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17th year reporting on civil liberties and the state in the European Union (updated 12.10.15) Editor: Tony Bunyan
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- Round-up of news stories from around the EU, updated daily: News Digest
See Statewatch Observatory on: EU refugee crisis - a humanitarian emergency: For daily news and document updates. "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
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."
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 (pdf): 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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