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    ISSN 1756-851X
    01 February 2015
 

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EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Ministers meeting in Riga, Latvia 29-30 January: Agenda (pdf) and Background Note (pdf) including: "strengthening Europol's role in the monitoring and analysis of social media communication on the internet."

Europol to become the EU's "thought police"? See: Chief constable warns against ‘drift towards police state’ Greater Manchester’s Sir Peter Fahy says it is not the police’s job to define what counts as extremism (Guardian, link): "The battle against extremism could lead to a “drift towards a police state” in which officers are turned into “thought police”, one of Britain’s most senior chief constables has warned."

See also:Counter Terrorism Coordinator: EU CTC input for the preparation of the informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers in Riga on 29 January 2015 (LIMITE, DS doc no: 1035-13, 14 pages, 17 January 2015, pdf)

Exclusive: CIA Interrogations Took Place on British Territory of Diego Garcia, Senior Bush Administration Official Says (VICE, link):

"Interrogations of US prisoners took place at a CIA black site on the British overseas territory of Diego Garcia, a senior Bush administration official has told VICE News. The island was used as a "transit location" for the US government's "nefarious activities" post-9/11 when other places were too full, dangerous, insecure, or unavailable, according to Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell's former chief of staff.

There was no permanent detention facility such as the CIA facility in Poland, he told VICE News in a wide-ranging interview. His intelligence sources indicated to him that the island was however home to "a transit site where people were temporarily housed, let us say, and interrogated from time to time."

EU: Money-laundering: European Parliament press releases: Money laundering: company owner lists to fight tax crime and terrorist financing (pdf):

"The ultimate owners of companies will have to be listed in central registers in EU countries, open both to the authorities and to people with a "legitimate interest", such as journalists, under a Parliament/Council deal endorsed by the Economic and Monetary Affairs and Civil Liberties committees on Tuesday. The new anti-money laundering directive aims to help to fight money laundering, tax crimes and terrorist financing. New rules to make it easier to trace transfers of funds were also approved."

EU: Ombudsman: How to make the Commission's expert groups more balanced and transparent (pdf): "The Ombudsman calls on the Commission to establish a legally binding framework for all expert groups, including a definition of what balanced representation in different groups should look like. She also recommends measures to reduce potential conflict of interest situations and to publish more information about the work of the groups. The Commission should reply to her proposals by 30 April 2015."

EU: JUSTICIA Network statement: Joint Statement on Legal Aid (pdf): "The future directive on the right to legal aid must be seen as inter-connected and aligned with the directive on access to a lawyer. Legal advice and representation is rendered meaningless unless the accused person has the means to privately engage a lawyer or is supported through legal aid."

Institute of Race Relations (IRR): ‘Apologists for terrorism’: dissent and the limits of free expression (link): "Freedom of thought, expression and inquiry is under renewed threat from governments which, paradoxically, claim to be fighting to preserve freedom of expression in Europe."

EU: Travel surveillance: Commission attempts to soothe PNR critics with "workable compromise"

A leaked European Commission note (pdf) sets out considerations on "the best way forward to respond to the different calls for a swift adoption of the EU PNR [Passenger Name Record] proposal," which would introduce blanket law enforcement surveillance and profiling of all passengers arriving in the EU by air.

The European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) voted against the proposed PNR Directive in April 2013, but EU officials and national politicians have repeatedly demanded agreement on the legislation.

These calls reached a crescendo following the terrorist attacks in Paris earlier this month, with politicians and officials claiming the attacks made clear the necessity of an EU PNR system. As Gilles de Kerchove, the EU's Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, said to the LIBE committee yesterday (27 January) during a session on counter-terrorism: "Never let a serious crisis go to waste."

EU: FRONTEX: Work Programme for 2015 (138 pages, pdf) and EUROPOL: Work Programme for 2015 (65 pages, pdf)

EU: Money-laundering and terrorism: Draft "compromise" between the Council and the European Parliament: Proposal for a Directive on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing (pdf)

Does not seem to take into account criticisms made by the Meijers Committee regarding the potential the text provides for discrimination: Note Meijers Committee on the proposal for a Directive on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing (COM(2013) 45 final) (pdf)

SURVEILLANCE: Experts Unmask 'Regin' Trojan as NSA Tool (Spiegel Online): "Just weeks ago, SPIEGEL published the source code of an NSA malware program known internally as QWERTY. Now, experts have found that it is none other than the notorious trojan Regin, used in dozens of cyber attacks around the world."

CANADA: SURVEILLANCE: Canada Casts Global Surveillance Dragnet Over File Downloads (The Intercept, link): "Canada’s leading surveillance agency is monitoring millions of Internet users’ file downloads in a dragnet search to identify extremists, according to top-secret documents. The covert operation, revealed Wednesday by CBC News in collaboration with The Intercept, taps into Internet cables and analyzes records of up to 15 million downloads daily from popular websites commonly used to share videos, photographs, music, and other files. The revelations about the spying initiative, codenamed LEVITATION..."

See also: LEVITATION documemt (pdf): "We see about 15 million FFU [Free file upload sites] events a day... What do we need? A list of suspect documents - A list of FFU URLs referring to these documents - A list of IPs downblaoding these URLs."

EU: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Press release): The EU as a beacon of respect for data protection and privacy (pdf):

"Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS, said, "It is high time that we in Europe think about our response to rapid change and challenges, including threats to our security. That response will have ramifications for us and for the next generation that is growing up online today. We must not forget that we cannot have security without privacy so that we preserve the rights and freedoms that Europe holds dear. Our solutions for security must also treat individuals with dignity and respect - and not suspicion or surveillance. The goal for my mandate is for the EU to speak with one voice on data protection, a voice which is credible, informed and relevant." [emphasis in original]

EU: NIS: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive concerning measures to ensure a high common level of network and information security across the Union - State of play and work ahead (LIMITE doc no: 5257-15, 145 pages, pdf): Multi-column document showing the Commission proposal, and the Council and European Parliament positions.

UK: Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill: STOP THE CTS BILL (link) and Petition (link)

EU: Holocaust denial and hate crime: Can the EU and its Member States do more? (EU Law Analysis, link): "The European Commission has chosen today, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, to release its first report on Member States' implementation of the EU Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law....The Commission cannot be criticised for holding off on bringing infringement proceedings, since it cannot do so until the end of this year. After that point, this legislation will be another EU measure which the Commission ought to enforce vigorously by means of infringement proceedings if it is, as it claims, committed to ensuring the full implementation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in practice."

See also: European Commission: Report on the implementation of Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law (pdf)

EUROPOL: Report on the annual accounts of the European Police Office for the financial year 2013 together with the Office's replies (16471-14, pdf) including on page 14: "The EIS contained 245,142 (186,896 last year) records at the end of 2013 with an increasing proportion of person records (the most important and valuable variety of records from a law enforcement point of view)." [emphasis added]

European Parliament: Counter Terrorism: Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE): Agenda for meeting on 27 January 2015 (pdf). See also Working Documents: Entry/Exit System (EES) to register entry and exit data of third-country nationals crossing the EU Member States' external borders (pdf): "The rapporteur believes that granting access to security forces would make the EES more useful and effective, which would, in turn, help to improve the management of the Schengen Area." See Commission: Proposal (link) and Registered Travellers Programme (pdf): "The original Commission proposals provided that a set of 36 data items would be retained per traveller. The study suggests that, in fact, 26 data items would be sufficient for the RTP (and the EES). No access for law enforcement was foreseen in the original RTP proposal and the study does not find reasons to propose it.....Regrettably, the study failed to prove adequately why such systems should be built in the first place, and completely disregarded the Parliament's request to assess and address other options which might achieve the objectives set." See Commission: Proposal (link)

EU: Mass surveillance: Council of Europe: Parliamentary Assembly: Mass surveillance is counter-productive and ‘endangers human rights (Press release, link) and Report (pdf): It calls for

• "the collection of personal data without consent only following “a court order granted on the basis of reasonable suspicion”
• “credible, effective protection” for whistle-blowers exposing unlawful surveillance
• better judicial and parliamentary control of intelligence services
• an “intelligence codex” defining mutual obligations that secret services could opt into
• an inquiry into member states’ use of mass surveillance using powers under the European Convention on Human Rights"

See also: Mass surveillance is fundamental threat to human rights, says European report - Europe’s top rights body says scale of NSA spying is ‘stunning’ and suggests UK powers may be at odds with rights convention (Guardian, link)

EU: "A huge number of migrants": over 19,000 people apprehended during joint police operation Mos Maiorum

More than 19,000 people were apprehended during 'Mos Maiorum', the Europe-wide joint police and border guard operation that took place over two weeks in October 2014. More than a quarter of the people who encountered the authorities were Syrian, according to a leaked copy of the final report.

"Syrian nationals (5088 people) were the most detected irregular migrants, followed by Afghans (1466 people), K-Serbians [Kosovars] (1196), Eritreans (1116), Somalis (641) and Albanians (587)," says the report, authored by Italian officials. 11,046 people requested asylum "during or after their interception".

And see: Mos Maiorum: MEPs "deplore" Council's "buck passing of responsibilities": Two MEPs from the GUE/NGL group of MEPs have written an open letter to critcise the "buck passing of responsibilities" over Joint Operation Mos Maiorum, after being told by the Council of the EU that they should submit questions to the Italian government.


Top reports

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

SECILE Project:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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