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What's New on the Statewatch website: 2015 (July - December)
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Carries all items that have been added or updated from News Online, News Digest and Observatories
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See Statewatch Observatory: 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
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) including:
"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) and Agreed: Council conclusions on the future of the return policy (pdf)
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-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." 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.
IOM Monitors Mediterranean Migrant Flows: 7,000 Crossing Daily to Greece (link):
"Despite the increased number of arrivals on the island of Lesvos, the congestion on the island has declined significantly. This is due in part to the fact that 70 per cent of migrants and refugees who arrived in Greece last week immediately crossed into the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) at Greeces Idomeni border.... Migrants and refugees have to pay for their own tickets for all their transport in Greece and, according to people interviewed by IOM, nationality has become an important factor in determining how quickly they can leave the islands and travel to the FYROM border.
Syrians are now travelling faster from the islands to the border because they can afford it. They buy tickets for boats to Athens, buses straight to the border and sometimes even pay for taxis that can cost up to EUR 700 a family from Athens to the border.
Afghans, on the other hand, often have to work to get enough money to buy tickets or have to contract friends or relatives to borrow funds for onward travel. Consequently they spend more time transiting Greece."
See: Med infograpics with latest figures (pdf)
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
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 stories and documents, 8.10.15)
EU: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 8-9 October 2015: "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."
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."
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.
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): Note it is a "Draft":
"The Action Plan identifies a series of collaborative actions to be implemented as a matter of urgency by the European Union (EU) and the Republic of Turkey with he objective to assist Turkey in managing the situation of massive influx of refugees and preventing uncontrolled migratory flows from Turkey to the EU....
Prevent further arrivals of irregular migrants to Turkey and irregular departures of refugees and migrants from Turkey to the EU...
Ensure prompt return to the point of origin of irregular migrants who are not in need of international protection and who were apprehended by the law enforcement agencies of the EU Member States or Turkey and support the reintegration of returnees to the countries of origin....
Support Turkey to strengthen its capacity to combat migrant smuggling, notably by reinforcing the Turkish Coast Guard patrolling and surveillance capacity...
The implementation of the Action Plan is set to start immediately; it will be jointly steered and monitored by the European Commission and the High Representative / Vice President and the Turkish government through the establishment of the EU-Turkey high-level dialogue on migration."
and Press release (pdf)
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."
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
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.
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: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 8-9 October 2015: Background Note (9 pages, pdf)
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."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15 stories/documents: 3-4.10.15)
Refugee sea arrivals in Greece this year approach 400,000 (UNHCR, link):
"ATHENS, Greece, October 2 (UNHCR) -- The UN refugee agency said on Friday that refugee and migrant arrivals in Greece are expected to hit the 400,000 mark soon, despite adverse weather conditions. Greece remains by far the largest single entry point for new sea arrivals in the Mediterranean, followed by Italy with 131,000 arrivals so far in 2015. With the new figures from Greece, the total number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean this year is nearly 530,000.
UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told journalists in Geneva that the continuing high rate of arrivals underlines the need for a fast implementation of Europe's relocation programme, jointly with the establishment of robust facilities to receive, assist, register and screen all people arriving by sea. "These are steps needed for stabilizing the crisis," he said.
As of this morning, a total of 396,500 people have entered Greece by sea since the beginning of the year, more than 153,000 of them in September alone. The nine-month 2015 total compares to 43,500 such arrivals in Greece in all of 2014. Ninety-seven per cent are from the world's top 10 refugee-producing countries, led by Syria (70 per cent), Afghanistan (18 per cent) and Iraq (4 per cent)."
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."
EU: Austria and Slovenia prolong border controls
Border controls reintroduced in central Europe in response to the refugee crisis are set to continue until at least the middle of October. Austria has announced its intention to "continue to temporarily position adequate police forces at the border crossings initially with Hungary and Slovenia," and "if necessary... with other neighbouring states." Slovenia is also prolonging controls on its border with Hungary.
FRONTEX & FORCED RETURNS: Decision of the European Ombudsman closing her own-initiative inquiry OI/9/2014/MHZ concerning the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex) (May 2015)
and see: Closing Summary: Proposals to improve the monitoring of Frontex Joint Return Operations (link):"Frontex needs to enhance the transparency of its JRO work, amend its Code of Conduct in areas such as medical examinations and the use of force, and engage more with the Member States. Frontex must do all in its power to promote independent and effective monitoring of JROs." and Ombudsman: How Frontex can ensure respect for migrants fundamental rights during "forced returns" (link):: "She calls on the agency to ensure that families with children and pregnant women are seated separately from other returnees. Frontex should also promote common rules on the use of restraint, publish more information on JROs, including monitors' reports, and require the Member States to improve complaints procedures. The Ombudsman continues to be unhappy with the refusal of Frontex to establish its own complaints mechanism."
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 see:
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)
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."
EU: REFUGEE CRISIS: At the Weekly meeting of the Commission on 23 September 2015: Management of the refugee crisis: Commission shows the way forward (link) it was agreed that:
- "Restore the normal situation and reinstate Dublin transfers to Greece within six months
- Establishment of a European Border and Coast Guard and extension of the Frontex mandate (December 2015)
- Legal migration package including revision of Blue Card (March 2016)
- Further reform of the Dublin Regulation (March 2016)
- Proposal for a structured system on resettlement (March 2016)"
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)
22 member states are involved in the Sophia operation - Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
EU: 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 governnent 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"."
News Digest (29.9.15)
Press freedom: How the EU struggles to match action with values (euractiv, link): "Press freedom is a reliable barometer of the state of democracy. But the EUs failure to live up to its own standards undermines its influence on the rest of the world, argues Jean-Paul Marthoz."
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."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 stories and documents, 25.9.15)
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)
Don't blame the smugglers: the real migration industry (heindehaas.blogspot.fr, link):
"The billions spent on the militarisation of border controls over the past years have been a waste of taxpayers' money. As we are able to witness during the current 'refugee crisis', increasing border controls have not stopped asylum seekers and other migrants from crossing borders. As experience and research has made abundantly clear, they have mainly (1) diverted migration to other crossing points, (2) made migrants more dependent on smuggling, and (3) increased the costs and risks of crossing borders. The fact is that 25 years of militarising border controls in Europe have only worsened the problems they proclaim to prevent....
Europe's immigration policies have created a huge market for the private companies implementing these policies as well as smugglers... a multi-billion industry, which has huge commercial interest in making the public believe that migration is an essential threat and that border controls will somehow solve this threat."
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
News DIgest (25.9.15)
Council of Europe anti-torture committee calls on Romania to combat ill-treatment in prisons (CoE, link) and Report (link)
Jewish council welcomes ouster of minister after racist tweets (ekathimerini.com, link): "In a letter on Thursday to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece welcomed a decision to remove Independent Greeks (ANEL) MP Dimitris Kammenos from the Greek cabinet following an outcry over a series of racist and homophobic tweets by the right-wing politician."
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: email@example.com
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.."
News Digest (24.9.15)
Met police compensates brothers caught up in protests (Channel 4 News, link): "The Metropolitan police is to pay out tens of thousands of pounds in compensation to two brothers caught up in the 2010 violent student protests at Westminster. The settlement came after they sued the force for malicious prosecution, assault and battery.".
Five things you should know about the EU-US Umbrella Agreement (Access Blog, link): "The text of the Umbrella Agreement has not yet been officially released, and we are only able to comment on it thanks to our friends at Statewatch, who published the text in full.. The agreed text of the Umbrella Agreement will have be ratified by the European Parliament. The vote will not take place until the US Congress passes the Judicial Redress Act, which could takes few months. ".
UK: Student accused of being a terrorist for reading book on terrorism -Staffordshire University apologises after counter-terrorism student Mohammed Umar Farooq was questioned under Prevent anti-extremism initiative (Guardian, link)
Automated "recognizing propaganda": Reporting Office Internet content at Europol to continue to grow [Automatisiertes Erkennen von Propaganda: Meldestelle für Internetinhalte bei Europol soll weiter wachsen] (netzpolitik.org, link): "The EU member states raise even more money and personnel for the development of the financial intelligence unit for Internet content ("EU Internet Referral Unit" EU IRU). It describes the EU anti-terrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerchove in a strategy paper that published the British civil rights organization Statewatch today."
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's 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.".
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."
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."
News Digest (22.9.15)
An updated version (2014) of the Handbook on European law relating to asylum, borders and immigration just published.. (EASFJ, link):"A first version of the handbook on the European law relating to asylum, borders and immigration is co-authored by the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and by by the European Court of Human Rights was published (in four languages) in June 2013. This second edition incorporates the changes to the EU asylum acquis published in the summer of 2013. Future updates of this handbook will become available on the FRA webpage at: http://fra.europa.eu/en/theme/asylum-migration-borders and on the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) webpage at: www.echr.coe.int under Publications."
EU Anti-Money Laundering legal framework: the race has started again (EASFJ, link): "The revision was triggered by the necessity to adapt the legal framework to counter new threats of money laundering and terrorist financing and to reflect recent changes due to revised Financial Actiont Task Force (FATF) "
European Commission & Data Retention a faulty basis for decision-making*? (EDRI, link)
No Facebook Bureau of Investigations as Terror-Reporting Provision Dies in Senate (The Intercept, link): "A provision that would have forced tech companies like Twitter and Facebook to report every inkling of terrorist activity on their services to law enforcement was removed from the 2016 Intelligence Authorization Bill on Monday."
The EU-US Umbrella agreement on Data Protection just presented to the European Parliament. All people apparently happy, but . EASFJ, link)
News Digest (21.9.15)
ENS launches its new report "No Child Should be Stateless" (link) European Network on Statelessness: Report (pdf)
USA: Government Argues: If Your Mobile Phone Provider Knows Where You Are, Why Shouldnt We? (The Intercept, link)
Refugee crisis: news from across Europe ( 20.09.2015)
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."
AFGHANISTAN: Europe's Refugee Crisis Isn't Only About Syria - Amid an influx of Iraqis and Syrians into Europe, the West is neglecting another group of refugees also in desperate need of help (HRW, link):
"Although international interest in Afghanistan has waned and most foreign troops are long gone, the war there is only getting worse. The first six months of 2015 saw the highest number of casualties among women and children since the U.N. started keeping track in 2009. Many Afghans leaving now are fleeing violence, insecurity, or threats from the Taliban or government militia forces. They are just as entitled to refugee status or other protection."
Refugee crisis: news from across Europe (19.9.2015)
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: Invitation letter by President Donald Tusk to the members of the European Council (pdf) meeting in Brussels on Wednesday 23 September 2015. This will follow the extra Justice and Home Affairs Council on Tuesday 22 September 2015. See also: European Parliament: MEPs give go-ahead to relocate an additional 120,000 asylum seekers in the EU (Press release, pdf):
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18.09.15, 23 items)
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...."
News Digest (18.9.15)
UK: Strangeways, here we go again: prison protests in Manchester 25 years on (Guatdian, link) "In 1990, Strangeways in Manchester saw the biggest prison riots in UK history. When Stuart Horner scaled the same roof alone this week, it was an instant reminder. Eric Allison, who observed the original protests, asks how much has changed."
USA: When Is Assassination Not Assassination? When the Government Says So (The Intercept, link)
US report proves Lithuania hosted CIA 'black site': lawyer (news-republic.com, link)
Right-Wing soft power, the refugee crisis and Europes failure (Open Democracy, link): "The fact that Syriza was crucified more often and with more intensity than Viktor Orbán speaks volumes in itself. It is just that most people do not want to listen."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (27 items, 17.09.15)
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."
News Digest (17.9.15)
UK: Government warns NUS to stop opposition to Prevent strategy Union passed motion to oppose Counter-Terrorism Act, which it says amounts to an Islamophobic witch-hunt (Guardian, link)
MI5 chief warns technology has put terrorists 'out of reach' (WIRED, link): "Rapid advances in technology are allowing terrorists to operate "out of the reach" of British spies, the head of MI5, Andrew Parker has claimed."
MEPs adopt report to help boost Europe's drones industry (euobserver, link): "New rules are needed to ensure safe use of drones, the European Parliament's transport committee has recommended in a new report. No-fly zones are considered, while no new privacy legislation needed,"
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."
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."
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: 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)
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: 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."
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 CounciI 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)
(15.9.15):MRefugee 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)
News Digest (15.09.15)
BELGIUM: Manifestation anti-raciste à Bruxelles: Emir Kir craint des débordements (Le Soir, link)
UK: Demand for free help almost doubles since cuts to legal aid (The Guardian, link)
UK: Inmate died after smoking legal high 'Spice' in Liverpool prison HMP Altcourse (Liverpool Echo, link)
UK: IMMIGRATION DETENTION: Not one dissenting voice apart from James Brokenshire (Right to Remain, link)
UK: Protesting Strangeways prisoner in underwear scales fence as inmates chant 'we shall not be moved' (Mirror, link) and see: Strangeways prison: Gunman jailed for execution of uncle holds tense rooftop protest at Manchester jail (Manchester Evening News, link)
UK: Theresa May loses court battles against two failed asylum seekers (The Guardian, link)
UK: Two Belgian activists arrested during a protest at an arms fair in London (Brussels Times, link)
UK-EU: Some open questions in Britains EU referendum puzzle (EurActiv, link)
WikiGate raises questions about Wikipedias commitment to open access (Ars Technica, link)
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)
News Digest (14.09.15)
AUSTRIA: Austria creates new agency with unprecedented surveillance powers (EDRi, link)
BORDERPOL newsletter: Border Security Matters, August 2015 edition (pdf, link)
FRANCE: The Banlieue Battleground: Designing the French Suburbs for Police/Military Interventions (The Funambulist, link)
FRANCE-SPAIN-BELGIUM: Intelligence agencies face questions over gunman security lapses (The Telegraph, link)
INTERPOL asked to clarify position on Clare Rewcastle Brown (Fair Trials, link)
LITHUANIA: When Pre-Trial Detention Becomes a Form of Retribution (Fair Trials, link)
Northern Ireland ceasefire monitoring body on agenda in crisis talks (The Guardian, link)
ROMANIA: Romania: After PNR, a proposal for retention of tourist data (EDRI, link)
SERBIA: New Videos Show Crime Boss Meeting Top Serbian Police (Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, link)
SPAIN: Barcelona buzzing as region celebrates Catalonias national day (euronews, link): "More than one million people crammed the streets of Barcelona to celebrate Catalonias national day."
UK: Jeremy Corbyn wins landslide victory in Labour leadership contest (Wirral Globe, link) and see: Corbyn victory energises the alienated and alienates the establishment (The Guardian, link)
UK: Proposals on strike laws are a response to yesterdays problems, says CIPD (CIPD, link)
UK: The Iraq Inquiry and the silent civil servant (New Internationalist, link): "John Chilcot has held back the release of his findings for nearly 5 years. Bereaved families have had enough, writes Felicity Arbuthnot."
UK: Youth, welfare and the legacy of structural racism (IRR, link): "Will those from BAME communities be disproportionately affected by the governments intensive workfare programme for young people?"
USA: First State Legalizes Taser Drones for Cops, Thanks to a Lobbyist (The Daily Beast, link)
USA-NSA: FAIRVIEW: Collecting foreign intelligence inside the US (Top Level Telecommunications, link): "Here we will combine these new and old documents to provide a detailed picture of this important collection program, that was previously misunderstood on various occasions."
Two horrific videos: 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"
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."
Pro-refugee barefoot protests sweep Italy (ANSA, link): "More barefoot marches took place in several Italian cities on Friday calling for refugees to be welcomed in Europe. Thousands of people attended barefoot protests in Venice, Rome, Mantua and Naples Friday after similar demonstrations on other parts of the country in recent days."
Refugees welcome here: UK marchers take to streets with message of support (The Observer, link): "Senior UN official warns that, if the war in Syria continues, a million more of its people may be displaced by the end of the year."
Pro-refugee group push punk classic to no. 1 (The Local.de, link): "Under the banner of "Arsehole Action", activists campaigning against xenophobia and hatred of refugees have pushed a 1993 hit by punk band Die Ärzte mocking the far right to the top of Germany's charts."
'Don't throw refugees off Sweden's trains' (The Local.se, link): "Refugees who board a train and have do not have enough money for the entire journey will not be thrown off the train, according to to an internal e-mail from Swedens state-owned train operator, SJ."
Bulgaria's Sofia Joins #RefugeesWelcome Initiative (.novinite.com, link): "Bulgarians on Saturday took to the streets of the capital Sofia to show solidarity with the hardship of migrants fleeing the war in Syria and seeking a better life in Europe...Saturday's demonstration ended in front of the EU Commission office building in downtown Sofia. Participants held placards reading "Europe Says Welcome", "Europe Is Not a Fortress", "Stop Killing Refugees", or "Xenophobia Is Illegal, People Are Not"."
German pro-refugee politician defies neo-Nazis (DW, link): "A senior German politician whose district council is enlarging hostels for refugees says he won't be deterred by a neo-Nazi murder threat. Erich Pipa says "99 percent" of residents support his stand to provide shelter." and Five injured when refugee shelter in Heppenheim near Frankfurt catches fire (DW, link): "Five people have been injured in a fire in a migrant shelter in Heppenheim near Frankfurt. Police are investigating whether this may be the latest in a series of arson attacks on refugee homes across Germany."
Thessaloniki makes preparations to receive refugees (ekathimerini.com, link): "Preparations are under way in Thessaloniki so the northern city will be in a position to house refugees who will find it more difficult to cross Greeces northern borders while heading to Central Europe in the winter. Kathimerini understands that around 120 prefabricated structures, similar to those used to house refugees at the Elaionas camp in Athens, have been moved to the city and are to be installed on land belonging to the Hellenic Railways Organization."
Trafficking of Refugees Reportedly Takes New Route Across Bulgarian-Greek Border (novinite, link)
Beyond Hungary: how the Czech Republic and Slovakia are responding to refugees (The Conversation, link): "After Hungarian authorities finally allowed trains to leave Budapests main railway station on August 31, about 200 refugees arrived on the territory of the Czech Republic. They were taken off the train by Czech police in the town of Breclav on the Austrian-Czech border and placed in detention."
Pro-refugee rallies due as Europe squabbles (The Local.es, link): "Tens of thousands were due to rally in European capitals on Saturday in support of refugees as Hungary's populist prime minister called for a giant aid package for countries around war-ravaged Syria to stem mass migration to Europe. The Europe-wide "day of action" includes dozens of events across several nations with the biggest demonstration expected in London. There are also rival anti-migrant events due to take place, notably in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia."
UNHCR urges full and swift implementation of European Commission proposals on refugee crisis (link): ""Given the urgency of the situation, these proposals need to be implemented fully and swiftly," UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler told a press briefing in Geneva."
'Difficult for Sweden to register refugees' (The Local.no, link): "Norway on Friday pulled back from criticising Sweden after the countrys migration authorities admitted that they could not force refugees to register if they wanted to move onwards to Norway."
Denmark says no to EU's 160,000 refugee plan (The Local.dk, link): "Integration Minister Inger Støjberg said on Friday that with the nation's opt-out on EU asylum policies, there is "simply no reason" that Denmark should participate in the EU's plan to resettle asylum seekers."
Ministers hammer out plan for refugee influx (The Local.at, link): "The Austrian government is holding talks on Friday on how to deal more effectively with the large numbers of refugees entering the country from Hungary, some of whom are claiming asylum in Austria. They will discuss integration, housing and employment opportunities. "
France takes in refugees but abandons 'migrants' (The Local.fr,link)
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."
News Digest (11.9.15)
UN rights chief blasts Paris for Roma evictions (The Local.fr, link): "France has once again been blasted for its treatment of Roma communities. This time its the UN's human right's chief who has taken Paris to task for forced evictions of Roma camps.... The UN rights chief on Friday condemned what he described as a "systematic national policy" in France to evict Roma, two weeks after more than 150 people were forced from a shantytown north of Paris."It is becoming increasingly apparent that there is a systematic national policy to forcibly evict the Roma," Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in a statement, attacking the policy as "punitive and destructive."
UK: Show solidarity with refugees this Saturday 12th September (Refugee Action, link):"IThis Saturday (12th September 2015) there are events and demonstrations taking place all across the UK in support of welcoming refugees. Refugee Action is a partner in the London march, but there are loads more events happening all over the country."
GREECE: Far-right Golden Dawn exploits darker side of Greece's discontent (ekathimerini.com, link): "Standing before them, a member of the European Parliament from Golden Dawn, the eurozones most extreme right-wing political party, roused the crowd with defiant denunciations of enemies at home and abroad ahead of a national election on Sept. 20. "The message of Leonidas - Molon Labe (Come and get it) is as timely today as ever for everything tormenting Greece," the retired lieutenant general, Eleftherios Synadinos, told supporters waving flags bearing the partys Swastika-like emblem."
EU humanitarian emergency: (11.9.15)
Bulgaria: Interior Minister Says Bulgaria Will Fulfill Its Commitment to Accept Refugees (novinite.com, link): "Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova assured that Bulgaria will fulfill its commitment to accept the refugees, who will be distributed from Greece, Italy and Hungary according to the new quota system unveiled by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday."
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."
German politician goes public with racist abuse on Facebook (DW, link): "Chancellor Angela Merkel and other politicians have called on Facebook to do more against racist comments on the site. Now an opposition politician has gone public with the abuse she has taken on her Facebook page."
Germany: The Breaking Point? Germany's Asylum System Struggles to Cope (Der Spiegel Online, link): "As the migrant influx continues, the 'Refugees Welcome' high is beginning to wear off. People are beginning to wonder if Germany will really be able to cope with all the newcomers. And the system is already completely overwhelmed." and Countering the Hate: 'People Are Getting Involved in Tremendous Ways' (DEr Spiegel Online, link): "Around 800,000 refugees are expected to arrive in Germany this year, with the number of Syrians growing rapidly. Manfred Schmidt, Germany's top migration official, discusses how the country is coping with the massive influx."
Borderland Europe and the challenge of migration (Open Democracy, link) by Etienne Balibar:
" We tend to think that the external limits of the European Union define the 'real' borders of Europe, which is a mistake..... part of the solution is within reach: this minimum would be achieved by 1) an official declaration on the 'state of humanitarian urgency' on the entire 'territory' under the auspices of the European Commission, 2) the binding commitment of all EU member states to treat refugees with dignity and equity from each according to their objectively measurable ability."
New Defense Minister: Hungary Can Protect Its Schengen Border (Hungary Today, link): "Hungary can protect its own and the European Unions Schengen borders and will prove that ability, István Simicskó, the new Hungarian defense minister, told public television M1. He said that Hungarys defence system can and must be used to prevent a new type of migration across the country, compromising the security of its residents. Asked how the military would be used along the border, the new defense minister said soldiers would assist the police. Each army has a basic task, a task in protecting the country, a task to deter, to coerce, or to demonstrate power. The military will need to convey the message that those who enter legally, will receive fair treatment, while illegal immigrants will be prosecuted, he said. The minister also said that early completion of the fence along Hungarys border with Serbia was of key importance."
Immigration: Hungarian Government Considers Declaring State Of Crisis (Hungary Today, link): "The interior ministry has proposed that the Hungarian government declare a state of crisis in light of the massive influx of migrants, which will be discussed at next Tuesdays cabinet meeting, government office chief János Lázár told a press conference. Lázár said that findings by the national security cabinet indicate that organised crime and the threat of terrorism are on the rise in Hungary. In response to a question, Lázár said that the deadline for completing construction on the border fence at the Röszke border station, including the railroad tracks, is September 15."
Hungary: Abysmal Conditions in Border Detention - Ensure Adequate Access to Food, Water, Medical Care (HRW, link): "Migrants and asylum seekers are being held in abysmal conditions in the two Roszke migrant detention centers on the Serbian border, Human Rights Watch said today after obtaining footage from inside the camp and interviewing persons currently and formerly detained there. Hungarian police intercept asylum seekers and migrants entering via Serbia and detain them for days for registration and processing in conditions that fall short of Hungarys international obligations."
Refugee Air (link): "Swedish entrepreneurs and humanitarians are taking migration matters into their own hands, and are working to airlift Syrian refugees into the EU. The effort is led by Susanne Najafi and Emad Zand. As entrepreneurs we find solutions, and if we can fly people to the moon, why shouldnt we be able to fly refugees safely to Europe? says Najafi"
Why Europe is conflicted over immigration (kuve, link)
CoE: The Dublin system has collapsed and must be reformed as a matter of urgency, says Migration Committee (Parlimentary Assembly, link)
Why do so many refugees avoid Bulgaria? (DW, link) "In an Arabic language "Refugee Handbook," Bulgaria ranks first among countries asylum seekers should avoid. Refugees say xenophobia and Islamophobia are widespread and that they try to skirt around the country."
Migrant crisis: People treated 'like animals' in Hungary camp (BBC News, link) with video: "Footage has emerged of migrants being thrown bags of food at a Hungarian camp near the border with Serbia.An Austrian woman who shot the video said the migrants were being treated like "animals" and called for European states to open their borders. The emergency director of Human Rights Watch said the migrants were being held like "cattle in pens""
Serbia happy to help EU, ambivalent about refugee hub status (euractiv, link): "The EU has praised Serbia for coping with the refugee crisis. However, this contributed to widespread speculation inside the country that it will host a large refugee camp."
Polish prime minister says accepting refugees is Poland's duty (Reuters, link): "Poland cannot afford to accept economic migrants, but it is the biggest central European economy's duty to accept refugees fleeing wars, Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz said on Thursday "Accepting migrants escaping to save their lives is our duty," Kopacz, speaking ahead of an election in October."
Czech political spectrum united in opposition to EU migrant quotas (Praha Radio, link): "Politicians from across the Czech political spectrum have reaffirmed their opposition to a revised plan unveiled by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Wednesday that would see member states dividing-up 160,000 asylum seekers. Instead, Czech elected officials are maintaining that assistance to refugees should be a voluntary matter."
Hungary's Orban faces off against refugees (The Local.at, link): " Prime Minister Viktor Orban was never much of a liberal. A former US ambassador recently quoted him as saying: "All this talk about democracy is bullshit" after one too many lectures regarding his authoritarian ways. Yet even by his own reactionary standards, the building of a heavily fortified fence along the country's southern border, patrolled by sniffer dogs and possibly the army, looks like an extreme step -- particularly in a country with vivid memories of the Soviet Union's Iron Curtain.The UN's refugee agency said new laws due to come into force next week, threatening three years in jail for anyone breaking through the barrier, "could lead to chaos", while French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called the fence a breach of "Europe's common values"." [emphasis added]
Italian van driver stopped with 33 Syrians aboard in Hungary - Says 'saw them shivering in cold' (ANSA, link): "Rome, September 11 - An Italian van driver was stopped with 33 Syrians aboard heading for Germany near Budapest Friday, police said. The man, 55, driving a red Fiat Ducato, was stopped near Lake Balaton. There were two women among the refugees in the back. The Italian embassy is investigating the matter. The man reportedly said he had picked up the refugees after he saw them shivering in the cold. He has been accused of human trafficking."
Transit countries get tough on refugees (euractiv, link): "While Germany has surprised the world with its welcome of refugees, Greece, Macedonia, Hungary and Denmark are growing hostile towards them, despite the fact that asylum seekers show no interest in settling there."
CSU denounces Merkel's refugee policy as a 'mistake' (DW, link): "Members of the CSU - sister party to Angela Merkel's CDU - have dubbed the German Chancellor's handling of the refugee crisis a "mistake." Germany saw the arrival of more than 15,000 asylum seekers last weekend alone."
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)."
Refugees /Migrants Emergency Response - Mediterranean: Countries of origin (UNHCR, link): So far in 2015:
- Arrivals in the EU: 381,412
- Dead/Missing: 2,850
- Arrivals in Greece: 258,365
- Arrivals in Italy: 121,000
See: Greek islands: Map (pdf)
Cities of refuge: EUROCITIES members take leadership (link):
"Johanna Rolland, EUROCITIES president and mayor of Nantes, explains how cities are taking leadership when it comes to welcoming refugees. Under the increasing pressure from European Institutions and the impact of tragic current events, Member states are stepping up their response to one of the greatest humanitarian crisis ever faced by the European Union....
Throughout the summer, our cities have continued to provide emergency assistance, housing, healthcare and social services where asylum seekers and migrants were stranded, transiting, or have reached their final destination. We have also challenged extremist discourses, such as in Leipzig and Dresden. We have called for open and welcoming societies. We have taken leadership and chosen to support movements emerging at local level to welcome refugees."
CLOSING BORDERS: Record number of refugees enter Hungary amid border crackdown fears - Hungarian police say 3,221 people entered country from Serbia on Wednesday in advance of new border controls expected next week (Guardian, link): "Orbán has also ordered the speeding up of the construction of a 3.5-metre high fence along Hungarys southern frontier with Serbia. He has also vowed to cut to zero the number of migrants entering from next Tuesday. Explaining the new system, the justice minister László Trócsányi said an area similar to an airport transit zone would be set up at the border. While it is located in the territory of the given state, the entry into the transit zone does not qualify, in immigration terms, as an entry into that state, he said. Activists fear this will strand people in a legal limbo and lead to the vast majority of asylum seekers being turned back "
and see: Hungary Conducts Army Exercises at Serbian Border as Migrants Pour In (NYT, link): "The Hungarian Army was conducting exercises near the border with Serbia on Thursday, a possible prelude to a more active role as thousands of migrants continued to pour into the country overnight. The involvement of the army in policing the border, where a 110-mile fence with razor wire is being constructed to keep migrants out, is subject to the approval of a bill in Parliament this week. The number of migrants in the area has shown no sign of abating, and Hungarian military officials said the army would help secure the countrys borders."
VERY Important info for Serbia-Hungary-Border-crossing-refugees (Refugee Relief Action Forum: TwitLonger, link): ""As of next Tuesday, the authorities in Hungary will adopt a completely different approach to the refugees.Those who enter illegally, will be captured, jailed and quickly expelled from the country. Those who submit an application for asylum legally, can not even enter the territory of Hungary and will be returned to Serbia within few hours. The government in the coming weeks is preparing for crowd dispensing scenes, but Orbán said that this is the only way to have relative calm by Christmas.".
Refugees face chaos and harsh conditions at Serbia-Hungary border (AI, link): "While Europe rejoiced in happy images from Austria and Germany yesterday, refugees crossing into Hungary right now see a very different picture: riot police and a cold hard ground to sleep on,
Macedonian guards filmed threatening refugees with batons on border with Greece - Guards attempt to control influx of 4,000 people, the largest single wave of refugees and migrants the Greek border police has seen so far (Guardian, link)
MACEDONIA-GREECE: FYROM mulls fencing off border against migrants, says foreign minister ( (ekathimerini.com, link): "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is considering building a Hungarian-style border fence to stem a rising influx of migrants from the south, Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki was quoted as saying on Thursday."
EU humanitarian emergency: (10.9.15)
Refugee Children: Hungarian Orphanages Overwhelmed With Minors Who Make Journey To Europe Alone (IBT, link)
Refugees /Migrants Emergency Response - Mediterranean: Countries of origin (UNHCR, link)
Refugee crisis: the fifth boat to land on Lesvos this morning alone (Channel 4 News with short video, link): "The boats pop into view as if from nowhere, frighteningly low in the water, snaking from left to right looking for a place to land on the northern shore of Lesbos. Why here? Because its 6km across the Mytilini Strait from Turkey to Greece.... A window of flat calm water with no wind has prompted a mad dash of boats. There were twenty seven yesterday. The one we filmed was the fifth this morning."
Hungary Conducts Army Exercises at Serbian Border as Migrants Pour In (NYT, link): "The Hungarian Army was conducting exercises near the border with Serbia on Thursday, a possible prelude to a more active role as thousands of migrants continued to pour into the country overnight. The involvement of the army in policing the border, where a 110-mile fence with razor wire is being constructed to keep migrants out, is subject to the approval of a bill in Parliament this week. The number of migrants in the area has shown no sign of abating, and Hungarian military officials said the army would help secure the countrys borders."
Ireland to take 4,000 refugees in new programme - Burton says total will be signficantly higher as family members join under reunification rules (Irish Times, link)
As refugees crowd onto Lesbos, the IRC is providing vital information and registration service (IRC link): "People overwhelmingly just want to move on, says Emily David, the IRCs emergency protection coordinator. They want to continue their journey at whatever the cost. Theyre determined to reach their friends, family and find safety in Europe. Were here to make sure that journey is as safe and dignified as possible.""
Szijjártó on high moral ground as chaos worsens (Budapest Times, link)
Ács mayor quits Fidesz over PM's remarks on Roma (Budapest Busines Journal, link)
MACEDONIA-SERBIA: 5,000 refugees arrive in Serbian town in one day: A record number of refugees - as many as 5,000 - arrived to the reception center in Kanjiza, northern Serbia, in a single day, RTS said on Thursday morning. (b92, link)
Worsening conditions inside Syria and the region fuel despair, driving thousands towards Europe (UNHCR, link): "Deteriorating conditions in Syria and neighbouring countries are driving thousands of Syrians to risk everything on perilous journeys to Europe, the UN refugee agency cautioned on Tuesday. As the crisis digs deeper into its fifth year with no sign of a political solution in sight, despair is on the rise and hope is in short supply."
Thousands of refugees, migrants at Greek-FYROM border (ekathimerini.com, link): "Thousands of people, including many families with young children, are braving torrential downpours to cross Greece's northern border with Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), after Greek authorities managed to register about 17,000 people on the island of Lesvos in the space of a few days, allowing them to continue their journey north into Europe.... About 7,000 people waited in the mud of an open field near the northern village of Idomeni to cross the FYROM border early Thursday, with more arriving in trains, buses and taxis."
Common asylum system at a turning point: - Refugees caught in Europes solidarity crisis (AIDA, link)
European Parliament: MEPs approve first emergency rules for distributing asylum seekers in the EU (Press release, pdf): "Ms Keller also stressed the need for a "permanent distribution key in case there is an emergency. We must be able to decide and move forward if we have that emergency, and we should not be blocked by several member states." The future proposal for a permanent scheme should provide for a mandatory and automatically triggered relocation system. The legislative resolution on the emergency relocation of the initial 40.000 asylum seekers was approved by 498 votes to 158, with 37 abstentions."
Dreaming of Europe, Syrians in Turkey undeterred by Aegean tragedy (.ekathimerini.com, link): "Ali, 31, a Syrian seeking to move to Europe, sits in a cafe in the Turkish resort of Bodrum, impatient and angry. Undeterred by a succession of fatal accidents, he wants to cross the Aegean Sea to EU member Greece in the hope of making it to Britain, or Germany as Berlin takes in more Syrian refugees."
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." and The expats working overtime for refugees (The Local.at, link): "As exhausted and destitute refugees, mainly from Syria and Afghanistan, continue to arrive in Vienna one group of expats has been working overtime to gather and distribute donations."
Polish PM says EU summit on migrants may take place earlier than planned (Reuters, link)
Grybauskaite - Lithuania should accept over 1,000 refugees (Baltic Times, link)
Refugee crisis: how does Europe solve a problem like Viktor Orbán? Anti-immigrant stance of Hungarys prime minister is discomforting other European leaders but there seems little they can do to change his ways (Guardian, link)
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"
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"
News Digest (10.9.15)
Syria drone strike sets low threshold for killing people, says UN official - Prof Christof Heyns says UKs killing of two British jihadis in Raqqa sets a dangerous precedent as other experts question whether attack was justified (Guardian, link)
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.
USA: Secret Warfare: U.S. Special Forces Expand Training to Allies With Histories of Abuse (The Intercept, link): "documents obtained by The Intercept demonstrate that from 2012 to 2014 some of Americas most elite troops including Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets carried out 500 Joint Combined Exchange Training missions around the world."
Austria creates new agency with unprecedented surveillance powers (EDRI, link): "In the midst of the biggest surveillance scandal of mankind and after years of criticism about rogue secret agencies spying on politicians and the government bodies supposed to control them, Austria is planning to establish a new secret agency.Austrias draft state security law, Staatsschutzgesetz, grants new, far reaching surveillance powers while reducing oversight and transparency of the planned ten state security agencies that are tasked with fighting threats to the state and its public institutions.
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 comment: 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.
As Lesvos gets tense, leader seeks summit (ekathimerini.com, link):
"As tensions build on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos, where some 20,000 migrants and refugees are awaiting the documents that will let them continue their journeys into Europe, President Prokopis Pavlopoulos asked European Council President Donald Tusk to call an emergency summit of European Union leaders to address a growing migration crisis.... On Lesvos, many locals have joined efforts to help migrants, providing food and clothing for instance. Others are less accepting, however. And there are fears that tensions on the island will peak as the influx shows no signs of abating."
(9.9.15) Eleven docunments: European Commission proposals on refugee-migrant crisis
including 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]
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."
The Refugee Crisis: What should the EU do next? (EU Law Analysis, link): "How should the EU address this issue next? Should it abolish or reform the Schengen and/or Dublin rules? Are Member States complying with EU and international law in their response? "
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."
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)
"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: firstname.lastname@example.org Please sign up as: an organisation/group or your name (group) or as an individual
Statewatch 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) Updated daily.
EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (8.9.15)
EU's refugee plan: how does it work? (ekathimerini.com) EU plans with figures
Migrants in Lesbos: volunteers stand alone against the humanitarian crisis (Youtube, link): "Under Juncker's plan for emergency relocation to deal with an escalating crisis, Germany, France and Spain would together relocate nearly 60 percent of 120,000 refugees currently in Italy, Greece and Hungary, under mandatory quotas. Germany would take 31,443 refugees (26.2 percent), France would take 24,031 (20 percent) and Spain 14,931 (12.4 percent over the next two years. The next biggest intakes would be Poland, the Netherlands, Romania, Belgium and Sweden. Member states that refuse the quotas are expected to be asked to offer financial compensation instead
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."
IOM Monitors Migrant Arrivals, Deaths in Italy, Greece and Spain 8.9.15 (link)
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.
SWEDEN: Stockholmers gather to welcome refugees (The Local.se, link): "Volunteers headed to Stockholm's central train station on Tuesday to welcome refugees with clothes, food, and coffee. One told The Local that some Swedes don't realize how lucky they are to live in such a safe place."
Syrian refugees bypass Switzerland for EU states (The Local.ch, link): "Switzerland is not a "preferred destination" of Syrian refugees, says its migration office, with new figures showing just 401 Syrians applied for asylum in the Alpine country in August. "
'Change of pace' on migrants Renzi tells Merkel (ANSA, link) with EU relocation list..
Hundreds of refugees 'disappear' in Denmark (The Local.dk, link): "Danish police cannot account for hundreds of refugees who arrived in Denmark during the course of Monday."
Czech relations with West may worsen over migration (Prague Post, link): "Czech relations with West European countries threaten to worsen due to the migration crisis since the West promotes mandatory quotas for the redistribution of refugees across the European Union, while the Czech Republic rejects the quotas, senior Czech diplomats have told the Czech News Agency."
AUSTRIA: EU quotas 'only way to solve refugee crisis (The Local.at, link): "Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann has said that European Union asylum quotas are the only way to solve the ongoing refugee crisis, adding that Austria will consider withholding funds from the EU if other member states continue to oppose quotas. "
Romania and Cyprus impose migrant relocation conditions (euobserve, link): "Romania and Cyprus are demanding EU concessions in exchange for allowing in a set number of relocated asylum seekers. On Monday (7 September), Romanias prime minister Victor Ponta said he wont accept relocated asylum seekers unless Romania is allowed to join the Schengen passport-free zone."
German budget debate in shadow of refugee influx (DW, link): "Germany's provisional budget for 2016, currently under debate in parliament, is two months old - and already out of date. A further 6 billion euros must be penciled in to help incoming refugees, if that's enough."
German participation in anti-trafficking mission advocated (euractiv, link): "In October, the EU will start using military resources to hunt down human traffickers. Germany's foreign affairs minister has called upon Berlin to participate in the effort."
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."
Europe needs 'guaranteed relocation system' for Syrian refugees, says UNHCR (ekathimerini.com, link): "UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming told a news briefing in Geneva. She welcomed separate offers announced by Britain and France on Monday to take in Syrian refugees, but said reception centers must be set up in countries including Hungary and Greece. "Those can only work if there is a guaranteed relocation system whereby European countries saying yes will take X number. We believe it should be 200,000 -- that's the number we believe need relocation in Europe countries," Fleming said."
EU plans to spend 1bn on relocating refugees across bloc (FT, link): "Germany, France and Spain will provide more than half of all the places on the scheme, according to a draft proposal seen by the Financial Times and confirmed by European officials."
Refugee crisis: European leaders preparing EU-wide protection force to deal with unfolding humanitarian catastrophe (Independent, link): "European leaders are preparing to create a powerful EU-wide border protection force to deal with the refugee crisis engulfing the continent, The Independent understands. Under plans being discussed by officials in Brussels, legal responsibility for deporting people deemed to be economic migrants would pass from the member states to the European Union. The proposal which would have legal force will be discussed at the meeting of EU interior and justice ministers later this month. "
Comment: Romania and the E.U.s new Schengen policy (romanian-insider, link)
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."
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."
EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (7.9.15)
The little boy lost whose picture helped get the media back on track by Aidan White (Open Democracy, link): "How have media around the world and the social networks helped shape the refugee crisis into a more sensitive, humanitarian and people-focused story"
UNHCR saddened by man's death in Bicske, Hungary (UNHCR, link): "The UN refugee agency is saddened at the death of a 50 year old man, on Friday, near a refugee reception centre in the Hungarian town of Bicske. UNHCR staff on the ground were gathering exact details about the circumstance of the death. However, initial reports suggested the man falling down and hitting his head against train tracks, while trying to run away from the police at the train station. An ambulance was called which tried to provide medical assistance on the spot, but the man reportedly died after 50 minutes of the incident."
AUSTRIA: Emergency migrant measures 'phased out' (The Local.at, link): "Up to 20,000 refugees crossed the border from Hungary into Austria over the weekend after an agreement with Austria and Hungary to relax asylum rules. However, Austria's Chancellor Werner Faymann has said the emergency measures will now be phased out."
Refugee crisis: Why France won't open borders like Germany (The Local.fr, link): "Despite President Hollande's pledge to take in 24,000 refugees, France is unlikely to offer the same kind and size of welcome Germany has afforded refugees, for both historical and economic reasons. While refugees were applauded upon arrival at Munich rail station at the weekend it was business as usual on the FrenchItalian border. Although Germany has basically scrapped EU rules and opened its doors to refugees travelling through Europe, France continues to send them back to Italy."
Spain warns of jihadist infiltration threat with 'avalanche' of refugees (The Local.es, link): "Spain's interior minister on Monday called for tighter controls to prevent members of the armed jihadist group Isis from infiltrating the "avalanche" of refugees arriving in Europe from Syria."
Danish police stop refugee march to Sweden (The Local.dk, link): "Up to 150 refugees who began marching towards the border with Sweden, known for its more generous asylum policies, have finally agreed to be taken to police stations to register, as required under EU rules."
Refugee crisis: national newspapers start to rattle the sabres (Guardian, link): "Amid public sentiment and support for the people fleeing oppression, some titles call on David Cameron to launch air strikes in Syria "
Migration and refugee crisis: Europe cannot bury head and humanity in the sand (CoE Parliamentary Asembly, link): "Parliamentary Assembly President Anne Brasseur has urged Europe not to bury its head and humanity, in the sand, as it confronts the regions migration crisis.Europe is in the centre of a migration and asylum cauldron, she said in New York after the session of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Each day more and more ingredients are being added to this melting pot of human suffering, and Europe can no longer bury its head and humanity in the sand. In New York during my meetings I was met with polite incredulity at the lack of an organised European response to the 300,000 refugees arriving and travelling through Europe. Yes, this is a significant number, but no, this is not an insurmountable figure for a continent as large and wealthy as Europe."
EU sets new quotas for states to take asylum-seekers, source says (ekathimerini.com, link): "The EU executive has drawn up a new set of national quotas under which Germany will take in more than 40,000 and France 30,000 of a total of 160,000 asylum-seekers it says should be relocated from Italy, Greece and Hungary, an EU source said on Monday.... The source said the Commission also planned to put Turkey and all the non-EU states of the Western Balkans on a new list of "safe" countries, whose citizens would face accelerated reviews of asylum claims to speed deportation for most of them."
Hungarian official admits campaign to generate hate against migrants (euractiv, link): "A Hungarian official indirectly admitted that the poster campaign ordered by the government last summer to discourage immigrants from coming into the country was aimed at generating hate towards them."
France reluctant to host large numbers of refugees (euobserver, link): "Despite President Hollande's pledge to take in 24,000 refugees, France is unlikely to offer the same kind and size of welcome Germany has afforded refugees, for both historical and economic reasons. While refugees were applauded upon arrival at Munich rail station at the weekend it was business as usual on the FrenchItalian border. Although Germany has basically scrapped EU rules and opened its doors to refugees travelling through Europe, France continues to send them back to Italy.
UN agencies 'broke and failing' in face of ever-growing refugee crisis - Damage will be impossible to reverse, warns head of UNHCR, after 10% fall in funding forces cuts to food rations and closure of clinics (Guardian, link)
Cyprus says it could take up to 300 preferably Christian refugees (ekathimerini.com, link): "European Union member Cyprus said on Monday it would be willing to take in up to 300 migrants fleeing upheaval in the Middle East under new EU quotas, but would prefer them to be Christians."
Austria: An Overwhelming Welcome (UNHCR.Youtube, link)
Refugee crisis: Hollande says France will take 24,000 refugees and 'begin Syria air missions' (Independent, link)
The Syrian refugee crisis, in 4 maps and charts (VOX, link)
Five practical ways you can help refugees trying to find safety in Europe (Independent, link): "As European leaders increasingly try to prevent refugees and migrants from settling in the continent, more and more people are dying in their desperation to flee persecution and reach safety. Here are some of the ways you can help at home."
V4 PMs reject EC proposal for new refugee quotas in Prague (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "The Hungarian, Polish, Slovak and Czech prime ministers resolutely rejected the European Commission's planned proposal for the redistribution of further 120,000 refugees across the European Union after their meeting in Prague Friday."
GERMANY: Five injured in refugee housing fire in Rottenburg - At least five people have been injured after a fire broke out at refugee accomodation in the southwestern German town of Rottenburg. It was not immediately clear if the blaze was a result of arson. (DW, link)
Migrants to lesbos: volunteers only in the face of the humanitarian crisis (France24, link)
Slow crossing causes tension at FYROM border (ekathimerini.com, link): "Scuffles broke out early Monday between FYROM police and thousands of refugees and migrants attempting to head north toward Europe. About 2,000 people had gathered at the Greek border near the village of Idomeni just after dawn, attempting to cross into Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. But FYROM authorities were allowing only small groups to cross every half hour, leading to tension. The situation later calmed after more were allowed to cross, with about 1,000 having passed the border by mid-day.
At least 10,000 migrants to be ferried to mainland in next five days, minister says (ekathimerini.com, link): "Greece's migration minister has said at least two-thirds of the estimated 15,000-18,000 refugees and economic migrants stranded in "miserable" conditions on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos will be ferried to the mainland in the next five days. ... Lesvos bears the brunt of the refugee influx, with more than 1,000 arriving daily on frail boats from nearby Turkey. Most remain stuck there for days, sleeping outdoors until they can be identified, and then find berths on crowded ferries to the mainland.
Cameron authorised targeted airstrike in Syria in August - Politics live (Guardian, link) and Syria: refugees and counter-terrorism - Prime Minister's statement (gov, link)
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."
See: EU Civil Protection Mechanism (link)
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)
EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (6.9.15)
Danish tourists helping refugees in Greece (The Local,dk, link): "Large numbers of Danes are heading to Greece with bags of unwanted clothes and other goods to help newly-arrived refugees. Danish tour operator Spies and Swedish partner Ving have reported that despite a slow start, their offer to allow tourists to take up to 20 additional kilos of goods to Greece has recently caught-on with Danish and Swedish tourists. The scheme allows all customers flying out of Copenhagen Airport and Stockholm's Arlanda Airport and Copenhagen Airport in Denmark to Kos and Lesbos on flights operated by Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia. Ving spokeswoman Charlotte Hallencreutz said that up to 500 passengers carrying over ten tonnes of supplies including clothes, blankets and toys have taken advantage of the offer. "
Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann called Sunday for an emergency EU summit to resolve the migrant crisis, saying his country's admittance of thousands of refugees crossing from Hungary was just a "temporary" measure (The Local.at, link)
ITALY: How to help refugees if you live in Italy (The Local.it, link).
UK: Oxford City of Sanctuary (link)
EU: Five Steps to Tackle Refugee Crisis - How to Save Lives and Protect People (HRW, link)
GERMANY: Far-right demo disrupts arrival of migrants in Dortmund (DW, link) "Far-right extremists tried to disrupt the arrival of nearly 1,000 refugees in the city of Dortmund in western Germany last night. The police made several arrests."
Key dates in Europe's escalating migrant crisis (FR24, link)
Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq (Guardian, 2-6-15, link) by Seamus Milne: "Whats clear is that Isis and its monstrosities wont be defeated by the same powers that brought it to Iraq and Syria in the first place, or whose open and covert war-making has fostered it in the years since. Endless western military interventions in the Middle East have brought only destruction and division. Its the people of the region who can cure this disease not those who incubated the virus."
Austria: An Overwhelming Welcome (UNHCR Youtube, link)
To Be European Among Whites (liberties.eu, link): "European identity is much more than race or ethnicity, but you wouldnt know it from the actions of many EU members, typified by Hungarys hate-filled campaign against migrants."
IRELAND: Coveney hits back at critics of migrant aid (independent.ie, link): "Defence Minister Simon Coveney has lashed out at critics of plans for Ireland to take a "very generous" approach to the worst migrant crisis to hit Europe since World War II..... the Government will ask the European Union to relax strict budget spending rules to allow Ireland take in more refugees." and Our leaders defend a monochrome culture - Timid politicians resist helping in this great humanitarian crisis because they think we're racist, writes Willie Kealy (link)
PMs: V4 ready to deal with refugee crisis (Prague Post, link): "The Visegrád Group (V4) countries are ready to provide experts and equipment for the protection of the Schengen Area external borders, to intensify the fight against people smugglers and support the fight against Islamic State, the four prime ministers said in a joint statement today."
ITALY: Gentiloni calls for European asylum rights - Refugee centre in Sicily must be closed says Salvini (ANSA, link)
Refugee crisis: east and west split as leaders resent Germany for waiving rules - Central European nations pin blame on the EU but their unilateral actions are a hindrance to a solution (Observer, link): "The European parliament, as ever, has plenty to say about immigration, but absolutely nothing to do because it has no remit over policymaking, which remains overwhelmingly national. The countries of Europe prefer it that way, while blaming Brussels for the ever-worsening state of the union."
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."
Czech police release Syrians who applied for Hungarian asylum (Prague Daily Monitor, link)
Real Madrid join drive to help Spain-based refugees (The Local, es.link)
Thousands to rally for refugees in Stockholm (The Local.se, Exclusive: the regrets of French agent who sank the Rainbow Warriork)
More migrants march as refugees arrive in Austria (The Local, at,link): "Thousands of migrants streamed into Austria from Hungary on Saturday, with another column of refugees setting out on foot as Budapest ruled out bussing any more the 175 kilometres (110 miles) to the border."
Migrant Childrens Drawings From Hungary Train Station (WSJ, link)
UNHCR applauds Austria and Germany as refugees march across Hungary (link): " It was a remarkable and unexpected display of refugee power the power of the powerless. It began at noon on September 4 with a spontaneous march out of Budapest down the highway towards the Austrian border by more than 1,000 frustrated refugees. They were marching in protest at the Hungarian government's blanket refusal to let them take trains to Austria and Germany."
This refugee crisis is too big for Europe to handle - its institutions are broken by Paul Mason (Guardian, link): "The EU needs a new asylum system based on reality. But without an influx of migrants, it faces a future of economic stagnation"
Bono warns refugee crisis solution must be found (AOL, link): ""As Nelson Mandela said: 'It always seems impossible until it is done" Bono asked the crowd: "What do you want? A Europe with its heart and borders closed to mercy? Or a Europe 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."
Infographic: Police Brutality in Bulgaria (liberties.eu, link):"The burning issue of police brutality in Bulgaria is highlighted in this new infographic from the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee. It is based on 1,691 individual interviews with inmates from 29 detention facilities, including all prisons."
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."
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)
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) Song and iImages 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)
EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (5.9.13)
Here's how you can help during the refugee crisis in Europe (http://mashable.com): "From learning the real issues to supporting both large organizations and grassroots efforts alike, here are six concrete ways you can help during the refugee crisis."
2,200 Austrian drivers join campaign to pick up refugees in Budapest (Yahoo News, link)
V4 PMs reject EC proposal for new refugee quotas (Prague Post, link): "The Hungarian, Polish, Slovak and Czech prime ministers resolutely rejected the European Commission's planned proposal for the redistribution of further 120,000 refugees across the European Union after their meeting in Prague."
EU-UK: Cameron limits UK's Syrian refugee intake 'to discourage risky journeys' - Prime minister also rejects obligatory EU quota as aid groups criticise his response to refugee crisis as inadequate (Guardian, link) "David Cameron has set limits on his plan to accept thousands of extra refugees from Syria after he rejected any involvement in an EU scheme for compulsory quotas, saying they would encourage dangerous journeys across the Mediterranean. As aid groups said the prime ministers change of heart fell a long way short of refugees needs, Cameron insisted Britains main focus would continue to be on providing aid for camps in Syrias neighbouring countries" and 'Completely inundated': Britons take refugees' aid into their own hands - Moved by coverage of Europes migration crisis, people across the UK are collecting donations and organising relief runs (Guardian, link) also: Germany prepares for up to 10,000 refugee arrivals - live updates (Guardian, link)
Hot spots working this year say Hollande-Merkel (ANSA, link) Comment: "Hotspots" are camps where people will be fingerprinted and their asylum claims made and where some will be "returned" from.
Gentiloni calls for European asylum rights - Refugee centre in Sicily must be closed says Salvini (ANSA, link)
Thousands of migrants leave Hungary as Austria and Germany open borders - Up to 10,000, many refugees from Syria, expected to arrive in Germany on Saturday (Irish Times, link)
GERMANY: Rock for refugees: Bands against right-wing violence (DW, link): "Continued right-wing violence against refugees has spurred artists to help. In a written appeal, 24 German rock bands have called for improved protection for refugees and their accommodations."
Czech asylum facilities are 90% full (Prague Daily Monitor, link) and Police vows to stop marking refugees by pens (link): "he method was criticised by some foreign Jewish organisations and Czech NGOs."
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."
Europes fear of Muslim refugees echoes rhetoric of 1930s anti-Semitism (Wahington Post, link)
Timmermans: Refugee crisis is here to stay (euractiv, link): "First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans said what everyone suspected on Friday (4 September): that the refugee crisis overwhelming the EU will last a long time, and that every single European will feel its consequences."
Expats in Switzerland mobilize for refugees (The Local, ch, link)
Nordic tourists rush to help refugees in Greece (The Local.se, link) :" Danish tour operator Spies and Swedish partner Ving have told The Local that despite a slow start, their offer to allow tourists to take up to 20 additional kilos of goods to Greece has recently caught-on with Danish and Swedish tourists....Ving spokeswoman Charlotte Hallencreutz said that up to 500 passengers carrying over ten tonnes of supplies including clothes, blankets and toys have so far taken advantage of the offer. "
Foreign minister: EU's 'credibility' is at stake (The Local.se, link): "Margot Wallström, Sweden's Foreign Minister, has warned that the EU's global credibility is at stake if it does not act now to tackle the refugee crisis."
EU: MED-HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (4.9.13)
Health Commissioner accused of snubbing invitation to Greek islands (euractiv, link): "Panagiotis Kouroumplis, Minister for Health and Social Solidarity in Alexis Tsipras' government, has accused EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis of damaging the blocs image by ignoring his invitation to visit Greek islands."
New EU proposal to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers (euobserver, link)
GREECE: Police clash with migrants seeking to board Piraeus-bound ferry (.ekathimerini.com, link)
Visegrad states meet on refusal of refugee quotas (euobserver, link)
Migrant crisis: Hungary train stand-off enters second day (BBC News, link)
Migration crisis: Hungary PM says Europe in grip of madness - Viktor Orbán attacks EU policy, saying the influx of Muslim refugees poses a threat to Europes Christian identity (Guardian, link)
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 meaures 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)
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."
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: (3.9.15)
France and Germany call for permanent EU response to migrant crisis (France 24, link)
"The (migrant) problem is not a European problem. The problem is a German problem." (BBC News, link): "Hungary's leader says the migrant crisis facing Europe is a "German problem" since Germany is where those arriving in the EU "would like to go". PM Viktor Orban said Hungary would not allow migrants to leave its territory without registering." and "European Council president Donald Tusk said on Thursday that EU countries should accept at least 100,000 asylum seekers between them, a sharp increase on a previous European Commission target of 40,000. EU states instead so far committed to sharing some 32,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece."
Member states want to be less attractive to migrants (euractiv, link): "A flurry of ideas about how countries could reduce their attractiveness to asylum seekers have been voiced in various European countries, providing a preview of the discussion at the meeting of ministers of foreign affairs to be held in Luxembourg tomorrow (4 September)."
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)
Hungary: Stranded in Budapest (UNHCR, link): Video: "Outside the Keleti train station in Budapest, over 3,000 refugees wait to continue their journey.
For two days now, they have been stuck here after Hungarian authorities closed off the station, preventing all refugees from taking trains bound for Austria and 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)
LESVOS-GREECE: Unnberable conditions in Refugee Camp around the Detention Center of Moria (Welcome2Lesvos, link): "Yesterday, 09/01/15, one somalien refugee died because of insuficient medical care in the madeshift refugee Camp outside the Detention Cemtet of Moria. Another one was bitten by snake." and Action on arrivals pledged as Lesvos claims emergency (ekathimerini.com, link): "The caretaker government pledged on Wednesday to take steps to tackle the refugee crisis as the mayor of Lesvos called for the island to be declared in a state of emergency due to the high number of people arriving from Turkish shores.... The caretaker administration is also considering simplifying the registration process for the next few weeks. This would allow refugees to be fast-tracked so they immediately receive their laissez-passer document allowing them to travel on from Greece."
DENMARK: 'Significantly harder to get Danish citizenship' (The Local.dk, link): "The government will attempt to make obtaining Danish citizenship more difficult with four specific changes to current policy, the integration minister has announced."
AUSTRIA: Ski star joins campaign in support of refugees (The Local.au, link) "Austrian alpine skiing champion Marcel Hirscher has joined a new social media campaign using the hashtag #showyourfacechallenge - speaking out in support of refugees and against xenophobia."
France joins call for reform of asylum rules (The Local.fr, link) and Biggest EU nations want refugees shared fairly (The Local.fr, link) also Italy calls for single EU policy on asylum (The Local.it, link)
Sweden sees summer rise in asylum seekers (The LOcal.se, link): "More than ten thousand people applied for asylum in Sweden in August the highest figure in a decade. Meanwhile, volunteer organizations are reporting being flooded with donations for refugees as the scope of the crisis grows."
German media: Covering the refugee crisis from all sides (DW, link): "TV magazines, websites and newspapers are filled with all sorts of stories about refugees making their way to Germany. The media outlets, including tabloids, have found sensible ways to cover the touchy subject." and Map of arson attacks on refugee centres (link)
CZECH REPUBLIC: Minister signals possibility of allowing refugees to cross Czech territory to Germany (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "Speaking in Belgrade, the Czech interior minister also said he was considering a plan under which asylum seekers would be allowed to travel through Czech territory to Germany rather than being returned to Hungary."
Czech Railways obliged to deal with refugee crisis (Prague Post, link): "The national rail operator Czech Railways (CD) will be ready to dispatch a special train for migrants from South Moravia"
Germany gets more Italian border controls at Brenner (ANSA, link)
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.
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."
EU: MED HUMANITARIAN CRISIS: (2.9.15)
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)
EU Commission aims to ease asylum rules for frontier, report says (ekathimerini.com, link): "The European Commission is drafting a proposal to change the so-called Dublin rule that obliges migrants to request asylum in the country they first arrive in, Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported on Tuesday."
Italy ready to impose Austria border controls (The Local.it, link): "Italy is ready to impose identification checks at Brennero on the border with Austria after receiving a request from Germany for help in easing the flow of migrants into Bavaria, the northern province of Bolzano said on Wednesday. Rome was ready to "reactivate" controls just as it did for the G7 in June, as "a temporary measure to allow Bavaria to reorganize and face the emergency", a statement from the province said."
Hungary to return economic migrants where they came from (France 24, link) and Crunch time as migrant crisis worsens - Emergency meeting, action plan set (Budapest Times, link): "Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has convened a session of the national security cabinet by next Tuesday evening to address the challenges of illegal migration. Meanwhile the situation is becoming direr in the capital as designated transit zones are filling up quicker than expected." and Hungary U-turn on migrant trains prompts unrest (euobserver, link)
BBC Trending - Demand to open doors to Syrians spreading online (BBC, link): "From the UK to Saudi Arabia, the demand that Syrians and other refugees be accepted is being spread by vocal online campaigns. The public reaction to Europe's migrant crisis has been deeply polarised. Many in Europe are dismayed by the news of migrant deaths, and there have been several mass protests demanding stricter controls on the influx. But over recent days there's been a pattern of internet activism with a different set of demands: that it's now time to relax the rules and let refugees in, particularly Syrians fleeing the war there."
Amidst the worst migrant crisis in Europe since World War 2, one German couple founds a 'Airbnb-style' non profit to provide affordable housing to refugees (.neurope, link)
Migration crisis: bid for united EU response fraying over quota demands - Governments divided over how to deal with unprecedented migration to the EU, with states increasingly blaming each other (Guardian, link): "Europes fragmented attempts to get to grips with its worst ever migration crisis are disintegrating into a slanging match between national capitals ahead of what is shaping up to be a major clash between eastern and western Europe over a common response."
MOLYVOS- LESVOS: Car park closed to migrants - video (link). The car park is used to bring people from the beaches and from where buses can be called to take them ti the recption centre in Moria - 40 kilometres away
Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals, Deaths at Sea Soar (IOM, link)
Europes migrant acceptance rates (The Economist, link)
Opinion: Europe can't be a fortress - Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing war, persecution and poverty. To keep them out, Hungary has built a fence along the border with Serbia. That's the wrong move, says DW's Zoran Arbutina. (DW, link)
Inability to unite on major challenges may pull the EU apart, say politicians (euractiv, link): "French Socialist Party leaders have warned that the multitude of crises currently buffeting the European Union could deal a death blow to the European project."
Human rights court slows rushed migrant repatriation (euractiv, link): "Fast-tracking the repatriation of migrants who did not qualify as asylum seekers is likely to contravene EU rules, according to a ruling by the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights." See: 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)
SWEDEN: Secret anti-immigration blogger's name exposed (The Local.se, link)
GERMANY: Builder on speed blasts pepper spray at refugees (THe Local.de, link)
AUSTRIA: Cardinal calls for Church to house migrants (The Local.at, link)
DENMARK: Another Muslim cemetery vandalized in Denmark (The Local.dk, link)
CZECH REPUBLIC: Migration wave is yet to culminate, interior minister says (Prague Daily Monitor, link) and Poll: Most Czechs angry at government over its handling immigrants (Prague Daily Monitor, link)
GREECE: Refugee arrivals in Athens prompt new discussions (.ekathimerini.com, link): "More than 4,200 refugees were due to arrive in Piraeus on two ships from Lesvos Tuesday, only temporarily easing the pressure on scant resources on the island but at the same time increasing concern in Athens about the fate of those who would disembark. Authorities on Lesvos have registered some 17,500 refugees and migrants over the past week but the transfer to Athens of many of those people would only provide brief respite as hundreds more are arriving each day." and Caretaker gov't to introduce measures for refugees on islands (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)
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
News Digest (2.9.15)
Trumped up lobby group tries to get EU data protection watered down - Don't make us choose between EU and US, beg Swedish companies (The Register, link)
Schengen recoil could turn EU travel back 20 years (euronews, 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)
Hungary Fence Closure Causes Refugee Influx (AJ+, link) Moving video capturing the moment
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: MED-CRISIS: (1.9.15)
Agence Europe reports that: "the State of the Union speech to be given at the European Parliament's plenary in Strasbourg on 9 September by Jean-Claude Juncker. The president of the European Commission is expected to announce in his speech a number of proposals for dealing with the migration crisis. On Monday 31 August, Margaritis Schinas, a Commission spokesperson, said that Juncker would bring forward the timing of some measures announced in the European Migration Agenda, including returns policy, the role of the Frontex agency and the common list of safe countries of origin for Western Balkans states that have applied to join the EU. The Commission has announced plans to unveil a permanent European mechanism for relocating asylum-seekers in the member states in the event of an immigration crisis." and:
"In Calais on Monday 31 August, on the fringes of a visit by European Commissioners Timmermans and Avramopoulos, the French prime minister, Manuel Valls.. called for the setting up of 'hotspot' sorting centres in Greece and Italy to be speeded up in order to allow economic migrants to be returned to their country of origin. French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said 60% of the migrants in Calais were economic migrants and the other people would be able to obtain protection. These figures are challenged by NGOs on the ground."
More than 1,000 refugees rescued in a single day, Greek coast guard says (ekathimerini.com, link)
HUNGARY: Keleti Train Station in Budapest Temporarily Shuts Down Amid Migrant Crisis (INYT, link) and Hungary closes main Budapest station to refugees - Move follows chaotic scenes when thousands of people were allowed on to trains bound for Austria and Germany without visa checks (Guardian, link)
Berlin Couple Launches Website Matching Refugees With Roommates in Germany, Austria (.haaretz.com, link): "More than 400 refugees currently based in Germany have applied to 'Refugees Welcome' website, which aims to combat housing refugees en masse in makeshift locations."
V4 government heads to discuss migration crisis (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "The prime ministers of the Visegrad Four (V4) countries, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, will meet on Friday or Sunday to discuss the migration crisis in Europe, Slovak PM Robert Fico announced yesterday.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said later yesterday that the V4 meeting will be held in Prague on Friday afternoon."
Migrant crisis: Five obstacles to an EU deal (BBC News, link): "Europe is struggling with its biggest migration crisis since World War Two, with unprecedented numbers of refugees and other migrants seeking asylum in the EU."
Europes response to migrant crisis is not working, warns UN rights expert (UN News Centre, link): " The European Union should establish a human rights-based, coherent and comprehensive migration policy which makes mobility its central asset, a United Nations expert today advocated, assuring is the only way in which the EU can reclaim its border, effectively combat smuggling and empower migrants. Lets not pretend that what the EU and its member states are doing is working. Migration is here to stay, Mr. Crépeau stressed. Building fences, using tear gas and other forms of violence against migrants and asylum seekers, detention, withholding access to basics such as shelter, food or water and using threatening language or hateful speech will not stop migrants from coming or trying to come to Europe, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, said. "
LESVOS: GREECE: Authorities on Lesvos stretched to the limit as refugee number climbs to about 12,000 (ANA-MPA, link)
Merkel urges migrant help for Italy (ANSA, link): "German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday urged the European Union to help Italy on its migrant crisis just as the EU called for common rules rather than walls to address the emergency that has come into sharp focus with a string of deadly incidents. The UN said the vast majority of people trying to cross the Mediterranean were refugees, mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan."
NORWAY: Norway PM pushed to follow Merkel on asylum (The Local.no, link): "Norways Prime Minister Erna Solberg is under pressure to follow her German counterpart and stop sending refugees back to the country in which they first arrived in Europe."
UNHCR: Crossings of Mediterranean Sea exceed 300,000, including 200,000 to Greece (link)
GREECE: Constant flow of refugees proves overwhelming for Aegean islands (ekathimerini.com, link): "Despite the Eleftherios Venizelos passenger ferry carrying some 2,500 refugees at a time to Piraeus almost around the clock, thousands of people remain stuck on the Greek islands, often in squalid or dangerous conditions. Authorities on Lesvos estimate that there are 12,000 refugees on the island, which has a total population of around 85,000."
Solidarity not one way street says Faymann (The Local.at, link): "Building border fences like those erected by the Hungarian government will not prevent smugglers or solve the asylum crisis, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said on Monday."
Trainloads of migrants reach Austria, Germany, as EU asylum system collapses (euractiv, link): "Trainloads of migrants arrived in Austria and Germany from Hungary yesterday (31 August) as European Union asylum rules collapsed under the strain of a wave of migration unprecedented in the EU."
Our treatment of today's refugees harks back to Europe's darkest hour (New Statesman, link): "We mustn't forget the lessons of the Second World War in the face of today's refugee crisis... n the 1930s, thousands of persecuted people fled Europe. Our own press ignominiously reported these as "Stateless Jews pouring into this country" and various records exist from that time of public officials reassuring readers that no such thing would be allowed under their watch."
EU struggles to reconcile values with barbed wire fences (euractiv, link): "European politicians gathered in Calais on Monday (31 August) to make assurances that the EU will not abandon those who need protection. But they also reaffirmed the need to protect the bloc's external borders."
Trains packed with migrants arrive in Vienna (euobserver, link): "Hundreds of people seeking refuge arrived at Viennas Westbahnhof station from the Hungarian capital Budapest on Monday (31 August), with most seeking to head on to Germany."
Günter Grass criticises refugee treatment from beyond the grave - Posthumous publication of Nobel prize-winning writers last book attacks rising vitriol towards refugees in Germany (Guardian, link) and Germany urges other EU countries to take in more refugees - Angela Merkel says it isnt right that some nations are refusing to accept more refugees as France announces new Calais camp (Guardian, link)
GERMANY-EU: Opinion: Merkel steps up: Germany's position on the refugee crisis facing Europe is clear and without "ifs" and "maybes," writes DW's Dagmar Engel.(DW, link)
EU: Council of the European Union: Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council on 14 September 2015 (pdf): 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."
EU: MED-CRISIS (31.8.15)
Dutch plan tougher asylum policy as migrants flock to Europe (Reuters, link): "Failed asylum seekers would be limited to "a few weeks'" shelter after being turned down, if they do not agree to return home. They would then either be deported or sent away to fend for themselves. From November, the centre-right coalition of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, which competes for votes with the popular, anti-immigration party of Geert Wilders, wants to close 30 regional "bed, bath and bread" shelters where asylum seekers have been able till now to get help on the basis of need. Under the plan, six national centres applying the stricter guidelines would provide only to people who agree to leave."
Train with migrants allowed into Austria after lengthy border checks (Rueters, link) with video
HUNGARY: Crunch time as migrant crisis worsens (Budapoest Times, link)
'Why did you annoy them?' Coastguard officials acquitted of torture convictions - Moroccan says he was subjected to waterboarding in 2007 (enetenglish.gr, link)
Germans unite against xenophobia (euractiv, link): "After the recent spate of violence against asylum seekers, a wave of solidarity with refugees has swept through Germany. In many cities around the country, people have taken part in demonstrations and protests against hate speech."
The Migrants Files (link): including "Counting the Dead": "Over 30,000 refugees and migrants have died attempting to reach /stay in Europe since 2000 - and that was 18 mths ago" and "The Migrants Files is a project by data journalism agencies Journalism++ SAS, Journalism++ Stockholm and Dataninja; media outlets Neue Zürcher Zeitung, El Confidencial, Sydsvenskan and Radiobubble as well as freelance journalists Alice Kohli, Jean-Marc Manach and Jacopo Ottaviani. The project is partially financed by Journalismfund.eu."
France: Hungary refugee fence not even fit for animals (aljazeera.com, link):"Paris slams Hungary, gateway to EU from Eastern Europe, for erecting 175km fence to stop refugees as new talks called."
GREECE: Frontex requests more information on Symi incident (Frontex, link): "On early Saturday afternoon, a Latvian patrol vessel deployed in operation Poseidon Sea detected a yacht with more than 90 migrants aboard in Symi Islands Marathounta Bay. None of the officers from the Latvian vessel involved in the incident used any weapons."
Greek coast guard picks up nearly 2,500 migrants in 3 days (ekathimerini.com, link): "The coast guard said Monday it had rescued 2,492 people in 70 operations off the eastern islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Agathonissi, Farmakonissi, Kos and Symi from Friday morning until Monday morning." and Ferry carrying 2,500 refugees and migrants docks at Piraeus (link): "A ferry carrying about 2,500 migrants and refugees who had arrived on Samos and Lesvos from the nearby Turkish coast docked early Monday in Greece's main port of Piraeus near Athens.The Eleftherios Venizelos left Samos Sunday with 988 migrants and picked up 1,512 from Lesvos. On Sunday the Cypriot-flagged Tera Jet catamaran arrived in Piraeus carrying 1,745 migrants from Lesvos. Authorities said about 11,000 migrants and refugees are currently on the island."
AUSTRIA: Dubious headlline: Migrant roundup intercepts 200 suspected refugees (The Local.at, link): " Huge traffic jams stretching back 50 kilometres (30 miles) built up along the Austro-Hungarian border on Monday as Austrian police stepped up security checks in the hunt for people smugglers. The measure was put in place on Sunday, three days after an abandoned lorry containing 71 dead migrants, four of them children, was discovered on a motorway near the Hungarian border. Since the operation began at 1830 GMT, more than 200 migrants have been picked up, and another five people have detained on suspicion of smuggling, officials said." and Austria steps up police checks for refugees (link)
DENMARK: Hundreds support vandalized asylum centre (The Local.dk, link): "As many as 2,000 people turned out on Sunday to create a human 'joy ring' around an eastern Jutland asylum centre that was vandalized earlier in the week." and Man jailed for Danish asylum centre arson (link): East Jutland Police said on Friday that a 26-year-old local man has been arrested and will be held on remand for allegedly setting fire to an asylum centre minibus and vandalizing its garage with a swastika and a message telling the centre that this was its first warning."
France to build new camp for 1,500 migrants (The Local.fr,link): "France is to build a new humanitarian camp in Calais for 1,500 migrants with construction to begin in 2016, Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced on Monday. The EU will stump up the money for the new camp."
GERMANY: 'No limit to refugees Germany can take in' (The Local.de, link)
Zeman: Refugees should be promptly returned, not accommodated (Prague Daily Monitor, link). Most immigrants are in Czech Republic illegally, and as they violated law, they should be promptly returned, not placed into various accommodation facilities, President Milos Zeman said in an interview for Radio Frekvence 1 yesterday. Zeman said there were three risks concerning Muslim immigrants. First, it is the creation of socially excluded zones, ghettos, as these people would not be able to assimilate due to their cultural differences, he said. He said there is the risk of spreading infectious diseases, though he would not overestimate it. The third risk are sleeper cells sent by Islamic State that would develop into terrorist organisations, Zeman said."
Eastern Germany 'more susceptible' to 'xenophobic radicalization' (DW, link): "Recent violent protests against a refugees' shelter have sparked a debate about right-wing extremism in Germany. A prominent politician from the west of the country has said the problem is worse in the east." and "We are all Germany" - celebrities support refugees How can you promote tolerance and diversity in Germany? DW talked to celebrities at the German government's annual open house weekend. (link)
Eritrean translators 'intimidating refugees' in Germany (DW, link): "Eritrean translators are deliberately mistranslating the testimonies of refugees during their hearings, according to dissidents' groups in Germany. Some are even intimidating them into hiding human rights abuses."
Refugees are human. This simple fact seems to have been forgotten (Guardian, link): "It is horrific that people are drowning and suffocating to reach safety. These stories should be a reminder that migrants are not just statistics"
Fabius calls Eastern Europe's reluctance to receive migrants scandalous (euractiv, link):"French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Sunday said it was "scandalous" some Eastern European countries were refusing to accept more migrants and said Hungary's construction of a barrier to stop new arrivals "did not respect Europe's common values" -- drawing an angry response from Budapest."
The missing women of the Mediterranean refugee crisis (Women Under Siege, link): Dirty white gates fronted the detention center on the Italian island of Lampedusa, a tiny speck between Sicily and Tunisia, where 71 women were being held. Beyond the bars, I could just make out laundry hanging from the building in which they were housedmaybe 100 yards awaya yellow scarf, a hot-pink piece of cloth. Sometimes I could even see the women walking in or out of the house, some with hijabs, others with brightly patterned African skirts. But beyond that, the women were invisible, locked illegally for weeks inside a first reception center meant for 300 but now housing 771 refugees and migrants from all over sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East."
The battle over the words used to describe migrants (BBC News, link)
Storming the castle: Calais, or the failure of the EUs migration policies (CER, link)
European Commission looks at possible reforms and future of the Dublin rules. (New Europe, 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: (28-30-8-15)
GREECE: EU to help govt register and relocate refugees (ekathimerini.com): Comment from "European Asykum Support Office": "EASO Executive Director Robert Visser stressed that Greece also had to do more to ensure that the refugees are properly registered. Member states are required to know the identity of everyone who enters their territory, he said. Greece is no exception.
ShelterBox Helps In Greek Crisis (piratefm.co.uk, link): "A Cornish charity is warning that the crisis is worsening on a Greek island. A second team from UK charity ShelterBox has arrived on the Greek island of Lesbos... Disaster relief charity ShelterBox is providing 100 large UN-style tents to ease the pressure, with 40 planned for construction at Kara Tepe camp in the coming days. But more assistance is needed, on Lesbos and elsewhere."
Nato ready to help EU navies on sea migrants, if asked (euobserver, link)
Solidarity in German stadiums (link)
Hungary completes anti-refugee fence on Serbian border (DW, link): "Hungary has erected a razor-wire barrier along its border to Serbia that is designed to keep out refugees and migrants, the defense ministry says. The move has drawn international criticism."
Let them board the trains! (MIGZOL Hungary, link): "Thursday, 27th August, 20-50 people were found dead in a lorry that was parked in Austria, near the Hungarian border. It is highly likely that these people were not allowed to board the trains to Austria after diligent ethnic profiling by the Hungarian police. The profiling, of course, focuses on who looks like a migrant, or a refugee."
GREECE: We're raising £1,000 to give food, water & shelter to refugees in Lesvos because everyone should be entitled to basic human rights (link) "Im Natasha. Ive worked for refugee organisations in the UK and overseas for the past 9 years. Im now living in Greece and am heartbroken to see that refugees who have escaped war arrive in Europe and do not even have their basic human rights met."
Europe's migration paralysis (New Europe, link): "As European populations age and shrink, the continent urgently needs immigration. Yet many in Europe strongly oppose immigration, because it also means social change... For many centuries, Europe was a continent plagued by wars, famines, and poverty. Millions of Europeans were driven to emigrate by economic and social deprivation. They sailed across the Atlantic to North and South America, and to places as far away as Australia, to escape misery and seek a better life for themselves and their children. All of them were, in the parlance of the current immigration and refugee debate, economic migrants. During the twentieth century, racial persecution, political oppression, and the ravages of two world wars became the predominant causes of flight.""
Islamic State smuggling terrorists among the migrants? Unlikely, say experts (euractive, link): "The risk that groups like Islamic State could smuggle militants into Europe under cover of a huge wave of migrants is much smaller than some politicians suggest, according to security specialists with close ties to governments and intelligence agencies."
Shame on Europe (Save the Children, link): "Children are dying on our doorstep. Its sickening to see the deaths of so many refugees trying to find safety in Europe. Enough is enough. Pledge your support for those fleeing war and persecution now."
Pope Francis 'deeply concerned for migrant plight' - 'Open your hearts to poor families' pontiff tweets (ANSA, link)
Czech NGO sends aid to refugees in Serbia, Macedonia (Prague Post, link): "People in Need, a Czech humanitarian organization, will send 1.7 million Kc for immediate aid to refugees in Macedonia and Serbia, the organizations spokesman Petr Stefan told CTK today."
AUSTRIA: Truck death toll 71 including 4 children (The Local.at, link): "The death toll in Thursday's horrific migrant tragedy in Austria is now understood to be 71 people, including eight women and four children."
Migrant children rescued from Austria minivan 'recovering' (BBC News, link): "Three children are recovering in hospital in Austria after being rescued from a minivan containing 26 migrants. Police said the severely dehydrated children would not have lasted much longer in the cramped vehicle. The minivan was stopped in Braunau district on Friday and the Romanian driver was arrested after a chase."
Greece edges closer to EU migration funds (ekathimerini.com, link): "The Government Gazette on Friday published a decision signed by former finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos and alternate minister for immigration policy Tasia Christodoulopoulou establishing an agency to manage EU asylum, reception and integration programs.Launching the agency has been a condition for the release of 470 million euros over a five-year period until 2020. The bureau, which will be headquartered on Vouliagmenis Avenue, south of central Athens, is expected to be fully operational by September 15."
GERMANY: Three arrested in Germany over arson attack on refugee home (DW, link): "Three people have been arrested after an arson attack on a refugee shelter in the German state of Lower Saxony. A woman and her three children were lucky to escape with their lives." and Cake and politicians at 'Refugees Welcome' party in Heidenau. The party took place in Heidenau after all, despite a police ban that was lifted following a political outcry"
GERMANY: Mass pro-refugee rally held in Dresden (The Local.de, link): "Thousands of people took to the streets of the German city of Dresden on Saturday to welcome refugees, an AFP journalist at the scene said, following a string of violent anti-migrant protests in the region."
EU free movement put into question at Vienna summit (euobserver, link): "EU politicians are threatening to dismantle the blocs free-movement rights amid calls to revamp asylum rules, due to the surge in the number of people seeking refuge in Europe. On Thursday (27 August), the bodies of up to 50 people, who had suffocated, were found in the back of a refrigerated food truck on the outskirts of Vienna. News of the tragedy came the same day EU and Western Balkan leaders and ministers met in the Austrian capital for a summit on migration issues."
Libyans protest against smugglers after up to 200 drown off coast - Residents of one of Libyas most notorious people-smuggling hubs take to the streets after bodies found by Libyan coastguard (Guardian, link)
UK deports 52 Syrian refugees (Sunday Times, link): "The Home Office said 52 Syrian nationals were forcibly removed in the year ending in June, but claimed none was sent back to Syria. They were returned instead to other safe countries through which they had travelled before arriving in the UK."
Greece, Lesvos: The writing was on the wall: Migreurop report 2013: Lesvos/ Greece the new European cage for migrants (link) and Greece's infrastructure struggles to cope with mixed migration flow (UNHCR, 2009, link) and UNHCR alarmed by detention of unaccompanied children in Lesvos, Greece (2009, link) and UNHCR delegation visits detention centre on Greek island, urges closure (2009, link): "PAGANI DETENTION CENTRE, Greece, October 23 (UNHCR) A UNHCR delegation has called for a crowded migrant detention centre on the Greek island of Lesvos to be closed after visiting the facility with a senior government officia." See: Map "Pagani" (link) and "Images" (link)
News Digest (28-31-8-15)
UK: Clinton secrets hacked by spy in bag EXCLUSIVE: Shocking new twist to the mystery five years on (SUN, link): "THE MI6 spy found dead in a holdall had illegally hacked into secret data on Bill Clinton, The Sun on Sunday can reveal"
USA: FISC BR 15-99 NSA Metadata Collection Extended (pdf)
NGO: German firms mired in worst Greek corruption scandals since WWII (euractiv, link): "Siemens, Daimler, and Rheinmetall have been mired in cases of alleged corruption in Greece, the country that Berlin has repeatedly admonished for the parlous state of its economy. No date has been set yet for 19 former executives of German engineering group Siemens to appear in Greek court, but it is expected to be one of the biggest financial trials of the decade in Greece."
Portuguese Judges Blocks Bill That Allows Government Spying (hngn, link): "The Constitutional Court judges of Portugal have decided to block a legislation that would have allowed the government to access individuals' private data to fight against terrorism and organized crime"
EU's planned data protection legislation raises questions about the nature of privacy (Parliament magazine, link): "Colin Mackay asks whether the EU's new legislation on data privacy, the general data protection regulation, will still be relevant by the time of its introduction."
Editorial | Of militarisation and violence: borders and bordering (WRI, link): "Every day people try to cross into the minority world of the Global North. Wherever they are and attempt to cross, they are victims of surveillance, they are being analysed, digitised, and rendered border offenders.2 In the Arizona desert, the Mediterranean Sea, or the urban areas of Cape Town they become the illegal immigrant who has to be resisted, deterred and eventually troops will have to be deployed."
Justice in Europe (Fair Trials, link): "Across Europe, basic rights are being violated every day in police stations, court rooms and prisons. This is destroying the lives of innocent people, causing miscarriages of justice and undermining public faith in criminal justice systems."
France train attack: Europe 'to tighten rail security' (BBC News, link): "European ministers have agreed tighter controls at railway stations, the French interior minister has announced.Bernard Cazeneuve said there would be increased identity and baggage controls at stations and more police patrols on board international trains."
USA: Court: We Cant Rule on NSA Bulk Data Collection Because We Dont Know Whose Data Was Collected (The Intercept, link)
New Zealand: Former spy paid to infiltrate Greenpeace and unions *The National, link)
UK: Public Inquiry Core Participant Status (COPS, link): "The public inquiry into undercover policing, chaired by Lord Pitchford, is being prepared. Some people who are particularly involved can be granted the status of core participant. This means that they are likely to have greater access to documents and that the costs of their legal representation may be covered."
West Point professor calls on US military to target legal critics of war on terror - US military academy official William Bradford argues that attacks on scholars home offices and media outlets along with Islamic holy sites are legitimate (Guardian, link)
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)
EU: MED-CRISIS: (27.8.15)
Treat refugees humanely, work together, says UNHCR, as thousands continue heading into the Western Balkans from Greece (UNHCR, link)
Viewpoint: Treat refugees as a development issue (BBC News, link): "Europe is facing a mass influx of refugees from outside the region for the first time in its history, as people flee persecution and conflict in countries such as Syria and Iraq. And its politicians are struggling to find a coherent response.... Only a tiny proportion of the world's 20 million refugees come to Europe: 95% are in the countries that neighbour conflict and crisis, mainly in developing regions. About 3.5 million Syrians are in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. More than 500,000 Somalis are in Kenya. More than two million Afghans are in Pakistan and Iran."
Refugees face death threats at Italian hotel (The Local.it, link): "Italian police are investigating claims that dozens of immigrants have received death threats in a xenophobic letter sent to the hotel which is hosting them in Lombardy's Valtellina valley."
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)
European Commission: Funding to main migration-related activities in the Western Balkans and Turkey (pdf):
Migrants crisis: Austria and Balkans call for EU answer (BBC News, link): "Serbia and Macedonia have told a summit in Vienna the EU must come up with an action plan to respond to the influx of migrants into Europe."
Hungary scrambles to confront migrant influx, Merkel heckled (Reuters, link): "The chief commissioner of Hungarian police, Karoly Papp, said police were readying six special border patrol units of an initial 2,106 officers, equipped with helicopters, horses and dogs, to be sent in depending on the situation on the Serbian border. "
More than 50 migrants found dead on boats near Libya coast (euractiv, link): "Rescuers saved about 3,000 migrants, but found more than 50 dead on boats near the coast of Libya yesterday (26 August), the Italian coast guard said."
Migration hijacks EU-Balkan summit in Vienna (euobserver, link)
Desperate migrants find holes in Hungary's razor-wire fence strategy - Viktor Orbáns populist government hoped to deter new arrivals, but instead, his country is the new focal point of Europes migration crisis (Guardian, link)
GREECE: Refugee life at makeshift detention centre in Lesbos - shadow economy has sprung up in a refugee detention centre on the Greek island of Lesbos.(BBC News, link-video): There are thousands of people living in the facility, and now makeshift shops have opened up inside the camp. And see: Report: Kara Tepe, transit camp for refugees, Lesvos (Greece) Outline development proposals (pdf)
GREECE: Minister chides mayors calling for migration action (ekathimerini.com)
German employers 'should hire more refugees' (DW, link): "The Federal Employment Agency has urged German businesses to hire more refugees and harness their potential. Their ability to speak several languages is among the qualities it says would be an asset to firms."
GERMANY: Rostock riots revealed 'the dark side of humanity' (DW, link): "Heidenau, Solingen, Rostock-Lichtenhagen: Germany has a long history of attacks on asylum seekers. One former Rostock city official has spent his career thinking of ways to combat xenophobia."
Syrians cross Norway's Arctic border on bicyles (The Local.no,link) "More than 100 Syrian refugees have crossed the Arctic border from Norway to Russia on bicycles, exploiting a loophole in the country's border regulations."
Norway gives 5m to Greece for refugees (The Local.no, link): "Norway has given Greece 5m in emergency funding to help it provide for a sudden influx of refugees at a time when it is facing its own protracted economic crisis."
AUSTRIA: Kurz threatens tighter border controls (The Local.at, link): "Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has threatened to introduce stricter border controls in Austria if a European solution cannot be found for the asylum crisis."
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: (26.8.15)
UNHCR: Greater support in countries of first asylum needed to stem refugee outflows (link): "According to recent figures, the 4,089,023 Syrian refugees in host countries neighbouring Syria includes 1,113,941 in Lebanon, 629,245 in Jordan, 250,408 in Iraq, 132,375 in Egypt, and 1,938,999 in Turkey where registration is carried out by Turkish authorities. In addition, some 24,000 Syrian refugees are registered in other countries in North Africa."
Italy hits back at Merkel in migrants row (The Local.it, link): "Italy's Foreign Minister has scathingly dismissed criticism from France and Germany over its handling of the tens of thousands of migrants arriving on its southern shores. "Italy is doing what it has to do ... and even much more by saving thousands of lives and by taking in refugees," Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said in an interview published in Wednesday's Corriere della Sera, describing his country as a "a positive model on the international stage." and see: Italy saves lives even if it costs votes says Renzi (ANSA, link): "Commenting on the migrant emergency in the Mediterranean, where Italy is in the front line along with Greece, the premier said: "First we'll save human lives even at the cost of losing votes. "It's a question of civilisation." "
Czech finance minister: NATO should be engaged in guarding EU against migrants (FOX News, link): "The Czech Republic's finance minister has called for NATO to get involved in helping protect the European Union's external border against the influx of migrants. Andrej Babis says "we have to defend the Schengen (borderless) zone. We have to engage NATO." Talking on Czech public television on Tuesday, Babis called the migrants, most of whom are fleeing bloody conflicts, "the biggest threat to Europe."" and Czech Republic advocates use of army to protect borders (euobserver, link): "The EU could better protect itself from migrants if it had a common army, Czech president Milos Zeman said Tuesday (25 August), while the Czech finance minister, Andrej Babis, called for the closure of the Schengen area's external borders and for Nato help."
Hours of Waiting in No Man's Land as Greek-Macedonian Borders Open (demotix.com, link): "As the Greek-Macedonian borders have re-opened, refugees are allowed in. Yet hundreds have to wait for hours in the Greek side till the moment they are allowed to cross. The Macedonian military and Greek organisations co-ordinate the flow."
CZECH REPUBLIC: Charles University opens doors to asylum seekers (Radio Praha, link): "Charles University is aware of the humanitarian tragedy of immigrants seeking asylum in European countries. And in this situation, where a number of political forces are trying to misuse the situation, Charles University wants to show some positive action to help people in need. We are trying to help by what we are best in, which is education. "
WATCH THE MED: Alarm Phone in contact with 6 vessels in distress in the Central Med, 4400 people rescued in total in one day (link)
Germany suspends Dublin agreement for Syrian refugees (euractiv, link): No returns to state of first entry to EU: "Germany has ceased applying the rules of the Dublin system to Syrian refugees. All deportations to other EU countries have been halted."
Balkan states snub Greece in talks on immigation (ekathimerini.com): "Greece has been left out of an unfolding campaign by Balkan countries to forge a coordinated response to a torrent of migrants and asylum seekers fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa, Kathimerini understands.... Thinly disguised criticism of Athens came from FYROM Foreign Minister Mitko Cavkov, too, who noted it was absurd that the problem is caused by an EU member-state. Cavkov said that interior ministers from FYROM, Austria, Hungary and Serbia will soon meet in Skopje to decide further action."
Macedonia to face thousands of EU-bound migrants (euobserver, link): "Up to 3,000 migrants are expected to cross into Macedonia on a daily basis throughout the next several months, as the European Commission eyes court action against over a dozen member states for violating asylum rules..... Hungary, along with 17 other member states is on the European Commissions hit-list for committing various violations against EU asylum laws.[link].. The Common European Asylum System is composed of the Dublin regulation, the asylum procedures directive, the reception conditions directive, the qualification directive, and the long-term residence directive. Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden are all under scrutiny."
Everyday People Put Solidarity Into Action Helping Refugees in Greece (Global Voices, link): "Almost 1,000 lives reach Greek shores every day, of which 60% are from Syria, according to the United Nations refugee agency. The Eastern and North Aegean Islands of Kos, Kalymnos, Leros, Chios and Lesbos have become temporary shelter for thousands arriving in dinghies from the sea..... Nevertheless, the deus ex machina in this case is not the government, but local residents and activists from near and far who are gathering food, medicine, clothes, toys and other equipment for the refugees."
Europe's migrant crisis will not slow and EU nations must share duties, says UN (Guardian, link): "The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said all EU member states should share the burden of Europes worst refugee crisis since the second world war, with an equitable redistribution of families seeking asylum.":and UN predicts 3,000 refugees a day will pass through Balkans - Refugee agency says Europe can handle numbers if correct measures taken (Irish Times, link)
GERMANY: Nauen refugee shelter fire 'an attack on everyone' (DW, link): "It may have joined the list of German towns to witness violence aimed at refugees. This time, though, the suspected arson of a sports hall is being felt as an attack on the whole community."
Dispatches: Volunteer Lifeline for Asylum Seekers in Hungary (HRW, link): "Tuesday, 8:07 p.m. at the Nyugati train station in Budapest, the latest train arrives from the Hungarian border town of Szeged carrying migrants and asylum seekers who came via Serbia. Volunteers from the nongovernmental group Migration Aid are standing by to greet them and offer food, clothing, and advice.... its shameful that Hungary and other European governments have failed to ensure proper reception conditions for people fleeing war and persecution, as European Union rules require. In Hungary, the government has instead spent millions building an anti-migrant fence."
News Digest (26.8.15)
Europe faces up to flight safety threat posed by drones (euractiv, link): "No-drone zones, software to block flights into sensitive areas and registration rules are among proposals from European regulators and aviation experts to ensure growing numbers of drones don't case dangerous run-ins with passenger aircraft."
GREECE: Golden Dawn MP, cell leader released from custody (ekathimerini.com, link): "Golden Dawn deputy Nikos Kouzilos has been released from custody where he had been awaiting trial on a number of criminal charges along with dozens of other MPs and members of the neofascist party. However, the council of appeals court judges banned Kouzilos from leaving the Attica region, while ordering him to report to his local police station twice a month."
Mass protest against TTIP and CETA to take place in Berlin (euractiv, link): "More than 30 organisations are teaming up for a major demonstration against TTIP and CETA, with concerns ranging from the end of cultural diversity in Europe to devastating effects the deals could have in developing countries. EurActiv Germany reports. Over 50,000 demonstrators are expected to gather in front of Berlins central train station on 10 October to protest the EUs planned free trade agreements with the United States and Canada, TTIP and CETA. Special public transit lines and hundreds of buses are planned to meet the extra demand."
AUSTRIA: Austrian found guilty of Nazi Facebook post (The Local.at, link): "A 28-year-old Austrian man who called for Jews to be gassed in a Facebook post was sentenced to eight months in prison on Tuesday by Wels Provincial Court."
DENMARK: Danish Home Guard to rearm after terror attack (The Local.dk, link): "Six months after some 4,300 volunteer members of the Danish Home Guard were told to disassemble their rifles in the aftermath of the Copenhagen terror attacks, members will once again be allowed to keep functioning weapons at home."
GERMANY: MPs plan new close watch on spies (The Local.de, link): "MPs in Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) are planning to put Germany's security services on a much tighter leash in the future following a wave of scandals, media reported on Wednesday." and see: Prosecutors launch case against CIA double agent (The Local.de, link)
NSA-JAPAN: Obama Expresses Regret to Japan's Abe for Spying Charges (New York Times, link): "Japanese officials faced questioning from the media and in parliament after WikiLeaks posted online what appeared to be five U.S. National Security Agency reports on Japanese positions on international trade and climate change. They date from 2007 to 2009. WikiLeaks also posted what it says was an NSA list of 35 Japanese targets for telephone intercepts." See: "WikiLeaks published "Target Tokyo" 35 Top Secret NSA targets in Japan including the Japanese cabinet and Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi, together with intercepts relating to US-Japan relations, trade negotiations and sensitive climate change strategy"
Czech intelligence powers widened (Prague Post, link): "The powers of Czech intelligence services will be widened as they will be allowed to breach the tax secret and to ask for information from telecommunications operators under the legislation signed into law by President Milo Zeman, spokesman Jirí Ovcácek said today. The limitations on the data protected by the bank secret will be cancelled, too."
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)
EU: MED-CRISIS (25.8.15)
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."
ITALY: Asylum-seekers protest over living conditions (The Local.it, link)
GREECE: One dead, six missing after refugee boat capsizes off Lesvos (ekathimerini.com, link) and and see: 2 Refugee Boats Capsize Off Greece, Turkey; 5 Dead (INYT, link)
GERMANY-EU: A ten-point plan for a European refugee policy response (diplo.de, link) and 10 Point Plan (pdf)
GERMANY: Fire destroys another refugee home in Germany (DW, link): "A refugee home has caught fire in Germany, raising concerns over anti-migrant attacks. Meanwhile Chancellor Merkel faces tough questions during her visit to a problematic immigrant neighborhood in the country's west."
AUSTRIA: Austria draws on army in migrant crisis (The Local.at, link): "The Austrian army is to deploy more than 500 troops to help overstretched authorities deal with the large number of migrants arriving from Hungary and Italy, the defence minister said on Tuesday."
GREECE: Efforts continue to locate migrants from capsized boat (ekathimerini.com, link): "Greek coast guard patrols and volunteer fishermen on Tuesday were continuing the search for a group of migrants believed missing after their boat capsized off the coast of the island of Lesvos on Monday, killing two of the passengers on board.... Reports on Monday suggested that there were four or five passengers still missing from the rubber dinghy that capsized in choppy waters between the coast of Turkey and the eastern Aegean island.... The Greek government has come under fire from its European Union partners and international organizations for failing to speed up the process of registering incoming migrants and identifying those with legitimate asylum claims."
Migrant crisis: Lets not pretend Europes response is working UN rights expert warns (UNHR, link): "United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, today called on the European Union to establish a human rights-based, coherent and comprehensive migration policy* which makes mobility its central asset. It is the only way in which the EU can reclaim its border, effectively combat smuggling and empower migrants, he said. Lets not pretend that what the EU and its member states are doing is working. Migration is here to stay, Mr. Crépeau stressed. Building fences, using tear gas and other forms of violence against migrants and asylum seekers, detention, withholding access to basics such as shelter, food or water and using threatening language or hateful speech will not stop migrants from coming or trying to come to Europe. "
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)
Greece: Mytilene (Lesvos): Chaos and squalid conditions face record number of refugees on Lesvos (AI, link): "Overloaded, under-resourced authorities are failing to cope with the dramatic increase in the number of people arriving on the island (33,000 since 1 August) and must rely on local volunteers, NGO activists, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and tourists to step into the massive breach. The vast majority are fleeing conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria - 90% of those arriving in 2015 according to UNHCR."
GREECE: Help Refugees Arriving in Mytilene, Greece This list is for: Eric & Philippa Kempson: Dispatch to: Eric Kempson, Eftalou (Amazon, link): "All donations go directly to refugees arriving on the north coast of Mytilene. If you have other ideas (specific medical stuff, baby gear, toys, etc), feel free to add them to your shipment! People have access to food through other means, but other supplies for camping, long walks, general sun exposure all appreciated."
Destination Europe: Migrant Stories (WSJ, link)
Europe's migrant surge: How to cope with record numbers? (France 24, link): "Europe's record wave of would-be asylum seekers and migrants continues unabated and the scramble is on to cope with the crisis" with Marie Martin, Migration and Asylum Officer, Euromed Rights and Nic Conner, Senior Research Fellow, The Bow Group.
The European Unions migrant emergency is entirely of its own making (Guardian, link): "We could treat asylum and labour mobility as questions of justice or opportunity, as some European states did in the postwar era....The emergency is not inevitable: we could treat asylum and labour mobility as questions of justice or opportunity, as some European states did in the postwar era. The choice is political. We can keep militarising the borders or bank on mobility. We can opt for ferries, visas and aeroplane tickets instead of sinking rubber boats, squalid detention centres and makeshift camps."
Hungarys migrant fence is simply a pointless PR exercise (Guardian, link): "Short-term measures like walls and fences in Europe wont solve a migration crisis of this size. People who have risked so much will just find another way."
UNHCR assists refugees at Greece-FYR Macedonia border, where calm is returning (link): "The UN refugee agency has been helping refugees and migrants amid chaotic scenes in the past few days at the border between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as thousands of people tried to cross into FYR Macedonia. The situation was noticeably calmer and more orderly on Sunday, when almost 2,000 people crossed into FYR Macedonia, and Monday. The majority told UNHCR staff that they had fled the war in Syria, passed through Turkey and crossed by boat to Greece. Among them were many young families with small children."
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."
Germany and France want unified asylum response (euobserver, link): "France and Germany are pushing for a more unified asylum system, as Berlin opens its doors to Syrians. Hollande said in a statement that a unified system for the right to asylum is needed." and: Influx grows as Germany, France eye unified response (ekathimerini.com): "According to police estimates, between 8,500 and 9,000 refugees on the island of Lesvos were Monday awaiting transfer to the Greek mainland. A ferry charted by the Greek government the Eleftherios Venizelos was expected to pick up another 2,500 Syrians from the island at 2.30 this morning and bring them to Athens. The foreigners that leave the island every day are replaced by the same number of people arriving from the Turkish coast, Lesvos Mayor Spyros Galinos told Kathimerini."
Germany challenges EU to agree on refugee plan (The Local.se, link): ""Never before have so many people fled political persecution and war as today, many of whom seek refuge here with us in Europe," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel wrote in an opinion piece, identify a 10 point plan for a European refugee policy response."
UK: Asylum seekers fight deportation to Afghanistan - Lawyers challenge Home Offices proposed charter flight, thought to be departing Stansted on Tuesday, following court victory for Afghans last week (Guardian, link): "Lord Justice Clarke rejected home secretary Theresa Mays application to overturn the order on the basis that a significant number of people due to board the flight could be affected by an ongoing case about the dangers of forcibly returning failed asylum seekers to Afghanistan."
Denmark considers citizenship rule changes (The Local.dk, link): "The Danish government is considering changes to the nations citizenship laws that may make it harder to get citizenship in the future and pull the rug out from under 1,950 foreigners who have already satisfied the current requirements.
Germany suspends Dublin III transfers for Syrians (freemovement.org.uk, link): "Germany has taken the extremely welcome step of suspending the transfer of Syrian asylum seekers under the Dublin III Regulation. As long ago as November 2013 UNHCR called for countries not to return Syrian nationals to their first point of entry in the EU. As the war has worsened and more people have fled, the situation has continued to deteriorate both for the people fleeing and in the countries on the periphery of Europe, such as the Balkan states and Greece and Italy, that are struggling to provide adequate reception conditions."
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
News Digest (25.8.15)
UK: Firms using illegal migrant labour face 48-hour closures - New powers to revoke trading licences also included in bill aimed at creating hostile environment for unauthorised workers (Guardian, link)
NORWAY: Oslo police slammed for Roma discrimination (The Local.no, link): "The police in Oslo are often racist and discriminate against Roma and African homeless people, a damning new report from Norway's National Institute for Human Rights has found."
EU to review rail security after foiled Thalys attack (euractiv, link): "The European Union will review railway security on high-speed international lines after last week's foiled attack in France. But officials warned on Monday (24 August) against overreaction."
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]
EU: MED-CRISIS (24.8.15)
Welcome to EU - Greece (link)
Al Jazeera will not say Mediterranean 'migrants', but we should (Migrants Rights Network, link): "By rejecting the term and using refugee instead as a means of arousing the empathy and compassion we should be feeling towards these people, Al Jazeera gives credence to the illiberal voices telling us that migrants are not worthy of our compassion."
UK-EU: The Observer view on Britains shameful response to refugees (link)
and see: German ministers call for joint EU policy to cope with refugee crisis (DW, link): "Two leading Social Democrat members of Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet have called for an EU-wide asylum policy as a way of coping with an unprecedented influx of refugees. "
Swedish tolerance questioned as attacks on migrants rise (euractiv, link):"A series of attacks on beggars and Roma has highlighted a dark side to a country considered a bastion of tolerance, but where the far right has been gaining support by claiming society is under threat from immigrants.... Since most come from Romania and Bulgaria, they are free to travel to Sweden as EU citizens, but their presence has fuelled claims by the Sweden Democrats the country is a soft-touch for migrants and is being swamped."
New one-day peak for Italy migrant rescues (The Local, it, link): "Italy's coastguard picked up another 300 migrants from stricken boats in the Mediterranean on Sunday, a day after overseeing the rescue of 4,400 people in one 24-hour period with help from British, Irish and Norwegian ships."
GERMANY: Gabriel visits Saxony after weekend of violence (The Local.de, link): "Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel is to visit the Saxon town of Heidenau on Monday after far right demonstrators clashed with police outside a refugee home in the town over the weekend."
CZECH REPUBLIC: Number of lone underage refugees rising in Czech Republic (Prgaue Daily Monitor, link): "The Czech Education Ministry must deal with a rising number of lone underage refugees, mostly from Syria and Afghanistan aged from 15 to 18 years, who fled their countries alone or lost contact with their families during their long journey, daily Pravo writes Saturday.Under Czech law, people under 18 are considered underage and such refugees cannot be sent to detention facilities for adults."
Hollande to meet Merkel on migration, Ukraine (euobserver, link): "French president Francois Hollande is travelling to Berlin on Monday (24 August) to discuss the growing migrant crisis with German chancellor Angela Merkel. The visit, originally planned to cover the Ukraine conflict, comes as thousands of people - many of them fleeing the war in Syria - keep trying to enter the European Union."
Macedonian army allows migrants to cross border - Migrants head towards EU border in southern Hungary after being penned for days in Macedonia (Guardian, link): "There is a human catastrophe here, and all the EU, the European countries, are to be blamed for this, said German politician Annette Groth while on a visit to the neutral zone between Greece and Macedonia. The refugees are not leaving their homes for fun."
HUNGARY: Volunteers step in as Hungary tries to shut out illegal migrants - Strange and random happenings await the recent arrivals in an ill-prepared Europe (Irish Times, link)
IRELAND: Criminalising asylum-seeking in Ireland: the case of Walli Ullah Safi (opendemocracy,link): "The harsh institutional approach to asylum seeking in Ireland is indicative of a mentality that places a severe and punitive burden of proof upon the asylum seeker."
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."
News Digest 24.8.15).
Digital surveillance 'worse than Orwell' says new UN privacy chief - Joseph Cannataci describes UK data protection as a joke and says a Geneva convention for the internet is needed (Guardian, link)
After Delfi, the chilling effect on web site comments in Europe has begun (link): "what the verdict in Delfi v Estonia means for our profession. This case, which was heard in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), concerned the issue of liability for comments on web sites, and had huge implications for any web site in Europe that allows comments."
EU: MED-CRISIS (22-23.8.15)
GREECE-EU: Greek president wants EU summit on refugee crisis (ekathimerini.com, link): "President Prokopis Pavlopoulos has proposed that a European Union leaders summit be called to discuss a mounting migrant and refugee crisis and called for a closer cooperation with the United Nations."
Migrants crisis: More than 2,000 people rescued near Libya coast (BBC News, link): "More than 2,000 migrants and refugees have been rescued from boats off the coast of Libya in one of the biggest single-day operations mounted, Italy's coastguards have said. Distress calls came from more than 20 vessels, AFP reported."
GREECE: Overcrowded and bad conditions at Greek Refugee Centre in Lesbos (YouTube, Molyvos for Refugees, link): "Endless waiting hours on the queue for the refugees from Afghanistan, in order to obtain a portion of food, during August at the Moria First Reception Centre in Mytilene, Lesvos island, Greece . Mohammed who is 24 years old from Kunduz Afghanistan and describes his bad experience during his staying there. The drinking water from the tap was hot and of low quality. So mainly for the children, they had to daily buy bottled water, at an expensive price from the one and only canteen on the area."
GREECE: 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)
SWEDEN: 'Nazi-inspired' anti-immigration group becomes Sweden's most popular party (Independent, link)
GREECE: FYROM loosens border as migrants get restless (ekathimerini.com, link): "Authorities in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on Friday relaxed a crackdown along the countrys border with Greece as crowds of desperate migrants and refugees seeking to enter the Balkan nation grew larger and more restless..... On Friday afternoon, another ferry docked at Piraeus with around 2,300 refugees from the islands of the eastern Aegean. Lesvos, Kos and other islands are under increasing pressure as the influx from Turkey is relentless. Authorities on Lesvos said there were some 11,000 migrants on the island on Friday."
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) nd 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)
Greece ferries thousands of refugees from islands to the mainland (Macedonian Information Agency, link)
GERMANY: Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out' (Independent, link): "Peaceful demonstrations began after news spread that the town was welcoming a large number of refugees who are set to be housed in an empty building. The protest was hijacked by a group of far-right radicals, many belonging to the militant National Democratic Party (NPD), considered a neo-Nazi organisation."
Mediterranean migrant crisis: Irish naval vessel LÉ Niamh rescues 225 people (BBC News, link): "The migrants, including 12 children, were trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea on two inflatable vessels."
AI: MACEDONIA: Macedonia: Calm at the border but uncertain fate for refugees and asylum-seekers onward journey (link) and Macedonia: Stop Police Violence Against Migrants (HRW, link)
News Digest (22-23.8.15)
Danish prime minister announces date for EU referendum (euractiv, link): "On 3 December, Danes will vote on a 'flexible' opt-in approach to EU Justice and Home Affairs (JHA), Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen announced on Friday (21 August)."
UK: Elderly man attacked in Rotherham dies in hospital (ITN News, link): "An 81-year-old man who was injured following an attack in Rotherham has died in hospital overnight. Mushin Ahmed was assaulted in an area just off Fitzwilliam Road in the early hours of Monday 10 August. He was understood to be on his way to a mosque for morning prayers."
ITALY: Italy arrests Algerian human rights lawyer (ANSA, link): "Mesli, who has defended Islamist torture victims, has been living as a refugee in Switzerland since 2000 after being arrested in his home country on charges of "abetting terrorism", according to Amnesty International human rights NGO. He was detained and tortured for three years, according to Amnesty."
UK: Data breach by holiday firm Thomson exposes hundreds of passengers (BBC News, link)
POLAND: Roma Camp in Wroclaw Cleared and Demolished (LibertiesEU, link): "The unannounced destruction of a Roma camp in Wroclaw is condemned by civil society, which warns that such an action raises serious doubt about human rights protections in Poland."
USA: Undercover Police Have Regularly Spied On Black Lives Matter Activists in New York (The Intercept, link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: (21.8.15)
UNHCR-MACEDONIA: Concern about developments at border with Greece (pdf): UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres spoke with FYR Macedonia Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki about the situation, and received assurances that the border will not be closed in the future. "UNHCR is particularly worried about the thousands of vulnerable refugees and migrants, especially women and children, now massed on the Greek side of the border amid deteriorating conditions," UNHCR said in a statement." and Macedonia allows migrants entry from Greece (Channel 4 News, link): "Macedonia allows a limited number of migrants to enter from Greece, hours after police drove back crowds by firing tear gas.... The United Nations refugee agency has urged Macedonia to allocate more space for migrants in its side of the border"
MACEDONIA: GREECE: AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Macedonia: Thousands trapped and at risk of violence as border sealed (link): "A witness on the Greek side of the border told Amnesty International that Macedonias Rapid Reaction Unit, an anti-terrorist police unit, had been beating refugees and asylum-seekers who were trying to enter Macedonia, and firing over their heads. A local NGO confirmed the use of rubber bullets.... "Every country has the power to patrol its own borders, but this kind of para-military response is an unacceptable push-back in violation of international law. Macedonian authorities are responding as if they were dealing with rioters rather than refugees who have fled conflict and persecution."" And see: AI: Europes Borderlands: Violations against refugees and migrants in Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary (link) and see: Report: Europe's Borderlands: Violations against refugees and migrants in Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary (pdf)
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): Macedonia declares emergency on border over refugee crisis - Police fire tear gas in effort to disperse refugees as authorities attempt to seal border: "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."
Update on airlines offering free luggage with items for refugees (Help for refugees in Molyvos, link)
Peter Sutherland critical of Europe on migrant crisis - UN special envoy on migration tells Knock faithful of EU shortcomings on response (Irish Times, link)
FRANCE-GERMANY: Merkel and Hollande to press EU to move faster on asylum policy (euractiv, link): "Germany and France will press the European Union to move faster and with more unity to deal with the worsening refugee crisis, amid complaints from Germany that it is shouldering too big a burden." and see: Germany 'can't cope' with 800,000 refugees per year - Germany cannot continue accepting refugees at its current pace of 800,000 per year, its interior minister warns. The country could reinstate border controls if other EU states fail to pull their weight (DW, link)
EU ministers to hold migrant talks: France (The Local.fr, link) and see: Council of the European Union: Valletta Conference on Migration (Malta, 11-12 November 2015) - Orientation debate (pdf):
CZECH REPUBLIC: Integration expert says migration issue should not be reduced to security (Radio Praha, link)
GREECE: Refugees head for the north despite border crackdown (ekathimerini.com, link)L "KTEL intercity bus services linking the capital to the northern port of Thessaloniki were inadequate so additional vehicles were added to the route. Instead of the 11 usual daily connections linking Athens and Thessaloniki, there are now 42, with a bus leaving the capital for the northern port city every half-hour...... Train services linking FYROM and Serbia were also suspended as large numbers of migrants camped out in the no-mans land between the two countries." and Car ferry arrives for second time in Piraeus to disembark Syrian refugees (ANA, link)
HUNGARY: Socialists criticize border police units (BBJ, link): "Socialist immigration expert Richárd Barabás told the press that plans to set up border police units to guard the fence being built along the Serbian border show a "complete lack of goodwill" and may go against the Geneva convention, according to reports today, while deputy leader Bertalan."
Fences in Calais protect ministers not refugees (The Conversation, link) by Heaven Crawley
Refugee Chaos in Macedonia: 'Life-Threateningly Dangerous for Women and Children' (spiegel.de, link): "A dangerous bottleneck has formed in the Macedonian border town of Gevgelija, an important hub for refugees traveling to Western Europe. Those trying to reach the trains here face extreme heat, dangerous crowds and police bullying."
To quota or not to quota? The EU facing effective solidarity in its Asylum Policy (EASFJ, link)
Why are NGOs so reluctant to help Greece? (New Internationalist, July 2015, link): "nternational observers are left wondering: how bad do conditions in Lesvos need to be before refugee aid agencies stop hiding behind the EU and start rolling up their sleeves?"
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."
and: MI5 spied on Doris Lessing for 20 years, declassified documents reveal -Newly released and redacted British intelligence files refer to author from early 1940s to long after her break from communist party in 1956 (Guardian, link)
News Digest (21.8.15)
N IRELAND: The dark history of British collusion with loyalist death squads (agreenwales.blogspot.ie, link)
AT&T Helped U.S. Spy on Internet on a Vast Scale (International New York Times, link): "The National Security Agencys ability to spy on vast quantities of Internet traffic passing through the United States has relied on its extraordinary, decades-long partnership with a single company: the telecom giant AT&T. While it has been long known that American telecommunications companies worked closely with the spy agency, newly disclosed N.S.A. documents show that the relationship with AT&T has been considered unique and especially productive. One document described it as highly collaborative, while another lauded the companys extreme willingness to help."
UK-FRANCE: CALAIS: 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 Commom 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."
EU: MED: CRISIS: 20.8.15
UK in talks with Holland and Belgium to close off new migrant routes to Britain (Guardian, link): "Speaking during a visit to the Eurotunnel terminal at Coquelles which is now surrounded by two razor-wire fences after a £7m cash injection from the UK May said other northern French ports such as Dunkirk were being assessed amid fears smugglers could shift their efforts elsewhere."
SLOVAKIA: Migrants crisis: Slovakia 'will only accept Christians' (BBC News, link): "Slovakia says it will only accept Christians when it takes in Syrian refugees under a EU relocation scheme. The country is due to receive 200 people from camps in Turkey, Italy and Greece under the EU plan to resettle 40,000 new arrivals. Interior ministry spokesman Ivan Netik said Muslims would not be accepted because they would not feel at home."
Council of Europe: Without papers but not without rights: the basic social rights of irregular migrants (link): ""Those who think that irregular migrants have no rights because they have no papers are wrong. Everyone is a holder of human rights regardless of their status. It is easy to understand that the prohibition of torture protects all people but we should also be aware of the fact that basic social rights are also universal, because their enjoyment constitutes a prerequisite for human dignity. Therefore, member states of the Council of Europe should stand by their obligations to protect the basic social rights of everyone under their jurisdiction,
and this includes irregular migrants."
Calais migrant crisis: Theresa May in Calais as 'command centre' announced (BBC News, link)
Serbia says migrants in Macedonia should go to Bulgaria, Croatia (euractiv,link): "Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said that Serbia will not put fences on its border with Macedonia, and that Hungary's new fence along its border with Serbia would redirect refugees to Croatia and Bulgaria, the Belgrade press reported "
GREECE: More than a third of migrants not fingerprinted, officials say (ekathimerini.com, link): "As part of efforts to decongest overburdened islands, Greek authorities have been registering the personal details of thousands of migrants arriving on Lesvos, Kos and other islands. But they lack the equipment to fingerprint the migrants, who are issued with documents and instructed to visit the Aliens Bureau in Athens on their arrival.More than a third issued with papers on the islands fail to visit the bureau, however, Greek Police (ELAS) sources told Kathimerini. It is thought the majority continue their journeys further into Europe."
ITALY: Response to migrants is mercy says pope (ANSA, link)
GERMANY: Germany refugee riot injures 15 after Koran defaced (DW, link) "A brawl among asylum seekers in a German town injured 15 after an Afghan tore pages from the Koran. Around 100 refugees took part in the riot at the shelter in Thüringen, which was previously criticised for overcrowding." and Germany's media blitz to discourage Balkan migrants (DW, link): "Germany's migration agency is taking out newspaper and online ads warning would-be refugees - especially from the Balkans - against seeking asylum in Germany. Experts say the approach will likely have little effect."
NORWAY: UN: Norway doing too little to fight racism (The Local, link): "Norway's authorities are doing too little to combat the threat of racism and far-right extremist violence, a damning new report from the UN has concluded."
UN: Sweden is bearing brunt of migrant crisis (The Local.se, link): "Sweden and Germany cannot continue to take in the majority of refugees seeking new lives in the EU, a top UN official has said... Antonio Guterres, the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees called on Tuesday for other EU nations to play a greater role in helping asylum seekers who travel to Europe."
DENMARK: Danes publish pro-refugee advertisement (The Local.dk, link): "The initiative, which has over 18,000 followers on Facebook, ends the ad by saying that the group wants refugees to hear another voice in Denmark - a voice representing peace, solidarity and human decency. In response to:Denmark to run anti-refugee advertisements (link)
AUSTRIA: Ministers pay surprise visit to refugee camp (The Local.at, link)l "he severely overcrowded refugee camp in Traiskirchen, Lower Austria, received a surprise visit ... He [said] that conditions at the camp are unacceptable and appealed to Austrias states to provide decent accommodation as soon as possible so that conditions like those at Traiskirchen are a thing of the past""
GERMANY: Asylum 'could cost Germany 10bn' in 2015 (The Local.de, link): "Based on new projections for the number of asylum seekers expected to arrive in Germany this year, the country may have to find 10 billion to fund its already creaking system."
CZECH REPUBLIC: Hysteria over asylum seekers completely exaggerated, says minister (Radio Praha, link): "The minister for human rights, Jirí Dientsbier, says hysteria surrounding asylum seekers in the Czech Republic is completely exaggerated and not based on any rational risks." and New parties profit from Islamophobia (Prague Post, link)
News Digest (20.8.15)
Update on the status of data retention laws in Europe (http://mslods.com, link)
SWEDEN: Poll: Far-right party now biggest in Sweden (euractiv, link): "For the first time, the far-right Sweden Democrats are the biggest party in Sweden. According to a Yougov poll commisioned by Metro, the extremists would receive 25.2% of the vote if there was an election today, ahead of the governing centre-left Social Democrats, at 23.4%."
UK: Chilcot inquiry: Leading figures in British political Establishment accused of plotting to discredit investigation into Iraq war (Independent, link)
GREECE-TURKEY: Six Turkish jets chased out of Greek air space (ekathimerini.com, link):
GERMANY: In Berlin, probe into Netzpolitik inquiry drags on (DW, link): "This month, Germany's chief prosecutor scrapped a treason probe against bloggers who quoted leaked documents detailing plans to expand Internet surveillance. An inquiry into the case has left questions unanswered."
EU: Commission discloses documents on US tax agreements with EU Member States (http://sophieintveld.eu, link)
UK: Blind man Tasered by police paid undisclosed sum - Lancashire constabulary admits using excessive force after police officer mistook white stick for samurai sword (Guardian, link)
Study Finds Supercookies Used Outside U.S. (WSJ, link)
IRELAND: Up to 150 anti-water charge protesters target garda station over Joan Burton charges (Independent.ie, link): " Anti-water charge protesters took their picket to the gates of Tallaght garda station last night in the wake of the possible charging of 23 people. It was revealed last week that more than 20 people would be charged over a blockade that saw Tanaiste Joan Burton trapped in her car for two hours."
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)
EU: MED-CRISIS: (19.8.15)
EU: Massive arrival of refugees in Greece dwarfs EUs relocation initiative (euractiv, link): "Greece appealed to its European Union partners yesterday (18 August) to come up with a comprehensive strategy to deal with a growing migrant crisis as new data showed 21,000 refugees landed on Greek shores last week alone.... Greek officials said they needed better coordination within the European Union. "This problem cannot be solved by imposing stringent legal processes in Greece, and, certainly, not by overturning the boats," said government spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili."
Uk-FRANCE: Theresa May set to sign new deal with French government to tackle migrant crisis (Independent, link)
GERMANY: Where racism and xenophobia are manifest in Germany - Official statistics show that most racist crimes in Germany last year occurred in the country's eastern-most states and Berlin. A civil society expert says that's no surprise. (DW, link)
GREECE: Europe struggles to respond as migrants numbers rise threefold (ekathimerini.com, link)
CZECH REPUBLIC: Zeman's spokesman against scientists' solidarity with refugees (Prague Monitor, link): "President Milos Zeman's spokesman Jiri Ovcacek criticised yesterday a call by hundreds of Czech scientists for toleration of immigrants, saying it deepens the gap between Czech society and the elites.
Researcher Pavel Jungwirth told CTK in reaction to Ovcacek's words that the call should bridge the gaps, on the contrary. The call "Scientists against Fear and Indifference" has been signed by more than 1500 personalities, the authors say on their web page."
CYPRUS: 75 million from the EC into a bottomless pit (KISA, link): "the management of the European funds granted to Cyprus for the 2007-2013 programming period raises questions as to whether the available funds for the 2014-2020 period will be used in a way that will improve the integration of migrants into Cypriot society * while making the asylum system fairer and more efficient..... "KISA considers that for the strengthening of the process of migrants integration and the improvement of the asylum system, Cypriot state, must first of all change the current migration model and contribute towards combating the racism and discrimination which prevail in Cypriot society." see aslo: EU allocates 74.9 million to Cyprus for migration (Cyprus Mail, link):: "Cyprus will continue the recently established voluntary return programme and will also support forced return.... n relation to border management, Cyprus continues the development of EUROSUR and plans to introduce Automated Border Control gates."
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
FRONTEX: Number of migrants in one month above 100 000 for first time (link): "In the month of July, the number of migrants detected at EUs borders more than tripled to 107,500 compared to the same month of last year, surpassing the 100,000 mark in a single month for the first time since Frontex began keeping records in 2008.... Syrians and Afghans accounted for a lions share of the record number of migrants entering the EU illegally. Most of them, fleeing instability in their home countries, initially entered Greece from Turkey... the most detections were reported in the Aegean Sea (nearly 50 000), mainly on the Greek islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos and Kos. "
Germany unnerved by scores of xenophobic attacks against refugees (Washington Post, link): "On a cool night six weeks ago, suspected right-wing arsonists struck the building, scorching its interior and rendering it uninhabitable days before the &SHY;asylum-seekers were to move in. The attack added Meissen, a gothic castle town of 30,000 on the Elbe River, to a string of German cities caught up in an escalating rash of violence against refugees..... The incidents in Germany include at least six cases of arson and the beating of a 23-year-old African refu&SHY;gee by five Germans that left him with serious injuries."
GERMANY: Smartphone app launched to help asylum seekers in Dresden - App offers practical assistance to refugees arriving in the eastern German city and comes in response to recent anti-immigrant hostility (Guardian, link): "A smartphone app has been launched to help asylum seekers find their feet in Dresden, which became the epicentre of anti-immigrant hostility in Germany earlier this year. The Welcome to Dresden app, developed by two IT companies based in the eastern German city, gives refugees information on how to register with the authorities, get health insurance and find their way around."
CZECH REPUBLIC: Academics warning of growing xenophobia (Prague Monitor, link): "Over 740 Czech academics and other staff of scientific and research institutions have signed a petition Academics against Fear and Indifference to face the increasingly xenophobic atmosphere in Czech society that was posted online yesterday. They feel alarmed at the activities of extremist groups that are not contained enough, the petition said. Radicalisation of society by fear is one of the biggest dangers threatening Czechs in connection with the immigration crisis, it added."
Austria set to force towns to take refugees (euractiv, link): "Austrian towns that balk at taking in refugees can be forced to accept migrants under draft legislation agreed by the two ruling parties and the opposition Greens on Monday (17 August)."
SWITZERLAND: Steinmeier urges EU-Swiss talks on planned immigration quotas (euractiv, link): "German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier yesterday (17 August) urged the European Union to negotiate with Switzerland on Bern's plans for new quotas on immigration from the bloc.... Switzerland has been scrambling to find a way to implement the wishes of the people - who narrowly voted in February, 2014 to dramatically rein in immigration from the EU - without ripping up a range of decade-old treaties governing Switzerland's ties with the bloc."
AUSTRIA: Europe migrant crisis: 80,000 will seek asylum in Austria in 2015 - and for many, this former barracks in Traiskirchen is the end of the road (Independent, link): "Ahmed has his face up against the iron bars of the asylum reception centre in the village of Traiskirchen in Austria. He fled Iraq when Isis told his family to leave. They were fishmongers, and had sold their wares to Americans, among others. They told us that we were sinners, that we had to leave, says Ahmed. It gave my father a stroke and now he is dead. My sister is in Greece. My brother is in Serbia. I am here.
GREECE: More ferries to help take migrants from Aegean islands ( (ekathimerini.com, link): "Authorities are planning to add more ferries to the route linking the islands of the eastern Aegean to the port of Piraeus and elsewhere on the mainland in a bid to ease pressure on the islands which are on the front line of an influx of migrants....The situation remained particularly difficult on two islands which are busy tourist resorts: Kos and Lesvos. Around 3,000 migrants were unable to leave Lesvos on Monday, despite having undergone police identification procedures, as there are no places on ferries." and: Park refugees moved to center at Elaionas (ekathimerini.com, link): "A new reception center for migrants in Elaionas, near central Athens, was fully operational on Monday after more than 200 refugees left a makeshift settlement at Pedion tou Areos park for the air-conditioned containers of the Elaionas plot."
Germany expecting 650,000 refugees this year: report: Germany is to raise its prognosis for the number of refugees expected to come to the country this year drastically, a paper says. The UN has called on all European states to do their share in looking after the migrants (DW, link).
ITALY: UN must address migrant 'human tragedy' - Bagnasco (ANSA, link): " Italian Bishops Conference (CEI) chief Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco said after meeting 50 refugees in Genoa Monday he wondered whether "these international organs like the UN in particular that gathers political and financial power have ever seriously addressed this human tragedy".
News Digest (18.8.15)
UK: Northamptonshire police ban stop and search by officers who abuse powers - Northamptonshire police and crime commissioner says his forces policy should be rolled out nationally to boost trust in policing (Guardian, link)
Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace: The company is conducting an experiment in how far it can push (NYT, link): "The company is conducting an experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers to get them to achieve its ever-expanding ambitions." and see: Amazon: Devastating expose accuses internet retailer of oppressive and callous attitude to staff (Independent, link): "Working four days in a row without sleep; a woman with breast cancer being put on performance-improvement plans together with another who had just had a stillborn child; staff routinely bursting into tears; continual monitoring; workers encouraged to turn on each other to keep their jobs. Life at Amazon sounds bleak, according to a devastating, 5,900-word expose by The New York Times."
USA: NSA Spying Relies on AT&Ts Extreme Willingness to Help (.propublica.org, link): "The National Security Agencys ability to capture Internet traffic on United States soil has been based on an extraordinary, decadeslong partnership with a single company: AT&T."
Accountability on Drones Continues to Fall Short (OSF, link): "The lack of a clear policy today makes the future more dangerous: It means that other countries could claim a measure of justification for reckless targeted killings if and when they acquire similar technology. It means the public is kept in the dark about the legality of the program. It means that families of the victims dont get justice. Finally, it means that Americans are left to wonder who their government is killing and why. "
UK: Police chiefs running covert operations accused of victimising officers - IPCC investigates claims by lower-ranking officers that they were victimised, threatened and subjected to racial discrimination from senior figures (Guardian, link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: (17.8.15): Greece, Germany, UK. Italy and Czech Republic
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." "
KOS: Body of Syrian boy, 16, found at base of Greek island cliff (News Republic, link)
Greece sees risk of bloodshed in migrant-crowded island (euractiv, link): "Greece dispatched extra police on the island of Kos after its mayor warned of bloodshed if the tensions created by the massive arrival of immigrants worsen, the Greek press reported. Meanwhile, human rights groups denounced the disgraceful conditions in other EU countries trying to cope with the surge in refugees."
EC, Greece have 'game plan' for migrant influx (ekathimerini.com, link): "As thousands of undocumented migrants continue to arrive on the islands of the eastern Aegean, the European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos has indicated that Greek and European authorities have a game plan to tackle the mounting crisis. Avramopoulos, who met with several ministers during a visit to Athens last week, told reporters in Brussels on Friday that they have drafted a game plan... a plan for how we can work together to address a problem that is not Greek, a problem that is European."
Greek authorities begin to move refugees out of Athens park (ekathimerini.com, link)
Europes Front Door: The Refugee Crisis on Lesvos Island (fletcherforum.org)
GERMANY: Opinion: Feed asylum applicants - don't give them money (DW, link)
EU: At least 2,300 Mediterranean deaths in 2015 - IOM - Over 250,000 asylum seekers have landed in Europe (ANSA, link)
UK: The exploitation of migrants has become our way of life (Guardian, link)
ITALY: Migrants' 49 bodies, 416 survivors reach Catania (ANSA, link)
CZECH REPUBLIC: National Democracy protests against accepting refugees (Prague Monitor, link): "More than 200 demonstrators protested against the accepting of refugees and criticised the Czech government's migration policy at a rally convoked by the extremist National Democracy organisation at Prague-Vysehrad Saturday."
News Digest (17.8.15)
UK: Unemployed young people will be sent to work boot camp, says minister - Matt Hancock says plan for jobseekers between 18 and 21 to be placed on intensive activity programme is not a form of punishment (Guardian, link)
UK: Swastika daubed outside Jewish school in London in second anti-Semitic incident in weeks (Independent, link)
USA: Why Did the FBI Spy on James Baldwin? (The Intercept, link): "James Baldwins FBI file contains 1,884 pages of documents, collected from 1960 until the early 1970s. During that era of illegal surveillance of American writers, the FBI accumulated 276 pages on Richard Wright, 110 pages on Truman Capote, and just nine pages on Henry Miller. Baldwins file was closer in size to activists and radicals of the day for example, its nearly half as thick as Malcolm Xs.":
UK: Britains Twitter troops have ways of making you think From Isis to Ukraine, life is busy for a section of Britains intelligence network specialising in stings, mind games and psychological stage magic (Guardian, link)
GERMANY: Journalist stops blogging after threats from right-wing extremists (XIndex, link): "Blogger Heinrich Schmitz will stop blogging about right-wing extremism after receiving violent threats, he wrote in a column for the Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel. Schmitz is a blogger for the website "The European" and recently wrote a column condemning right-wing extremist protests in front of refugee homes. Schmitz declared he received threats and that police entered his home in the western German town of Euskirchen after someone called a police station pretending to be Schmitz and claimed to have murdered his wife.
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."
News Digest (15-16-8-15)
Migrant crisis: smuggling or trafficking? Politicians don't seem to know (Guardian, link): "Smugglers are paid by people to bring them across borders. After the border has been crossed, the transaction between smuggler and migrant ends. Trafficking is a very different crime. Trafficking means bringing people into an ongoing situation of exploitation and then profiting from their abuse in the form of forced labour or forced prostitution."
EU doubles down on TTIP secrecy as public resistance grows - Top national politicians must visit a special room in Brussels to read key TTIP documents (http://arstechnica.co.uk, link): "Member State governments that took the decision formally, but that the initial impulse came from elsewhere. The leaked notes obtained by Correct!v are quite clear about who was behind the move. They describe how the European Commissioner responsible for trade and thus TTIP, Cecilia Malmström, instructed officials to make the written report on the most recent round of TTIP negotiations available only in the reading room of the Commission in Brussels. As a result "transmission of negotiating reports to the Member States will no longer take place,"
U.K. (2008) Military protocol for counter-intelligence operations: On 2008 WikiLeaks released the UK military protocol for all security and counter-intelligence operations. The document includes instructions on dealing with leaks, investigative journalists, Parliamentarians, foreign agents, terrorists & criminals, sexual entrapments in Russia and China, diplomatic pouches, allies, classified documents & codewords, compromising radio and audio emissions, computer hackersand many other related issues. (Wikileaks, link)
Twitter 'snooping' requests double in UK (BBC News, link): "equests for Twitter users' personal information more than doubled in the UK in 2015, according to the company's latest transparency report. Twitter said UK government agencies and the police made 299 requests for information between January and July, up from 116 in the previous six months. It makes UK law enforcement the biggest requester of Twitter data in the EU."
USA: Pentagon blocking Guantánamo deals to return Shaker Aamer and other cleared detainees - Exclusive: Pentagon chief and top officials playing foot-dragging games despite 2013 agreement with UK diplomats and Obamas promise to close facility (Guardian, link)
Art and the Law: Guides to the legal framework and its impact on artistic freedom of expression (XIndex, link)
How Germanys Surveillance Scandals Echo Our Own (The Nation, link)
Launch of the EU Internet Forum behind closed doors and without civil society (EDRI, link): "The European Commission has confirmed to EDRi that it is preparing to partner with US online companies in order to plan the arbitrary monitoring and censorship of European citizens and, contrary to previous assurances, will exclude civil society from these discussions. More disturbingly, this is happening at the same time as the US is preparing the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), which grants US companies a safe harbour from liability for any damage they cause when enacting counter-measures against security risks."
What We Mean by "Civic Space" and Where We're Pushing Back (Huffington Post, link)
UK: FOI and policy advice: The Campaign has published this briefing explaining how the Information Commissioner and Tribunal have protected the safe space and genuinely frank discussions from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.(Campaign for Freedom of Information, 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'
News Digest (14.8.15)
6 Observations About Cybersecurity Based On Two New Surveys (Forbes, link)
Bin Ladens death and the fairy tale of the War on Terror (ROARMAG, link)
EU-BULGARIA: Implementation of the Right to Information Directive in Bulgaria (Fair Trials International, link)
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Latest newsletter from EDRi (EDRi, link)
GREECE: The forgotten grassroots voices of Greece (Open Democracy, link)
IRELAND: Over 20 people to be charged over Burton car incident (RTÉ News, link): "More than 20 people are expected to appear in court in the coming weeks in connection with a water charge protest in Tallaght last year in which Tánaiste Joan Burton was trapped in her car for over two hours."
POLAND: New Polish President commits to army modernisation, defence investment (Defence IQ, link)
SWITZERLAND: How a UN intern was forced to live in a tent in Geneva (BBC News, link)
UK: 11 Times The European Court of Human Rights Changed The UK (Rightsinfo, link)
UK: Banker who glassed fellow clubber spared jail because it would ruin his career (Metro, link)
UK: IPCC proposes fundamental organisational change (Independent Police Complaints Commission, link)
UK: Police chiefs issue guide to policing anti-fracking protests (Netpol, link): "The biggest issue the guidance avoids addressing, however, is a critical one: amidst thirty pages of recommendations on how to prepare for briefings, communication, IT, officers welfare and for the prospects of arrests, why is there no specific advice for police commanders on how best to fulfil their positive duty to safeguard protesters right to assembly?"
USA: Chelsea Manning Faces Solitary Confinement Under New Charges, Lawyer Says (Buzzfeed, link)
USA: The Many Things Wrong With the Anti-Encryption Op-Ed in the New York Times (The Intercept, link)
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)
News Digest (12.8.15)
5 Reasons Why Video Analytics is now the Big Focus in CCTV Surveillance (IFSEC Global, link): "In the analogue age, surveillance devices themselves were used purely as security solutions. Now that IP network cameras have become so popular and especially because of the edge analytics they offer, the humble camera has become a business intelligence tool."
CYPRUS: Abuse of a Palestinian refugee detained for deportation (KISA, link)
EU: TTIP: WikiLeaks goes after hyper-secret Euro-American trade pact (Wikileaks, link)
G4S confident on full-year growth as sales rise (The Telegraph, link)
IoT security is RUBBISH says IoT vendor collective (The Register, link): "A vendor group whose membership includes Microsoft, Symantec, Verisign, ADT and TRUSTe reckons the Internet of Things (IoT) market is being pushed with no regard to either security or consumer privacy."
The Russians Are Coming: NATO's Frontier (Vice News, link)
UK: Bradford stabbing prompts UK Asians to warn of racism towards black people (The Guardian, link)
UK: More parents in England prosecuted for taking children out of school (The Guardian, link)
USA: Apple and Google are KILLING KIDS with encryption, whine lawyers (The Register, link)
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."
News Digest (10.8.15)
Bosnias survivors gather and grieve as the soil endlessly gives up its dead (The Guardian, link)
Dixons Carphone says cyber attack may have exposed customers' data (Reuters, link)
Lawmakers from US, EU and UK demand release of death-row Brit in Ethiopia (Reprieve, link)
SPAIN: Madrid mayor to cede municipal buildings to squatter groups (El País, link)
Spanish court paroles former ETA head who renounced violence (Expatica, link)
UK: Met faces investigation over teenager who died in canal (The Guardian, link): "Eyewitnesses claim police officers who had chased boy from his east London home refused to enter water until it was too late."
UK: The family behind the Iran is Great van: 'what happened to us was serendipity' (The Guardian, link)
UK: Thousands of Polish workers to take part in the first ever migrant workers strike in Britain (The Independent, link)
UK-USA: Hard to think UK wouldnt have known about CIA torture, says former Executive Director (Reprieve, link): "The man who was third in command of the CIA between 2001-2004 has told the BBC that its hard to think that UK intelligence would not have been aware of the US Agencys torture programme."
UKRAINE: The ceasefire in eastern Ukraine is unravelling fast (The Conversation, link)
USA: A year later, Ferguson quietly struggles forward (Los Angeles Times, link)
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: MED-CRISIS: Latest coverage of the migration crisis in the Mediterannean and its impact within Europe
Almost 400 refugees saved after crammed fishing boat sank off Libya (UNHCR, link)
AUSTRIA: Austria: overwhelmed refugee centre closes to new arrivals (euronews, link)
EU: Record numbers of migrants enter Europe in 2015 (France 24, link)
FRANCE-UK: Women in Calais camps: 'I have to focus on how I can stay alive' (The Guardian, link)
GREECE-TURKEY: Distress at sea and endangered lives due to coastguard actions? Evidence shows attacks on migrant boats in the Aegean Sea where engines were removed and boats punctured by coastguards (Watch the Med, link)
IRELAND: Up to 12 additional direct provision centres to open (Irish Times, link)
News Digest (7.8.15)
NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) hurdles higher than they appear (Defence iQ, link)
NORWAY: Fake bomb on Utoya anniversary clears Oslo university (euronews, link)
Spains Defense Ministry to spend 171 million on purchase of four drones (El País, link)
TURKEY: Erdogan sacrifices peace to entrench his own power (ROARMAG, link)
UK: Britains anti-terror strategy tested by move against prominent preacher (Washington Post, link)
UK: Campaigners slam new court fee system as South Shields man is ordered to pay £150 for stealing 99p can of pop (Chronicle Live, link)
UK: E-fits overtaken by newer technology in war on crime (The Telegraph, link)
UK: G4S paid author of 'independent' youth prison report as consultant (The Guardian, link)
UK: New tribunal cases on statutory human rights considerations and integration (Free Movement, link)
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.
News Digest (5.8.15)
EU: MED CRISIS: Death toll for migrants crossing Mediterranean passes 2,000 (The Independent, link)
How your smartphone's battery life can be used to invade your privacy (The Guardian, link)
GERMANY: Netzpolitik case: support statement (netzpolitik.us, link): "The investigation against Netzpolitik.org for treason and their unknown sources is an attack against the free press. Charges of treason against journalists performing their essential work is a violation of the fifth article of the German constitution. We demand an end to the investigation into Netzpolitik.org and their unknown sources."
Greek bank shares plunge for a third day as Syriza rejects idea of second bridge loan (The Telegraph, link)
Internet Infrastructure & IP Censorship (IP Justice Journal, link): "Many scholars and other observers of developments in Internet governance, law, and policy have commented upon an unusual and important phenomenon that has become more widespread in recent years: using control over access to critical portions of the Internets technical infrastructure... to enforce private and public law."
IRELAND: Privacy issues persist with Eircode postcode system (The Irish Times, link)
Its time to end the Eurosceptic illusions (Open Democracy, link): "The EU is inherently a transnational neoliberal project. It is unrealistic to expect, and disingenuous to suggest, that it can be transformed into anything else."
UK hauliers face fines over stowaway migrants even if they alert police (The Guardian, link)
UK-FRANCE: How the Calais Migrant Crisis Is Affecting Dover's Roads and Residents (VICE, link)
UK: Change the law on joint enterprise (Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association, link): "This is the first Supreme Court case to consider the question of the harm the concept of joint enterprise causes secondary parties. This is a real opportunity to change the law. "
UK: Howard League launches campaign for urgent Criminal Courts Charge review (Howard League for Penal Reform, link)
UK: LONDON: Virtual Control - Security and the Urban Imagination (Architecture.com, link): "Exhibition by artist/photographer Max Colson explores the hidden nature of security and control within contemporary urban space."
London - Calais Migrant Support Convoy (link)
EU: Give me your tired, your poor the Europeans embracing migrants - Away from the xenophobic hysteria aimed at desperate immigrants are people taking steps to help newcomers and promote the good things they bring (Guardian, link): "Judging from the headlines, it sometimes seems no one in Europe wants to help refugees..... But on a local level, there are thousands of people across the continent who are braving the vitriol of their peers, and filling the void left by the politicians. Many Europeans back their governments stance but their xenophobia masks another phenomenon that of a huge drive by ordinary citizens to welcome refugees, rather than reject them."
Italy counts 90,000 sea migrant arrivals so far this year (euractiv, link) and More migrants land in Italy, adding to EU-wide crisis (ANSA, link)
Slovakian town votes 'No' to asylum seekers (euobserver, link)
EU offers aid to France for migrants, shows little sympathy for UK (euobserver, link)
CZECH REPUBLIC: Unrest at asylum facility sparks fresh concerns over migrant crisis (Radio Praha, link)
Landlords' Visa Checks Responsibility Would Create 'Two-Tier State', Government Was Warned (Huffington Post, link)
News Digest (4.8.15)
Hundreds of civilians killed in US-led air strikes on Isis targets report: Airwars project details credible reports of at least 459 non-combatant deaths, including 100 children, in 52 air strikes (Guardian, link) and see Airwars project (link)
LONDON: Posters branding force 'totally corrupt' appear near Scotland Yard headquarters (Independent, link)
GERMANY: Germany's Merkel backs justice minister over Netzpolitik treason probe - German Chancellor Angela Merkel has joined two of her ministers in casting doubt on a treason probe into two Internet journalists. She said authorities needed to be sensitive where press freedom was at stake. (DW, link)
UK: Mark Duggan: mother of man shot dead by police in 2011 calls for urgent inquiry - Call for new inquiry comes as demonstrators prepare to march to Tottenham police station close to where Duggan was shot by police four years ago (Guardian, link) and see Justice for Mark Duggan (link)
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."
UK: Illegal immigrants to UK face eviction without court order under new plans - Landlords who fail to check tenants immigration status face five-year jail terms as part of government crackdown to reduce UKs appeal as a migrant destination (Guardian, link)
Immigration bill will mean public sector workers 'must speak fluent English' (Independent, link)
Italian coastguard rescues 1,800 migrants as five found dead - Almost 2,000 migrants have died in the Mediterranean so far this year, on top of 3,500 last year (Guardian, link)
4 vessels in distress, 2-3 intercepted, 1-2 rescued by Spain (Watch the Med, link)
Zeman: Refugees should respect Czech rules or leave (Prague Monitor, link): "No one has invited refugees to the Czech Republic, but once they are here, they should respect the rules of this country or leave, President Milos Zeman said in an interview,,, "If you do not like it, just go away," he called on refugees."
Cuatro subsaharianos ahogados al intentar llegar a nado a Ceuta ["Four sub-Saharan drowned while trying to swim to reach Ceuta"] (elpais, link)
News Digest (3.8.15)
EU Kosovo mission accused of trying to silence whistleblower - Maria Bamieh says threat of prosecution by Eulex is attempt to stop her from publishing claims about culture of corruption (Guardian, link)
German Justice Ministry 'warned against Netzpolitik treason investigation' - The German Justice Ministry cautioned federal prosecutors against a treason probe into two journalists, a newspaper report has said. The affair has caused a heated row within the coalition government. (DW, link)
Windows 10: Microsoft under attack over privacy - From personalised ads in Solitaire to an address book-reading personal assistant, some users are unhappy with Windows 10s approach to privacy (Guardian, link) and see: GUIDE: How to disable data logging in W10.(reddit, link)
GCHQ and Me - My Life Unmasking British Eavesdroppers (Intercept, 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)
News Digest (1-2.8.15)
German intelligence chief defends charges against Netzpolitik reporters - Germany's domestic intelligence chief has defended charges against Netzpolitik reporters to "ensure the fight against extremism and terrorism." Netzpolitik was to be investigated for publishing "classified" documents. (DW, link)
America classifies way too much information - and we are all less safe for it (Washington Post, link) Tom Blanton:
USA: Dylann Roof Is Not a Terrorist But Animal Rights Activists Who Free Minks From Slaughter Are (Intercept, link)
UK: Magistrates resign over court charges that encourage innocent to plead guilty - Criminal court charge was meant to ensure offenders pay towards justice system, but majority of offenders will never be able to pay, say magistrates (Guardian, link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: Calais migrant crisis: French riot police use chemical spray on migrants trying to enter Channel Tunnel (Independent, link), New developments at troubled refugee center (Prague Posat, link), UK: Church attacks David Camerons lack of compassion over asylum crisis - Bishop of Dover pleads for PM to rediscover what it is to be human as No 10 reveals a joint plan with France to boost security around Eurotunnel (Observer, link), Is it time for some facts about those migrants? Perhaps you'll think I'm naïve, but I still believe that when you have a debate, it's a good idea to have some facts readily to hand. (Lustig's Letter, 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."
Asylum seeker death toll rising (IRR, link): "In the last two months, at least thirteen people, two of whom were teenagers, have died trying to reach the UK, and countless others have been injured."
The Calais crisis: which Member State is responsible? (EU Law Analysis, link)
UK-FRANCE: JOINT ACTION: ARRANGEMENT ADMINISTRATIF (pdf) [The Joint Action: Government of France and the UK to secure the common border and combate illegal immigration, 2009]
UK: House of Commons: Letter from Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Minister for Immigration, to the Committee Chair, 21 July 2015 (pdf)
GREECE: Two groups in distress in the Aegean Sea near Lesvos, rescued by Turkey, one boat punctured by Greek coastguard! (Watch the Med, link): " person contacted us and reported that he had knowledge of a vessel that sought to reach Lesvos but was intercepted by the Greek police. He said that the police boarded their vessel and took away their engine. They then punctured the vessel and left them behind at sea. They were now, of course, in a situation of distress."
What the Calais crisis reveals about racism - The deaths we have seen in Calais are not the first, and until Britain can come to terms with race and racism, they wont be the last (Red Pepper, link)
SERBIA: Fears of humanitarian crisis in Serbia as refugees stream in (euractiv, link): "At the crack of dawn hundreds of refugees, most of them Syrians, stream into Serbia's southern valley of Presevo after a perilous journey they hope will lead to a new life in the European Union."
The Hungary PM made a rivers of blood speech and no one cares - All the attention has been on Europes neo-Nazi fringe groups, when its those in national governments who should be scrutinised (Guardian, link)
News Digest (31.7.15)
EU cybersecurity agency lacks funds for research on major tech issues (euractiv, link): "EXCLUSIVE / Europe's cybersecurity agency has admitted it is unprepared for the advent of the internet of things, lacking the money and expertise to meet the challenges posed by the much hyped move towards digitally connected devices."
UK: British forces illegally detained Afghan suspect, court of appeal rules - Judges find that UK acted unlawfully in detaining Serdar Mohammed for four months in 2010 before handing him over to Afghan authorities (Guardian, link)
USA: Revealed: The private firms tracking terror targets at heart of US drone wars (BIJ, link): "The overstretched US military has hired hundreds of private sector contractors in the heart of its drone operations to analyse top secret video feeds and help track high value terror targets, an investigation has found."
NSA-JAPAN: Today, Friday 31 July 2015, 9am CEST," WikiLeaks publishes "Target Tokyo", 35 Top Secret NSA targets in Japan including the Japanese cabinet and Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi, together with intercepts relating to US-Japan relations, trade negotiations and sensitive climate change strategy".(Wikileaks, link)
GERMANY: German press, politicians criticize 'absurd' Netzpolitik inquiry - Markus Beckedahl has called a treason investigation into him and a fellow journalist "absurd." Authorities are looking into whether he and Andre Meister committed a crime by publishing state secrets. (DW, link)
France and the UK are on the edge of Kafkaesque surveillance - Surveillance laws being debated around the world should avoid the recent fate of the French and the scorn of Franz Kafka (Guardian, link)
Who will benefit from more GPS surveillance? Despite claims of its potential to protect us from serious crime, we run risks if we get hooked on mass GPS tracking, argues Catherine Heard (CCJS, link)
UK: Mother of Ricky Reel disappointed with secret police 'spy reports' released (YLG, link): "A mother spied on by police after the death of her son in Kingston has expressed disappointment the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has not publicly apologised. "
Inquiring into police accountability and spying on family campaigns (IRR, link): "On 16 July, the Home Office announced an inquiry into undercover police spies and their activities monitoring family campaigns and spying on protestors.Below we produce a statement by The Monitoring Group which has been supporting some of the families whose campaigns were infiltrated by the police."
Growing recognition of global problem of pre-trial detention (Fair Trials, link)
EXCLUSIVE: Edward Snowden Explains Why Apple Should Continue To Fight the Government on Encryption (Intercept, link)
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."
- Four reasons Syrian safe zone unlikely to work ( (http://newirin.irinnews.org, link)
- 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"
- Germany eases access to job market for refugees - German government has removed a legal obstacle for certain groups of young refugees who want to work as interns. German companies, opposition parties and local officials are pushing for even more reform of the system. (DW, link)
News Digest (30.7.15)
UK: Three-year-old child from London placed in government anti-extremism programme (Independent, link)
USA: Legislative Cyber Threats: CISAs Not The Only One (Just Security, link)
UK: Government lifts remaining restrictions on arms sales to Israel after year-long review (Independent, link)
The Spanish export of arms in 2014: between illegality and joint arms programs (WRI, link)
Peace Activists Close Down Office of Arms Industry Lobby Group (WRI, link)
Calais migrant camps: seventeen years of shanty towns (Channel 4 News, link)
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)
News Digest (29.7.15)
LONDON: Home Office immigration vans 'had tyres slashed as officials were egged by youths in east London' (Evening Standard, link)
UK: Court of Appeal agrees that Detained Fast Track appeals are inherently unfair (Garden Court Chambers, link)
GREECE: Golden Dawn trial adjourned to Sept. 8 (ekathimerini.com, link)
USA-NSA: Documents Published by WikiLeaks Reveal the NSA's Corporate Priorities (truthout, link)
'Killer robots' with AI must be banned, urge Stephen Hawking, Noam Chomsky and thousands of others in open letter (Independent, link)
Terrorism, fines and money laundering: why banks say no to poor customers - The tightening of international banking standards is making it difficult for low-income people in the global south to get access to banking services (Guardian, link) and London mosque chairman demands removal from banks' terrorism blacklist - Mohammed Kozbar astonished to see Finsbury Park mosque described as terrorism risk on World-Check database used by banks worldwide (Guardian, link): "Mohammed Kozbar said he was shocked and astonished to find the north London mosque described as a terrorism risk on a confidential database used by 49 out of the worlds biggest 50 banks. He made the discovery following a BBC Radio 4 documentary due to be aired on Tuesday night by the journalist Peter Oborne into why HSBC cancelled the accounts of several prominent Islamic bodies without explanation last year. The documentary concluded that Finsbury Park mosque, along with the Cordoba Foundation thinktank, have been classified under terrorism on World-Check, a risk-analysis database owned by the financial information giant Thomson Reuters." also: Why did HSBC shut down bank accounts? (BBC News, link)
UK: Undercover policing inquiry: officers giving evidence might receive immunity - Lord Justice Pitchford raises possibility of immunity from prosecution as he opens inquiry into covert infiltration of political groups (Guardian, link)
How America's psychologists ended up endorsing torture (Economist, link)
Germany shuts out refugees with 'safe' states list - With refugee numbers on the rise, German political parties have been wrangling once again over which Balkan states to add to its list of "safe countries of origin." But whether there is any point to it is another matter. (DW, link)
PM: Zeman tries to appeal to people hating refugees (Prague Monitor, link)
The heat is on: Surviving summer in an Iraqi camp (IRIN, link)
CES 2000 MIGRANTS FANTÔMES OFFERTS AU BRITISH TAXPAYER (passeursdhospitalites, link): ["What is the relationship between the "British taxpayer" and the announcement of spectacular figures for the increase in the number of pass attempts by the Channel Tunnel, 2000 in the night of Monday to Tuesday (2200 according to the BBC), nothing corroborates in the field?"]
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)
Czech Republic and Austria to re-enforce border patrols in view of growing number of illegal migrants (Prague Monitor, link)
News Digest (28.7.15)
USA: Amazon proposes drones-only airspace to facilitate high-speed delivery - The retail giants proposal carves out airspace from 200ft-400ft exclusively for autonomous drones, with a further 100ft above it declared a no-fly zone (Guardian, link)
UK: Relationships with undercover officers wreck lives. The lies must stop - Discovering Mark Kennedys true identity turned our lives upside down. The public inquiry into police spying must offer full and frank disclosure (Guardian, link)
Petition to pardon Edward Snowden rejected by Obama administration - The White House responded to 168,000 signatories with its unwavering position that the NSA whistleblower should return to US to face espionage charges (Guardian, link)
Human-rights breaches & serious issues of sovereignty in Swedish diplomatic manoeuvre versus Ecuador over case Assange (SWEDHR, link)
GERMANY: Number of far-right killings in Germany since 1990 revised up - The number of murder cases with a far-right motive since 1990 is higher then previously thought, police data show. The Greens party requested a revision after the killings allegedly committed by the NSU came to light. (DW, link)
ITALY: Senate Speaker Grasso says no to wiretap limits (ANSA, link)
SYRIA: Two Conscientious Objectors, Polen Ünlü and Alper Sapan, were murdered in the Suruç massacre (War Resisters International, 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)
News Digest (27.7.15)
UK: No place for the young: the towns where childhood is being criminalised (Open Democracy, link): "Across England, local councils are banning young people from public space." See: Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (link). Public Space Protection Orders were introduced by this Act . Councils can introduce them to ban "activities carried on in a public place" that "have had a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality." For young people, this includes activities such as skateboarding, swimming and being in a group of three or more. Councils have also targeted the homeless: Chester rough sleeping ban plan criticised by homeless (BBC News, link) and Oxford City Council 'criminalising homelessness' (BBC News, link). And see: Hackney Council backs down on Public Space Protection Order after pressure from community groups (East London Lines, link) or how about this: Kensington and Chelsea council wants crackdown on rev count of supercar owners (Independent, link)
Is the NSA lying about its failure to prevent 9/11? by James Bamford (FP, link)
UK: Revealed: Secret plan to put 5,000 heavily-armed troops on streets of Britain to fight jihadis in event of a terror attack: Operation Temperer would see troops guard key targets with armed police - Plans drawn up by police chiefs and discussed by top Government officials - Would be triggered by Cobra committee in event of - simultaneous attacks - Paris attacks convinced authorities military would be needed if UK hit (Mail on Sunday, link): "The plan, codenamed Operation Temperer, would see troops guard key targets alongside armed police officers, providing protective security against further attacks while counter-terror experts and MI5 officers hunted down the plotters." and see: Secret plans to deploy soldiers on UK streets in the aftermath of a terror attack are 'shocking' and 'provocative', says peer (Indpendent, link)
GREECE: Coast guards aided more than 1,500 migrants in Aegean since Friday (ekathimerini.com, link)
LESVOS-GREECE: These are refugees, not migrants, arriving in their thousands on Greek shores - As Europe turns its back, the compassionate crisis response of local Greek volunteers, despite harsh austerity, puts the international community to shame (Guardian, link)
Royal Miles Camera Obscura faces spycams probe (The Scotsman, link)
News Digest (25-26.7.15)
EU referendum 'within a year': David Cameron fast-tracks vote on Britain's membership of European Union to June 2016 (Independent, link)
GERMANY: German far-right extremists clash with police in protest outside Dresden refugee camp (Independent, link)
SCOTLAND: Sheku Bayoh may have asphyxiated after being held down by police - Evidence from postmortem into Sierra Leoneans death in custody points at positional asphyxia as the cause, says his familys lawyer (The Observer, link)
FRANCE-UN: France approves 'Big Brother' surveillance powers despite UN concern - UN says powers given to intelligence agencies, which include phone-tapping and computer-hacking, are excessively broad and intrusive (Guardian, link):"Frances highest authority on constitutional matters has approved a controversial bill that gives the state sweeping new powers to spy on citizens... In a report published on Friday, the 18-strong United Nations committee for human rights warned that the surveillance powers granted to French intelligence agencies were excessively broad. It said the the bill grants overly broad powers for very intrusive surveillance on the basis of vast and badly defined objectives and called on France to guarantee that any interference in private life must conform to principles of legality, proportionality and necessity."
UK: Chilcot tells frustrated MPs: Iraq war inquiry making progress - Chair of inquiry begun almost six years ago says no witnesses are taking unreasonable time to respond (Guardian, link):
UK: Judge overrules Theresa May and allows convicted terror prisoner to be freed (Independent, link): "A man believed by police to pose a threat to the UK is to be released from prison after Theresa May lost a court case to keep him in jail until he can be deported. The man, a foreign national, has spent years in behind bars on terror-related offences and is still believed to pose a threat to the public."
GREECE: Official calls for crisis talks over Athens park migrant camp (ekathimerini.com)
N IRELAND: The torture centre and the hooded men (Irish Times, link): "Weekend read: In 1971 the British army took 14 men to a secret location in rural Co Derry and subjected them to a horrific interrogation from which they have never recovered. Nine of the surviving hooded men are still seeking justice for what they say was torture and they have the human-rights lawyer Amal Clooney on their side."
UK: Teachers must take over classroom deradicalisation lessons, says top policewoman Sara Thornton (Daily Telegraph, link): "Exclusive: The head of the National Police Chiefs' Council says police should abandon classroom role in a key counter-terrorism strategy, and advocates significant reform of the police complaints watchdog."
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"
GREECE: PRESS RELEASE: Alarming humanitarian crisis at Pedion tou Areos park: The Greek Forum of Refugees, following the Press Release from Afghan Community in Greece, seeks to raise awareness concerning the situation of hundreds of Afghan asylum seekers. Fleeing the war in Afghanistan and seeking for protection and safety in Europe, they arrived in Lesvos Island and ended up in Athens.
- GERMANY: Attacks against Germany's refugee homes on the rise - The rate of violence perpetrated against refugee homes in Germany in 2015 has already outstripped the whole of 2014. The Interior Ministry has warned that right-wing violence is on the rise in the west of the country. (DW, link)
- Calais crisis: Teenage migrant found dead on top of Eurotunnel train (Independent, link)
- Bavarias tough asylum policy gains support across Germany (euractiv, link): "Horst Seehofers confrontational policy against asylum seekers from Balkan states sparked protest in Berlin. But now a growing number of Germany states and municipalities are calling for a tougher approach."
- The Latest: NYC mayor denounces EU over immigration (Yahoo News, link): "New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has denounced the European Union for leaving Italy to deal with waves of immigrants coming from North Africa, saying the EU must come up with a Europe-wide immigration policy."
- For them, there is no Schengen - In Europe, freedom of movement is suspended for those who look like migrants" (Politico, link)
- ITALY: Amnesty stages flash mob for migrants in central Rome - Group hands over petition to prime minister's office (ANSA, link)
- GREECE: Minister mulling open facility for migrants in city (ekathimerini.com, link)
- CZECH REPUBLIC: Foreigner police detain 20 to 50 illegal migrants daily (Prague Monitor, link)
News Digest (24.7.15)
Il dono del governo Monti fa strage in Libia [The Monti government's gift kills in Libya]: The "Puma" armoured cars Italy gave Libya as a gift to help restore its state apparatus two years ago, have been converted into rocket launchers by the Tripoli militias.
How British spies really spy: Information that didn't come from Snowden - GCHQ days of form-filling and 'bulk' intercept (The Register, link)
New Data on NSA Spying on Germany Shows US Hypocrisy Toward Allies (sputniknews, link)
NGOs tell Germany to stop blocking anti-discrimination directive (euractive, link): "Almost all EU member states are in favour of a planned Union-wide directive against discrimination. Only Berlin objects, and has been targeted by human rights associations, demanding that it stop blocking the legislation." and Joint appeal for European discrimination protection Joint appeal for European discrimination protection (EU network, link)
French court backs mass surveillance (euobserver, link): "The constitutional court in France on Thursday (23 July) broadly approved a new law that gives the state wide-sweeping surveillance powers.... They will be able to use a so-called IMSI Catcher, which picks up and records all text messages, phone calls, and Internet communication in a given area. This includes people not suspected of any crime. Wireless phone taps, hidden cameras and microphones, and forcing Internet providers to monitor suspicious behaviour using special "black boxes" are also in store. A warrant or any other type of court approval is not needed."
Kiev's far-right problem (euobserver, link)
UK: May dodges questions about MI5 failure to act on MP paedophile fears - Home secretary refuses to say whether she asked security service about why it did not follow up suspicions that MP had penchant for small boys (Guardian, link)
UK: The Governments Freedom of Information commission tilts the political discussion towards damage and cost (Democratic Audit, link): See: Government Announcement (pdf)
UK: Fiasco at Blacklist Trial REELNEWS, link)
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
News Digest (23.7.15)
UK: Intelligence agency policies 'failed to protect MPs' from spying - In the last year MI5, MI6 and GCHQ have followed eight different policies governing the interception of parliamentarians communications, court told (Guardian, link)
Preserving Britains Black heroes (IRR News Service, link) "Below we reproduce a review of a new exhibition, No Colour Bar, which was previously published in The Voice. A new exhibition breathes life into a story of struggle and activism that is truly home-grown."
N IRELAND: Activists protest over abortion case in North (Irish Examiner, link): "Abortion activists held a demonstration in Dublin against the prosecution of a woman in Northern Ireland for procuring her daughter with abortion pills." and WSM statement on Garda arrest of pro-choice campaigners at our rally this evening (WSM, link): " In particular, we condemn the casual and unjustifiable use of pepper spray on pro choice protesters, one of whom was being held immobile on the ground as he was sprayed."
UK: Protect Freedom of Information (FOI) laws (38 Degrees, link): "Why is this important?
The government wants to restrict Freedom of Information laws - that help citizens expose dodgy lobbyists, poor government decisions and threats to public safety. They're desperate to water-down our right to hold them to account. While only a few of us may have ever made a request using Freedom of Information laws - they have the power to affect us all."
Canada's anti-terrorism Bill C-51 faces charter challenge from civil society (IFEX, link): "The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) are initiating a Charter challenge today against key sections of Bill C-51, the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015. The legislation presents disturbing implications for free speech, privacy, the powers of government, including CSIS, and the protection of civil liberties in Canada."
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)
News Digest (22.7.15)
British military personnel assigned to US unit carrying out drone strikes - Legal charity says government needs to come clean about role of RAF personnel assigned to US Air Force unit targeting Isis (Guardian, link)
ECHR rules Cyprus must pay Syrian deportees (Cyprus Mail, link): "The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday ordered Cyprus to pay three Syrian Kurds deported from the island almost 17,000 in total for violating their human rights. Filed in 2010, the cases concerned a total of 17 Syrian Kurds who applied for asylum on the island saying they were at risk of persecution and torture in their home country as they are a small minority. Cyprus deported them all in 2012."
UK: Met press office provided journalists' mobile numbers so police could view call records and find sources (Press Gazette, link): "The Metropolitan Police made a series of errors in secret applications to view the phone records of Sun journalists and showed a complete failure to consider issues around the confidentiality of sources, a court heard. The Investigatory Powers Tribunal yesterday also heard that the Met Police press office provided the mobile telephone numbers of Sun journalists who had called in to check stories and ask for comments to investigating officers. Their phone records and telephone location data were then secretly accessed by police in order to identify confidential sources."
Slovakian extradition case raises questions of state cooperation (Fair Trials, link)
Hackers remotely kill jeep with me in it (WIRED, link)/
Stifling freedom of expression in UK schools - The UK Prevent programme infiltrates schools, targeting students who express certain views (aljazeera.com, link): ""The boy, who was then 15 and attending school in a southern English town, said he was also told that "Free Palestine" badges that he wore were "extremist". Al Jazeera is not naming the student or the school to protect his identity."
Drone users face jail if they 'recklessly endanger an aircraft in flight' - Civil Aviation Authority issues drone code after several near misses when drones buzzed passenger jets using British airports (Guardian, link)
LONDON: Boris Johnson considering buying 'sound cannons' to help Scotland Yard tackle riots (Independent, link): "Boris Johnson may consider buying controversial sound weapons for Scotland Yard to use when dealing with riots despite the risk they can cause permanent hearing loss."
Chelsea Paris Metro racism: Former policeman labelled a 'menace' after being given five-year ban from all football matches (Independent, 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) and List of designated authorities which have access to data recorded in the Central System of Eurodac pursuant to Article 27(2) of Regulation (EU) No 603/2013, for the purpose laid down in Article 1(1) of the same Regulation (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 sole 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)
News Digest (20-21.7.15)
Europol admits Sicilian unit unable to target Libyan people smugglers - Deputy director of EUs law enforcement agency admits shortcomings of intelligence-gathering hub hailed by David Cameron (Guardian, link)
EU finally begins making headway on march toward harmonised and regulated European RPAS air insertion gameplan (Security Europe, link): "The EUs goal of framing a regulatory structure to enable remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), or drones, to safely move through Europes airspace is moving ahead, if slowly. A first decisive step was the European Commissions March 205 Riga declaration where stakeholders committed themselves to a drone service market. However, for that ambition, we are still very much at a vision stage, said Koen de Vos, RPAS policy officer at the Commissions Directorate-General for Mobility & Transport."
UK: Cameron's extremism speech gets mixed response from Birmingham Muslims - Some in the city back PMs highlighting of extremism as an issue needing to be addresssed, while others say large groups are being suffering stigmatisation (Guardian, link)
Turkey-funded mega-mosque in Bucharest sparks resistance (euobserver)
NSA-GERMANY: WikiLeaks: Steinmeier target of systematic NSA spying - WikiLeaks has published evidence that the NSA systematically spied on German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, as well as other officials. The alleged spying reportedly predates the September 11, 2001 attacks. (SW, link)
'Migration is not a security issue,' study says (euractiv, link): "The Federal Republic should apply new thinking to its development aid and asylum policy, says a new study from the University of Osnabrück, calling on decision-makers to see migration as an opportunity rather than a threat."
NSA Helped CIA Outmanoeuvre Europe on Torture (Wikileaks, link) and see:NSA Intercepts German Foreign Minister Steinmeier After Meeting US Secretary of State Rice Over CIA Renditions (link) also Document-1 (pdf): "Steinmeier described the mood during his talks with U.S. officials as very good, but feared that the most difficult part was still ahead. He seemed relieved that he had not received any definitive response from the U.S. Secretary of State regarding press
reports of CIA flights through Germany to secret prisons in eastern Europe allegedly used for interrogating terrorism suspects." And: CIA & Torture *pdf)
Spain causing concern on EU migrant relocation (euobserver, link)
Why appeasing governments over encryption will never work - David Cameron and the director of the FBI have both asked for backdoors to be included in encryption software (Guardian, link)
UK: David Cameron launches 5 year-plan to tackle Islamic extremism in Britain (Independent, 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."
News Digest (18-19.7.15)
CoE: Convention on Cybercrime Protocol on Xenophobia and Racism: Explanatory Reports and Guidance Notes (pdf)
Met Police to face racism probe after secret online Facebook page filled with abusive comments discovered (Independent, link): "Exclusive: Abusive comments about Gypsies and Travellers prompt human rights groups intervention and an official investigation"
UK: Anti-apartheid heroes urge Cameron not to repeal Human Rights Act - South African activists urge David Cameron not to ditch the law in Mandela Day appeal (The Observer, link)
Teenage asylum seeker who confronted Merkel allowed to stay in Germany - German chancellor had said Politics is sometimes hard after Palestinian teenager burst into tears over deportation fears during televised debate (Guardian, link). This followed: Angela Merkel attacked over crying refugee girl (BBC News, link)
UK: Freedom of Information Act review 'may curb access to government papers' - Conservatives announce cross-party commission, which will be asked to decide whether act is too expensive and overly intrusive (Guardian, link)
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)
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.
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)
UK: UNDERCOVER POLICE: Attorney-General: Mark Ellison QC and Alison 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-MED CRISIS: European Parliament: MEPs want a binding and permanent scheme to distribute asylum seekers in the EU (Press release, pdf): "A binding emergency mechanism to relocate an initial total of 40,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece to other EU member states was backed by civil liberties MEPs on Thursday. An upcoming permanent scheme, on which Parliament will decide jointly with the Council, must be based "on a more substantial contribution to solidarity and responsibility-sharing among member states", MEPs say."
Refugees face harsh plight in Greece (euractiv, link)
Arson attack on Bavarian building due to house asylum seekers - Police in Bavaria are investigating an arson attack on a building in the town of Reichertshofen, north of Munich, scheduled to house asylum seekers from September. Firefighters quickly brought the fire under control. (DW, link)
Police clash with anti-refugee protestors in Rome - Police on Friday clashed with a group of protestors who had set up a road block against the arrival of a group of refugees in a northern suburb of Rome as they broke through the cordon.(ANSA, link):"Four police officers were hurt in scuffles with residents in the northern Rome suburb of Casale San Nicola who were trying to stop 19 migrants being moved into a centre in the area Friday, the Rome police HQ said."
UK: Detained Fast Track: how to reform structural injustice? (IRR News, link): "Asylum rights campaigners and human rights lawyers are celebrating the suspension of the detained fast track and gearing up to resume battle over a reformed version."
EU: Statewatch coverage of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean 15 July 2015 (pdf): 14 new key documents and 21 news stories
News Digest (17.7.15)
Joint enterprise in action (IRR News, link): "Below we reproduce an article written by law student, Josh Radcliffe, on a recent joint enterprise trial observed at Birmingham Crown Court."
CJEU: By prohibiting a male civil servant whose wife does not work from taking parental leave, Greek legislation is incompatible with EU law - Parental leave is an individual right which cannot depend on the situation of the spouse (Press release, pdf)
CJEU-EAW: The expiry of the time-limits to take a decision on the execution of a European arrest warrant does not free the competent court of its obligation to adopt a decision in that regard and does not preclude, in itself, the continued holding of the requested person in custody The release of the requested person, together with the measures necessary to prevent him from absconding must, however, be ordered if the duration of the custody is excessive (Press release, pdf)
CJEU: The installation of electricity meters at an inaccessible height in a district densely populated by Roma is liable to constitute discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin when such meters are installed in other districts at a normal height (Press release, pdf): "Even assuming that it is established that there has been abuse of the meters in that district, such a practice seems to be disproportionate to the dual objective consisting in ensuring the security of the electricity transmission network and the due recording of electricity consumption"
Meijers Committee: Summary Annual Report 2014 (link): "This summary of the annual report 2014 provides a brief overview of the activities of the Meijers Committee last year. A full report is available in Dutch here. With scholarly assessments of pending European legislative proposals regarding migration, security and justice cooperation, the Committee tried to clarify the overarching legal framework and to contribute to constitutional quality of new legislation. "
GREECE: Lagarde: No IMF in Greek bailout without debt relief (euobserver, link)
MEPs denounce EU funding of Israeli defence firms (euractiv, link): "MEPs have called for tighter controls on European financing of Israeli companies. Lax regulation currently allows weapons manufacturers access to EU funding. EurActiv France reports. The participation of certain Israeli companies in the EU's vast research and development programme Horizon 2020 has angered some European lawmakers."
Hundreds of Afghans who grew up in UK face deportation to country they 'barely remember' (Independent, link)
Europe a step closer to keeping records on all passengers flying in and out of the Continent - Privacy activists alarmed by profiling implications (The Register, link)
'Progress made' as EU aims to get new data protection laws ASAP - Brussels moves like striking cobra, looks to achieve October agreement (The Register, link)
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)
News in Brief (16.7.15)
CYPRUS: Intelligence Service chief steps down (in-cyprus, link)
NETHERLANDS: Dutch Minister reveals plans for dragnet surveillance (EDRi, link)
Study finds assessment of age based on physical development to be inaccurate (Medical Research Council, link)
UK: Margaret Thatcher's lobbying of Saudi royals over arms deal revealed (The Guardian, link)
UK: PETITION: COME CLEAN ON UNDERCOVER POLICING (38 Degrees, link): "We call for a transparent, robust and comprehensive public inquiry into undercover policing."
UK: Red lines and no-go zones - the coming surveillance debate (Cyberleagle, link)
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
- 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."
News in Brief (15.7.15)
Chatting in Secret While We're All Being Watched (The Intercept, link): "if you take careful steps to protect yourself, its possible to communicate online in a way thats private, secret and anonymous. Today Im going to explain in precise terms how to do that."
EU: Eurodac fingerprint database under fire by human rights activists (EurActiv, link)
EU: IMF stuns Europe with call for massive Greek debt relief (The Telegraph, link)
French anti-terror squads march in Bastille Day parade (France 24, link)
GREECE: Greek bailout 'a new Versailles Treaty', says former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis (ABC, link)
Hungary builds fence, Commission watches and waits (Politico, link)
Italian court orders recognition same-sex marriage conducted abroad (European Parliament Intergroup on LGBT Rights, link)
Spains High Court to investigate ETA for crimes against humanity (El País, link)
The very French history of the word 'surveillance' (BBC Magazine Monitor, link)
UK: Brighton council rapped for attempt to charge £200 recording fee for interview (The Guardian, link)
UK: Police Taser shooting contributed to man's death, jury finds (The Guardian, link)
UK: Tories launch biggest crackdown on trade unions for 30 years (The Guardian, link)
UK: Budget 2015: Women who have been raped may have to prove assault for third child tax credits (The Independent, link)
USA: Filmmaker Laura Poitras files lawsuit against US government over years of border searches (Deutsche Welle, link)
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
News Digest (14.7.15)
AFGHANISTAN: Auditors praise EU work on Afghan police (EUobserver, link)
Council of Europe: PACE Rapporteur on Mass Surveillance calls on UK to investigate spying on human rights groups by UK secret services (CoE, link)
CZECH REPUBLIC: Police detain record number of illegal migrants (Prague Monitor, link)
EU: A German pirate just saved our right to take public selfies (Wired, link)
European Jewish group's head takes heat for meeting with far-right leader Marine Le Pen (Jewish Telegraphic Agency, link)
Germany confirms gaps in airport security monitoring (EurActiv.com, link)
ITALY: Six ex-HackingTeam staffers probed for cyber crime (ANSA, link)
UK: Apple Pay launches in the UK: boon or security nightmare? (Independent, link)
UK: London, 29 July: Roadmap Progress: Where are we now on pan European defence rights? (Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, link)
USA: Judge orders US government to prepare Guantánamo force-feeding tapes for public release (Reprieve, link)
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: EPP and S&D groups at odds on EU security priorities (VoteWatch, link)
And: 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.
News Digest (12.7.15)
Greece wins euro debt deal but democracy is the loser (Channel 4, Paul Mason, link): "After an all-night negotiation during which Greek prime minister was subjected, according to one observer, to mental waterboarding, there is the basis of a deal to keep Greece in the euro.... Ordinary people dont know enough about the financial logic to understand why this was always likely to happen: bonds, haircuts and currency mechanisms are distant concepts. Democracy is not. Everybody on earth with a smartphone understands what happened to democracy last night." and see: #ThisIsACoup (link) also: Euro Summit Statement: Brussels, 12 July 2015 (pdf)
EU: MED-CRISIS: French and British back closing EU's borders (The Local.fr, link) and West Europeans want end to open borders - French and other Europeans want to ditch Schengen Agreement, ending free movement of people across borders as the migrant crisis grows, a new poll shows" (Daily Telegraph, link)
POLAND: Polish criminal process after the Reform (Helsinki Foundation, pdf)
(EUs) Laws are like sausages. You should never watch them being made by Emilio De Capitani: "As denounced in several posts of this blog the distance between the daily practice of the EU institutions and the democratic principles enshrined in the Treaties is growing day by day." (EASFJ, link)
IRELAND: New laws could see people prosecuted over hate crimes - Irish Council for Civil Liberties says such attacks are currently not fully acknowledged (Irish Times, link): " Proposed legislation to combat hate crime will be published this morning by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL). Crimes, including theft, rape and assault, motivated by hate such as racism or homophobia are neither recorded nor prosecuted as such in Ireland. The council says this means these types of crime are not being acknowledged, effectively disappearing from the criminal justice process and victims experiences are not acknowledged."
BULGARIA: 'Slow and Fragile' Progress on Human Rights in Bulgaria by Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Liberties.eu, link) "The latest report on Bulgaria by the Council of Europe shows slow and fragile progress in strengthening human rights protection of persons placed in institutions, migrants and media freedom."
Australia aims to silence workers who blow whistle on abuse in refugee centres with two years in prison (Independent, link)
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.""
And see: 7 videos guaranteed to change the way you see refugees (UNHCR, link)
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)
News Digest (11-12.7.15)
French spying agency tapping Australias communications (Saturday Paper, link): "Frances intelligence agency is listening in on Australias communication networks, as submarine contracts and regional relations vital to both nations are negotiated."
NSA-GERMANY: Report: Evidence of 2011 US cyberattack on defense giant EADS in Germany - According to German newspaper "Bild am Sonntag," evidence linking an attack on European defense group EADS from American soil has surfaced. The news outlet claims it is the first of its kind. (DW, link) and More NSA keywords detected in German spy agency's computers - More than 400,000 new keywords have been found in German spy agency BND's computers, a German media report says. The findings would further undermine the organization, accused of helping the NSA with surveillance. (DW, link)
UK courts need to be educated about Islam, says Birmingham Six lawyer - Gareth Peirce warns of prejudice in British justice system, and highlights campaign to free Anis Sardar, who was found guilty of murder (Observer) by Gareth Peirce
What happens when policy is made by corporations? Your privacy is seen as a barrier to economic growth (Guardian, link): "The latest trade deal to be passed by the EU will see us sacrifice our commitment to data protection .... One overlooked aspect of the emerging legal architecture that they enact is that, barring a Greece-like rebellion from the citizens, Europe will eventually sacrifice its strong and much-cherished commitment to data protection. This protectionist stance aimed, above all, at protecting citizens from excessive corporate and state intrusion is increasingly at odds with the grab everything mentality of contemporary capitalism.... It wont take long for American lawyers to find the privacy equivalent of waterboarding: some border-case scenario, which would greenlight horrible abuses."
Letter to Guardian: Inquiry needed into GCHQs spying on us (link): "One measure of a free society is how it treats its NGOs and campaign organisations. The recent revelation (Rights groups targeted by GCHQ spies, 23 June) that Amnesty International has been snooped on by the UK security services is the death of the canary in the coalmine."
Gateway to freedom: Migrants walk thousands of km for haven of Western Europe (Globe and Mail, link)
US govt now says 21.5 million people exposed by OPM hack here's what you need to know - Security clearance dossiers on millions of citizens stolen (The Register, link)
NETHERLANDS: Na tip WikiLeaks: privacycommissie opent onderzoek naar Hacking Team (link) [After tip WikiLeaks: Privacy Commission opens investigation into Hacking Team - The Belgian privacy commission has opened an investigation into the Italian software company Hacking Team. That company would be in possession of devices that Belgian data interception.]
US torture doctors could face charges after report alleges post-9/11 'collusion' - Following repeated denials that its members were complicit in Bush administration-era torture, leading group of psychologists faces a reckoning (Guardian, 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."
News Digest (10.7.15)
UK: Blacklisted : the secret war between big business and union activists - a book review - Book highlights toxic allegations of covert police involvement in the blacklisting of trade unionists (Guardian, link)
WhatsApp Ban Causes Social Media Outcry As Government Pushes Ahead With 'Snoopers Charter' (Huffington Post, link): "During the Queen's Speech, the Government unveiled plans for a new version of the controversial 'Snoopers Charter' bill which would potentially allow the Government to ban instant messaging services such as WhatsApp, iMessage and Facebook Messenger."
CJEU: Learn Dutch or leave (New Europe, link) and see: CJEU Press release: Member States may require third country nationals to pass a civic integration examination prior to family reunification However, exercise of the right to reunification must not be made impossible or excessively difficult (pdf)
Syrian refugees: four million people forced to flee as crisis deepens - Largest exodus from a single conflict in a generation places humanitarian system under increasing financial strain (Guardian, link): "On Thursday, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said the total number of Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt and other parts of north Africa stood at 4,013,000 people."
EU sets new deadline to reach deal on migration (euractiv, link): "The European Union failed on Thursday (9 July) to reach a deal to resolve a migration crisis in the Mediterranean, and instead set a deadline for July 20 to find agreement on how to share out 40,000 asylum seekers currently in Italy and Greece." and Germany and France volunteer to take Mediterranean refugees - Germany and France have voluntarily agreed to take in some 21,000 asylum-seekers to help the EU deal with the Mediterranean migrant crisis. Other European countries have failed to reach an agreement in Luxembourg. (DW, link)
Surveillance: Secret report urges treaty forcing US web firms' cooperation in data sharing - Exclusive: UK privacy campaigners say international treaty could provide legal alternative to governments snoopers charter proposals (Guardian, link)
UK: Safety of Tasers to be investigated after death of man in Manchester - Independent review of advice on safety of Tasers comes as figures show their deployment has now been fully rolled out to police forces across England and Wales (Guardian, link): "An independent inquiry is to look into the continued use of Taser stun guns by police in England and Wales after an inquest verdict earlier this week linking their use to the death of a factory worker in Manchester." and see: Police Taser shooting contributed to man's death, jury finds - Jordon Begley, 23, died partly as result of being shot with 50,000-volt stun gun and restrained by police officers, inquest concludes (link)
Macedonia's uniformed border thugs wait for war-weary Arab migrants arriving at Europe's doorstep (Independent, link)
CoE: Greece: Court awards 132,000 to HIV-positive inmates after prison hospital human rights breaches (link)
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 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 anonymization 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: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)
News Digest (9.7.15)
Greek island refugee crisis: local people and tourists rally round migrants - Residents and even holidaymakers on Lesbos are exposing themselves to threats and possible legal action by helping newly arrived refugees (Guardian, link)
UK: Avon and Somerset Police Chief Constable Nick Gargan found guilty of misconduct (Bath Chronicle, link)
UK: Manchester: Police force sacks 21 officers for having sex on duty, lying and posting racist Facebook messages (Mirror, link)
N IRELAND: Secret report accused three MI5 officers of concealing evidence in police killing - Sampson report recommended that two officers in Northern Ireland be prosecuted for perverting the course of justice (Guardian, link)
HackingTeam admits attack, says spy software out of control - Firm says terrorists, extortionists can now use technology (ANSA, link) and see: Hacking Team: Oh great, good job, guys ... now the TERRORISTS have our zero-day exploits (The Register, link) and Eight things we learned from the Hacking Team Hack (PI, link)
PM: Czechs have reservations about southern Schengen border (Prague Daily Monitor, link) and Lower house extends powers of intelligence services (link): "Agents will be able to ask telecommunication operators for data on their clients in fulfilling a specific task. They would be able to identify the owner of the telephone station or the telephone number of the phone from which the phone call is made. Now, the secret services have access to the call content and the number of the called person when applying wiretapping."
UK: Met police criticised for not suspending officer facing charges in Sean Rigg case - Sgt Paul White is on restricted duties having been charged with perjury, after Riggs family put pressure on prosecutors following his death in custody (Guardian, link)
IRELAND: Government considers proposal on undocumented migrants - Officials review programme aimed at regularising the status of up to 20,000 residents (Irish Times, link)
GREECE: Judge call recess at Golden Dawn trial to decide on media coverage (ekathimerini.com, link)
UK: How the British Government subjected thousands of people to chemical and biological warfare trials during Cold War (Independent, link)
European Parliament fails citizens in TTIP vote (STOP TTIP, link) and "It is very positive that the European Parliament repeated that TTIP could be endangered if US blanket mass surveillance activities are not 'completely abandoned'", said Joe McNamee, Executive Director of European Digital Rights"
Latest news from Netpol: June-July 2015: 'Privacy Bloc' takes our campaign on protest anonymity to London's streets (link)
Watchdogs call for OGP investigation into crackdown on Hungarian civil society (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)
News Digest (7.7.15)
Edward Snowden plea deal with US a possibility, says Eric Holder - Attorney general Loretta Lynch says the Obama administrations position has not changed despite her predecessors recent interview (Guardian, link)
Leaked Documents Show FBI, DEA and U.S. Army Buying Italian Spyware (Intercept, link): "The FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Army have all bought controversial software that allows users to take remote control of suspects computers, recording their calls, emails, keystrokes and even activating their cameras, according to internal documents hacked from the softwares Italian manufacturer."
GERMANY: Right-wing extremist attacks in Germany on the rise, says new report - The number of attacks motivated by right-wing extremism in Germany has gone up, according to the country's 2014 Constitutional Protection Report. Refugee shelters were a frequent target. (DW, link)
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)
News Digest (6.7.15)
The Parliamentary Campaign to End Immigration Detention of Children (CoE, Parliamentary Assembly, link)
OECD: Discrimination and poor job prospects hit children of immigrants (link)
Head of EU data protection says trading privacy for security is a false fad - Greater security does not require the loss of privacy, according to Buttarelli.(Technica, link)
Wikileaks: US Bugs Germany Plotting BRICS Bailout for Greece (link) Date: 2011: "Classification: TOP SECRET//COMINT//ORCON/NOFORN: WikiLeaks Synopsis
Intercepted communication by UK's Intelligence Services of German Chancellery Director-General for EU Affairs Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut reveals German negotiating positions ahead of a European Union Summit to discuss a joint German French response to the financial crisis in Greece. The report reveals that Germany had opposed tailored European solutions to the Greek crisis, instead supporting a special IMF bailout plan for Greece funded by the BRICS countries."
UK: Life for British Muslims since 7/7 abuse, suspicion and constant apologies by Mehdi Hasan - The London bombings shocked us all. But in the decade since, our community has been unfairly demonised (Guardian, link)
Spain's 'gag' law comes into force (euobserver, link)
Hacking Team hacked, attackers claim 400GB in dumped data (CSO, link)
Minister: Anti-Islam rally violated law (Prague Post, link): "Police should have stepped in during Prague protest that featured gallows and noose"
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: COSI: 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.
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)"
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)
News Digest (4-5.7.15)
Has Europe lost its hold on our collective imagination? Europe never existed. It was a story made up to deal with the legacies of war (Guardian, link)
UK: Theresa May backs down in college hate preachers row - Home Office responds to criticism over how universities could apply ban on radical speakers (Guardian, link)
German business calls new right-to-stay law 'insufficient' - The head of a German employers' group has criticized a reform of the law regarding the right of asylum seekers to stay in the country. He says refugees in Germany needed still more legal security. (DW, link)
UK: Anti-fracking Nanas: 'The government is all out for shale we're all out to stop it' - How a headscarf-wearing group of women faced up to Cuadrilla and became the frontline against fracking in Lancashire (Guardian, link)
Agenda européen pour les migrations et protection des réfugiés : «lEurope nest pas à la hauteur» (EASFJ, link) [European Agenda for Migration and Refugee Protection: "Europe is not up to par"]
UK: Tourist arrested on terrorism charge for taking a selfie video at Churchill Square (The Argus, link): " A TOURIST was arrested on suspicion of preparing acts of terrorism after filming himself on his mobile phone outside Churchill Square shopping centre. Nasser Al-Ansari was taken to a police van for three hours before police decided there was no immediate threat but officers kept his mobile phone for further investigation. The 38-year-old is furious about the way he was treated after being stopped at the Brighton shopping centre and said it is changing his perception of the U.K.. Mr Al-Ansari said he had been recording a condolence message in Arabic for terrorist bombing victims in his native Kuwait in front of the shopping centre last Friday afternoon. He was ordered to delete the footage by a store security guard, but said he refused because he didnt think he should or had to. He then complained about the request, at which point police were called."
USA-UK: Former UK ministers urge Obama to free Shaker Aamer from Guantánamo Bay - Tory and Labour MPs, writers and actors among signatories of open letter to Barack Obama calling for release of UK resident held without charge for 14 years (Guardian, link)
Schriftliche Anfrage: Menschenrechtsverletzungen an der bulgarisch-türkischen Grenze (Ska Keller MEP, link) [Written question: human rights violations on the Bulgarian-Turkish border]
Germany: Opinion: Reforming Germany's domestic intelligence service - A law to reform Germany's domestic security agency aims to shore up spies' ability to operate. At least that's the idea, but the changes don't go far enough, says DW's Marcel Fürstenau (DW, link)
NSAs Top Brazilian Political and Financial Targets Revealed by New WikiLeaks Disclosure (The Intercept, link): "Top secret data from the National Security Agency, shared with The Intercept by WikiLeaks, reveals that the U.S. spy agency targeted the cellphones and other communications devices of more than a dozen top Brazilian political and financial officials, including the countrys president Dilma Rousseff, whose presidential planes telephone was on the list. President Rousseff just yesterday returned to Brazil after a trip to the U.S. that included a meeting with President Obama, a visit she had delayed for almost two years in anger over prior revelations of NSA spying on Brazil." and see: Wikileaks - Brazil (link)
NEW: EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: New document (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)
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]
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."
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 email@example.com 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."
News Digest (3.7.15)
UK: Azelle Rodney shooting: police marksman cleared of murder - Former firearms officer Anthony Long had told jury he acted in self defence when he shot 24-year-old without warning (Guardian, link)
LONDON: Metropolitan Police recorded crime figures (May 2014-May 2015, link) and see: Race hate attacks on the rise in London, Scotland Yard figures reveal (Evening Standard, link)
Oxfam Germany director: 'TTIP would intensify inequality in developing countries' (euractiv, link): "Developing countries will be among the biggest losers if the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is implemented, warns Marion Lieser, explaining what a socially and ecologically fair trade deal would look like."
UK Information Commissioners Office reports rise in spam calls and texts - Watchdog says most nuisance communications related to accident claims, green energy, payday loans and lifestyle surveys (Guardian, link)
NSA: Germany summons US ambassador over new spying claims - Merkels chief of staff requests meeting after WikiLeaks publishes what it says is evidence of NSA eavesdropping on ministers (Guardian, link): "WikiLeaks said 69 telephone numbers of government ministries, including the economy and finance ministries, had been found in secret NSA files. Germanys attorney general, Harald Range, said he would investigate the allegations and decide whether to prosecute the NSA, according to Spiegel Online."
GERMANY: Germany revises law on residency, expulsion - Up to 30,000 migrants living in Germany for years on suspended deportation orders are to be granted residency under a law amendment. Another parliament move to expel those unwanted has been slammed by asylum advocates. (DW, link)
NSA: Behind the Curtain - A Look at the Inner Workings of NSAs XKEYSCORE (Intercept, link): "The sheer quantity of communications that XKEYSCORE processes, filters and queries is stunning. Around the world, when a person gets online to do anything write an email, post to a social network, browse the web or play a video game theres a decent chance that the Internet traffic her device sends and receives is getting collected and processed by one of XKEYSCOREs hundreds of servers scattered across the globe."
France Moves to Stop Treating Its Traveller Citizens Like Foreigners (OSF, link): "France is home to more than 350,000 Travellers, people who live their
lives on the road a few months of the year... France is also the only country that requires these residents to carry special papers."
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: 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."
News Digest (2.7.15)
UK: The Unseen March Questionning the militarisation of UK schools (Quakers in Britain, link): "Step by step, a military presence is entering schools across Britain. This is part of a conscious strategy to increase support for the armed forces in the wake of unpopular wars. Quakers in Britain have produced The Unseen March, a short film to start a public debate about the militarisation of education"
GS4 security guards granted limited powers - the ability to obtain the name and address of people breaking the law (Police Oracle, link)
UK: More than 100 asylum seekers to walk free after detention system quashed - About 800 cases to be reviewed after immigration minister orders system to be put on hold following court of appeal decision it was structurally unfair (Guardian, link)
UK and Spain granted most EU citizenships (euobserver, link): "Spain and the UK issued almost half of all new EU citizenships in 2013. The figures, released on Wednesday (1 July) by the EU statistical office, Eurostat, show Spain accounted for around 23 percent (225,800) of all citizenships granted in the EU, while the UK accounted for 21 percent (207,500). In relative terms compared to population size, Ireland and Sweden come out top."
New code of conduct on data protection for cloud service providers being scrutinised by EU privacy watchdogs (Out-Law.com, link)
UK: CAGE publishes leaked PREVENT training DVD (link)
EU-GREECE: Syriza cant just cave in. Europes elites want regime change in Greece - Greeces confrontation with the euro overlords will shape resistance to austerity and the future of the whole European Union (Guardian, Seumas Milne, link)
Guest Post: New Polish Criminal Procedure Code (Fair Trials, link): "The revised Polish Criminal Procedure Code enters into force today, and Malgorzata Maczka-Pacholak (from LEAP Advisory Board Member Mikolaj Pietrzaks office) covers the key changes and talks about the current state of implementation of the EU Directive on Access to a Lawyer."
Owen Jones: The elites are determined to end the revolt against austerity in Greece - Europe's great powers won't be satisfied until they break Syriza, and stop an anti-austerity movement spreading across the continent. (New Statesman, link)
Council of Europe: Violence against women: Analytical study of the results of the 4th round of monitoring the implementation of Recommendation Rec(2002)5 on the protection of women against violence in Council of Europe member states (pdf)
EU: EIGE: Gender Equality Index 2015: Measuring gender equality in the European Union 2005-2012 Country profiles (pdf)
EU: Roaming Regulation: Provisional agreement of 30 June 2015 subject to formal approval of the European Parliament and the Council Proposal for a REGULATION laying down measures concerning open internet and amending Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 June 2012 on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union (pdf)
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."
News Digest (1.7.15)
Canadian Surveillance Agency Says Snowden Leaks Were Damaging, Because We Say So (The Intercept, link)
USA: Bulk Phone Surveillance Lives Again, to Die in a More Orderly Fashion in Five Months (The Intercept, link): "A federal judge with the top-secret surveillance court on Monday breezily reinstated the NSA bulk domestic surveillance program that was temporarily halted a month ago, allowing the agency to go back to hoovering up telephone metadata for five months while it unwinds the program for good."
Freedom of Panorama under threat (Julia Reda MEP, link): "Original proposal from my draft report: Calls on the EU legislator to ensure that the use of photographs, video footage or other images of works which are permanently located in public places is permitted
Amendment 421, adopted in committee with the votes of European Peoples Party, Socialists & Cavada (Liberals):Calls on the EU legislator to ensure that the use of photographs, video footage or other images of works which are permanently located in public places is permitted; Considers that the commercial use of photographs, video footage or other images of works which are permanently located in physical public places should always be subject to prior authorisation from the authors or any proxy acting for them"
GERMANY: BUNDESTAG NSA INQUIRY: Spionageaffäre: Union und SPD einigen sich auf NSA-Sonderermittler Graulich (Spiegel online, link) [ex-federal administrative judge, Zen Buddhist - and freshly retired - 65 year old Kurt Graulich is soon allowed to sift through the top secret US spy lists. Union and SPD back his apointment]
USA: New Pentagon manual declares journalists can be enemy combatants (Washington Times, link): ""The Pentagon's new thick book of instructions for waging war the legal way says that terrorists also can be journalists."
Justice for Mitch Henriquez: Black Lives Matter goes Dutch (roarmag.org, link): "Public opinion happily condemns systemic racism and excessive police
force in other countries, but racist police violence is far from limited to the US."
Data or it didn't happen (maneeshjuneja.com, link): "Today, there is incredible excitement, enthusiasm and euphoria about technology trends such as Wearables, Big Data and the Internet of Things. Listening to some speakers at conferences, it often sounds like the convergence of these technologies promises to solve every problem that humanity faces. Seemingly, all we need to do is let these new ideas, products and services emerge into society, and it will be happy ever after. Just like those fairy tales we read to our children. Except, life isn't a fairy tale, neither is it always fair and equal. In this post, I examine how these technologies are increasingly of interest to employers and insurers when it comes to determining risk, and how this may impact our future."
NB: What's New archive: January-June 2015
"What New" archive for year: 2000 , 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 January-June 2015
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