
Migreurop report 2013: Lesvos/ Greece the new European cage for migrants (link)
- Pro Asyl and Group of Lawyers for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants: »The truth may be bitter, but it must be told«: The practices of the Greek coast guard (2007, pdf): "We were able to glean the following patterns of serious human rights violations committed by the Greek coast guard from our interviews with refugees from a wide variety of countries of origin in and outside the detention centres in Chios, Samos and Lesbos."
- Statewatch coverage: Statewatch visit to the Pikpa Centre for asylum-seekers in Mytilene (April 2013) and GREECE: FRONTEX activities on Mytilene, Greece: Attempt to take over "open" PIPKA migrant centre, "closed" detention centre set up - FRONTEX claim that families were not expelled from their rooms refuted (September 2013) and Welcome to the European Union Visit to Moria First Reception Centre , Moria, nr. Mytilini, Lesvos, Greece 11th May 2014 (pdf). Also Search for "Lesvos" in the Statewatch database.
EU: Council of the European Union: Data Protection Regulation and Directive on LEAs personal data exchange:
- New DP Regulation: RIGHTS OF THE DATA SUBJECT: Chapter III, preparation of trilogue (LIMITE doc no: 11802-15, 102 pages, pdf): Council's negotiating position. Multicolumn document giving the Commission proposal and the positions of the European Parliament and the Council plus "Compromise" position.
- New DP Regulation: Comments from the UK delegation on Chapters II, III and IV (LIMITE doc no: 11428-15, pdf) including: "It is essential that the processing of sensitive data can take place where strictly necessary for the purposes outlined in Article 1(1) of the Directive" and "The ability for law enforcement agencies to Neither Confirm Nor Deny (NCND) in response to access requests by the data subject is an important operational requirement that needs to be safeguarded" and "The ability for law enforcement agencies to Neither Confirm Nor Deny (NCND) in response to access requests by the data subject is an important operational requirement that needs to be safeguarded."
- Directive on LEAs exchange of personal data: Chapters V, VI and VII (LIMITE doc no; 11251-15, pdf) Chapter V covers the : TRANSFER OF PERSONAL DATA TO THIRD COUNTRIES OR INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS. Includes 40 Member State positions.
- Directive on LEAs exchange of personal data: Chapters IX and X (LIMITE doc no: 11252-15, pdf): With 16 Member State positions. "In view of the Friends of Presidency meeting on 9 September 2015 delegations will find attached Chapters IX and X of the above Directive, as aligned to the text of the General Data Protection Regulation as agreed in the General Approach reached on 15 June 2015." and "DE, ES, HU, IT, NL, LV, PT, SI, UK scrutiny reservation on the whole text."
- Directive on LEAs exchange of personal data: Chapters II, III and IV: On page 6 of document ST 10964/15 INIT recital 13 should read as follows (LIMITE doc no: 10964-COR-1-15, pdf): "Under the Regulation XXX personal data in official documents held by a public authority or a public body or a private body for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest may be disclosed by the authority or body in accordance with Union law or Member State law to which the public authority or body is subject in order to reconcile public access to official documents with the right to the protection of personal data."
'Why did you annoy them?' Coastguard officials acquitted of torture convictions - Moroccan says he was subjected to waterboarding in 2007 (enetenglish.gr, link)
EU:Med-CRISIS: (Sunday) Migration crisis: Germany, France and Britain demand urgent EU meeting - Call for action comes as UK home secretary Theresa May says only Europeans with a job lined up should be allowed to come to Britain (Guardian, link)
"Germany, France and Britain have issued a joint call for an urgent meeting of EU ministers to find concrete measures to cope with the escalating migration crisis. A statement from the home affairs ministers of the three countries said they had asked the Luxembourg presidency to organise a special meeting of justice and interior ministers within the next two weeks, so as to find concrete steps to deal with the situation. The three underlined the necessity to take immediate action to deal with the challenge from the migrant influx.
The French, British and German statement specifically called for reception centres to be set up urgently in Italy and Greece to register new arrivals, and for a common EU list of safe countries of origin to be established." [emphasis added] and
Paris, Berlin, London call for urgent meeting on EU refugee policy (DW, link) "The EU needs immediate action to deal with the influx of immigrants, the interior ministers of Germany, France and Britain have said in a statement. The three countries urged new "hot spots" for registration of refugees." [emphasis added]
EU: UK House of Commons Library: Briefing Paper: Migration pressures in Europe: (22 pages, pdf): Good summary:
"While there are some involuntary migrants, subject to people trafficking rather than smuggling, this is the exception...."
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) is warning that the world is in the midst of a forced migration crisis, and it expects the situation to get worse still. European leaders are struggling to agree on how to respond to the challenges posed by large movements of irregular migrants across their borders.
Huge numbers of people are dying trying to cross the Mediterranean to Southern Europe from Libya. Lawlessness in Libya means that there is little authority to control the flow; some of the militias controlling the country are profiting from the trade. The recipient countries in the EU are struggling to deal with the large numbers reaching their destination, and securing agreement within the EU on a coordinated response to the challenges posed by the migration flows is proving difficult." [emphasis added]
EU: West Balkans Summit in Vienna: Final Declaration by the Chair of the Vienna Western Balkans Summit 27 August 2015 (pdf): "the participating States take note with appreciation of the various ongoing efforts undertaken by European Union institutions and agencies as well as individual EU Member States and regional fora such as the Forum Salzburg, which aim at stepping up the Western Balkan countries capacities in the areas of border management, in particular the fight against trafficking in human beings, and asylum through strengthened cooperation and additional support."
RAIL SECURITY: Commissioners Avramopoulos and Bulc at the Paris meeting on cross-border cooperation against terrorism and for rail security (pdf) Contains little detail of the measures to be taken and a lot reasserting previous initiatives.
New Zealand: Submission of the Anti-Bases Campaign to the Intelligence and Security Review 12 August 2015 (pdf):
"Oversight has failed and is ineffectual at best and a useful cover-up at worst. Official secrecy means the failures and the mistakes of the agencies are buried in secret archives. The present review must incorporate David Langes comments of 1996, that it is an outrage that I and other Ministers were told so little, and this raises the question of to whom those concerned (in the agencies) saw themselves ultimately responsible. There is no evidence that anything has changed in the last twenty years, and considerable evidence that democratic control has actually weakened."
EU: MED-CRISIS: La photo poignante qui symbolise la tragédie des migrants (mais qui n'est pas de Banksy) (SLATE, link) [Photo poignantly symbolizes the tragedy of migrants (but not Banksy)]
EU: MED-CRISIS: AFRICANS TO BE ON "SAFE COUNTRY OF ORIGIN" LIST?
The European Commissioner says list of "safe countries of origin" likely to include African countries, which means people cannot claim asylum and will be returned. This despite reports that migrants arriving in Greece have come from, for example, Eritrea and Somalia:
"On the idea of a safe list, Timmermans was confident of convincing Balkan countries to accept the return of their citizens, but said that it would be much more difficult with African countries." (politico, link) and as to putting countries on a "save country of origin" list
"A list of safe countries to which their citizens can be fast-tracked home following rejected asylum applications is being drawn up by the European Commission. The step is being taken in order to deal with the migrant crisis currently threatening to overwhelm government authorities in several EU countries.
[First Vice-President] Timmermans explained that for countries to be added to the list the EU will need agreement from those countries, adding with those in the Balkans it is not difficult, but with African countries it is. (plus link to video interview: breitbart.com, link)
EU: When solidarity fails (IRR, link); In observations made at a side-meeting of the 87th session of the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the IRRs director warned that Europes mishandling of the refugee crisis is fuelling racism:
"hough there has been a huge drive by ordinary European citizens to welcome refugees, to take a stand for human dignity, another trend is undermining it. The truth is that we face the possibility of a perfect storm unless those in power take cognisance of their positive duty to combat racism, rather than fuel it."
EU: MED-CRISIS: European Parliament: Migration: MEPs call for more EU solidarity on visit to reception centres in Sicily (Press release, pdf):
"Countries such as Italy and Greece dealing with an influx of asylum seekers should receive more support from other member states, MEPs said on a delegation visit to the Italian island of Sicily from 22 to 24 July. Italy spends over 1 billion every year just to take care of those who make it across the Mediterranean. Italys borders are the EU's borders and a better management of the migratory flows is our common responsibility, said French ALDE member Jean Arthuis, co-chair of the delegation."
And see: EP: Report: On the proposal for a Council decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf) Ska Keller MEP (Rapporteur)
Migrant crisis: Grim find of bodies in Austria lorry (BBC News, link): "At least 20 migrants have been found dead in a lorry abandoned in a motorway lay-by near the eastern border with Hungary, the Austrian authorities say. The number of dead could be as high as 50, police say. Their bodies had started to decompose." and Migrant tragedy leaves dozens dead in Austria (The Local.at, link)
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Chair of the Conference of the Data Protection Commissioners of the Federation and of the States [Lande]: The General Data Protection Regulation requires substantial improvement in crucial points! (pdf)
"it is of outmost importance that in comparison with the existing legal status, the General Data Protection Regulation guarantees an improved, at least, however, a standard of the protection of fundamental rights which is equivalent to the current one.....
Data transfers to authorities and courts in third countries require stronger control! In the wake of the recent data protection scandals, better protection of the European citizens personal data vis-à-vis third-country institutions is urgently required."
GERMANY-NSA: A Dubious Deal with the NSA (Zeit Online, link): "Internal documents show that Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the BfV, received the coveted software program XKeyscore from the NSA and promised data from Germany in return." and XKeyscore - the document: Document pertaining to the agreement between the NSA and Germanys domestic intelligence agency BfV (link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: GREECE & ITALY: Commission close to disbursing 30 mln euros to Greece as refugee aid (Athens News Agency, link):
"The European Commission is very close to disbursing financial aid totaling 30 million euros to Greece to help the country deal with the refugee and migrant influx of recent months, Natasha Bertaud, spokesperson for the European Commission, said on Tuesday.... The spokeswoman also noted that the European Commission has identified two hotspots of migration one in Sicily and one in Piraeus. In the coming days, visiting staff from Europol, Frontex and the European Support Office (EASO) are expected to travel to these two towns to help authorities fast track actions which record, fingerprint and authenticate incoming migrants.
Asylum seekers will immediately go through an asylum procedure with support groups from EASO helping in the processing of asylum cases as fast as possible, she added. " [emphasis added]
Note: All the boats from the Greek islands bring migrants to Pireaus, the designated "hotspot".
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments: "In Greece for at least six months this year what has been needed is humanitarian aid and the EU has been conspicuously absent and, until very recently, so to have been the international agencies. Help for those arriving has been dependent on NGOs, local and visiting volunteers. Now when 30 million euros of "aid" does arrive it is to be used for creating "hotspots", Europol and Frontex, fingerprinting and the "immediate processing of asylum cases as fast as possible."
Human rights groups face global crackdown 'not seen in a generation' - Laws affecting funding, requiring registration and prohibiting protest are among controls that are making it difficult for NGOs and other campaign groups (Guardian, link):
"Human rights organisations and campaign groups are facing their biggest crackdown in a generation as a wave of countries pass restrictive laws and curtail activity. Almost half the worlds states have implemented controls that affect tens of thousands of organisations across the globe.
Over the past three years, more than 60 countries have passed or drafted laws that curtail the activity of non-governmental and civil society organisations. Ninety-six countries have taken steps to inhibit NGOs from operating at full capacity, in what the Carnegie Endowment calls a viral-like spread of new laws under which international aid groups and their local partners are vilified, harassed, closed down and sometimes expelled....
James Savage, of Amnesty International, says: This global wave of restrictions has a rapidity and breadth to its spread weve not seen before, that arguably represents a seismic shift and closing down of human rights space not seen in a generation. There are new pieces of legislation almost every week on foreign funding, restrictions in registration or association, anti-protest laws, gagging laws. And, unquestionably, this is going to intensify in the coming two to three years. You can visibly watch the space shrinking."
EU: MED-CRISIS: First step in coercive response to migrants crisis: Italy, Greece must act now on migrants says Merkel 'Set up registration centres by year's end' (ANSA, link):
" Italy and Greece must act as soon as possible to open migrant registration centres, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday. "We have established with the heads of government that there should be registration centres in the countries particularly hit by the first arrivals, like Greece and Italy," she said after a summit with French President Francois Hollande. "This must happen quickly, by the end of the year, we cannot accept delays," she said."
and Italy and Greece must act now on migrants: Merkel (The Local.it, link): "Italy and Greece two countries which have borne the brunt of the migrant crisis - must set up registration centres to help identify asylum-seekers and illegal migrants as soon as possible, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday... Merkel stressed that the centres must be set up at the first ports of call to be administered and staffed by the EU as a whole by the end of the year. "We cannot tolerate a delay," she said."
This will almost certainly involve: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers - Including "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" (Statewatch) and Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting (Statewatch)
LESVOS/Mytilene: A Good Samaritan in Greece: Papa Stratis needs oxygen pumped to his lungs but that's not stopping him from joining the ranks of Greeks helping refugees arriving in Europe (UNHCR Tracks, link): "Papa Stratis, along with other local volunteers in the village of Kalloni, has been helping refugees since 2007 through the NGO Agkalia. In all these years he reckons that he has helped some ten thousand people, including a few locals fallen on hard times. But never before has he seen so many refugees looking for help.... Every day between one and two hundred people come to Kalloni, the 57-year old Orthodox priest says. The local people tell them to come to us for help. We give them food, water, milk for the babies, shoes, clothes. They can stay here too: we have blankets, mattresses on the floor.... With local authorities overwhelmed by the 64,000 refugee arrivals to Greece since the beginning of the year, local activists like Papa Stratis and the network of volunteers Village All Together, are often taking on the sole responsibility of caring for the refugees on the Greek islands. We have no external funding, he explains with a smile. We depend completely on the generosity of the local people." and MYTILENE: Refugees Welcome Party in Pikpa (lesvos.w2eu, link): "Last night w2eu and JOG hosted a welcome party in the selforganized space PIKPA to welcome and exchange with the refugees staying there. Over the last three year this became a PIKPA w2eu JOG Tradition." Historical Note: 2013: FRONTEX activities on Mytilene, Greece: Attempt to take over "open" PIPKA migrant centre, "closed" detention centre set up (Statewatch report)
Search and Rescue in Central Mediterranean Sea (migreurop, link): "Report of an observation mission in Sicily carried out, between the 1st of February and the 8th of June 2015, by Sabine Llewellyn, volunteering for the network Migreurop within the NGO ARCI to support the activities of Watch the Med, in the frame of the programmes of Echanges et Partenariats." and see: Report (pdf) and Report - French (link)
The vital difference between human trafficking and migrant smuggling (Open Democracy, link): "Human smuggling is a crime in as much as it constitutes an illegal border crossing. But it is not innately a crime against people or an abridgement of their human rights. This can never be said of human trafficking."
EU: Overstayers: Government reply to questions in the Bundestag at point 16 gives Statewatch as the "public" source::
"With regard to the information from other Member States of the EU is in particular the evaluation regularly published Products made by FRONTEX, which also illicit Include stay. Furthermore, Latvia has under its Presidency in the first half 2015, an EU-Polizeioperation called "Amber Light" initiated, focusing on the theme over-stayer moved. The results are also available to the public
(http://www.statewatch.org/news/2015/jul/eu-council-lithuania- presidency-Amberlight-final-report.pdf)" [emphasis added]
And see: AMBERLIGHT: Joint Police Operation detects 1,344 "overstayers" but only 10 using forged documents
UK: DETENTION: A Joint Inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees & the All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration: The Report of the Inquiry into the Use of Immigration Detention in the United Kingdom (pdf):
There should be a time limit of 28 days on the length of time anyone can be held in immigration detention.
Detention is currently used disproportionately frequently, resulting in too many instances of detention. The presumption in theory and practice should be in favour of community-based resolutions and against detention.
Decisions to detain should be very rare and detention should be for the shortest possible time and only to effect removal.
The Government should learn from international best practice and introduce a much wider range of alternatives to detention than are currently used in the UK".
and see: Border Criminologies: An Assessment of the Report of the Inquiry into the Use of Immigration Detention in the United Kingdom (Refugee Archives, link)
Germany: Halt on Dublin procedures for Syrians (AIDA, link):
"The German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) has issued internal instructions suspending the Dublin procedure in respect of Syrian nationals. According to the instructions, dated 21 August 2015, Dublin procedures that have already been initiated in relation to Syrians are to be cancelled, in order for Germany to become the Member State responsible for processing their claims."
EU: PUTTING IN PLACE A RETURNS POLICY: Juncker: "In September, the Commission will thus submit a common list of safe countries of origin to the Member States." New Europe inteview, link) and see: Press release of Justice and Home Affairs Council on 20 July 2015 (pdf):
"STRONGLY RECOMMENDS therefore that, without delay, Member States assess which third countries could be designated at national level as safe countries of origin."
And see: No need for new EU summit on immigration, says Juncker (ekathimerini.com, link): "European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker dismissed calls for a new EU summit on immigration, saying member states should stop dragging their heels and implement existing agreements on the matter..... Juncker added that the European Union should draw up a uniform list of "safe countries" to which migrants could be returned." [Comment: All the evidence is that most migrants are coming from Syria and Afghanistan together with Eritrea, Somalia]
UK Home Office Humanity Crimes Against Africans and Asians part 1 (Detained Vocies, Stories from inside UK Immigration Detention, link): An account of immigration detainees in UK: "We hope that something will come out of detainees plight and maybe a legal challenge from those who wants to see justice being practiced by the UK Home Office. Detention must have time limit and out of country appeal for asylum seekers must be abolished, asylum seekers should not be in continuous detention.".
EU: MED-CRISIS: Germany condemns violent anti-refugee protest in Heidenau (DW, link): "The German government has condemned the violence that broke out ahead of the arrival of asylum seekers at a temporary shelter in the east of the country. Several people were injured in scuffles with police." and: Police clash with far-right over refugees (The Local.de, link): "Several hundred people turned up in Heidenau, near Dresden, to demonstrate against the expected arrival of hundreds of refugees in a protest called by the far-right National Democratic Party." and Fresh clashes in Heidenau as de Maiziere condemns anti-refugee violence - German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has condemned violent protests against a refugee shelter in the eastern town of Heidenau. At the same time, he highlighted a spirit of giving demonstrated by other Germans. (DW, link) and German neo-Nazi protesters clash with police at new migrant shelter - Two consecutive nights of violence force police to seal off shelter near Dresden as Germany prepares for biggest influx of asylum seekers since second world war (Guardian, link)
Macedonian riot police fire teargas to disperse thousands of migrants - video (Guardian, link) and Macedonian police fire tear gas to drive back migrants, refugees on border (Reuters, link): "Riot police behind barbed wire fired tear gas to drive back an angry crowd demanding passage into Macedonia and north to Hungary and the European Union's borderless Schengen zone, the Reuters reporter said." also: Macedonian Riot Police Use Teargas to Hold Off Migrants at Border With Greece. (Slate, link) and Irish Times Video (link): "We expect the involvement of the army will bring two desired effects - it will increase security among our citizens in the two regions and will allow for a more comprehensive approach toward people expressing their interest in applying for asylum, Interior Ministry spokesman Ivo Kotevski was quoted as saying." and Migrants try to charge Macedonian police lines at Greek border - Medical workers race to treat injured amid reports of people fainting as hundreds try to break through to the north (Guardian, link)
And see: FYROM: Macedonia declares state-of-emergency (euronews, link): "A state of emergency has been declared in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), as crowds of migrants continue to gather on its southern border. The Army has been brought in to maintain security as thousands wait,hoping to travel on to Serbia and Western Europe."
UK: Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show (Independent, link):
"The allegation of brothel keeping, which Scotland Yard later begrudgingly admitted was baseless, was just one episode in a near 20-year operation by MI5 and British intelligence to keep Lessing, one of Britains most influential novelists who became the oldest recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2007, under surveillance as a suspected subversive.
Documents released on 21 August at the National Archives in Kew, west London, reveal how the novelist, who spent her formative years in Southern Rhodesia, was monitored and her mail intercepted for at least 18 years after she was adjudged to have formed a deep hatred of apartheid-style policies in the British colony and become a Communist sympathiser."
UK-FRANCE AGREEMENT: Managing migratory flows in Calais: Joint Ministerial Declaration on UK/French Co-operation (pdf) and see: Commission: Joint statement by First Vice-President Timmermans and Commissioner Avramopoulos on Calais and European migration priorities (pdf)
And: 'Fences won't put anyone off': migrants dismiss new Calais security crackdown - People in New Jungle camp say Theresa Mays attempts to tackle crisis at French port will not deter those fleeing war from trying to reach UK (Guardian, link) and Motorway blocked! The jungles answer to Theresa Mays visit to Calais (Calais Migrant Solidarity, link)
UK-EU: Compulsory fingerprinting of migrants: Government Explanatory Memorandum: EM: Commission Staff Working Document (SWD, 150-15) (pdf). The UK is not bound by this proposal but totally backs the compulsory fingerprinting of all, and observes that when faced with "non-compliance" there will be consequences:
"including the use of detention or coercion to obtain fingerprints. In our experience the appropriate use of detention... can have the effect of bringing behavioral change" [emphasis added]
See: European Commission: Staff Working Document on Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints(pdf)
And: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers - Including "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" (Statewatch) and Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting (Statewatch)
EU: European Parliament Study: Enhancing the Common European Asylum System and alternatives to Dublin (pdf):
"It argues that as long as it is based on the use of coercion against asylum seekers, it cannot serve as an effective tool to address existing imbalances in the allocation of responsibilities among Member States.".
FINLAND: Report to the Finnish Government on the visit to Finland carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) (pdf)
"During the visit, the CPTs delegation examined the situation and treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in police establishments, immigration detention, prisons and in a psychiatric hospital. Despite on-going efforts in a number of areas, the CPT was concerned by the lack of sufficient progress in the implementation of many of its long-standing recommendations, for example those regarding the practice of holding remand prisoners in police establishments and the practice of slopping out in prisons, on the regime for prisoners segregated in high-security and closed units, and on the legal safeguards in the context of involuntary psychiatric hospitalisation."
GREECE: Update: 19.8.15: "The situation is getting worse. Lot of the refugees have no tents, some have no shoes/clothes. There is not enough food and no soap. People have to stay here longer as there are no seats free on the ferry to Athens and some have waited for 7 days for papers."
Report: Kara Tepe, transit camp for refugees, Lesvos (Greece) Outline development proposals (pdf)
"While going from tent to tent, interacting directly with refugees in their shelters and listening to their stories, we have observed in detail the living conditions of refugees in Kara Tepe camp and noticed that the humanitarian situation there is catastrophic.
Depending on the boats coming every day from Turkey, Kara Tepe camp houses an average of 1,000 to 2,000 mainly Syrian refugees (and from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea). The stay in this transit camp is supposed to last until 2 or 3 days. Our findings on site, however, reveal that some refugees (in July) would have waited their papers up to 11 days.
Thanks to numerous discussions with refugees, volunteers, NGOs and the UNHCR, we have drawn up this paper and hope the recommendations presented here will be found worthy of consideration."
EU-MED-CRISIS: Hungary Plans to Impose Prison Terms for Border Fence Violators (bloomberg.com, link):
" Hungarys government wants to impose prison terms of as long as four years on those who damage a fence thats being built along the Serb border to repel hundreds of thousands of migrants, a senior minister said.
The government is calling for an extraordinary session of parliament to pass the legislation, which would also tighten penalties for smuggling people, Janos Lazar, the minister in charge of the Prime Ministers office, told reporters on Tuesday. The cabinet will send thousands of police to patrol a barbed-wire fence, thats being built along the 175-kilometer (109-mile) border shared by Hungary and Serbia."
UK-EU: Home Affairs Select Committee report: Commission Communication: European Agenda on Migration and associated documents (72 pages, pdf) including European Agenda on Migration, European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean, Relocation of migrants in need of international protection. On EUNAVFOR MED the report comments:
"unlike piracy, migration does not pose the sort of threat envisaged in chapter 7 of the UN Charter, and that there is thus a difficulty in finding an appropriate legal base; successful anti-illegal migration operations in the Caribbean and Australasia are based on repatriation, which is not envisaged in the EU plan;
the EU plan addresses symptoms, not causes; there is no internationally-recognised and domestically-accepted government in Libya"
See also: Five Reasons Why Militarising the EU Migration Plan Will Not Work (RUSI, link): "With news of regular tragedies involving migrants awash on Europes shores, the European Union is promising to respond to these through military means. But the political will just does not exist in Europe; neither can the hurdles be overcome easily." and Militarising the EU Migration Plan: A Flawed Approach (RUSI, link)
The Ethical Journalism Network (EJN) 5 Point Test For Hate Speech (link): "How can journalists determine what is hate speech? The EJN gives five points which media professionals should review before they publish."
EU-MED-CRISIS: (18.8.15): Frontex, Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Greece
EU: MED-CRISIS: GREECE: MYTILENE/LESVOS: Masked 'Commandos' Are Attacking Refugee Boats Off This Idyllic Greek Island (Huffington Post, link):
"out of nowhere came a nightmare -- a speedboat with four masked men charging toward them as they bobbed in international waters. Clad in all black and armed with guns and whips, the men bellowed at terrified passengers to stop the motor, Mohamed recalled.
"They shot at the boat with three bullets," Mohamed later recounted as he stood in a crowded parking lot in the beach town of Molyvos hours after arriving, against all odds, at the island. Hundreds of refugees sat around him, exhausted and caked in sea salt and sweat, as tourists slowed their pace to stare. "They hit us with six-meter-long sticks," he said, a few men sitting with him nodding in agreement. "They circled around us trying to flip our boat." "
EU: MED-CRISIS: "La Guardia costiera greca affonda un gommone di migranti": la video denuncia di un pescatore turco (Source R.it, link)
"The Greek Coast Guard sank a boat of migrants": the video report of a fisherman turkish:
A raft of migrants from Turkey sinking after being pierced with a spear voluntarily by a patrol boat of the Greek Coast Guard and then left without providing relief. This complaint accompanying the video, taken by many Turkish media, shot by a fisherman off the coast of Kos. The author of the video would lend him the first aid shipwrecked and then called the Turkish coast guard them have recovered. The dynamics of events has not been confirmed nor denied by the Coast Guard Island." [automated translation]
EU: MED-CRISIS: UNHCR warns of deepening refugee crisis in Greece and calls for urgent and bold action (link): The UNHCR Directors of the Bureau for Europe and of Emergency, Security and Supply, visited Greece last week to assess the refugee crisis in the country, where some 124,000 refugees and migrants have arrived by sea this year as of 31 July" and: EU leaders will use military against refugees, warns leading MEP (euractiv, link)
Emergency funds sprout up to temper storm of refugee crises (euractiv, link) See also Statement by Commissioner (pdf)
And: Europe shouldnt worry about migrants. It should worry about creeping fascism - The greatest threat to our way of life is not migration. It is that we will swallow the lie that some human lives matter less than others. (New Statesman, link): "The behaviour of the British and wider European elite towards migrants is not simple inhumanity. It is strategic inhumanity. It is weaponised inhumanity designed to convince populations fracturing under hammer-blows of austerity and economic chaos that the enemy is out there, that there is an us that must be protected from them"
Kos migrants: 'They said they'd give us papers, then locked us in like a prison' - After being held in a stadium on the Greek island, refugees tell of their ordeal as immigration officials bemoan Kos mayors alleged lack of cooperation (Guardian , link)
Media should speak out against hate speech (European Fegeration of Journalists (link): "The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has joined the Italian organisation on Carta di Roma welcoming the new initiative launched by the Italy newspaper La Stampa to counter hate speech. The EFJ has called on media professionals to be aware of the danger of discrimination being furthered by the media through hate speech following recent debates and media coverage on migrant crisis in Europe."
How EU countries handle the refugee crisis: Overcrowded registration centers or welcome courses? Integration or deportation? Refugees arriving in Europe are hoping for support, but depending on where they go, theyre treated very differently. (DW, link)
Greece: Migrants still struggle in Kos detention center: No roof, few toilets, hours of waiting in the blazing sun - that's how the EU receives migrants on the Greek island of Kos. The humanitarian aid organization Doctors Without Borders is trying to help. (DW, link)
Countering terrorism or constraining civil society? The impact of Financial Action Task Force recommendations on non-profit organisations in Central and Eastern Europe and Asia (pdf)
"This study is concerned with the implementation of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendation 8 on combating the potential abuse of non-profit organisations (NPOs) for the purpose of terrorist financing in Central and Eastern Europe (CCEE) and Central Asia. Its aim is to ascertain the impact of this Recommendation on the regulatory framework for non-profits in selected countries, and how this in turn affects the freedom of association and expression of NPOs. This is done by examining two regional formations of the FATF: MONEYVAL, encompassing the CCEE, and the Eurasian Group covering central Asia."
Background: Counter-terrorism, 'policy laundering' and the FATF - legalising surveillance, regulating civil society (pdf). And see: The Non Profit Platform on the FATF (link)
EU: MED CRISIS: New report addresses "dangerous and misleading simplifications" over migration to Europe; plus latest news reports
A new report by Medici per i dirriti humani (Doctors for Human Rights) is based on information and testimonies collected by doctors working on a project to stop the torture of refugees travelling from sub-Saharan to northern Africa.
See also: PRESS RELEASE: Doctors for Human Rights (Italy)
UK: Yarl's Wood: Migrant detention centre condemned again
A recently-published report by the Chief Inspector of Prisons on the Yarl's Wood detention centre says that "in some important areas the treatment and conditions of those held at the centre had deteriorated significantly, the main concerns we had in 2013 had not been resolved and there was greater evidence of the distress caused to vulnerable women by their detention."
NSA: "In for a penny, in for a pound": a philosophy of surveillance
A recent article published by The Intercept (11 August) examines the work of the NSA's in-house "surveillance philosopher" - the "Socrates of SIGINT" - and his willingness to be "constantly and completely monitored". His columns, from an internal NSA internal newsletter, were included amongst the files leaked by Edward Snowden.
EU: Documents: Europol on terrorism in Europe; Terrorism Working Party; report from EU human trafficking conference; evaluation of the Eurojust Decision
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Councils exceptions from the Data Protection Regulation degrade the privacy protection below Directive 95/46/EC (Hawktalk, link): "This blog explains, in detail, how the Council of Ministers text of the Regulation, in particular the exceptions specified in Article 21 (A.21) and the flexibility granted to Member States to enact variations to the obligations under the Regulation, are very likely to result in a level of data protection below the standard established by Directive 95/46/EC."
See also: EU: Data Protection Regulation: documents from the secret 'trilogues'
EU: MED CRISIS: Billion-euro budgets to be distributed to Member States; plus latest news reports
The European Commission has announced the approval of 23 more national programmes for the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund, paving the way for the release of up to 2.4 billion to Member States to "improve migration management, foster cooperation and make Europe safer".
UK: Government continues work on "hostile environment" for migrants
In 2013 it was revealed that the UK government had drawn up plans to create a "hostile environment" for irregular migrants. Two recent developments - a reduction of financial support for asylum-seeking families and the targeting of specific nationalities for deportation - show that the government is continuing its efforts.
UK: Tell Parliament to launch an Inquiry into Theresa Mays aid for executions (Reprieve, link): "Theresa Mays Home Office is Europes biggest backer of aggressive overseas raids which send drug mules to death row. By funding such raids the Home Office has enabled hundreds of death sentences and executions in countries like Iran and Pakistan." And see: Joint letter: Call for an urgent Inquiry into Home Office involvement in overseas drug enforcement (pdf)
EUROZONE: Germany government gained from Greek crisis - IWH study (BBC News, link): "The Greek debt crisis has saved the German government some 100bn (£70bn; $109bn) in lower borrowing costs because investors have sought safety in German bonds, a study has found."
See: Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftforschung Halle: Germany's benefit from the Greek crisis (pdf)
EU: MED CRISIS: Greece calls for help, the Commission does too
The "humanitarian crisis within a crisis" for migrants and refugees in Greece has led Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to call for more help from the EU institutions and EU Member States: "These dimensions exceed our countrys capabilities, they are European dimensions.
The European Commission has said "more planes and 'technical assistance' including personnel and patrol cars are needed for Greece and Hungary," and has called for "a new, more European approach. The European Agenda on Migration we presented in May sets out this European response."
EU: Visas and law enforcement
The Council of the EU will continue its work on revised EU visa rules in September, when its Visa Working Party discusses a draft text put together by the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council.
Meanwhile the Council is moving towards adopting a new legal basis for access by law enforcement agencies to the Visa Information System, which contains the personal details (including biometrics) of all visa-holders. This will meet the requirements of an April 2015 court judgment that required the drafting of a new legal text.
UK: Black people still far more likely to be stopped and searched by police than other ethnic groups (The Independent, link): "Black people are still far more likely than other ethnic groups to be stopped and searched in almost every part of England and Wales despite concerted efforts to tackle the problem."
The full stop-and-search dataset can be download at data.police.uk in a 1.5 gigabyte file.
See also: StopWatch factsheet on Schedule 7 stops under the Terrorism Act 2000 (pdf): "Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 provides powers for examining officers at ports and airports,to stop, question and/or detain people to investigate if they are engaged in acts of terrorism, without the need for any reasonable suspicion."
European Court of Human Rights demands explanations from Spanish government on "hot returns" in Melilla
The European Court of Human Rights has called on the Spanish government to explain itself in the case of two "hot returns" conducted at the border between Spain and Morocco in Melilla. At the end of July, the Court issued a decision demanding a response from the Spanish government to two applicants' claims that their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights were violated.
Documents: EU moving towards new terrorism laws; Europol on organised crime and terrorism
The Council of the EU is preparing to sign a new protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism that requires states "to outlaw various actions including intentionally taking part in terrorist groups, receiving terrorism training or travelling abroad for the purpose of terrorism. It also provides for a round-the-clock network of national contact points to rapidly exchange information."
Meanwhile, Europol has produced a brief report on 'The nexus between organised crime and terrorism in the EU'.
EU: An incomplete European cybersecurity agenda (EurActiv, link): "The EU is starting to pay more attention to cybersecurity, but it still lacks a process to make it easier for police to share information across borders, writes Paul Rosenzweig. Paul Rosenzweig is a senior adviser to The Chertoff Group and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the US Department of Homeland Security."
- Council conclusions on the Cybersecurity Strategy of the European Union: An Open, Safe and Secure Cyberspace (July 2013, pdf)
- EU: Cybersecurity strategy (Statewatch News Online, February 2013)
EU: Implementing the Internal Security Strategy: planning documents
Two new leaked documents outline the work being undertaken in the Council of the EU to attempt to implement the EU's 'Renewed Internal Security Strategy', adopted in June 2015 and which will run from 2015 to 2020.
EU: AMBERLIGHT: Joint Police Operation detects 1,344 "overstayers" but only 10 using forged documents
AMBERLIGHT, an EU-wide Joint Police Operation aimed at detecting visa "overstayers" and in particular those "travelling with forged documents", led to the detection of 1,344 people staying beyond the time permitted by their visa. However, just 10 were using forged documents.
EU: Data Protection Regulation: documents from the secret 'trilogues'
Statewatch has obtained two recent documents relating to the ongoing secret 'trilogue' discussions (between the Council, the Parliament and the Commission) on the forthcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation.
ITALY: Quelle strane morti dietro le sbarre [Those strange deaths behind bars]
Repubblica newspaper published a special report by Alberto Custodero on 27 July 2015, investigating deaths in custody in Italy's prisons (over 50 per year on average, 1,304 in 25 years from 1990 to 2014, when 43 people died). Beyond the fact that once they are imprisoned people are in the state's duty of care, it highlights that these deaths are often recorded as suicides in spite of the presence of elements that make such a conclusion difficult to believe. The article includes statistics on suicides and case details of some suspicious suicide cases.
EU: New transnational undercover policing structure cloaked in secrecy
In November 2014 Europol, the EU's policing agency, hosted a "Covert Surveillance Conference" entitled "Meeting the Challenges to Surveillance across Europe". It was attended by all 28 EU Member States and numerous other countries but, like almost all detail about the conference, their identity has been shielded from public view by Europol. Issues discussed included "Recruiting the Best Profiles" and "Advantages of Interagency Surveillance & Management".
The conference was made up of two meetings: on 26 November, of the Cross-Border Surveillance Working Group (CSW), and on 27 and 28 November, the first meeting of the Assembly of Regional Groups on Surveillance (ARGOS)....
In the UK, calls have recently been made by German MP Andrej Hunko and campaigners for cross-border undercover police operations to be included in the remit of a new official inquiry that will "report on undercover police operations conducted by English and Welsh police forces in England and Wales since 1968." Exposing the development of and ongoing secrecy over pan-European undercover policing structures to some sunlight would go some way to meeting those calls.
EU: COUNTER-TERRORISM: Vienna Declaration - Tackling Violent Extremism and Terrorism (LIMITE doc no: 7500-rev-1-15, pdf): declaration of the Ministerial Conference of Foreign and Interior Ministers Tackling Jihadism Together held in Vienna on 20 March 2015.and see earlier version: 7500-15 (LIMITE: pdf)
Councils exceptions from the Data Protection Regulation degrade the privacy protection below Directive 95/46/EC (HAWKWALK, link): "The blog explains, in detail, how the Council of Ministers text of the Regulation, in particular the exceptions specified in Article 21 (A.21) and the flexibility granted to Member States to enact variations to the obligations under the Regulation, are very likely to result in a level of data protection below the standard established by Directive 95/46/EC."
EU: Council of the European Union: Evaluation of the implementation of the Eurojust Council Decision - Final Report (10 MB, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Dangerous Offenders, Global PNR, Operation Amberlight,
Polish delegation: Proposal for an expert group on the exchange of information on dangerous offenders (LIMITE doc no: 11196-15, pdf)
"The free movement of persons and the abolition of controls at the internal borders of the EU are among the greatest achievements of European integration but are, at the same time, a major challenge to efforts to safeguard security and public order.
The proposed action should not just be confined to certain types of judgment (e.g. the abovementioned bans on travel to certain States). It should also cover (at least at the risk assessment stage) the broadest possible range of criminal offenders."
Passenger Name Record (PNR) data to third countries - a global approach? (LIMITE doc no: 10838-15, pdf):
"1. Up to now, the European Union has taken a bilateral approach concerning the transfer of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data from EU airline companies to third countries; the three current PNR-agreements with the USA, Canada and Australia oblige airline companies to transfer PNR data to authorities relating to all passengers flying to, from or through those countries. All existing PNR transfers to third countries are hence governed by a bilateral agreements and have been negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
2. More and more third countries, among others Japan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand are (considering) using PNR data for law enforcenment purposes, and have requested or are expected to request entering into bilateral agreements with the Union.".
See also from the European Commission:: On the global approach to transfers of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data to third countries (COM 492-10, pdf)
Joint Police Operation (JPO): Council: Presidency activity AMBERLIGHT 2015 (LIMITE do no 5195-15, pdf) and Presidency Activity: AMBERLIGHT 2015: Final Report (pdf). See: Smart borders: European Commission and Member States at odds over digitising passport stamps (Statewatch)
Historical note: Tony Bunyan: My brush with the D-Notice Committee: Committee concerned that book:
"might wander unwittingly into areas of sensitivity from a security point of view"
In 1976 when I was completing the "History and practice of the Political Police in Britain" (published first in hardback in 1976 by Julian Friedmann Publishers) the D-Notice Committee under Rear Admiral Kenneth Haydn Farnhill CB OBE was a shadowy body - the press could not even print stories published overseas without his say-so. At the time the 1971 D-Notice no 10: British Intelligence Services (pdf) was in force and the book dealt substantively with these "no-go" areas. The Journalist magazine (NUJ) reported in June 1976 what happened:.
Revealed: Police Scotland did break law on spying on journalists (Herald Scotland (link):
"The Sunday Herald can reveal that forces Counter Corruption Unit (CCU) dubbed a secret police force by critics is being probed by a surveillance watchdog over a violation criticised by the Prime Minister.
The revelations prompted the Interception of Communications Commissioner Office (IOCCO), which monitors the use of the RIPA, to investigate the extent of the snooping on reporters across the UK. IOCCO became aware of 34 police investigations over a three-year period, covering the relationship between 105 journalists and 242 sources. A majority of the applications, the Commissioner concluded, failed to justify the principles of necessity and proportionality. In March, the RIPA was amended to require that a revised Code of Practice protected the public interest in the confidentiality of sources,"
UK: D-NOTICE PRESS CENSORING CHANGES: D-Notices replaced by: DSMA (Defence and Security Media Advisory notices (link) and see The Five new NOTICES (pdf)
" Public discussion of the United Kingdom's defence and counter-terrorist policy and overall strategy does not impose a threat to national security and is welcomed by Government. It is important however that such discussion should not disclose details which could damage national security. The DSMA-Notice System is a means of providing advice and guidance to the media about defence and counter-terrorist information the publication of which would be damaging to national security. The system is voluntary, it has no legal authority and the final responsibility for deciding whether or not to publish rests solely with the editor or publisher concerned."
See: The D-notice system: a typically British fudge that has survived a century - This collaboration between state and media has offered a compromise between national security and press freedom yet sometimes has been tested to the limit (Guardian, link)
GERMANY: UPDATED: 31.7.15: Germany halts treason inquiry into journalists after protests - For the good of media freedom, Germanys prosecutor general suspends investigation into reporters who said state planned to boost surveillance (Guardian, link)
Statewatch coverage: Investigative journalism under attack
The Federal Prosecutor General is investigating two German journalists suspected of treason for releasing information classified as "confidential" online. Charges have been filed against Markus Beckedahl and Andre Meister, the two reporters who run the blog netzpolitik.org.
"That the Federal Prosecutor General who failed to investigate charges against the NSA is now investigating journalists and their whistleblowers is a deeply disturbing assault against journalism critical of the intelligence agencies' activities and an assault against the freedom of press."
EU-USA: Full-text of draft:Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (52 pages, pdf):
"This document is the European Union's proposal for services, investment and e-commerce text. It was tabled for discussion with the US in the negotiating round of 12 -17 July 2015 and made public on 31 July 2015. The actual text in the final agreement will be a result of negotiations between the EU and US."
USA: Government Accountability Office (GAO): Facial Recognition Technology: Commercial Uses, Privacy Issues, and Applicable Federal Law (pdf)
"No federal privacy law expressly regulates commercial uses of facial recognition technology, and laws do not fully address key privacy issues stakeholders have raised, such as the circumstances under which the technology may be used to identify individuals or track their whereabouts and companions. Laws governing the collection, use, and storage of personal information may potentially apply to the commercial use of facial recognition in specific contexts , such as information collected by health care entities and financial institutions." [emphasis added]
This report above recommends a response to an earlier report which refers to key privacy standards missing: Information Resellers: Consumer Privacy, Framework Needs to Reflect Changes in Technology and the Marketplace (2013 report, pdf):
"No overarching federal privacy law governs the collection and sale of personal information among private-sector companies, including information resellers. Instead, a variety of laws tailored to specific purposes, situations, or entities governs the use, sharing, and protection of personal information." [emphasis added]
Burgenlands red-blue coalition of shame (IRR, link): "The Labour Party is debating how to win back votes from UKIP. Meanwhile, in Austria, the Burgenland Social Democrats have set a worrying precedent, entering into a coalition with the extreme Right in the provincial legislative assembly." and Deaths in custody news round-up (IRR, link): "The last month has seen a number of developments in relation to deaths in custody: a misconduct hearing, the ten-year anniversary of the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, an inquest, new deaths in custody and a new government review of deaths in police custody. Jean Charles de Menezes remembered." also: Charlie Hebdo backlash the unredacted story (IRR, link): "A new report by Le Collectif Contre lIslamophobie en France (CCIF) documents the intensification of violence against Muslims following the Paris attacks in January 2015."
EU: Statewatch Analysis: EU-USA Justice and Home Affairs cooperation: an honest and equal relationship? (pdf):
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:
The USA role in justice and home affairs is like that of the 29th EU state. Year after year since 2001 there have been regular meetings of Ministers and Senior Officials in Brussels and Washington - it also attended the six-monthly G6 meetings of EU Interior Ministers (and its preparatory meetings)
The USA is a major, unseen, influence on EU justice and home affairs policies and practices and uses the meetings to lobby for direct access to EU and Member State databases.
These meetings take place on the oft-repeated assumption that the USA and the EU share common values of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental values. However, there are many people, in Europe and the USA, who do indeed believe we share these common values, but not the policies and practices of our governments.
EU: Statewatch Briefing: Preparing the ground for smart borders: EU action on overstayers (pdf) by Zakeera Suffee:
"Quiet preparations for the EUs ambitious smart borders proposals are ongoing. This will require the fingerprinting of all non-EU residents entering the Schengen area, and is made up proposals for an Entry/Exit System intended to detect visa overstayers; a Registered Traveller Programme for the vetting of selected individuals before they arrive at EU borders; and proposals for relevant legal amendments to the Schengen Borders Code....
The multiple efforts to ensure ever-greater capture, storage and sharing of information suggest that people on the move are increasingly seen as a threat that needs to be regulated and managed through high-tech surveillance combined with on-the-ground information-gathering and police operations. All of these initiatives pose significant challenges to fundamental rights, in different ways. The fact that they are, for the most part, discussed and prepared in secret only adds to the concerns that they raise."
EU: Smart borders: European Commission and Member States at odds over digitising passport stamps
The EU wants to replace ink-on-paper passport stamps with a digital alternative as part of its plans for an Entry/Exit System supposed to detect visa "overstayers". Member States are not convinced by the idea.
A proposed new database known as the Entry/Exit System (EES) would require the fingerprinting of all non-residents entering the Schengen area, with the aim of making it easier to calculate and detect who has "overstayed" their visa entitlement. A Registered Traveller Programme (RTP), for the vetting of certain travellers before they reach EU borders, would also be introduced, along with amendments to the Schengen Borders Code.
However, the Commission's plan has raised concerns amongst the Member States. Documents obtained by Statewatch show that a majority of Member States consider passport stamps to be the most effective way of detecting overstayers
EU: MED-CRISIS: Morocco: The forgotten frontline of the migrant crisis (http://newirin.irinnews.org, link):
"It's late afternoon on the forested slopes of Mount Selouane. In single file or knots of friends, young West African men are trudging down the hillside to the dusty, dishevelled outskirts of the Moroccan village of Shadia.
Nearly everyone is carrying an empty water bottle, part of their daily routine to fill them for free from standpipes outside the few general stores. They come as well to get a better network connection, to check their Facebook, make calls home, or catch up on friends who have made it to Europe."
And: Four reasons Syrian safe zone unlikely to work ( (http://newirin.irinnews.org, link):
Also: The only 'migrant madness' is the tabloid pretence about events in Calais - Analysis: It is time to end the lie that a few hundred migrants trying to enter the UK via the Channel tunnel amount to a mass invasion (Guardian, link) and Calais migrant crisis: David Cameron branded 'disgraceful' for Mediterranean 'swarm' remark (IBT, link): "Cameron calling Calais migrants a 'swarm' is nothing short of disgraceful. [It] confirms there's no dog-whistle these Bullingdon Boys won't blow. - Andy Burnham"
EU: European Parliament Study: The General Principles of EU Administrative Procedural Law (pdf):
"Upon request by the JURI Committee this in-depth analysis explains what general principles of EU administrative procedural law are, and how they can be formulated in the recitals of a Regulation on EU administrative procedure."
SPAIN: Statewatch Analysis: ECtHR: Spain guilty of not investigating allegations of torture in incommunicado detention by Yasha Maccanico:
On 5 May 2015, the third section of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg unanimously found Spain guilty of violating the procedural aspects of article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Arratibel Garciandia applied to the ECtHR on 6 September 2013, complaining about the failure by Spains internal jurisdiction to effectively investigate allegations that he was subjected to ill-treatment following his arrest at 3 a.m. on 18 January 2011 in his home in Etxarri Aranatz (Navarre). He was placed in incommunicado detention until 22 January and transferred to the Guardia Civils general directorate in Madrid, after his fingerprints and a DNA sample were taken in the Pamplona audiencia provincial (province court) in the Navarre region.
And see :Statewatch Analyses: Resources for researchers (from 1999 - ongoing)
EU: MED-CRISIS:: WHERE IS THE EU GOING?: Channel Tunnel: '2,000 migrants' tried to enter (BBC News, link): "Some 2,000 migrants tried to enter the Channel Tunnel terminal in Calais on Monday night in an attempt to reach the UK, operator Eurotunnel has said."
Emergency measures on Kent roads to combat Channel tunnel gridlock - Police reintroduce Operation Stack and close the M20 between junctions eight and nine to non-freight traffic after continued disruption in Calais (Guardian, link) and HMS Bulwark's replacement yet to rescue any migrants in Mediterranean - HMS Enterprise was sent out in place of much larger vessel that saved nearly 5,000, as David Cameron insisted UK would continue to play full role (link).
GERMANY: Amid attacks on refugee homes, explosion destroys Left politician's car near Dresden - A local politician who supported a plan to house refugees in the town of Freital outside Dresden has been the victim of an arson attack. The Left party said that Michael Richter was the target of right-wing threats. (DW, link) and Refugees: German state of Baden-Württemberg sets up refugee task force - To deal with an influx of refugees, the wealthy south-western state of Baden-Württemberg plans to set up a task force and build more shelters. It also wants to speed up the deportation of migrants from "safe" countries. (DW, link)
GREECE: Seven children from makeshift refugee camp in Athens receive treatment (.ekathimerini.com, link)
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Council of the European Union: Latest state of play in secret trilogue meetings at summer break: Chapter II, preparation of trilogue (LIMITE doc no 10790-15, pdf): Developing the Council's position: "With a view to preparing the next trilogue, the Presidency invites delegations to discuss Chapter II . Principles (Articles 5-10).... While underlining that the General Approach reached by Council on 15th June 2015 constitutes the basis of the Presidencys negotiation mandate, and taking into account the position of the European Parliament on Chapter II, the Presidency invites delegations to share their views on the different questions and suggestions listed below (points 7 and 8)." [emphasis added]
and Presidency debriefing on the outcome of the trilogue on 14 July 2015 (LIMITE doc no: 10680-15, pdf): 93 pages with multi-column positions. Summary of discussions including: "discussed in a trilogue on the General Data Protection Regulation the provisions related to Chapter V on transfer of personal data to third countries or international organisations and on the territorial scope of the Regulation." (emphasis added)
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Opening a new Chapter for Data Protection (Press release, pdf):
"Today, as the European Data Protection Supervisor sent his recommendations to the EU co-legislators negotiating the final text of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), he launched a mobile app to compare the latest texts from the Commission, the Parliament and the Council more easily on tablets and smartphones.
Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS, said: Privacy and data protection matter more than ever to people. For the first time in a generation the EU has an opportunity to modernise, harmonise and simplify the rules on how personal information is handled. These rules must be relevant for the next generation of technologies. As part of my remit to be proactive and constructive, my recommendations aim to support the co-legislators to get a better deal for the individual, to make safeguards more effective in practice and enable them to benefit from technological innovation."
And see: EDPS Opinion on the new Regulation (32 pages, pdf) and Annex to Opinion 3/2015: Comparative table of GDPR texts with EDPS recommendations (520 pages, pdf) Multi-column document.
EU PASSENGER NAME RECORD (PNR): Council of the European Union: Preparation for internal trilogues (LIMITE doc no 11105-15: pdf): Multi-column document, 507 pages.
For full background and documentation see Statewatch Observatory: EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record: 2011: ongoing
UK: Scotland Yard shut down undercover police unit because it broke rules - A secret review found that the Special Demonstration Squad ignored ethical issues and gathered information that had no crime-fighting value (Guardian, link):
"The SDS was run by the Met and collected what the review called high-grade intelligence on protesters during deep infiltration operations. Established in 1968, the unit planted more than 100 undercover officers in more than 460 political groups, until it was wound up in 2008. The undercover officers adopted intricate fake personas and pretended to be campaigners for spells of usually five years.
The SDS spies were deployed to gather information about protests organised by campaigns including those of grieving families seeking the truth about police misconduct, environmentalists and anti-racist groups."
Background: Investigation into links between Special Demonstration Squad and Home Office (pdf) and Mark Ellison QC and Allison Morgans: Review of possible miscarriages of justice: Impact of Undisclosed Undercover Police Activity on the Safety of Convictions Report (57 pages, pdf) plus: Special Demonstration Squad: Tradecraft Manual (pdf).
LONDON: PUBLIC ORDER: Metropolitan Police: Guidance documents for Mass or multiple arrests (pdf): A fair bit of it is censored. Contains: Briefing Note Prisoner Transport - Mass Arrest SOP [Standard Operating Procedure] - Briefing Note Good Practice - Supervisors guidance card S12 & S14 (sections 12 and 14 of the Public Order Act 1986)
Follow the Spycops Across Borders (COPs, link): "German MP Andrej Hunko, who has taken great interest in Mark Kennedys deployment in Germany, has written to the Home Secretary insisting that the forthcoming inquiry into undercover police includes UK officers actions abroad. It comes after Mays announcement last week which, whilst scant on detail, did specify that it will cover operations conducted by English and Welsh police forces in England and Wales. Its known that officers from the political police units have been going abroad for about twenty years. Conversely, their foreign counterparts work over here." See also: Secrets and lies: undercover police operations raise more questions than answers (Statewatch database, link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Adopted text: Proposal for a Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece - General approach (pdf): "Delegations will find attached a document on the above issue as agreed by the JHA Council on 20 July 2015." and see:
Frontex´ Annual Report on the implementation on the EU Regulation 656/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 establishing rules for the surveillance of the external sea borders (pdf)
UK-USA-GCHQ-NSA: Speech by Tony Bunyan Statewatch Director, Cardiff University, 18 June 2015: Surveillance and democracy: the EU and civil liberties (YouTube, link). Tony talks about surveillance with respect to the European Union and the effect the EU has on our civil liberties. He details that what has happen in terms of mass surveillance is nothing new, but what is new is the political and legal framework which allows it to happen. And gives an overview of the relationships between each of the following: 1) Gatherers of data (NSA, GCHQ), 2) Users of data (CIA, FBI), 3) Suppliers of data (Corporations) and 4) Targets of surveillance (Suspected terrorists, protests and dissenters, refugees and asylum seekers, migrant communities, general public)
This talk was given as part of the plenary session entitled State-Media-Citizen Relations in the Surveillance Society. It was part of the 2015 Surveillance and Citizenship Conference held at Cardiff Universitys School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies.
ITALY: Strage di piazza della Loggia, ergastolo per Maggi e Tramonte 41 anni dopo [Life sentences for Maggi and Tramonte, 41 years after the piazza della Loggia massacre]: 41 years after an attack using explosives against a trade union antifascist demonstration in Brescia in which eight people were killed and more than 100 people were injured on 28 May 1974, Carlo Maria Maggi of the far-right Ordine Nuovo group, and Maurizio Tramonte, a former intelligence service source, were convicted and received life sentences.
UK: What is "The Wilson Doctrine" (House of Commons, pdf) that says MPs must not be put under surveillance by the state?
and see: MPs can no longer remain exempt from surveillance, lawyers concede - James Eadie QC tells investigatory powers tribunal the Wilson doctrine is unworkable in era of bulk interception by intelligence agencies (Guardian, link) and see: What is the Wilson doctrine? The story behind MPs' protection from snooping - The convention, outlined by former Labour PM Harold Wilson, says intelligence agencies should not bug MPs, but that hasnt stopped such behaviour occurring (link)
UK. Police Confirm Ongoing Criminal Probe of Snowden Leak Journalists (The Intercept, link): "A secretive British police investigation focusing on journalists working with Edward Snowdens leaked documents remains ongoing two years after it was quietly launched, The Intercept can reveal.
Londons Metropolitan Police Service has admitted it is still carrying out the probe, which is being led by its counterterrorism department, after previously refusing to confirm or deny its existence on the grounds that doing so could be detrimental to national security. The disclosure was made by police in a letter sent to this reporter Tuesday,
The admission that the investigation remains ongoing triggered criticism from the U.K.s largest journalists organization. Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, called on the police to stop attacking press freedom. Journalists who reported on the Snowden documents are not criminals, they are not a threat to national security, Stanistreet said"
USA: Government Accountability Office (GAO): COMBATING TERRORISM: State Should Evaluate Its Countering Violent Extremism Program and Set Time Frames for Addressing Evaluation Recommendations (pdf):
"Without specific time frames, it will be difficult for the bureau to ensure timely implementation of programmatic improvements. In addition, despite identifying its CVE program as a priority and acknowledging the benefit of evaluating it, the bureau has postponed evaluating it each fiscal year since 2012."
EU-USA: ECCHR and CCR: Former Detainees and Human Rights Groups Appeal Spains Decision to Discontinue Guantánamo Investigation (pdf):
"The Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York, together with their cooperating lawyer in Madrid, Gonzalo Boye, have lodged an appeal against the Spanish National Courts decision to halt the long-running investigation into torture at the U.S. detention center in Guantánamo."
UK: Independent Review into Deaths and Serious Incidents in Custody must be effective and lead to real change (INQUEST, link):
"Responding to the announcement, Deborah Coles, Co-Director of INQUEST, said: For the review to be effective bereaved families, their lawyers and INQUEST will need to play an integral role in the review, and the Reviewer will need to take full account of their views and experiences. It must also address why so many previous recommendations from reviews, inquiries and inquests have not been acted upon. It is too early to tell if this is more about a public relations exercise than a real attempt to bring about effective systemic change and the necessary accountability of police officers."
And see: Theresa May to launch independent review of deaths in police custody - Home secretary will state desire to rebuild public confidence in police in speech that comes after tensions between ministers and force under Tory-led coalition (Guardian, link): "Theresa May will announce plans on Thursday to launch an independent review of deaths in police custody as she vows to stamp out the evasiveness and obstruction suffered by families at the hands of the authorities."
EU: SURVEILLANCE: European Parliament: Amendments 1-125 to Draft motion (pdf) and Draft Motion for a Resolution: On the Follow up to the European Parliament Resolution of 12 March 2014 on the electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens: Claude Moraes (pdf)
See Statewatch Observatory (June 2013 - ongoing): EU-UK-GCHQ-USA-NSA: Data surveillance
COE: Convention on cybercrime: Protocol on xenophobia and racism (280 pages, pdf)
SPIEGEL Interview with Julian Assange: 'We Are Drowning in Material' (Der Spiegel, link): "In an interview, Julian Assange, 44, talks about the comeback of the WikiLeaks whistleblowing platform and his desire to provide assistance to a German parliamentary committee that is investigating mass NSA spying."
UK: MINERS STRIKE 1984-1985: ORGREAVE: We were fed lies about the violence at Orgreave. Now we need the truth - This pivotal event in the miners strike led to a police cover-up. Only an inquiry can correct history and repair broken trust (Guardian, link)
See: Despite finding evidence of assault, police withholding evidence and committing perjury the IPPC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) decides not to investiage any further: IPPC Decision (pdf) and IPPC Review (pdf)
"the IPCC found support for the allegation that three senior police officers in command at Orgreave had made up an untrue account exaggerating the degree of violence (in particular missile throwing) from miners to justify their use of force and the charges of riot. The report said one of these most senior officers had his statement typed and witnessed by another officer who led a team of detectives which, the IPCC said, dictated those identical opening paragraphs of junior officers statements" (Guardian report)
And see: Orgreave: Truth and Justice Campaign (link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: COMPULSORY FINGER PRINTING OF MIGRANTS including: "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" including on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" AGREED WITHOUT DISCUSSION at: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 July 2015, Brussels:
Not released until 21.7.15: "A" Points agenda: Non-legislative activities - Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints 11013/15 ASIM 60 EURODAC 8 (adopted without discussion, pdf)
See: Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints (EU doc no: 11013-15, pdf) agreed at the Council::
"On 16 June 2015, the Commission held an ad-hoc technical meeting with Member States and Associated Countries. The main focus of the meeting was to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges Member States face when taking fingerprints and to agree on a common best practice approach to taking fingerprints in circumstances where the migrant refuses to cooperate. At that meeting, participating Member States reiterated their different practices when fingerprinting asylum seekers and irregular migrants and talked about different ways to deal with non-cooperation and damaged fingertips. The meeting concluded with the unanimous agreement of all Member States present that the best practices put forward in the above Commission document should be followed...
All delegations welcomed the [Commission] document, which, based on existing EU law, provides useful guidance to facilitate the systematic taking of fingerprints in full respect of fundamental rights and more specifically of the right to data protection... Coreper is therefore requested to recommend that the Council, at its meeting on 20 July 2015, invite the Member States to follow the mentioned 10-step approach." [emphasis added]
There is no reference to the "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" in the Commission proposal (below)
See: European Commission: Staff Working Document on Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints(pdf)
See: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers - Including "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" (Statewatch) and Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting (Statewatch)
EU states fall short on asylum targets (euobserver, link): "Interior ministers in Brussels on Monday (20 July) fell short of a European Commission-proposed target to relocate 40,000 asylum seekers arriving in Greece and Italy over the next two years. Instead they agreed to relocate 32,356 with Austria and Hungary refusing to take any asylum-seekers, despite the plan being billed by EU leaders last month as a demonstration of European solidarity."
UPDATED 21-7-15: EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 July 2015, Brussels: Asylum, Agreements on relocation, resettlement and safe countries of origin: Final press release (pdf)
- Background Note (pdf) The "non-legislative": Agenda (pdf) is solely concerned with:
Resettling 20 000 displaced persons from outside the EU in clear need of international protection
Relocating from Greece and Italy 40 000 persons in clear need of international protection
Provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece
Designation of certain third countries as safe countries of origin
See: Statewatch: Migration crisis: EU discussing common list of "safe countries of origin" and resettlement programmes Documents under discussion:
Draft Conclusions of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on resettling through multilateral and national schemes 20 000 displaced persons in clear need of international protection (LIMITE doc no: 10595/1/15, pdf)
Draft Resolution of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on relocating from Greece and Italy 40 000 persons in clear need of international protection (LIMITE doc no: 10849/15, pdf)
Draft Council Conclusions on safe countries of origin (LIMITE doc no: 10687/15, pdf)
See also Working Documents from the European Parliament: Developing safe and lawful routes for asylum seekers and refugees into the EU, including the Union resettlement policy and corresponding integration policies (INI report on the situation in the Mediterranean and the need for a holistic EU approach to migration) (pdf) and On Article 80 TFEU Solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility, including search and rescue obligations (INI report on the situation in the Mediterranean and the need for a holistic EU approach to migration) (pdf)
UK: City of London police put Occupy London on counter-terrorism presentation with al-Qaida - Anti-capitalist campaigners described as domestic extremism and put on slide with pictures of 2005 London bombing and the 1996 IRA bombing (Guardian, link) and see: NETPOL (link)
EU: "FREE MOVEMENT OF [LEA] DATA": Council of the European Union developing its negotiating position on the: Proposed Directive on the exchange of personal data between law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in the EU:
- Proposal for a Directive on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and the free movement of such data (LIMITE doc no: 10335-15, pdf) 149 pages with 629 Member State position/amendments: "All changes made to the original Commission proposal are underlined text, or, where text has been deleted, indicated by ( ). Where existing text has been moved, this text is indicated in italics. The most recent changes are marked in bold underlining."
- Chapters I, II and V (LIMITE doc no: 10133-15, 63 pages, pdf) Chapter 1: General, Chapter II: Principles and Chapter V: Transferring of personal data to third countries or international organisations. With 219 very detailed Member State positions/amendments including:
"DE, supported by FI, wanted it to be possible to transfer data to private bodies/entities, for cybercrime this was important. NL, SE and SI agreed with DE on the need for a solution on transfer to private parties in third countries...."
- Discussion on questions suggested by the Presidency (LIMITE doc no: 10208-15, pdf)
See Statewatch Observatory: Observatory on data protection and law enforcement agencies - the protection of personal data in police and judicial matters (2005-2008) and new proposals 2011 ongoing with full-text documentation on all the secret discussions in the Council - Last updated 19 July 2015
EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record): European Parliament PNR negotiating resolution (pdf) and see: MEPs back surveillance and profiling of air passengers as Council discusses "global approach" to PNR deals with non-EU states
UK: Public order broadcasting: The Met and the press (IRR News Service, link):
"Embedded journalism and police power
This programme shows how far the gains of the landmark 1999 Macpherson report have been rolled back. The media now considers racism something to be consigned to Britains past; it has been dealt with. As community anger continues in case after case the media, faced with interpreting this dissent, proves incapable of scrutinising the actions that cause it. Left with effect without cause, it has turned to the same institutions that generate anger to fill the gap in the narrative."
FRANCE: Report on detention centres for 2014 - Increased use of detention, including of children and EU nationals
The fifth report on French detention centres, published jointly by the associations ASSFAM, Forum Réfugiés - Cosi, France terre d'asile, La Cimade and Ordre de Malta France, provides a wealth of official data, statistics and critical analysis concerning detention centres and places of detention for migrants on the French mainland and overseas territories for 2014.... [and] a practice initially introduced to target third-country nationals was later extended to Romanians and Bulgarians, and is now being used to deal with citizens of several EU member states..
UK: Universities will be allowed to host extremist speakers within limits: External speakers at campuses must share platform with opponents under compromise on governments Prevent counter-extremism strategy (Guardian, link) and see new: Prevent Duty Guidance:for further education institutions in England and Wales (pdf)
EU: MED-CRISIS: IRELAND: State will take 600 extra migrants in EU initiative - Government agrees to relocation scheme as part of bid to tackle crisis in Mediterranean (Irish Times, link) and Czech Republic expects about 400 asylum seekers to be accepted by end of year (Prague Post, link)
Google pulls controversial map showing German refugee homes - The US search giant deleted an online map that showed the location of homes for asylum seekers and planned shelters across Germany. Activists had urged Google to get rid of the map amid fears it could fuel violence. (DW, link): "Activists fear an online map apparently created by a neo-Nazi group and which shows the locations of refugee homes and planned shelters across Germany could lead to more attacks against asylum seekers."
ITALY: Anti-immigrant protests break out in Rome, Treviso - Fourteen cops injured in clashes in the capital (ANSA, link)
UK: House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union: The United Kingdom opt-in to the proposed Council Decision on the relocation of migrants within the EU (pdf): "We understand that the Government is minded not to opt into the proposed Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece. Nevertheless, we believe that it is in the United Kingdoms interest to take part in the negotiation of this proposal, and that, should an amended or a new proposal be brought forward giving effect to the European Councils Conclusions in April and June 2015, the Government should reconsider its position and opt in."
EU: MED-CRISIS: European Commission's positions: "safe countries of origin", "Hotspot pre-removal centres" & Frontex as a "removal Agency
- Information note on safe countries of origin (18 pages, pdf): Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex comments:
"The CJEU ruled back in 2006 that the Council could not give itself special power to adopt a common list of supposed safe countries of origin, but had to follow the full EU legislative process. When EU law on asylum procedure was revised in 2013, the power to adopt such a common list was deliberately left out. But the Council now plans to draw up a de facto common list, with no democratic accountability whatsoever, in clear contempt for the rule of law."
- Explanatory note on the Hotspot approach (pdf): "structured border zones" are now referred to as "first reception facilities".or "pre-removal centres"
- Support to be provided by Frontex to frontline Member States on the return of irregular migrants (pdf) emphasises Frontex's role as a "returns" Agency rather that a Border Agency: "The Commission has announced its intention to propose to amend the Frontex Regulation to strengthen the role of Frontex, notably so that it can initiate return missions." [emphasis added]
- Letter from Dimitris AVRAMOPOULOS to Justice and Home Affairs Ministers (pdf):
"The aim of the "Hotspot" approach is to provide comprehensive and targeted support by the EU Agencies to frontline Member States which are faced with disproportionate migratory pressures at the external borders.... Frontex will provide prompt support for the identification of irregular migrants, the acquisition of travel document for their return, as well as carrying out return operations to bring them back to their home countries... . establishment of a common EU list of "safe countries of origin" [emphasis added]
See below documents on the Council's positions
EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 July 2015: Background Note (pdf) This will be a Mixed Committee (with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland attending) meeting discussing:
"Home affairs ministers will discuss the implementation package of the European Agenda on Migration as regards the resettlement and relocation of 60 000 persons in clear need of protection in the member states. Ministers are also expected to adopt conclusions on the designation of certain third countries as safe countries of origin within the meaning of the Asylum Procedures directive."
Statement from Informal JHA meeting on 9 July (pdf)
See: Statewatch: Migration crisis: EU discussing common list of "safe countries of origin" and resettlement programmes Documents under discussion:
Draft Conclusions of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on resettling through multilateral and national schemes 20 000 displaced persons in clear need of international protection (LIMITE doc no: 10595/1/15, pdf)
Draft Resolution of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on relocating from Greece and Italy 40 000 persons in clear need of international protection (LIMITE doc no: 10849/15, pdf)
Draft Council Conclusions on safe countries of origin (LIMITE doc no: 10687/15, pdf)
Eurodac fingerprint database under fire by human rights activists (euractiv, link):
"The German Institute for Human Rights has criticised the repurposing of the EU's fingerprint database, Eurodac, for registering asylum seekers. Tagesspiegel reports. Biometric information, to which the police will soon be given access, will be stored there for ten years, just because an individual has fled their country, activists have warned.
The German Institute for Human Rights (DIMR) has come out strongly against the biometric registration of asylum seekers at Europe's external borders. The new regulation on Eurodac, scheduled to take effect on 20 July, is a misuse of the EU database and allows for "considerable interference into fundamental rights", said Eric Töpfer, a research associate at the institute."
and see: ECRE expresses concern over the European Commission's guidance on Eurodac fingerprinting (aida, link): "ECRE has published comments on the European Commissions Staff Working Document on Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints, issued on 27 May 2015 as part of the first round of implementing measures announced by the European Agenda on Migration. These comments point to some alarming elements in the Commissions guidance that challenges several underlying principles of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights."
Also: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers - Including "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" (Statewatch) and Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting (Statewatch)
Joint statement by European Roma Rights Centre, Idea Rom Onlus and Associazione Studi Giuridici Immigrazione on convictions for an attack on a Roma camp in Turin On 17 July 2015, the ERRC, Idea Rom Onlus and ASGI issued a statement which welcomes the conviction of six people for a violent attack in December 2011.
UK: UNDERCOVER POLICE: Attorney-General: Mark Ellison QC and Allison Morgans: REVIEW OF POSSIBLE MISCARRIAGES OF JUSTICE: Impact of Undisclosed Undercover Police Activity on the Safety of Convictions Report (57 pages, pdf).
Convictions of 83 political campaigners in doubt over undercover police failings - Report finds officers deployed to infiltrate groups appeared in trials using fake personas and allowed false evidence to be presented in court (Guardian, link) and Doreen Lawrence calls for undercover police who spied on family to be named - Mother of murdered teenager Stephen says officers who infiltrated political groups should be named at public inquiry (Guardian, link)
See: Home Secretary announces terms of reference for undercover policing inquiry - Theresa May also establishes miscarriages of justice panel to sit alongside inquiry following Mark Ellison's review (Home Office, link)
And see: National Undercover Scrutiny Panel more minutes released (Undercover, link)
UK: SURVEILLANCE: High court rules data retention and surveillance legislation unlawful - Victory for Tory MP David Davis and Labours Tom Watson, who said there were insufficient privacy safeguards, as judges find Dripa inconsistent with EU law (Guardian, link):
"The high court has found that emergency surveillance legislation introduced by the coalition government last year is unlawful. A judicial challenge by the Labour MP Tom Watson and the Conservative MP David Davis has overturned the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (Dripa) 2014. The judges ruled that data retention powers in the legislation were inconsistent with EU laws. The government has been ordered to pass new legislation that must come into effect by the end of next March..... they argued, were there adequate safeguards against communications data leaving the European Union." and: Davis and Watson DRIPA challenge: Government surveillance law is unlawful, High Court rules (Liberty, link)
See Judgments by HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE: DRIPA Davis (pdf) and DRIPA Davis-Watson Order (pdf)
Also: Statewatch: Analysis: Mass surveillance of communications in the EU: - CJEU judgment and DRIPA 2014/RIPA 2000 in the UK (pdf)
EU: Statewatch coverage of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean 15 July 2015 (pdf): 14 new key documents and 21 news stories
EU-PNR: MEPs back surveillance and profiling of air passengers as Council discusses "global approach" to PNR deals with non-EU states
The European Parliament's civil liberties committee has approved a proposed text for the EU PNR (Passenger Name Record) Directive, by 32 votes to 27. The legislation will be finalised later in the year through secret trilogue discussions between the Parliament, the Council and the Commission. Jan Phillip Albrecht, a Green MEP, has long been a critic of the proposed scheme. Remarking upon the deal, he said: "If these proposal do not infringe constitutional or treaty provisions, then civil rights in the EU is meaningless."
And: other developments: the text of a secret Council discussion document on a "global approach" to PNR deals with non-EU states; EU and Mexico open negotiations on PNR agreement: See: Passenger Name Record (PNR) data to third countries: a global approach? (LIMITE doc no: 10838/15, pdf)
Greek Lawmakers Approve Bailout as Angry Protesters Clash With Riot Police (Vice News, link): "After five hours of heated debate, Greek lawmakers voted to approve tough new austerity measures on Wednesday, allowing an 86 billion euro bailout deal to go ahead despite dissent within the ruling Syriza party and a tense atmosphere outside Parliament in Athens, where protesters gathered in Syntagma Square in a show of opposition."
- Greek MPs pass austerity bill as Athens police clash with protesters (The Guardian, link)
- What Greece must do to receive a new bail-out (The Economist, link)
- Spain's Podemos distances itself from Greece (Ekathimerini, link)
EU: FRONTEX: Latest statistics and analysis from EU border agency Frontex
The publication is divided into two sections.
1. A "situational overview" covering risk analysis indicators; surveillance; border checks; "situation in the EU"; and fraudulent documents.
2. A series of "featured risk analyses" on: South-Eastern Europe: Migrants from Kosovo ranked first in Q1; Eastern Mediterranean route: Increasing flow of migrants arriving in the Eastern Aegean Sea; Central Mediterranean route: Winter low followed by spring increase; and Effective returns: Comparison with other indicators shows different patterns.
The annex contains statistical tables.
See: Frontex Risk Analysis Network Quarterly: Quarter 1, January-March 2015 (pdf)
MED CRISIS: House of Commons Library: Briefing paper: Mediterranean boat people (pdf): "Huge numbers of people are dying trying to cross the Mediterranean to Southern Europe from Libya. Lawlessness in Libya means that there is little authority to control the flow; some of the militias controlling the country are profiting from the trade. The numbers safely reaching their destination are creating problems for the recipient countries... The EU has also launched a military operation called EUNAVFOR MED, to disrupt the smuggling business that would include destroying boats used by the smugglers. The UK has contributed HMS Enterprise to the operation. There are, however, significant legal and practical problems with this approach."
Cybercriminal Darkode forum taken down through global action (Europol press release, pdf): "This week, law enforcement and judicial authorities worldwide have taken down the most prolific English-speaking cybercriminal forum to date: Darkode. In an international coordinated action against the hacking forum and its users, investigators from all over the world targeted cybercriminals that were using the Darkode forum to trade and barter their hacking expertise, malware and botnets, and to find partners for their next spam runs or malware attacks."
See also: Criminal hacking bazaar Darkode is dismantled and 70 members are busted (Ars Technica, link) and Dozens Nabbed in Takedown of Cybercrime Forum Darkode (Wired, link): "So far at least 12 people have been arrested in the US, and another 28 are known to have been arrested on Tuesday in Denmark, Germany, India, Israel, Romania, Sweden, and the UK."
EU: EUROJUST: Judicial cooperation agency dealing with growing number of cross-border criminal cases
"Eurojusts Annual Report 2014 reveals that the number of serious organised crime cases registered with Eurojust has grown steadily every year since 2002, when Eurojust had 202 cases. In 2014, the number of cases increased to 1 804, an increase over 2013 of 14.5 %, and demonstrates the increased demand by the Member States for Eurojusts cross-border judicial support."
- Press release: Eurojusts Annual Report 2014 demonstrates increasing number of criminal cases from Member States (pdf)
- Eurojust Annual Report 2014 (pdf)
EU-PNR: Travel surveillance and profiling: European Parliament voting on PNR proposal today
The European Parliament's civil liberties committee will today (15 July) vote on whether or not to approve the proposed PNR (Passenger Name Record) Directive. This will establish an EU-wide legal basis for handing air passengers' data to national law enforcement units, which will process and analyse the data in the name of combating terrorism and crime. The European Parliament's political groups are divided on the proposal.
GERMANY: Germany's Leading Digital Rights Blog Netzpolitik.org Accused Of 'Treason' After Leaking Bulk Surveillance Plans (Techdirt, link):
"Netzpolitik.org is arguably the most influential German blog in the realm of digital rights. It played a key role in marshalling protests against ACTA three years ago. You'd think the German government would be proud of it as an example of local digital innovation, but instead, it seems to regard it as some kind of traitor: "
See also: Criminal Charges From Domestic Secret Service: Federal Prosecutor Investigates our Publications, Leaks and Sources (Netzpolitik.org, link)
UK: Domestic drones: does the government take public debate seriously?
Does the UK government take public debate on domestic drones seriously? It hasn't yet set a date for a parliamentary debate on domestic drones, says its planned "public dialogue" will likely be "a series of drop-in events around the UK later in the year," and has recently been forced to agree to greater transparency over official plans for drones.
Belgium exposed vulnerable Serbian asylum seekers to extreme poverty in breach of ECHR
ECRE's weekly bulletin reports that: "In a judgment delivered this week, the European Court of Human Rights held that the conditions of extreme poverty faced by a Serbian family of asylum seekers following their eviction from an accommodation centre in Belgium amounted to degrading treatment, contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)."
ECHR press release: The conditions of extreme poverty faced by a family of asylum seekers following their eviction from an accommodation centre constituted degrading treatment (pdf)
Judgment: AFFAIRE V.M. ET AUTRES c. BELGIQUE (pdf)
GERMANY: New anti-terrorism laws come into force
"On June 20 and on June 30, 2015, new anti-terrorism legislation entered into force in Germany. The new law makes it a crime to travel outside the country with the intent to receive terrorist training, adds a new section on terrorism financing to the Criminal Code, and creates national identity card and passport restrictions on foreign fighters."
USA: Congressional Research Service: Dark Web (pdf):
"The furthest corners of the Deep Web, segments known as the Dark Web, contain content that has been intentionally concealed. The Dark Web may be used for legitimate purposes as well as to conceal criminal or otherwise malicious activities. It is the exploitation of the Dark Web for illegal practices that has garnered the interest of officials and policy makers."
See also: How Did The FBI Break Tor? (Forbes, July 2014, link): "Global law enforcement conducted a massive raid of the Dark Web this week."
EU: Migration crisis: EU discussing common list of "safe countries of origin" and resettlement programmes
Today the JHA Counsellors, a secretive working party of the Council of the EU, is discussing draft agreements between the Member States that concern the ongoing migration crisis. On the agenda are a set of conclusions on "designating certain third countries as safe countries of origin", and recommendations on resettlement programmes for 40,000 people currently in Italy and Greece and 20,000 people outside of the EU.
GERMANY: Authorities abandon comprehensive fingerprinting due to refugee numbers
Deutsche Welle reports that: "Border authorities in Bavaria have given up trying to take the fingerprints of all the refugees entering the country, reported "Der Spiegel" on Monday."
UK: Privacy campaigners win concessions in UK surveillance report (The Guardian, link): "Privacy campaigners have secured significant concessions in a key report into surveillance by the British security agencies published on Tuesday. The 132-page report, A Democratic Licence To Operate, which Nick Clegg commissioned last year in the wake of revelations by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden, acknowledges the importance of privacy concerns."
However: "Despite its concessions to the privacy lobby, the report overall is more favourable to the police and intelligence services than to the campaigners." The panel that wrote the report included "three former heads of UK intelligence agencies," and "also calls for an overhaul of existing legislation."
Full report: A Democratic Licence to Operate: Report of the Independent Surveillance Review (pdf) and Statements by Panel Members (pdf)
GREECE: Court awards 132,000 to HIV-positive inmates after prison hospital human rights breaches (Human Rights Europe, link): "Detention conditions for 13 HIV positive inmates in a Greek prison hospital's psychiatric wing, breached European human rights law, judges ruled today the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been: a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights; a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the Convention."
Documents from the ECHR: Press release: Inadequate physical conditions and sanitation facilities for HIV-positive persons in Korydallos Prison Hospital (pdf) and judgment: AFFAIRE MARTZAKLIS ET AUTRES c. GRÈCE (pdf, French)
UK Home Affairs Committee begins inquiry into the situation in Calais
The first evidence session will be held today (14 July). Evidence is to be provided by Alan Pughsley QPM, Chief Constable, Kent Police; Richard Burnett, Chief Executive, Road Haulage Association; James Hookham, Deputy Chief Executive, Freight Transport Association; John Keefe, Director of Public Affairs, Eurotunnel; Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Minister for Immigration.
See: Immigration: the situation in Calais
EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council, Luxembourg: Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos after informal Home Affairs Council in Luxembourg (pdf):
"Although a national competence, the European Commission and the EU Agencies can play a crucial role in supporting Member States and facilitating information exchange among EU actors. At European level we need to continue to increase cooperation and intelligence sharing between national authorities.,,,
on the 1st of July, Europol launched the Internet Referral Unit (IRU). This Unit, which will become fully operational in the next 12 months, will support Member States in identifying and removing online terrorist material. It is also essential to have strong public-private cooperation in the field of security. To this end, the Commission will establish an Internet Forum that will bring together Member States and Internet Service Providers. The aim is to reduce the accessibility of online terrorist material and to counter the terrorist narrative and propaganda." [emphasis added]
See: Fight against terrorism: Follow-up to the Council (Justice and Home Affairs) of 12-13 March 2015 - Implementation of Counter-Terrorism measures (LIMITE doc no: 9418-15, pdf) which says:
"Europol is expected to establish a European response concerning internet content referral activities with concerned private industry companies, with Member States envisaging support to the EU IRU by appointing national EU IRU contact points. Referral activities will not constitute an enforceable act, thus the decision and related implementation of the referral is taken under full responsibility and accountability of the concerned service provider." [p8, emphasis added]
EU: European Parliament Resolution: European Agenda on Security: European Parliament resolution of 9 July 2015 (pdf): Adopted (by 250 votes to 204, with 184 abstentions).
Agence Europe reported that: " Monika Hohlmeier (PPE) regretted... that the link between irregular immigration and terrorism was rejected by MEPs. This approach to security is, in her view "reckless and unacceptable".... [the Resolution] condemned any lumping together of terrorism, immigration and Islam, and also serious violations of fundamental rights, epitomised by the secret CIA prisons in Europe."
See: Statewatch Analysis: Full compliance: the EU's new security agenda (pdf) by Chris Jones and European Commission: The European Agenda on Security (pdf)
UK: Former girlfriend of undercover spy sues corporate security firm - Environmental activist who had a relationship with spy Mark Kennedy is taking legal action against Global Open thought to be first lawsuit of its kind (Guardian, link): "The woman is taking legal action against Global Open, a commercial firm hired by companies to monitor protesters. She alleges in the high court case that Mark Kennedy pursued her to start the relationship, while, she says, he worked undercover for Global Open."
See "Global Open" (link)
Caspar Bowden Legacy Fund for privacy advocacy and technology (link): "Caspar Bowden worked for over 20 years to protect fundamental freedoms on-line and off-line, and in particular the right to privacy and freedom from mass surveillance... In the hospital Caspar Bowden asked that we work to ensure equal protection regardless of nationality. Privacy is a universal human right."
Hacking Team Leaks Reveal Spyware Industry's Growth, Negligence of Human Rights (EFF, link): "This weeks document leak from surveillance software vendor Hacking Team provided new details on the burgeoning growth of a private surveillance industry which has spread globally without any meaningful oversight. While revealing many new and concerning aspects of Hacking Teams activities, it also confirmed a number of theories weve long suspected about their operations." With global map.
EU: MED-CRISIS: UNHCR says Greece faces 'unprecedented' migrant emergency (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Greece is facing an "unprecedented" emergency as migrants fleeing war and poverty stream into the country's islands in huge numbers, the U.N. refugee agency said Friday. The UNHCR said 77,100 people have arrived in Greece by sea this year, an average of 1,000 per day, overwhelming local authorities. The country's precarious economic situation is putting severe strain on small islands that are unable to cope, the agency said.
"Greece is part of the European Union and this is happening in Europe," UNHCR spokesman William Spindler said in Geneva. "We would like the European Union to have a much more active role in responding to the situation in Greece.""
UK: Government deradicalisation plan will brand Muslims with beards as terrorists, say academics (Indpendent, link)
And see Letter: "PREVENT will have a chilling effect on open debate, free speech and political dissent - The latest addition to the United Kingdoms counter-terrorism framework remains fixated on ideology as the primary driver of terrorism" (link)
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION - TRILOGUE -Latest: 8.7.15: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) (LIMITE doc no: 10391-15, 683 pages, MB4.4, pdf):
"Delegations will find in annex the 4 column table on the General Data Protection Regulation which comprises the Commission proposal, the first reading Position of the European Parliament and the General Approach of the Council." [New text is highlighted]
Previous versions: (dated 2.7.15): Preparation for trilogue (LIMITE Council doc no: 10366-15, 93 pages, pdf): Run-up to the trilogues are: LIMITE doc no 9985-REV-2-15 (26 June 2015, 79 pages, pdf) and LIMITE doc no 9565-15 (201 pages, 11 June 2015, pdf)
EU: Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting
Two new reports on EU databases have been released by the EU's Agency for Large-Scale IT Systems (eu-LISA), which is responsible for managing and developing the Schengen Information System (SIS), the Visa Information System (VIS) and Eurodac (used by Member States to compare the fingerprints of migrants and asylum seekers). The new reports concern SIS and Eurodac.
SURVEILLANCE: Interesting historical review: Editorial - Before and After Snowden (pdf):
"In retrospect, it seems somewhat premature to have issued a call on Surveillance and Security Intelligence after Snowden.
At the time of writing, despite his enforced exile in Russia, former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor and whistleblower, Edward Snowden, seems almost ubiquitous as a participant in debates on transnational surveillance, even appearing virtually on one occasion in a Canadian High School (Bradshaw 2015). And, as with all such impromptu historical periodizations, there is always also a case to be made to say that Snowdens revelations didnt change as much as we thought it might, or at least, rested on a legacy of former events or long-standing processes.
In the case of surveillance and security intelligence, the latter is certainly true. The former remains open as revelations and discussion resulting from both the documents taken by Snowden continue in the broader context of the changed climate of transparency resulting from his revelations and other major initiatives like Wikileaks."
And see: Surveillance & Society (link)
Institute of Race Relations (IRR): Self defence or a licence to kill? (link): "When we look at the figures of young African Americans shot dead, some might comfort themselves with the mantra thank goodness our police forces, unlike those of the US, are not routinely armed - But look at our record of BAME killings when they are armed."
EU: European Parliament: Copyright reform: promote cultural diversity and ensure access to it, say MEPs (Press Release, pdf) and Adopted text: Harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights (pdf)
See: Press Release: European Parliament shows little ambition on copyright reform (EDRI, link)
UK: Outspoken privacy campaigner Caspar Bowden dies after battle with cancer - Tributes pour in after well respected anti-surveillance campaigner and former Microsoft privacy chief who warned of NSA snooping before Snowden dies (Guardian, link):
"Microsofts former head of privacy and respected independent privacy campaigner Caspar Bowden has died after a battle with cancer. A popular and outspoken figure in privacy advocacy, Bowden was particularly active after the Snowden revelations of government surveillance, advising the European parliament among others. He was a co-founder of the UK-based Foundation for Information Policy Research."
EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council, Luxembourg, 9-10 July 2015:
- A brief update on the state of play of cooperation between security and intelligence services in the fight against terrorism (pdf)
Contains an extraordinary proposal to consider giving intelligence and internal security agencies right to intervene in policy-making by finding: "ways in which policy initiatives at the EU level could take into account the concerns, opinions and suggestions from security services at an early stage in the legislative process." and allowing: "access by security services to information such as the PNR, SIS, and call detail records, as essential tools in the fight against terrorism"
- Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the fight against fraud to the Union's financial interests by means of criminal law (pdf)
- Reflections on a revision of Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, repealing Regulation (EC) No 1347/2000 (pdf)
Background: Draft Conclusions of the representatives of the governments of the Member States on the Commission Recommendation of 8 June 2015 on a European resettlement scheme (LIMITE doc no: 10595-15, 6 July 2015, pdf): There is still nothing new here on asylum applicants' rights to be consulted and to agree to the relocation, or how to deal with the problem if Member States do not actually propose 40,000 places. The target numbers to be relocated have been moved from the main text to the preamble and Proposal for a Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (LIMITE doc no: 10596-15, 6 July 2014, pdf)
CoE: European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI): Dramatic increase in antisemitism, Islamophobia, online hate speech: annual report from Council of Europes anti-racism commission (link):
"Strasbourg, 9 July 2015 With conflicts in the Middle East, acts of Islamist violence in Europe and incidents of unprecedented mass arrivals of migrants, the annual report of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), published today, identifies a dramatic increase in antisemitism, Islamophobia, online hate speech and xenophobic political discourse as main trends in 2014."
And see: Annual Report (pdf)
:UN: Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Mutuma Ruteere (pdf): "Racial and ethnic profiling, defined as a reliance by law enforcement, security and border control personnel on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin as a basis for subjecting persons to detailed searches, identity checks and investigations, or for determining whether an individual is engaged in criminal activity, has been a persistent and pervasive issue in law enforcement, and its use has often arisen in connection with policies on national security and immigration."
See: UN Racism Rapporteur Presents Road Map to End Ethnic Profiling (Liberties.eu, link).
VERY SAD NEWS: [Privacy activist Caspar Bowden has died]: Datenschutz-Aktivist Caspar Bowden ist gestorben (netzpolitik.org, link):
"Data protection activist Caspar Bowden has died. He is co-founder of the Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR), a British NGO, which has been very active earlier. From 2002-2011 he was Privacy Officer of Microsoft for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. After its end at Microsoft, he was a harsh critic of US surveillance programs, and warned before the start of the Snowden revelations before the FISA courts and the powers as PRISM, who can give this secret court the US intelligence agencies. He was also involved for Anonymisation infrastructures, including the board of the TOR project. For the Home Affairs Committee in the European Parliament (LIBE) he had written the report "The US Surveillance Program and Their Impact on EU citizens' fundamental rights" (PDF) last year."
MET POLICE: Is it a criminal offence to watch a video? (Jack of Kent Blog, link):
"The Metropolitan Police put out an alarmist statement this week that, in certain circumstances, merely viewing a video could constitute a criminal offence under terrorist legislation. This is, of course, false. There is no such terrorism offence for viewing a video, and the Met could not substantiate their claim when challenged. It seems to me that the Met press office simply invented a viewing offence. My full post on the Mets alarmist and false statement is at the FT (free to access, but registration required). The conclusion of my FT post (which should be read in full for context) reads: "It would appear that the [Met] press office, which had produced and promoted the bold statement that that viewing a video could itself be a criminal act under terrorism legislation, could not substantiate it when challenged."
EU: European Asylum Support Office (EASO): Annual Report for 2014 (pdf)
Agence Europe reports: "The latest annual report - for 2014 - from the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published on Wednesday 8 July confirmed the record rise in asylum requests. More than 660,000 requests for international protection were received by the 28 EU member states, plus Norway and Switzerland. Of these, 128,000 were from Syrian nationals. The 660,000 asylum applications is a 43% increase on 2013 and a record number since data were first gathered in 2008, EASO states."
EU: European Parliament study: Adoption without consent (pdf):
"At the request of the PETI Committee and on the basis of petitions submitted on the matter of adoption without parental consent in England and Wales, this study examines the law and practice in England and Wales, in comparison to other jurisdictions within the European Union. It further details the procedures followed by the English courts in relation to child protection proceedings involving a child who has a connection to another EU Member State, and gives recommendations for cooperation between States in future proceedings."
EU: The Missing Piece in the European Agenda on Migration: the Temporary Protection Directive (EU Law Analysis, link): "The EUs Temporary Protection Directive entered in force in 2001 and was the first EU directive on international protection adopted after the Treaty of Amsterdam entered into force in 1999.... Lack of implementation of the Directive in the past 14 years"
USA-GERMANY: ALL THE CHANCELLOR'S MEN (Wikileaks, link): "Wednesday 8 July at 1800 CEST, WikiLeaks publishes three NSA intercepts of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, together with a list of 56 National Security Agency (NSA) target selectors for the Chancellor and the Chancellery. It lists not only confidential numbers for the Chancellor, but also for her top officials, her aides, her chief of staff, her political office and even her fax machine. The combined German NSA target lists released by WikiLeaks so far shows the NSA explicitly targeted for long-term surveillance 125 phone numbers for top German officials and did so for political and economic reasons, according to its own designations."
And see documents: NSA high priority targets for Germany - All The Chancellor's Men (link)
Also: WikiLeaks says NSA spied on top German politicians 'for decades': "Documents released by WikiLeaks appear to show the US spied on close aides of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other officials for years. The leaks show Merkel's private and professional opinions on a range of issues." (DW, link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Draft Conclusions of the representatives of the governments of the Member States on the Commission Recommendation of 8 June 2015 on a European resettlement scheme (LIMITE doc no: 10595-15, 6 July 2015, pdf)
There is still nothing new here on asylum applicants' rights to be consulted and to agree to the relocation, or how to deal with the problem if Member States do not actually propose 40,000 places. The target numbers to be relocated have been moved from the main text to the preamble.
and Proposal for a Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (LIMITE doc no: 10596-15, 6 July 2014, pdf)
SURVEILLANCE: Keys Under Doormats: Mandating insecurity by requiring government access to all data and communications (MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Technical Report, pdf):
"we set out in detail the questions for which policymakers should require answers if the demand for exceptional access is to be taken seriously. Absent a concrete technical proposal, and without adequate answers to the questions raised in this report, legislators should reject out of hand any proposal to return to the failed cryptography control policy of the 1990s."
See also: UK and US demands to access encrypted data are 'unprincipled and unworkable' - Influential group of international cryptographers and computer scientists says proposals will open door to criminals and malicious nation states (Guardian, link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: Migrant dies on UK-bound freight train near Calais - Death is second in two weeks amid migration crisis at French port, causing delayed passenger services and freight traffic (Guardian, link)
Greek island of Lesbos struggles to cope with migrant influx (BBC News, link): "Record-breaking numbers of migrants are arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos, overwhelming local authorities, local police say. About 1,600 landed on the island on Saturday alone, the island's chief of police said."
Hungary MPs approve border fence and anti-migrant law (BBC News, link): "Hungary's parliament has passed new legislation tightening asylum rules, and backed plans to erect a border fence to keep out migrants. The new law allows the detention of migrants in temporary camps, the speeding up of asylum assessments and limiting the possibility for appeal. The move was criticised by the UN and human rights groups."
Balkans: Refugees and migrants beaten by police, left in legal limbo and failed by EU (AI, link): "Thousands of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants including children making dangerous journeys across the Balkans are suffering violent abuse and extortion at the hands of the authorities and criminal gangs and being shamefully let down by a failing European Union (EU) asylum and migration system which leaves them trapped without protection in Serbia and Macedonia, said Amnesty International in a new report."
Morpho wins Estonian API deal (Security Document World.com, link):
"Morpho has been awarded a major contract from the Estonian government to supply an Advanced Passenger Information/Passenger Name Record (API-PNR) system." Estonia was awarded nearly 5 million by the European Commission in 2012 for the setting up of a national PNR processing and analysis system. Given the ongoing development of national PNR systems with a view to interconnecting them, the following paragraph is noteworthy. According to Morpho:
"This latest contract reinforces our already established partnership with the Estonian government. Morpho also advocates a holistic view of data sharing and interface across borders, developing solutions which will ultimately facilitate data exchange on the European level."
See: EU: Travel surveillance: PNR by the back door (Statewatch database) and More recently, the Commission has made funds available specifically for
the interconnection of national PNR systems. Page 10 of this document: Commission Implementing Decision: Annual Work Programme for 2015 for support to Union Actions under the Internal Security Fund Police cooperation and crime prevention (pdf)
EU Council of the European Union: Combating racism, Protecting Public Figures, Cybersecurity, DAPIX, Piracy, Europol/Customs & Visa Code
- Combating racism - state of play of work in the Council (EU: doc no: 9499-15, pdf). The Council adopted a Framework Decision in 2008 (pdf) and Report on the Framework Decision (2014, pdf). Historical reminder: European Parliament: Report drawn up on behalf of the Committee of Inquiry into Racism and Xenophobia on the findings of the Committee of Inquiry (Rapporteur: Glyn Ford: 1991, pdf)
- Law Enforcement Working Party (European Network for the Protection of Public Figures - ENPPF) Subject: ENPPF work programme (LIMITE doc no: 9742-15, pdf) among the concerns are: "Unmanned Aerial Vehicles".
- EU Cybersecurity Strategy: Road map development (LIMITE doc no: 6183-Rev-2-15, pdf) Detailed six-column document (23 pages)
- Working Group on Information Exchange and Data Protection (DAPIX): Subject: Future of DAPIX expert meetings (CM 2886-15, LIMITE, pdf): "During the LV Presidency, some Member States emphasised the need to maintain expert meetings on DNA, FP, VRD topics. However, the incoming Presidency estimates that such meetings should only take place if a substantial agenda is available."
- Results of the European Firearms Experts (EFE) meeting held on 14-15 April 2015 in Helsinki (Finland) - Assignment of commercial security staff - Piracy against vessels (LIMITE doc no: 9718-15, pdf): "The spiralling incidents involving piracy are causing shipping companies to also assign armed private security forces on their vessels in order to better fend off attacks by pirates. New questions which impact the control of weapons crime and the prevention of arms trafficking are therefore arising where government action and police co-operation are concerned."
- Strategic review: Europol and Customs LIMITE doc no: 9572-15, pdf): "Europol has access to only a fraction of the information and expertise available at national level as Europol is generally not the preferred channel of communication for Customs."
- Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union Code on Visas (Visa Code) (recast) (LIMITE doc no 9450-15, pdf) and Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union Code on Visas (Visa Code) (recast) (LIMITE doc no 9029-15, pdf) With Member States' positions. See also: EU visa policy: A dash for growth? (EU Law Analysis (link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Commission Recommendation of 8.6.2015 on a European resettlement scheme - Proposal for a Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece = Main outstanding issues (LIMITE doc no 10524-15, pdf)
And see: Draft Report on the proposal for a Council decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf): Rapporteur: Ska Keller MEP
The discussion paper for Coreper (Member States' representatives to the EU) confirms that the Council is still intending to adopt the Commission's proposal to relocate 40,000 asylum-seekers from Italy and Greece. There seems no prospect of increasing the numbers to 50,000, to take account of the increased numbers coming to the EU, as the draft Keller report suggests. Nor is it clear yet what the Council will do if Member States do not offer voluntarily the full 40,000 places, given that the Commission's idea of mandatory quotas will be dropped.
However, the Council is considering amending the rules on which nationalities are covered by the rules. This would mean that not only Syrians and Eritreans would be covered by the Decision; nationalities could be added or removed depending on refugee recognition rates (for instance, Afghans and Somalians also have a fairly high rate of successful claims).
The draft Council document shows great concern to avoid 'secondary movements', ie refugees or asylum-seekers moving between Member States. However, it says nothing about the part of the draft Keller report which would most obviously address this issue: allowing refugees to express a preference over which country they go to, and giving them a veto over their relocation. If refugees are only sent to countries which they prefer to and/or agree to be in, they are much less likely to move to another Member State.
See also: EU Naval Force EUNAVFOR MED sets sail in troubled waters (CEPS, link)
EU: European Commission: Commission Staff Working Document - Report on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries (SWD 132-15, pdf):
"The principal objective of the survey is to identify those third countries in which the state of IPR protection and enforcement gives rise to the greatest level of concern, and thereby to enable the Commission to focus its activities and resources aiming at the improvement of IPR protection worldwide by establishing an updated list of so-called "priority countries"."
Defiant Greeks vote 'No' in victory for Tsipras (France 24, link). And see: Greek referendum no vote signals huge challenge to eurozone leaders - Victory by Syriza party of 60% to 40% in polarising referendum presents nightmare for eurozone elites, particularly Germanys Angela Merkel (Guardian, link)
UK: Walk down the wrong street and you're back in prison: the Kafkaesque life of a terror suspect in Britain - Since Algerian asylum seeker Y was arrested in 2003, he has spent years behind bars or unable to move more than a few miles, yet he has never been convicted of a crime. What is it like to exist under such extraordinary restrictions? (Guardian, link):
"By order of a court, the Guardian cannot publish Ys real name. We may identify him only as Y. If we breach the order, I may be sent to jail. All this is happening in Britain in 2015".
UK: Report of the Intelligence Services Commissioner for 2014 (pdf): Bulk data collection, the Commissioner reports that:
""I oversee how the intelligence services store and use bulk personal data (BPD). There is no statutory definition of BPD, but in essence BPD refers to data belonging to a range of individuals acquired by or held on one or more analytical systems in the intelligence services. The majority of these individuals are unlikely to be of intelligence interest." [emphasis added]
In 2014 a total of 2,032 surveillance/operations warrants were issued for: the Security Service (MI5), the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), GCHQ and the Ministry of Defence (MOD). No breakdown of the global figure is given - some warrants are for individuals/groups others are open-ended/general warrants. They cover Intrusive Surveillance, Directed Surveillance and Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS). There are also Property Interference Warrants (Intelligence Services Act), Section 5:
"A property warrant may be used for remote interference with a computer in order to obtain information from the computer"
Plus "class authorisations" for GCHQ and MI6 under "Section 7 of ISA the Secretary of State (in practice normally the Foreign Secretary) may authorise SIS or GCHQ to undertake acts outside the United Kingdom.... Section 7 authorisations can be used for highly intrusive activities"
EU: Council of the European Union: Europol: To: Standing Committee on operational cooperation on internal security Subject: Proposals from Europol: Improving information and intelligence exchange in the area of counter terrorism across the EU (LIMITE doc no: 7272-15, pdf)
"Europols experience, supported by the figures below, is that the expectations generated by these political decisions have not been generally met, with the potentials for the full and proper use of Europols information management capabilities not realised in the area of counter terrorism."
Europol's new roles on counter-terrorism derive from political direction given by the Justice and Home Affairs Council of 12 March 2015 and the Paris and Riga statements. The legal basis for Europol's new role such as Check the Web, Focal Point Travellers and using existing mechanisms like SIENA and the Europol Information System is the Council Decision 2005/671/JHA of 20 September 2005 on the exchange of information and cooperation concerning terrorist offences (pdf). This Decision states all information concerning terrorist investigations should be sent to Europol and Eurojust (Article 2) and sent, under Article 6 to "other interested Member States". The Decision makes no provision for the correction of the data/intelligence files provided nor for its deletion should an investigated or detained person(s) be released, not charged or acquitted. It should be noted that most terrorist investigation files will concern more than one person (the suspect), possibly involving their family and friends.
UK: Annual Report of the Chief Surveillance Commissioner for 2014-2015 (pdf)
EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Valletta Conference on Migration (Malta, 11-12 November 2015) - Orientation debate (pdf):
"Delegations will find enclosed at annex a note issued under the responsibility of the Cabinet of the President of the European Council, in close cooperation with the European External Action Service and the Commission services....
The Summit will bring together the leaders of the most concerned countries of origin, transit and destination as well as regional organisations to identify, agree and launch actions to jointly address immediate and long term migration challenges as well as to reinforce the current mechanisms to implement and follow up high level political decisions on migration. Therefore, the aim is to invite the Heads of State and Government of the European Union Member States and of the countries parties to the Khartoum Process and the Rabat Process, as well as the African Union Commission and the ECOWAS Commission.
Libya is central to irregular migration to Europe but its participation to the summit will depend on the evolution of its internal political situation....
Making progress on return and readmission agreements (actions for both the EU and the countries of origin to facilitate returns of irregular migrants, with particular attention to assisted voluntary return and integration and the establishing of readmission agreements with countries of origin)"
EU: MED-CRISIS: ECRE has expressed its disappointment following the Conclusions of the European Council meeting of 25 June and is particularly concerned about the incapacity of EU leaders to reach an agreement on a mandatory scheme to relocate 40,000 asylum seekers and resettle 20,000 refugees. In ECREs view, even these numbers are insufficient, notwithstanding the complete failure to achieve solidarity and trust between Member States on asylum policies; at the expense of asylum seekers.(link)
EU Military in Our Waters Only if Were in Control Libya PM (Migrant Report, link): "We expect that if there is such an intervention to stop smugglers or illegal immigrants from crossing to Europe, it should be under the supervision, guidance and coordination of the new national government we would only (would it be accepted) if it is under the control of the new government he said in an exclusive interview in Malta, where the Prime Minister is currently on an official visit."
UN agency worries as Hungary rushes to tighten asylum rules (Yahoo News, link)
NEW: EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: New document from trilogue (dated 2.7.15): Proposal for a Regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) - Preparation for trilogue (LIMITE Council doc no: 10366-15, 93 pages, pdf). Multi-column document giving the Commission proposal, the European Parliament and Councils (amended) positions and the "compromise" column: Comments from Council:
"On 1st July 2015, the Presidency also received compromise proposals from the European Parliament on these issues which are reflected in the 4th column of the document in annex...
Taking into account the General Approach reached on 15th June 2015 which constitutes the basis of the negotiation mandate for the Presidency, and taking into account the discussions at the DAPIX meeting of 1st July 2015, the Presidencys suggestions are included in the 4th column. These suggestions are indicated in [brackets, italic and bold]."
Earlier versions in the run-up to the trilogues are: LIMITE doc no 9985-REV-2-15 (26 June 2015, 79 pages, pdf) and LIMITE doc no 9565-15 (201 pages, 11 June 2015, pdf)
UK: Police facing claims that senior officers knew about spying on Stephen Lawrence family - Officers have said that information about Stephen Lawrences family gathered by an undercover operation reached senior levels in Scotland Yard (Guardian, lnk):
"The police watchdog has recently widened its investigation into claims that five officers were involved in spying on the family of Stephen Lawrence, the teenager murdered by a racist gang. The investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is examining allegations that the Metropolitan Police planted an undercover officer in the Lawrence family camp.
At the moment, however, it is unclear how far up the Mets chain of command knowledge of the espionage went - a question that presumably the IPCC is looking at.Two officers involved in the polices covert work have said that information about the Lawrences that had been gathered by the Mets undercover unit was passed to, or requested by, the senior echelons of Scotland Yard."
See: THE STEPHEN LAWRENCE INDEPENDENT REVIEW: Possible corruption and the role of undercover policing in the Stephen Lawrence case Summary of Findings (link) and Report and summary of findings from Mark Ellison's independent review (link)
NETHERLANDS: Dutch intel bill proposes non-specific (bulk) interception powers for any form of telecom or data transfer, incl. domestic, plus required cooperation from providers of communication services (link): "Notably, the bill removes the current restriction that non-specific interception can only be used against communication that has a foreign source and/or destination -- thus expanding the power to domestic communication."
London: Summer Conference: Drones and Forever War: "The summer conference has become an annual event for the Drone Campaign Network. It is open to everyone and free! It provides an excellent opportunity to update drone knowledge and to plan campaigns, inspiring each other as we share ideas and experience." Date / Time: Saturday 11th July 10.30 4.30: Location: Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ Programme: Download here (link)
EU: EUROPOL: Terrorist propaganda: SITES TO BE REFERRED TO INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS TO TAKE DOWN: European Union Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) to combat terrorist propaganda and related violent extremist activities on the internet (pdf):
"European Union (EU) Member States decided to implement a coherent and coordinated European prevention approach. On 12 March 2015, the Justice and Home Affairs Council of the European Union mandated Europol to establish a dedicated unit aimed at reducing the level and impact of terrorist and violent extremist propaganda on the internet. The European Union Internet Referral Unit at Europol will identify and refer relevant online content towards concerned internet service providers and support Member States with operational and strategic analysis." [emphasis added]
See: Fight against terrorism: Follow-up to the Council (Justice and Home Affairs) of 12-13 March 2015 - Implementation of Counter-Terrorism measures (LIMITE doc no: 9418-15, pdf) which says:
"Europol is expected to establish a European response concerning internet content referral activities with concerned private industry companies, with Member States envisaging support to the EU IRU by appointing national EU IRU contact points. Referral activities will not constitute an enforceable act, thus the decision and related implementation of the referral is taken under full responsibility and accountability of the concerned service provider." [p8, emphasis added]
Report: After Spying Operation in Germany, CIA Outed Suspected Leaker to Retaliate Against Journalists (The Intercept, link):
"In the summer of 2011, the CIA station chief in Berlin asked one of the most powerful intelligence officials in Germany to go on a private walk with him, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reports. The American spy had an important message to convey: one of Germanys own senior officials was leaking information to the press."
European Parliament: FREEDOM TO TAKE PICTURES? Debate: should the freedom of panorama be introduced all over the EU? (Press release, pdf):
"Should people have the right to create and share images and photographs of public buildings without having to compensate for the use of copyright? The so-called
freedom of panorama already exists in some EU countries, but MEPs are now considering whether it should be extended to all member states. As they will debate it on 9 July, we asked two MEPs on opposing sides of the issue why they think it would be a good or a bad thing."
USA: Supreme Court Rejects Unlimited Government Access to Hotel Records (pdf): "The default rule under the Fourth Amendments prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures is that the government must get a warrant to compel an individual to turn over his or her papers, unless an exception applies. One such exception is for so-called administrative searches, which generally must have a regulatory, as opposed to criminal, purpose."
EU: MED-CRISIS: Update from Boukhalef: large-scale evictions and mass deportations (No Borders Morocco, link):
"For several years already, migrants, mainly subsaharans, have found refuge in Boukhalef, a district in the periphery of Tangier. Some just live their lives, others have been regularized or are being hosted by their respective community while trying to cross to Europe. Subsaharans get harassed in the quarter or beyond on a regular basis, sometimes violently, by Moroccans reproducing racist ideologies. Regularly, the authorities decide to evict migrants violently, which has provoked several tragedies. On 1st of July 2015 more than 200 police officers and soldiers were deployed to the district Boukhalef in order to evacuate all the blacks....
Hundreds of people were deported further South, others are now on the streets, hiding in the Tangier medina, and need urgent support. A delegation of migrants' NGOS from Tangier and Rabat is calling for funds to support the evicted inhabitants of Boukhalef. The priority would be to provide at least some shelter for the most vulnerable people for the coming days, as they have lost all their possessions and are just staying in the streets! Please let us know if you can donate any sum of money to buy some blankets, plastic sheets, some cooking utensils, food and medicine. Please email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will give you the account details. Any sum is welcome!"
Serbia receives assistance to stem illegal migrant flows (euractiv, link): "Police chiefs from Germany, Austria and Hungary have agreed to help Serbia crack down on waves of illegal migrants transiting its territory heading for the European Union. Meanwhile, Budapest said it will forge ahead with plans to erect a fence at its border with Serbia."
AUSTRIA: 'No let-up' in asylum seeker crisis (The Local.at, link): "Tent cities for 400 asylum seekers are being set up in Carinthia and Burgenland - with Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner saying that she sees no end in sight for the refugee crisis."
Hungary government condemned over anti-immigration drive - Activists accuse Fidesz party of stoking xenophobia to divert attention from escalating poverty and corruption scandals (Guardian, link)
EU parliament's largest political groups split over fundamental rights (The Parliament, link): "Parliament's 'grand coalition' between its centre-right and centre-left groupings is divided over a report on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU for the years 2013 and 2014..... The European People's Party (EPP) group voted against the report in parliament's civil liberties, justice and home affairs (LIBE) committee, dismissing most of its content as "plain absurd and nonsense". The report, however, was passed on Thursday and is due to go before parliament's Strasbourg plenary session in September."
EU: Important challenge to secrecy of EU decision-making: How the EU legislative triangle is becoming a Bermudes, triangle (EASFJ, link):
Emilio de Capitani applied to the European Parliament for documents summarising negotiations between the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament is secret trilogue meetings, namely:
"multicolumn tables (describing the Commission proposal, the Parliamentary Committee orientation, the Council internal bodies suggested amendments and, if existing, suggested draft compromises) submitted to trilogues for the current pending co-decision procedures"
The parliament refused access largely on the grounds that multi-column documents in its position had been produced by the Council and therefore could not be released. They also claimed that there are a large number of such documents - exactly!.
Race & Class: Transnational capital and the technology of domination and desire (link): "The July issue of Race & Class takes up three topical themes: the monetarisation of private information, the politics of film and the demonisation of anti-racism."
EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): EU Data Protection Reform: a historic opportunity for Europe (pdf):
"Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS, said: Europe has long been the flag bearer with its data protection law and there are great expectations for this to continue with the reformed rules. As the European Union grapples with a range of economic difficulties facing its member countries, the EU Data Protection Reform is an opportunity for hope. Europe must seize the opportunity to be at the forefront in shaping a global standard for privacy and data protection, a standard centred on the rights and the dignity of the individual."
See also: Launched today EDPS: Annual Report for 2014 (pdf)
EU: MED-CRISIS: UNHCR: "A large majority of the thousands of people who made dangerous sea journeys across the Mediterranean into Europe in the first six months of 2015 were fleeing war, conflict or persecution": UNHCR Tracks: The Sea Route to Europe People risking their lives to reach Europe are often called migrants, but the current Mediterranean crisis is primarily a refugee crisis (llink)
See: ITALY: Renzi says suspending Schengen won't stop migrants (ANSA, link) and EU: MED-CRISIS: Seeking Refuge: Central Europe balks at refugees. But then there's Ukraine.- Central Europe, and Poland in particular, could be key to easing the EU's migrant crisis. The region has been cold to the idea of taking in refugees but Ukraine conflict could force the issue.(Yahoo News, link): "The most deadly and pressing elements of the current migration crisis are focused on the southern Mediterranean. But pressure is coming from the east, too. And Poland could emerge as a key powerbroker for the region &SHY; not just if a refugee crisis takes shape in Ukraine, butt also by setting the example in the region as the EU scrambles to get all 28 members of the bloc to see the refugee problem as their concern."
UK: Police publish secret training manual telling undercover cops to have 'fleeting, disastrous' affairs with targets (Mirror, link)
"The Metropolitan Police have released the 'tradecraft' manual for the Special Demonstration Squad, who infiltrated protest groups,,,The Metropolitan Police have published the manual used to train undercover spies to infiltrate protest groups for the first time. The so-called 'tradecraft' manual, given to members of the Met's Special Demonstration Squad, instructs new recruits on how to steal the identities of dead babies using methods inspired by a Frederick Forsyth novel. The document, finally published yesterday after numerous Freedom of Information requests, also suggests agents should: "try to have fleeting, disastrous relationships" with group members."
See: Special Demonstration Squad - Manual (pdf) 60 pages, massively censored.
European Digital Rights asks the European Commission to investigate illegal data retention laws in the EU (link): "European Digital Rights (EDRi) this morning sent a letter to European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, asking the European Commission to investigate the data retention laws in EU Member States which appear to be illegal in light of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruling on this issue from 8 April last year."
UK.gov spied on human rights warriors at Amnesty International - Snooping could cost lives, group claims (The Register, link):
"The British government has admitted that its spook agency GCHQ spied on Amnesty International, according to campaigners at the human rights group.
Amnesty said on Wednesday that it had received an email from the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) the organization responsible for policing the UK's surveillance of its own citizens revealing that the government intercepted, accessed and stored its communications for an unspecified period of time"
And see: UK was illegally spying on Amnesty International, 'mistakenly' forgot to tell human rights group (Independent, link): "The UK government was illegally spying on civil rights group Amnesty International and neglected to tell it the surveillance was going on, after a mistake.".
GERMANY-NSA: WikiLeaks: US spied on Angela Merkel's ministers too, says German newspaper - The NSA did not just tap German chancellor Angela Merkels phone but also listened in on finance, economy, agriculture and other ministers (Guardian, link):
"The United States did not just tap chancellor Angela Merkels phone but also eavesdropped on several of her ministers, the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung has reported, citing documents from WikiLeaks."
and see: Wikileaks (link) and also: Wikileaks: 'Massive' NSA spying on top German officials (DW, link): "Wikileaks says its latest release of documents shows the wide reach of economic espionage conducted by the NSA in Germany. Documents released by the whistleblowers suggest an intense interest in the Greek debt crisis."
Council of Europe: PNR: Passenger Name Records, data mining & data protection: the need for strong safeguards (pdf): Prepared by Douwe Korff
Emeritus Professor of International Law, London Metropolitan University, Associate, Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, with advice, comments and review by Marie Georges, Council of Europe Expert:
"Much has been said and written about Passenger Name Records (PNR) in the last decade and a half. When we were asked to write a short report for the Consultative Committee about PNR, in the wider contexts, we therefore thought we could confine ourselves to a relatively straightforward overview of the literature and arguments.
However, the task turned out to be more complex than anticipated. In particular, the context has changed as a result of the Snowden revelations. Much of what was said and written about PNR before his exposés had looked at the issues narrowly, as only related to the identification of known or [clearly identified] suspected terrorists (and perhaps other major international criminals). However, the most recent details of what US and European authorities are doing, or plan to do, with PNR data show that they are part of the global surveillance operations we now know about."
USA-NSA: XKEYSCORE: NSAs Google for the Worlds Private Communications (The Intercept, link): "The Intercept is publishing 48 top-secret and other classified documents about XKEYSCORE dated up to 2013, which shed new light on the breadth, depth and functionality of this critical spy system one of the largest releases yet of documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden."
GREECE: Migrants 'attacked' at sea between Greece and Turkey (France 24, link): "Migrants trying to sail from Turkey to Greece are increasingly reporting being attacked by gunmen trying to prevent them from reaching Europe, according to multiple sources.... Nawal Soufi, and Italian activist who has handled numerous distress calls from Syrian refugees at sea, said she had heard of around 20 boats whose passengers had been attacked in recent months. "The migrants speak of commandos -- some say they (were confronted by EU border agency) Frontex, others by the Turkish or Greek coastguard -- others by militias or pirates," Soufi told journalists, adding that such cases have rocketed in recent months."
HUNGARY: Letter from Hungarian PM Orban to Commission President Juncker (pdf) stating that Dublin provisions will be adhered to but "technically temporarily not capable of receiving people sent back from the Western direction"
EU: MED CRISIS: HUNGARY: Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos after his visit to Budapest (pdf) He:
"offered the possibility to deploy ''hotspot teams'' to help in the swift processing of asylum requests and help with the return of irregular migrants. These teams will include experts from the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), Frontex and Europol in order to improve the capacity of fingerprinting, identify abusive asylum claims, and ensure effective returns."
See: European Council Conclusions: European Council meeting (25 and 26 June 2015) Conclusions (pdf). For "hot spots" the term "structured border zones" is now referred to as "first reception facilities".
It is not all clear what the legal powers the Commissioner is referring to for Europol, Frontex or EASO [European Asylum Support Office] to ensure the "swift identification, registration and fingerprinting" of migrants or for EASO and Europol to: "identify abusive asylum claims, and ensure effective returns."
See also: Denmark to impose controls on border, risking EU ire (Reuters, link): "Denmark will impose controls on its border to stop smugglers and illegal migrants, its new foreign minister said on Tuesday, in a move likely to worry the European Union but please a right-wing party on whose support the government now depends. More police, machines screening number plates and other measures would increase security without breaking EU rules guaranteeing freedom of movement through the bloc, Kristian Jensen told Reuters."
GERMANY: MASSIVE RISE IN RECORDED RACIST ATTACKS: 2014 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution Facts and Trends (pdf):
"Two aspects should be noted:
a rise in the number of violent offences motivated by right-wing extremism (the largest number since 2008) and xenophobia (highest level since the current definition of politically motivated crime was introduced in 2001); and
an enormous increase in the number of crimes and violent offences in the category of politically motivated crime by foreigners."
'Euphoria' among jihadists in Europe, says German security agency (euractiv, link):
"The number of violent acts committed by right-wing extremists increased by 24% last year. A total of 990 violent crimes were recorded. De Maizière said now one in two right-wing extremists is considered to be violence-oriented, indicating that the 512 attacks against foreigners are troubling.
Attacks on refugee camps motivated by right-wing extremism also increased from 55 recorded in 2013 to 170 last year. This year, the number could be even higher. In the first half of 2015, there were already 150 crimes of this kind, according to de Maizière. There should be no silent understanding and especially no silent consent for this, he said."
UK: G4S and Serco continue to dominate criminal justice market (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, link): "Controversial security companies G4S and Serco received more than seven pounds in every ten spent by the government on prison and probation-related contracts in the four years to April 2014, according to new research by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies" See: Report (link)
SLOVAKIA: MANDATORY DATA RETENTION UNLAWFUL: Full version of the decision invalidating the data retention in Slovakia - the legislator has 6 months to come up with compliant provisions (link) and Judgment: Full-text (link):
"The Constitutional Court denounced mass and preventive collection of data data about the location, duration, and the participants involved, based on the provisions of the Electronic Communications Act (Act No. 351/2011 Coll.) - as an extensive infringement of the fundamental right to privacy. According to the Constitutional Court, the extensiveness of the infringement was demonstrated by the very fact that collected data concerned a huge and unpredictable number of communicating parties and such collection could have induced a feeling of constant surveillance."
UK: CHILDRENS' RIGHTS: Report of the UK Childrens Commissioners UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Examination of the Fifth Periodic Report of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (pdf)
See: Government is stripping UK children of rights, says report to UN - Childrens commissioners review asks for welfare cuts and repeal of Human Rights Act to be reconsidered, and warns children will be denied justice in courts (Guardian, link)
UK: Watershed moment - INQUEST welcomes call for radical change in report on deaths of young people in prison (link) and Harris Review: Changing Prisons, Saving Lives: Report of the Independent Review into Self-inflicted Deaths in Custody of 18-24 year olds (pdf)
Deborah Coles, Co-Director of INQUEST said: This important report is a devastating indictment of a flawed system that is systematically failing. That its findings echo what has been said repeatedly and that so many deaths could have been avoided if already-known lessons had been acted upon is all the more shocking.
Government can either ignore this report at its peril or do something radically different that could be a lasting legacy. Already this year eight young people have taken their own lives in prison."
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