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    ISSN 1756-851X
    27 February 2015
 

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UK: Institute of Race Relations: Fighting for the soul of the voluntary sector - Everyone should read a recent report by the National Coalition of Independent Action (NCIA) on the ways in which neoliberal policies are destroying the purpose and politics of voluntary groups (IRR, link): "The cost of not facing up to this situation, and taking a stand, will, the report concludes, be very high indeed. Fight or Fright is not a passive critique of the sector but a call to arms."

Israel's Africa policies 'an exercise in cynicism' - South African intelligence accuse Israel of "fuelling insurrection", selling arms and "appropriating" African resources (Aljazeera, link): "Secret documents obtained by Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit expose a deep disdain by South Africa's spies for their Israeli counterparts, with intelligence assessments accusing Israel of conducting "cynical" polices in Africa that include "fuelling insurrection", "appropriating diamonds" and even sabotaging Egypt's water supply." See: Document 1 (36 MB, link) and Document 2 (60MB, link)

CSE monitors millions of Canadian emails to government: Critics question how long data is stored and what it's used for (CBC News, link): "Canada’s electronic spy agency collects millions of emails from Canadians and stores them for “days to months” while trying to filter out malware and other attacks on government computer networks, CBC News has learned. A top-secret document written by Communications Security Establishment (CSE) analysts sheds new light on the scope of the agency’s domestic email collection as part of its mandate to protect government computers."

Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU): The Court of Justice clarifies the conditions in which a third-country national who has deserted may be granted asylum in the EU (Press rlease, pdf): clarifies if USA soldier opposed to Iraq war can get asylum in EU:

"In August 2008, an American soldier, Andre Shepherd, sought asylum in Germany. He had left his unit, which had been stationed in Germany since April 2007, after receiving an order to return to Iraq. Mr Shepherd believed that he should no longer participate in a war he considered unlawful and in the war crimes that were, in his view, committed in Iraq. See: Full-text of judgment (pdf)

EU: Frontex, poison or antidote to the tragedies in the Mediterranean? (Migreurop, link): "As Malta receives millions of Euros to fund maritime border control operations in collaboration with Frontex, members of the FRONTEXIT campaign denounce the security obsession blinding Europe and leading to increasing numbers of deaths."

UK: Six years and still waiting: the legal implications of blacklisting (The Justice Gap, link): "The construction industry blacklist has appeared regularly in the media since it was discovered in 2009 following a raid by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Over 40 of the UK’s largest contractors held a covert database of trade unionists who had complained about unpaid wages or safety on building sites through an organisation called The Consulting Association." And see: “Every Man a Capitalist”: The long history of monitoring ‘unsuitable’ workers in the UK (Statewatch database)

Frontex budget: €17 million increase puts agency on "cruising speed"

The 2015 budget of EU border agency Frontex has been increased by 16%, from €97 million to €114 million, with the largest share of the extra funding going towards Joint Operations at Sea Borders. According to the agency's Work Programme for 2015, published in December 2014, the budget is on "cruising speed".

'Joint Operations and Pilot Projects at Sea Borders' receives the largest share of the €114 million budget, with €31 million or 27% of the total. In 2014, Joint Operations at Sea Borders was allocated €25 million. According to the Work Programme: "Strengthening the Member States' operational capacity to cover increased operational areas and implementation periods will enhance the tackling of irregular migration on routes identified by risk analysis."

GCHQ-NSA SURVEILLANCE: European Parliament: Civil Liberties MEPs restart discussions on surveillance programmes and go to Washington in March (Press release, pdf): ""The Chair of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee and rapporteur on the US NSA and EU member states' surveillance programmes, Claude Moraes (S&D, UK), presented his working document on the follow-up of the inquiry on electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens on Tuesday 24 February."

See: Working document on on the Follow-up of the LIBE Inquiry on Electronic Mass Surveillance of EU Citizens (pdf) and Final: Report on the US NSA surveillance programme, surveillance bodies in various Member States and their impact on EU citizens’ fundamental rights and on transatlantic cooperation in Justice and Home Affairs (pdf): Rapporteur: Claude Moraes MEP

See also Statewatch Observatory EU-UK-GCHQ-USA-NSA: Data surveillance: June 2013 - ongoing

Greek Authorities Start Evacuating Amygdaleza Migrant Detention Center (Greek Reporter, link): "Greek authorities have started evacuating the Amygdaleza migrant detention center last Friday, saying they have released 100 migrants by Tuesday, while 980 remain in the premises. Deputy Citizen Protection Minister Giannis Panousis had pledged to close down the Amygdaleza facility within 100 days, citing inhumane living conditions, following the suicide of a Pakistani national."

UK: The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (pdf) received Royal Assent on 12 February 2015. The draft code of practice was presented to Parliament on 12 February 2015 for approval by Parliament. The Code of practice for officers exercising functions under Schedule 1 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 in connection with seizing and retaining travel documents (pdf) will come into force on 13 February 2015. See also Statewatch Observatory: UK laws (Acts of Parliament): 1988 - ongoing

UK: Conference: Challenging state and corporate impunity: is accountability possible? (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (link): "the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies and the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology at the University of Liverpool are hosting a third event to bring people together from a range of organisations to discuss how to hold state and corporate institutions to account." 19 June, 2015 9:00am to 5:00 pm. Location: 33 Finsbury Square London, EC2A 1AG: Speakers include:

Tony Bunyan (Statewatch) - What is the role of researchers in supporting movements for state accountability?
Suresh Grover (The Monitoring Group)
Deborah Hargreaves (High Pay Centre) - How do we challenge corporate abuses of power when this power is increasingly concentrated in elites?
Ewa Jasiewicz (Fuel Poverty Action) – How do we work for state and corporate accountability under conditions of austerity?
Stafford Scott (Tottenham Rights)
Will McMahon (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies) and David Whyte (University of Liverpool) - Linking academic research to social movements.

Spy cables: Greenpeace head targeted by intelligence agencies before Seoul G20 - South Korea’s intelligence service requested information about South African activist Kumi Naidoo in runup to leaders’ meeting in 2010 (Guardian, link) and see Document (pdf):

"The head of Greenpeace International, Kumi Naidoo, was targeted by intelligence agencies as a potential security threat ahead of a major international summit, leaked documents reveal.Information about Naidoo, a prominent human rights activist from South Africa, was requested from South African intelligence by South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) in the runup to a meeting of G20 leaders in Seoul in 2010.... Greenpeace is one of the world’s best known environmental groups, combining lobbying with high-profile direct action protests. South Korean intelligence may have been concerned about possible disruption at the summit. Told this week of the approach, Naidoo described it as outrageous."

EU-PNR: European Parliament: Draft Report: on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the use of Passenger Name Record data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime (pdf) by Rapporteur, Timothy Kirkhope.

"Currently, of the 27 Member States of the European Union, only the United Kingdom has a fully fledged PNR system whilst 5 others (France, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium and The Netherlands) use it in limited ways or are testing its use." [emphasis added]

See Explanatory Note page 40-42. This includes:

"III. Inclusion of intra-EU flights: Your Rapporteur is convinced that the inclusion of intra-EU flights would bring clear added value to any EU PNR scheme...[this extends the Commission proposal and was put forward in the Council by the UK supported by other governments]

IV. Targeted v. 100% collection: The Rapporteur supports 100% coverage of flights for the obvious efficiency and security benefits. There is also evidence to suggest that criminals could avoid particular flights under a targeted system."

Taken together all passengers on flights in and out of the EU and on all flights between EU countries would be placed under surveillance.

For Background see: EU: Travel surveillance: PNR by the back door (Statewatch database) and EU: Travel surveillance: Commission attempts to soothe PNR critics with "workable compromise" and Statewatch Observatory: EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record): 2011 ongoing

EU: European Commission: Commission Decision of 30.10.2014 requesting an opinion of the Court of Justice pursuant to article 218(11)TFEU on the competence of the Union to sign and conclude a Free Trade Agreement with Singapore (COM 8218-14, pdf)

The European Commission has asked the EU Court of Justice how competence over international trade issues is divided between the EU and its Member States as regards the proposed free trade agreement between the EU and Singapore. This case will have an impact upon the EU/Canada trade agreement which was recently agreed (CETA), the EU/US agreement under negotiation (TTIP) and other planned treaties besides.

EU: Council of the European Union: Study on the implementation of the European Information Exchange Model (EIXM) for strengthening law enforcement cooperation - Discussion paper (LIMITE doc no: 6131-15, pdf). See also: Study on the implementation of the European Information Exchange Model (EXIM) for strengthening law enforcement cooperation (pdf)

Concludes that there is a great variation in Member States' use of SIENNA - Europol's channel for EU information exchange - which is not connected in most Member States to its case management system and "Due to low prioritisation in several Member States, the implementation of the Prüm Decisions is still not as advanced as it should be" and

"One obstacle ....(is) the rules for entering data in the Europol Information System (EIS), the limited user community and the fact that EIS data is normally not easily accessible on a larger scale in operational police work. This also leads to a vicious circle where the volumes of data in EIS are too small for Member States to invest in resources and solutions to increase their use of it."

UK: Two ex-Foreign Secretaries in trouble: Sir Malcolm Rifkind resigns as ISC chairman and will step down as MP - Tory MP will resign from Commons at May election after quitting as head of parliamentary security committee, over cash-for-access claims (Guardian, link)

Malcolm Rifkind clings to chairmanship of Commons intelligence committee - Conservative MP at centre of new cash for access allegations insists he has done nothing wrong, echoing stance of Labour’s Jack Straw (Guardian, link): "Both Rifkind and Straw have referred themselves to the parliamentary commissioner for standards, but no inquiry will be complete before the election. .... Labour members of the ISC are likely to remain loyal to Rifkind, but the senior Labour backbencher Tom Watson said: “If the chair of the intelligence committee no longer has the confidence of the prime minister, then he should not continue as chairman."

Jack Straw was Foreign Secretary when the CIA rendition scandal broke see: Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, speech to the European Parliament hearing in Brussels on 23 January 2006: On the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners (pdf)

EU: Article 29 Working Party on data protection: Joint survey by European regulators on website cookie usage finds improvement in information but cookies still being set without consent. (Press release, pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: EU-USA: SWIFT: Legal Service Opinion (2009): Recommendation from the Commission to the Council to authorise the opening of negotiations between the European Union and the United States of America for an international agreement to make available to the United States Treasury Department financial messaging data to prevent and combat terrorism and terrorist financing (doc. 11009/09 RESTREINT JAI 397 USA 43 RELEX 574 DATAPROTECT 42) - Legal basis (pdf) "RESTRICTED" document now Declassified.

European Parliament: Background documents for Interparliamentary Committee Meeting: "Smart Borders Package: European challenges, national experiences, the way ahead" (pdf)

GREECE: ECRI report on Greece: (fifth monitoring cycle) Published on 24 February 2015 (pdf): "There has been a strong increase in the levels of incitement to racial hatred, in particular in the context of public discourse, including from representatives of political parties. Hatred is usually directed against immigrants, but also against Roma, Jews and Muslims. This situation is not adequately addressed and there is widespread impunity for acts of hate speech and insufficient official condemnation."

European police neglecting right-wing extremism

An online platform set up so that Europe's police forces can exchange information on right-wing extremism is "not being used much", says a recent report by the EU's Counter-Terrorism Coordinator (CTC). This is despite the rise to prominence of far-right parties and movements across Europe - in Greece, Hungary, France, Germany, Sweden, and elsewhere.

Europol, the EU's policing agency, hosts a 'Europol Platform for Experts' on right-wing extremism which is supposed to be used by police officers to "to share knowledge, best practices and non-personal data on crime." The Counter-Terrorism Coordinator's Report, published at the end of November 2014 and covering the period from December 2012 to mid-October 2014, says: "The EPE facilitates contact and exchange of best practice between Member States' experts. The platform meets as required. For the time being it is not being used much by Member States and Europol."

Europol failed to provide any further details on the use of the platform - for example, how many meetings it has held and how many messages have been exchanged through it - despite repeated requests from Statewatch.

EU: EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK (and the CJEU) TO BE EXEMPT FROM HAVING TO DEPOSIT DOCUMENTS IN EU ARCHIVES - WHY?:

See: Proposal for a Council Regulation amending Regulation (EEC/Euratom) No 354/83, as regards the deposit of the historical archives of the institutions at the European University Institute in Florence Adoption (13 February, pdf): The Council to adopt is position stating:

"The Commission proposal will make it obligatory for all EU institutions to deposit their paper historical archives at the European University Institute in Florence. The purpose of the deposit of the historical archives of the institutions at the EUI is to provide access to these archives from a single location, to promote their consultation and to stimulate research into the history of European integration and the European institutions."

However, the same document say the adoption is to be based on document no: 6867/13 (pdf) which will apply to all EU institutions except that:

"the specific nature of the activities of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and the European Central Bank (ECB) justifies their exclusion from the obligation set out in this Regulation to deposit their historical archives at the EUI. The CJEU and the ECB may deposit their historical archives at the EUI on a voluntary basis." [emphasis added]

NB: "the historical archives of the Union are preserved and are made available to the public wherever possible after the expiry of a period of 30 years"

It also seems odd, in the light of the changes made in the Lisbon Treaty Article 15.1 which extends the Regulation on public access to EU documents to all EU agencies and bodies too that this proposed Regulation does not appear to cover them as well.

EU: Council of the European Union working towards its position on the:Data Protection Regulation:

Chapter II (LIMITE doc no: 17071-rev2-14pdf) with 84 Footnotes including Member States' positions.
The one-stop-shop mechanism (LIMITE doc no:5627-rev1-15, pdf) with 137 Footnotes including Member States' positions.
German Delegation proposals: Consent (LIMITE doc no: 14703-rev3-14, pdf) and Right to be forgotten: dispute settlement (LIMITE doc no: 6031-15, pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union:

CHILD SUSPECTS RIGHTS: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings (LIMITE doc no: 5952-15, pdf) Includes Multi-column document: Commission proposal, Council position, EP Orientation Vote and "compromise" position.

LEGAL AID:Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on provisional legal aid for suspects or accused persons deprived of liberty and legal aid in European arrest warrant proceedings = Revised text (LIMITE doc no: 6177-15,pdf) Council developing its position before entering "trilogue" discussion s with European Parliament. With Member States' positions


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."

How the EU works and justice and home affairs decision-making (pdf)

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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