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Observatory : Refugee
crisis in the Med and in the EU
by the spooks: attempt to recruit activist as informant caught
A series of recordings captured earlier this year in Barcelona
have exposed an attempt by two men claiming to work for "state
security" to recruit a political activist as an informant.
Quim Gimeno, has filed an official complaint against the "modus
operandi of the Cuerpo Nacional de Policia" (CNP)
and the actions of the two men, who offered him monthly payments
and the possibility of intervening in a court case involving
terrorism charges (which was later dismissed due to lack of evidence).
One of the two
men has subsequently been exposed as a senior officer known as
'Jordi' who works for the CNP's 'Provincial Information Brigade
Group 6' (Grupo VI de la Brigada Provincial de Información),
known for its surveillance and intelligence-gathering on social
crisis: latest news from across Europe (25.10.16)
recommends extending temporary internal border controls for a
limited period of three months (Press release, pdf):
European Commission has today proposed a Recommendation, to be
adopted by the Council, to prolong proportionate controls at
certain internal Schengen borders in Austria, Germany, Denmark,
Sweden and Norway, where controls already take place according
to the Council Recommendation of 12 May for a period of
a further three months. Despite the progressive stabilisation
of the situation, the Commission considers that the conditions
of the "Back to Schengen" Roadmap allowing for a return
to a normally functioning Schengen area are not yet fully fulfilled....
The prolongation, which the Commission is recommending for a
further period of three months, concerns the same internal borders
as that recommended on 12 May:
- Austria: at the Austrian-Hungarian and Austrian-Slovenian land
- Germany: at the German-Austrian land border;
- Denmark: in Danish ports with ferry connections to Germany
and at the Danish-German land border;
- Sweden: in Swedish harbours in the Police Region South and
West and at the Öresund bridge;
- Norway: in Norwegian ports with ferry connections to Denmark,
Germany and Sweden."
See also: Commission
Implementing Decision setting
out a Recommendation for prolonging temporary internal border
exceptional circumstances putting the overall functioning of
the Schengen area at risk (COM 711-16, pdf)
of the European Union: European Public Prosecutor's Offce (EPPO):
for a Regulation on the establishment of the European Public
Prosecutor's Office (LIMITE doc no: 12687-16, pdf): Copuncil discussing
its position: Revised Preamble: Following the examination
of the draft preamble in COPEN on 8 September and the work on
a number of Articles in view of the Council of 14 October, the
Presidency has partly redrafted the preamble in line with the
discussions. All modifications in relation to document 11350/1/16
REV 1 are indicated in underlined or strikethrough."
See also other recent Council documents: European
Public Prosecutor's Office
and terrorism must not be conflated, says UN Special Rapporteur
A new report
by the UN's Special Rapporteur on terrorism and human rights
calls for an end to the conflation of migrants and refugees with
acts of terrorism: "in the clear majority of cases, refugees
and migrants do not pose a risk, but are in fact at risk, fleeing
the regions where terrorist groups are the most active,"
says the report, which was presented to the UN General Assembly
in New York on Friday 21 October.
And see: Refugee
crisis: latest news from across Europe (24.10.16): Calais demolition underway, Syrian
child refugees stitich British fashion in Turkey, fire and protest
at Moria detention centre on Lesvos.
IN CUSTODY: Annual rally and procession, Saturday 29 October
United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC) is a national coalition
of families and friends of those that have died in the custody
of police and prison officers as well as those who are killed
in immigration detention and secure psychiatric hospitals in
October 12Noon at Trafalgar Square for a silent procession along
Whitehall followed by a noisy protest at Downing Street."
Annual Rally & Procession 2016 (UFFC, link)
the torture and execution trade (pdf) by Dr Steve Wright (Reader in
Applied Global Ethics, Leeds Beckett University):
month, the European Parliament and Commission finally agreed
to outlaw the export, brokering and promotion of torture and
execution equipment from Europe. Such equipment includes guillotines,
hanging ropes, lethal injection drugs, multi-barbed steel sting
sticks, electroshock batons and tools familiar to torturers
of old, leg irons and wall cuffs to hang prisoners from walls
and ceilings, thumbscrews, neck chains and other medieval paraphernalia....
Can we further
civilize the security trade? I believe so, but only region by
region. The 21st century has already become the epoch of the
torturer. Only civil society can civilize state security practices
further - as if people mattered.
319,826 arrivals in the Med in 2016: 168,873 in Greece, 145,982
in Italy. 3,654 dead/missing. Greek Ministry
statistics: 21.10.16 number of refugees/"guests" in camps
and their capacity (pdf): Greek islands: 15,378 refugees/"guests*
and capacity 8,030. Voluntary" returns in 2016: 5,010 and
Departures to Turkey 2016: 724.
Council of Europe: "Combating
anti Gypsyism: Congress calls for better access to social rights
and legislative measures"
20 October 2016 At their 31st Session in Strasbourg, France,
the memmbers of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities
examined, on 20 October 2016, a report on the situation of Roma
and Travellers, presented by John Warmisham (United Kingdom,
SOC) and highlighting the context of rising extremism, xenophobia
and the refugee crisis, which is worsening discrimination against
them and stirring anti-Gypsyism." See: Report (pdf)
Parliament Study: Turkey:
How the pre-accession funds have been spent, managed, controlled
and the monitoring system? (pdf): "This study follows up
on the European Court of Auditors Special Report 16/2009 The
European Commission's management of pre-accession assistance
to Turkey. The European Commission has undertaken actions
addressing the recommendations of the report but it is unclear
how effective these actions have been, or are likely to be, in
addressing the underlying concerns expressed in the report. In
particular, understanding of the effectiveness and impact of
European Union funding to Turkey is still very limited."
[Emphasis added] See: European Auditors report (link)
release: Special Rapporteur warns that situation for civil society
there is renewed commitment from the worlds leaders, away
from fear and control of their own people, and toward respecting
the dignity of all, the situation will remain precarious for
civil society globally, the UN expert said.
Council offers approval for migration deals with African states
Union leaders agreed on Thursday to step up their efforts to
curb illegal migration from African countries with the aim of
replicating their success in halting inflows from Turkey over
the past year..." See: European
Council conclusions on migration, 20 October 2016 (pdf) plus earlier Draft
(11226/16, LIMITE, pdf)
And see: Refugee
crisis: latest news from across Europe (21.10.16): including Council of Europe report
on situation in Calais and Grand-Synthe camps.
policing: fresh questions over Mark Kennedy's activities in Ireland
CHIEFS and Scotland Yard commanders allowed British undercover
policeman Mark Kennedy to spy on environmental groups in Ireland,
including the Shell to Sea campaign in Mayo. Dublin Sinn Féin
MEP Lynn Boylan wants Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to
get some long-overdue and straight answers from her British counterpart
when she meets Home Secretary Amber Rudd this month..."
crisis: latest news from across Europe (20.10.16): Turkey threatens to cancel refugee
deal over visa row; refugees protest on Chios; plans for new
Italian reception system; Greece to amend EU asylum reception
law; and more.
Council meeting on 20-21 October: "maintaining and tightening
control": draft conclusions focus on migration
the hot topic for the European Council meeting, and the focus
is on maintaining and asserting control over the situation and
pursuing further attempts to keep people out of Europe.
See: NOTE from:
General Secretariat of the Council to: Delegations: European
Council (20-21 October 2016) - Draft conclusions (11226/16, LIMITE, pdf)
drones: disquiet over government arguments on "targeted
disappointed that the Governments response does not contain
a full explanation of the Governments detailed and
developed thinking on these complex issues. We had hoped
that the work we did in our inquiry, and our reasoned Report,
deserved such an explanation. Rather, the Government declines
to state its understanding of the law that applies to lethal
drone strikes outside of armed conflict on the basis that this
is hypothetical. We do not find this a satisfactory
of Control: A Report on Corporate Surveillance, Digital Tracking,
Big Data & Privacy
report, Wolfie Christl and Sarah Spiekermann explain how a vast
number of companies have started to engage in constant surveillance
of the population. Without peoples knowledge a network
of global players is constantly tracking, profiling, categorizing,
rating and affecting the lives of billions across platforms,
devices and life contexts. While special interest groups have
been aware of the corporate use of personal data for a while
now, the full degree and scale of personal data collection, use
and in particular abuse has not been scrutinized
Wishes to Inform You that the Refugee Crisis Is Over (Foreign Policy, link):
overview of the evolution and development of the European response
to the refugee crisis over the last two years. Amongst the author's
interviewees is European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans,
who considers Member States' disregard for their commitments
to "relocating" refugees from Italy and Greece to be
"morally wrong". Meanwhile the Dutch permanent representative
to the Council of the EU is keen to note that there is "a
grip on the flow" but the "worry now is slippage"
- that is, people leaving the squalid camps of Greece and travelling
elsewhere in the continent.
surveillance by an insurance company of a road accident victim
breached her right to privacy (pdf): "The Court held that...
the secret surveillance ordered had interfered with Ms Vukota-Bojiæs
private life, even though it had been carried out in public places,
since the investigators had collected and stored data in a systematic
way and had used it for a specific purpose. Furthermore, the
surveillance had not been prescribed by law, since provisions
of Swiss law on which it had been based were insufficiently precise.
In particular, they had failed to regulate with clarity when
and for how long surveillance could be conducted, and how data
obtained by surveillance should be stored and accessed. There
had therefore been a violation of Article 8."
of Vukota-Bojic v. Switzerland (application number 61838/10, pdf)
crisis: latest news from across Europe (18.10.16)
Commission: Report back on so-called "Partnership Frameworks"
with African countries - who have agree to the return and readmission
of refugees or suffer "the consequences" for aid and
migration effectively: Commission reports on progress in the
implementation of the Partnership Framework with third countries (Press release, pdf)
Progress Report on the Partnership Framework with third countries
under the European Agenda on Migration (COM 700-16, pdf)
- Annex 2 (pdf)
- Annex 3 (pdf)
policy decision (7 June 2016): Communication:
on establishing a new Partnership Framework with third countries
under the European Agenda on Migration (COM 385-16, pdf) and related documentation:
proposals on migration: "partnerships" with third countries,
Blue Card reform, integration plan (Statewatch News Online, 7 June 2016)
presents REFIT evaluation of the Visa Information System (link):
of the Commission's better regulation agenda, ensuring that EU
legislation remains fit for purpose, the Commission has today
adopted an Evaluation Report on the implementation of the Visa
Information System (VIS), analysing the use of fingerprints at
the EU's external borders and the use of biometrics in the visa
found that the VIS meets its objectives and functions well but
would need to be further developed to respond to new challenges
in visa, border and migration policy. VIS remains one of the
most advanced systems of its kind, with close to 23 million visa
applications and 18.8 million fingerprints registered by the
end of March 2016."
on the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 767/2008 of the European
Parliament and of the Council establishing the Visa Information
System (VIS), the use of fingerprints at external borders and
the use of biometrics in the visa application procedure/REFIT
(COM 655-15, pdf)
See also: Impact
assessment: Staff Working Document: SWD
(pdf) and SWD
crisis: latest news from across Europe (17.10.16)
Agenda on Security: First report on progress towards an effective
and sustainable Security Union (Press release, pdf):
present report is the first of a series of monthly reports on
the progress made towards an operational and effective Security
Union, as requested by President Juncker in his mission letter
addressed to Commissioner Julian King. The monthly reports will
highlight action taken by the EU institutions and EU Agencies
in the area of security and will identify where more efforts
are needed. The next progress report is foreseen for November
is also ongoing as regards the Commission's legislative proposal
for an EU Travel and Information Authorisation System (ETIAS)
to provide prior checks for visa-exempt thirdcountry nationals
travelling to the Schengen area, which will be presented by November.
swift negotiations and adoption of the Commission proposal for
systematic checks of EU citizens crossing the external borders
by the end of 2016 and the establishment of an EU Entry-Exist
System (EES) are necessary to enhance security at the external
and see: First
progress report towards an effective and genuine Security Union (COM 670-16, pdf)
for a EU Travel and Information Authorisation System (ETIAS)
to provide prior checks for visa-exempt thirdcountry nationals
travelling to the Schengen area present a major problem for relations
with the USA .(See below)
visa row on the cards:
Many visa-free entrants "stay within the territory
of the Schengen area for several years continuously."
long-standing EU-USA row over the US visa-free entry to the EU is soon to come to a head. Last week
we reported on the
JHA Senior Officials meeting 8-9 September 2016 where the EU proposal to "impose temporary
visa requirement for US nationals" went down like a
lead balloon. At the same time the EU has been trying for years
to get the USA to give visa-free entry to five EU Member States.
Now changes to visa-free entry are planned as part of the Entry
See: Proposals for planned Regulations
on the Entry-Exit
System and Touring
of short-stay in the Schengen area - Extension of that duration
under bilateral agreements concluded by Member States with third
countries - Draft regulations on Entry/Exit system and Touring
(LIMITE doc no: 12114-16, pdf)
spy agencies 'broke privacy rules' says tribunal (BBC News, link):
agencies broke privacy rules by collecting large amounts of UK
citizens' data without adequate oversight, the Investigatory
Powers Tribunal has ruled. Complaints about data collection by
GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 were put forward by campaign group Privacy
International. The ruling said that some of the bulk collection
did not comply with the European Convention on Human Rights.
But it added that proper statutory supervision was put in place
last year. It was a "highly significant judgement",
Privacy International said"
See also: UK
security agencies unlawfully collected data for decade, court
rules - Investigatory powers tribunal says secret collection
of citizens personal data breached human rights law (Guardian, link)
text of IPT Judgment (pdf)
crisis: latest news from across Europe (15-16.10.16)
Aegean islands: Ministry
show that that 07.30 on 14 October 2016 there were:
- 15,318 "Guests"
and only capacity for
- 8,008 in "reception"/detention centres
- includes 89 refugees who arrived early that morning
migrants killed when their boat, reportedly fleeing, collides
with Greek coast guard vessel (Japan Times, link)
GREECE A wooden boat carrying dozens of migrants from
Turkey to Europe sank Thursday near the island of Lesbos after
colliding with a Greek coast guard vessel, leaving at least seven
people dead, including four children, rescuers said.
The boat sank
within minutes of the crash with a 30-meter (100-foot) patrol
vessel on Thursday morning, in circumstances that were being
investigated. The first bodies to be retrieved were those of
a woman, two young girls and a baby, the coast guard said.
victims, a woman, a man and a minor, were found later,
the coast guard said as Greek rescuers backed by a Portuguese
ship and an EU border agency Frontex helicopter combed the waters
for the missing.
The 31 survivors
who were brought to safety had reported a total of eight people
missing. An AFP photographer who witnessed the crash from the
shores of Lesbos said the boat went down just two or three minutes
after the collision, which took place some 2 km (1.2 miles) from
UKs Investigatory Powers Bill is about to become law
here's why that should terrify us (Open Democracy, link): "The
evidence that these powers are all needed is thin indeed. And
the cost to all of our privacy is huge." The IP
BIll as at 12-9-16 (pdf): The Bill is now before the House of Lords.
crisis: latest news from across Europe (14.10.16)
EU: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council,
13-14 October 2016, Luxembourg: Final: Press
Release: 13 and 14 October 2016 (pdf)
"B" Points Agenda (for discussion, pdf),
Points Agenda - legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) and
"A"Points non-legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf) See:
After the publication
First: Coast Guard Fired at Migrant Boats, European Border Agency
Documents Show (The Intercept, link) and full file: Serious
Incident Reports (190 pages, pdf) 42 Members of the European Parliament
wrote to Frontex: Letter to Mr Fabrice
Leggeri, Executive Director of Frontex concerning "Shoot
First" policy (pdf).
of Frontex has now responded to the MEPs' Letter: Response
to Letter from MEPs on: Recurrent use of weapons by coast guards
within Frontex operations (pdf):
Director, Fabrice Leggeri replies that in; "half of the
incidents reported, the weapons were shot into the air, with
no possible harm to anyone and thus in full respect of the principles
of necessity and proportionality."
He seems to be
unaware of how frightening it is for shot to be fired "in
the air" or towards a boat of refugees. In the remaining
cases (that is half): "shots were fired upon attempts
by facilitators to violently ram the patrol vessel.. officers
are entitled to the right of self-defence."
When it comes
down to specific cases they come under each EU Member States's
law - Frontex is not responsible.
for researchers: Statewatch Analyses: 1999-ongoing
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 Unions external borders.
Such a highly parochial approach taken to a massive scale threatens
some of the EUs fundamental values - under the pretence
that ones own interests are at stake. Such an approach
borders on the inhumane."
How the EU works and justice and home
affairs decision-making (pdf)
20th Anniversary Conference, June 2011: Statewatch
'policy laundering' and the FATF - legalising surveillance, regulating
(pdf) by Ben Hayes
to EU decision-making and justice and home affairs after the
(pdf) by Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex,
with additional material by Tony Bunyan
Neoconopticon: the EU security-industrial
(pdf) by Ben Hayes
The Shape of Things to Come (pdf) by Tony Bunyan
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