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July 2017

Shocking new evidence could overturn Northern Ireland ruling that became an international blueprint for torture (OpenDemocracy, link):

"British forces in Northern Ireland used waterboarding and electric shock treatment on detainees during the 1970s, newly uncovered files show. Witness statements and internal Whitehall correspondence released for the first time last month could have significant implications for international human rights law and British-Irish relations.

One victim of waterboarding in Belfast spoke out publicly about his experience for the first time at following the recovery of his original testimony from 1972, which recounts that he ‘felt like I was drowning or suffocating until I fell on the floor unconscious."

EU: Parliament's foreign affairs committee advises caution over biometrics in the Schengen Information System

The European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs has issued two opinions on proposed new rules for the Schengen Information System, dealing with the use of the system for border checks and the the "return of illegally-staying third country nationals", including a proposal for a "strict analysis" to be carried out before registering biometric data in the system. Specific safeguards for children are also proposed, along with a suggestion for a recital that would warn against Member States using coercion to obtain individuals' fingerprints.

EU: How McKinsey quietly shaped Europe’s response to the refugee crisis (Washington Post, link):

"It was October 2015. With winter approaching and no end in sight to the flow of migrants seeking refuge from the Syrian civil war, Germany needed a solution — fast.

Processing centers for refugees had exceeded capacity. Asylum claims were backlogged. Temporary tent cities would not survive the punishing winter months.

So Germany did what governments increasingly do when facing apparently unmanageable problems. It called in multinational management consulting firms, including New York-based giant McKinsey & Co., to streamline its asylum procedures.

Germany has paid McKinsey 29.3 million euros, the equivalent of nearly $34 million, for work with the federal migration office that began in October 2015 and continues to this day. The office also brought in two Europe-based firms, Roland Berger and Ernst & Young."

EU: Passenger Name Records – from Canada back to the EU (Verfassungsblog, link) by Raphael Bossong:

"The new opinion of the Court of Justice... will have major repercussions both for the relations of the EU with partner countries and the development of the EU’s own counterterrorism or internal security policy.

To begin with, the opinion [pdf] from 26 July underlines the need for precision in the EU’s security cooperation with third countries and as well as the importance of including a primary legal basis for data protection, even if the intention of the cooperation is primarily for security purposes. Therefore, security agreements with other third countries will be subject to renewed scrutiny, including in fields beyond PNR (e.g. on the transfer of SWIFT financial transaction data to the US for counterterrorism purposes)...

Yet arguably the most pressing question for European policy-makers and security authorities is whether the implementation of the EU’s own 2016 PNR directive (2016/681) can go ahead as planned."

UK: Police in England and Wales to be asked if they want to carry a gun (The Guardian, link):

"Police officers in England and Wales are to be asked whether they want to routinely carry a gun and drop the principle of normally being unarmed. The Police Federation, which represents 123,000 rank and file officers will begin surveying its members next week.

Police have grown increasingly concerned about threats to their safety from assaults as they perform their regular duties and the high likelihood of terrorist attacks, which unarmed officers are likely to be first to respond to.

The survey will ask officers whether they think they or more of their colleagues should carry Taser electrical weapons, whether there should be more specialist armed officers and whether they themselves want to carry a gun as they patrol the streets."

EU-USA: Clouds linger over troubled transatlantic data-transfer deal (Politico, link):

"A year after European and American officials hammered out a data-sharing deal to allow companies to move people’s digital information across the Atlantic, the agreement’s future is in the hands of lawyers, not lawmakers.

Many fretted that the so-called EU-U.S. Privacy Shield would soon run into trouble. And despite its survival so far, the data-transfer deal faces an uncertain future as policymakers start planning for the first annual review of the agreement in mid-September in Washington, D.C."

HUNGARY: The Economics of Fear: How Orbán Profits from Insecurities (Political Critique, link):

"Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s rhetoric is made up of a creative combination of fears: social insecurities, loss of national identity, and threats to national security all play an important role when it comes to Orbán positioning himself as the sole protector of Hungary."

UK court blocks bid to prosecute Tony Blair for invasion of Iraq (Middle East Eye, link):

"A British court has blocked an attempt by a former Iraqi general to bring a private prosecution against Tony Blair over the Iraq war.

General Abdul Wahed Shannan al-Rabbat, a former chief of staff of the Iraqi army, accused Blair of committing a "crime of aggression" while he was prime minister, by invading Iraq in 2003 to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

The former Iraqi soldier wanted to prosecute Blair and two other key British ministers at the time – the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, and the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith."

UK: Don’t call them riots. That dismisses the anger over Rashan Charles’s death (The Guardian, link) by Franklyn Addo:

"Concerns about the mistreatment of people of colour by police in the UK are legitimate. The deaths of Oluwashijibomi Lapite in 1994, Mark Duggan in 2011, Edson Frederico Da Costa last month and Rashan Charles last weekend, to name just a few examples, show the severity of the problem. In all of these cases, the individuals died following police contact and all were black.

The events preceding Charles’s death, as he was being chased and apprehended by police in a newsagents in Dalston in north-east London, were captured on CCTV and the resulting images are deeply disturbing. Peaceful protests in response to the death boiled over into aggression, with people blocking roads and setting refuse alight – against, it should be said, the wishes of the dead man’s family. With various pundits dismissing protesters as rioters and thugs, it is important to remember the lessons of history."

And see: Protesters block Dalston road over Rashan Charles death – video (link)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26-30.7.17): 21 stories/reports

UK: More Than 1000 Groups Infiltrated by Spycops (Campaign Opposed to Police Surveillance, link):

"More than 1,000 groups have been spied on by Britain’s political secret police, the Undercover Policing Inquiry confirmed last week.

(...)

How many ‘more than 1,000 groups’ have been spied upon isn’t clear, but the revelation of the figure indicates that the Inquiry has a list. It is imperative that this list is published. Unlike releasing an officer’s real name, there can be no assertion that telling us the names of an infiltrated group would endanger those being identified.

If we are to get the truth of what has been done, we need to hear from those affected. Every person and group spied on by these disgraced units should be told and given access to their files. The victims need time to find their contemporaries and confirm the details. Only then can we see what the real purpose of the spying was, only then can the victims correct any misinformation on the files."

See also: Undercover police spied on more than 1,000 political groups in UK (Guardian, link) "Number of organisations revealed by inquiry set up to examine conduct of covert officers since late 1960s."

UK-EU-BREXIT: House of Lords Select Committee report: Brexit: judicial oversight of the European Arrest Warrant (pdf):

"We welcome the Home Secretary’s announcement that it is a priority for the Government to ensure that the UK remains part
of the European Arrest Warrant. However, it is not clear how this objective is compatible with the Government’s objectives in relation to the CJEU, let alone other aspects of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union."

Greece: Authorities must investigate allegations of excessive use of force and ill-treatment of asylum-seekers in Lesvos (AI, link):

"Amnesty International calls on the Greek authorities to urgently investigate allegations that police used excessive force against asylum-seekers in the Moria camp near Mytilene during a protest on 18 July 2017 and ill-treated some of those who were arrested and detained in the Mytilene police station following the clashes that ensued. Testimonies the organisation collected from victims and witnesses about excessive use of force in the Moria camp are also supported by audio-visual material that was made public in the media in the days after the protest."

See: Report (pdf)

European Parliament: MEPs Letter to Commission, Greece, UNHCR & IOM: Moira, Lesvos: Refugee roundup (pdf):

"We learnt from the statement of the Human Rights Activist Nawal Soufi (European Citizenship Prize 2016) that at 6 in the morning of the 24th of July several police and military agents broke into Moria's hotspot on the Greek island of Lesbos, awakening migrants with violence and abuse.

"The police had a list of people to take. Dozens of migrants have been arrested, 90% of them are asylum seekers. Among them there are many Syrians and even Kurdish-Syrians. Some of them have only received the first rejection and are waiting for the decision on the appeal. One of the asylum seekers arrested is a young Kurdish-Syrian who has already suffered violence in Turkey"....."

EU: ACCESS TO LEGISLATIVE DOCUMENTS: Council of the European Union: Own-initiative inquiry OI/2/2017/AB by the European Ombudsman concerning access to documents relating to Council preparatory bodies when discussing draft EU legislative acts: Draft reply of the Council of the European Union (LIMITE doc no: 8808-REV-1-17, pdf): The Council questions the right of the Ombudsman to conduct an inquiry on grounds of maladministration into legislative matters:

"The Council is of the view that the exercise of legislative powers is not limited to the adoption of political choices on legislative files. It also includes the choices according to which the legislators decide to organise the legislative process itself. The organisation of the legislative process cannot be considered an administrative activity – and therefore cannot give rise to possible instances of maladministration – but ought rather to be regarded as an essential aspect of the exercise of the legislators' prerogatives." [emphasis added]

Background: European Ombudsman launches Inquiry into availability of Council legislative documents

On 10 March 2017 the European Ombudsman launched an inquiry into: "the disclosure of documents from discussions on draft EU legislative acts in Council preparatory bodies."

See: Letter to Counci: Access to documents relating to Council preparatory bodies when discussing draft EU legislative acts (pdf) The letter to the Council observes that: "The General Secretariat of the Council (GSC) does not proactively make available documents reflecting the positions of individual Member States during negotiations. This approach, however, is without prejudice to the right of public access to documents provided for in Regulation 1049/20015. These documents can be made available after the act in question has been adopted, provided that they are not covered by any exception laid down in Article 4 of Regulation 1049/2001." [emphasis added]

EU cybersecurity exercise focuses on ‘quasi-democratic’ country and anti-globalisation group (euractiv, link):

"An EU exercise to test countries’ ability to react to cybersecurity attacks will focus on threats from terrorist organisation, “a quasi-democratic country” and anti-globalisation groups....

During the EU and NATO exercise that will continue after the defence ministers’ meeting, national authorities will respond to a scenario that “will be as realistic and plausible as possible”, according to a 53-page preparatory document from the Council, which was leaked by the NGO Statewatch .....

One part of the exercise trains authorities’ response to attacks from an anti-globalisation movement that organises “riots disguised as demonstrations, all combined with email spamming” and receives financing through anonymous cryptocurrencies, as well as from hostile countries—including the “quasi-democratic” state."

UK rejects Dublin's plan for Irish Sea border after Brexit (Sky News, link): "Dublin wants customs and immigration checks moved from the land border to ports and airports - drawing a new border at sea."

AUSTRALIA: Facial recognition to replace passports (Sky News, link):

"New technology will be rolled out at Australian airports which will eventually mean known passengers arriving in the country won't have to produce passports.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton on Wednesday announced a new $22.5 million, three-year contract which will see 105 new smart gates rolled out, with more to come over time.It will enable passengers from more countries to be processed using facial recognition."

European Commission: Security Union

Security: the EU is driving work to share information, combat terrorist financing and protect Europeans online (Press release, pdf):

"The 9th Security Union progress report highlights the recent steps taken to prevent terrorist financing through trafficking in cultural goods and improve the interoperability of EU information systems....

Reducing the complexity of EU instruments and strengthening interoperability:

Agreement on the Entry/Exit System is an important step towards achieving full interoperability of EU information systems by 2020 and the Commission will engage with the European Parliament and Council to accelerate work on related proposals to strengthen the Schengen Information System and EURODAC and ECRIS databases."
[emphasis added]

Ninth progress report towards an effective and genuine Security Union (COM 407, pdf)

Commission Staff Working document: Comprehensive Assessment of EU Security Policy (SWD 278, Part 1, 101 pages, ,pdf)

Part 2 of above (SWD 278, Part II, 186 pages,pdf)

Court of European Justice: Croatia is responsible for examining applications for international protection by persons who crossed its border en masse during the 2015-2016 migration crisis (Press release, pdf):

"Those persons must be regarded as having crossed the external border of Croatia irregularly within the meaning of the Dublin III Regulation."

European Parliament: Rapporteur welcomes court's rejection of EU Canada passenger data deal (link):

"Sophie in‘t Veld, EP rapporteur on the PNR agreement between the EU and Canada says there may be wide-ranging consequences following the EU Court of Justice’s landmark ruling....

Her comment comes after the European Court rejected the agreement between Canada and the EU to swap passenger names, travel dates, itineraries and contact details for security purposes.

The European Court of Justice found that this was contrary to EU law and violated privacy and data protection rules."

See: Court of Justice says no to EU-Canada travel surveillance deal as implementation of European system continues and: CJEU Opinion (pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of highly skilled employment (First reading) - Mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament (LIMITE doc no: 10552-17, pdf):

"Throughout discussions, significant efforts have been made to strike a balanced compromise among diverse approaches on the best way to attract highly qualified migrants to the EU. While some Member States favour a flexible and business-oriented approach, others insist on more safeguards and protection of their national labour markets.

The following issues have been particularly sensitive in the course of the negotiations: the interaction between national schemes for highly qualified migration and the EU Blue Card scheme; the proposed inclusion of beneficiaries of international protection and the family members of EU citizens within the scope of the Directive; the issue of salary thresholds; as well as the recognition of professional experience as an alternative to education qualifications."

EU: Border surveillance technologies presented to Frontex included "foliage penetration", drones and "intelligence fusion"

See: Reply from Frontex to questions from Sabine Lösing MEP (pdf): "Which of the technologies and services presented does the border agency intend to procure in the future?

The meeting referred to forms part of a series of regular meetings during which industry briefs the Agency and Member States experts on its portfolio of products and services in the field of border security. The meetings are not part of any procurement procedure."

The original questions: Subject: New border surveillance technologies — Frontex (EP, link)

EU-USA: US Surveillance Makes Privacy Shield Invalid (Human Rights Watch, link):

"United States surveillance laws and programs are so broad and contain such weak safeguards that they render the EU-US Privacy Shield invalid, Human Rights Watch said today in a briefing and letter to the European Commission, published jointly with Amnesty International. The Commission’s 2016 decision approving the Privacy Shield arrangement makes it legal for internet companies to transfer users’ personal data from the EU to the US, with major commercial implications. The arrangement will undergo its first annual review in September 2017."

See: Letter from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (pdf):

"Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International write to urge the European Commission to re-evaluate its Implementing Decision 2016/1250 on the adequacy of the protection provided by the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield on the basis that the United States of America (United States) does not ensure a level of fundamental rights protection regarding the processing of personal data that is essentially equivalent to that guaranteed within the European Union (EU)."

EU: Relocation of refugees "reaches record levels"; proceedings against Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland continue

The European Commission has published the fourteeneth progress report on the EU's schemes for the relocation and resettlement of refugees, stating that relocations from Italy and Greece have reached "record levels in June", meaning that "relocating all those eligible remains feasible before September."

At the same time, the Commission has moved to the next stage with its infringement proceedings against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland for failing to comply with the relocation scheme, as an Advocate General at the Court of Justice has issued an opinion calling for the Court to dismiss a complaint made by Slovakia and Hungary that the relocation scheme breaches EU law.

UK: Sir John Mitting is the new chairman of the Undercover Policing Inquiry (press release, pdf):

"The Home Secretary has today announced the retirement due to ill health of Sir Christopher Pitchford the Chairman to the Undercover Policing Inquiry, who was also former Lord Justice of Appeal. The Inquiry team express their thanks to Sir Christopher for his leadership over the past two years, and for his work in establishing the Inquiry on a firm footing and steering it through complex preliminary matters. The Inquiry team send Sir Christopher and his family all their very best wishes.
The Home Secretary has also today announced the appointment of the Undercover Policing Inquiry Panel Member, Sir John Mitting, to the role of Inquiry Chairman. Since the announcement on 31 May 2017 that Sir John would join the Inquiry he has been familiarising himself with the Inquiry’s work and he will very shortly issue his first decisions.
"

Small is beautiful: Nano drone tech is advancing (Defence IQ, link):

"The technology behind unmanned air systems (UAS) has taken off in recent years and as a result UAS can fly faster and further than ever before – performing ever more sophisticated surveillance operations.

Developments in size, weight and power (SWaP) optimised technologies have driven these improvements, allowing smaller man-portable systems more flexible tactical capability, and enhancing larger medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) class UASs built by leading manufacturers like Northrop Grumman and General Atomics.

This jump in capability has been boosted by the development of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) variants on mission-critical components such as accelerometers and gyroscopes as well as the miniaturisation of various crucial supplied parts."

Ali’s Long Wait for Justice in Greece - After Six Years, Afghan Man’s Attackers are Finally Convicted (Human Rights Watch, link):

"Ali Rahimi was 27 when it happened. A group approached him and two other Afghans in central Athens, swore at them, and told them to leave Greece. Then they attacked.

Ali was hit on the head with a bottle and stabbed five times in the chest and back, suffering a lung puncture dangerously close to his heart. The other two Afghan men managed to escape.

Six years on, Ali has finally seen justice done."

CZECH REPUBLIC: New Facial Recognition Cameras to Be Installed at Prague Airport (Prague Morning, link):

"Three months before the elections, Minister of the Interior Milan Chovanec is trying to ensure maximum safety against airport terrorist threats. Besides the National Security Unit, which will reveal suspects of terrorism according to data provided by the airlines, the Ministry of Interior also wants to invest in new cameras with facial recognition software.

“It is not a panacea, but it could help,” thinks Miroslav Mareš, an expert on organized crime.

Starting next year, Prague Václav Havel Airport will have fourteen police officers of the National Security Unit, processing passenger name record data. Their talk is to go through airlines’ data to find individuals involved in crime or terrorism. The specialized unit will check personal data provided by airlines. The number of officers will continue to increase."

Article 7: The ins and outs of the EU’s ‘nuclear option’ for Poland (EurActiv, link):

"The European Commission will decide on Wednesday (26 July) how to deal with the Poland’s reform of its judicial system, which Brussels and the Polish opposition say undermines the judiciary’s independence and violates the EU’s basic principles of the rule of law.

Polish President Andrzej Duda surprised many on Monday when he vetoed two of the controversial reforms but later signed into law a third bill despite opposition from Polish demonstrators.

With only one of the reforms adopted, it was not clear what steps, if any, EU First-Vice President Frans Timmermans will announce on Wednesday."

And see: Street protests and EU warnings over attempt to bring judiciary under political control

Court of Justice says no to EU-Canada travel surveillance deal as implementation of European system continues

The EU's proposed Passenger Name Record (PNR) agreement with Canada to profile air passengers is incompatible with the fundamental rights to privacy, data protection, non-discrimination and does not meet the requirements of necessity and proportionality, according to an opinion issued today by the European Court of Justice.

Digital rights group EDRi said that the EU should now suspend its Passenger Name Record (PNR) agreements with the USA and Austrlia and that the ruling "should now also lead to an end to national laws transposing the EU PNR Directive" - a measure that Member States consider as "crucial in the fight against terrorism and serious crime", according to Council of the EU and Europol documents on the implementation process published today by Statewatch.

Security and migration amongst EU priorities for cooperation with "modern, democratic" Egypt

Joint priorities adopted today by the EU and Egypt for 2017 to 2020 include a commitment from the EU to "support the Egyptian government's efforts to strengthen its migration governance framework, including elements of legislative reform and strategies for migration management," and to "support Egypt’s efforts to prevent and combat irregular migration, trafficking and smuggling of human beings, including identifying and assisting victims of trafficking."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21-25.7.17)

UK: Social Media Intelligence (PI, link):

"Social media intelligence (SOCMINT) refers to the techniques and technologies that allow companies or governments to monitor social media networking sites (SNSs), such as Facebook or Twitter.

SOCMINT includes monitoring of content, such as messages or images posted, and other data, which is generated when someone uses a social media networking site. This information involves person-to-person, person-to-group, group-to-group, and includes interactions that are private and public."

Statewatch comment: For GCHQ and intelligence agencies this is complemented by OSINT: Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) is any unclassified information, in any medium, that is generally available to the public. And HUMINT (human intelligence) and also PROTINT ("protected information"):Defined by Sir David Omand (former senior British civil servant who served as the Director of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) from 1996 to 1997).as:

"This is personal information about individual that resides in databases, such as advance passenger information, airline bookings and other travel data, passport and biometric data, immigration, identity and border records, criminal records, and other governmental and private sector data, including financial and telephone and other communications records. Such information may be held in national records, covered by Data Protection legislation, but it might also be held offshore by other nations or by global companies, and may or may not be subject to international agreements."

State agencies also gather:

SIGINT (Signals Intelligence
COMIT (Communications Intelligence)
ELINT (Electronic Signals Intelligence)
MASINT (Measurement and Signature Intelligence)
FISINT (Foreign Signals Intelligence)
RADINT (Radar intelligence)
IMINT (Satellite and photo reconnaissance = Imagery Intelligence)
GEOINT (Geospatial Intelligence)
TECHINT (Technical Intelligence)
S&TINT (scientific and technical intelligence)

EU:
Tell the EU you disagree with EU funding to military R&D (before August 7) (ENNAT, link):

"On June 7, the European Commission proposed a text to create a “Defence Industrial Development Programme”, which would divert €500 million of the EU budget over 2019-2020, in order to fund the development of new military technology. This is on top of the €90 million already granted for military research over 2017-2019. Our national governments and European parliamentarians will have to decide on this new funding, and the EC wants them to vote before end of the year."

UK: Rashan Charles death: Furious protesters march to Stoke Newington police station in 'justice for Rash' rally (Evening Standard, link): "The demonstrators brought traffic to a standstill"

GERMANY: Declaration on Freedom of Expression: In response to the adoption of the Network Enforcement Law („Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz”) by the Federal Cabinet on April 5, 2017 (link):

"Freedom of expression has an essential and indispensable role in a society shaped by democratic values. The basic right to free expression is protected under the freedom of communication clause and under the freedoms granted to the press and broadcasters. The right to free expression finds its limits only where the rights and dignity of others are violated. The right to free expression and its restrictions, apply online as well as offline.

Recently, the permissible scope of freedom of expression has been highly debated due to a number of incidents, which claim that false statements and hate speech often shape public discourse. To cope with this phenomenon, the Federal Cabinet has presented the Network Enforcement Law (NetzDG), which is set for adoption by the German Bundestag in the summer. Against this background, the signatories of this declaration wish to express their support for the following three principles..."

And see: Germany passes controversial law to fine Facebook over hate speech (The Verge, link)

USA: Artificial Intelligence and National Security (pdf):

"Partially autonomous and intelligent systems have been used in military technology since at least the Second World War, but advances in machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) represent a turning point in the use of automation in warfare. Though the United States military and intelligence communities are planning for expanded use of AI across their portfolios, many of the most transformative applications of AI have not yet been addressed.

In this piece, we propose three goals for developing future policy on AI and national security: preserving U.S. technological leadership, supporting peaceful and commercial use, and mitigating catastrophic risk. By looking at four prior cases of transformative military technology—nuclear, aerospace, cyber, and biotech—we develop lessons learned and recommendations for national security policy toward AI."

Young people show up in droves to defend Poland's courts (EUobserver, link):

"John Lennon's Imagine filled the summer night in front of Poland's Supreme Court on Sunday (23 July), as people started to head home from another protest in defence of democracy and free courts.

Ever since the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party announced its plans to reform this institution around ten days ago, demonstrations have been piling up, drawing larger crowds, and finding their way into new towns and villages.

The number of participants increased after the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, passed a law on Thursday that will put the Supreme Court under the control of the government. The law would give the government the right to fire all the judges and let the minister of justice, Zbigniew Ziobro, draft the list of new ones. "

UK: state prisoner letters: Home Office correspondence, The National Archives, Kew (Protest and the politics of space and place, link):

"Between 1794 and 1820, a multitude of radical leaders and printers were arrested and imprisoned for ‘seditious’ activities, combination, conspiracy, and other state offences as they campaigned for democratic and workers’ rights.

Many of these prisoners were working class, and were Luddites, Blanketeers, Peterloo radicals. In prison, they wrote to their families, who wrote back, and to the Home Office, sympathetic MPs, and to the radical movement outside. Many of these letters were copied or confiscated by gaolers and sent to the Home Office. The men were separated and placed in prisons across the country, often in solitary confinement or poor conditions.

Those arrested under the Suspension of Habeas Corpus acts of 1799 and 1817 were imprisoned for up to 10 months without trial, and released without trial or acknowledgement of their innocence. The governments then passed Indemnity Bills, indemnifying the gaolers against being sued by the radicals for unlawful imprisonment. The radicals saw both the suspension of habeas corpus and the indemnity bills as against the fundamental principles of Magna Carta, and evidence of government corruption, spurring them on to campaign for parliamentary reform and penal reform even further."

EU: Europol: annual report for 2016, work programme 2017-19, joint 2016 report with Eurojust

Three reports by EU policing agency Europol outlining its work during 2016 (including a joint report for the year on its work with EU judicial cooperation agency Eurojust) and its plans for the 2017-19 period.

EU: Council conclusions on Libya (17 July 2017) (11155/17, pdf)

Including: "The EU will support Libya to strengthen its capacities to control its borders, including in the south, in accordance with International Law, in addition to broader EU efforts to reinforce cooperation with countries of origin and transit to significantly reduce migratory pressure on Libya’s and other neighbouring countries’ land borders. The EU will continue to cooperate with G5 Sahel countries, including via contributions of CSDP missions and financial support to the G5 Sahel Joint Force. The EU will further engage and provide support to enhance both sea and land border management by Libyan Authorities.

Underlining the importance of both missions, the Council welcomes the renewal of the mandate of EUBAM Libya and will decide shortly on the renewal of Operation Sophia...

EUBAM Libya will continue to progressively engage with and assist the Libyan authorities on border management, including on the South of Libya, law enforcement and criminal justice and plan for a possible civilian CSDP mission in the field of security sector reform, co-operating closely with and contributing to UNSMIL efforts. It will continue working towards establishing a light presence in Tripoli provided that appropriate security arrangements are in place."

UK: Tories use 'take out the trash' day to dump controversial reports (The Guardian, link):

"Theresa May has been accused of an “absolute affront” to democracy after dumping dozens of official documents online on parliament’s last day of term, showing the police force numbers have dropped to a 30-year low and the number of soldiers has fallen by 7,000.

The government has published very little for weeks after the election but about 22 written statements and dozens of Whitehall reports were released on Thursday, just as MPs embark on their long summer break."

UK: Jack Straw MI6 Rendition Trial to be Heard in Secret (Reprieve, link):

"The High Court has decided today that the trial involving the rendition and torture of a leading Gaddafi opponent and his pregnant wife should be conducted in secret.

Abdul-Hakim Belhaj and his wife Fatima Boudchar opposed the Government’s request for a secret trial under section 6 of the Justice and Security Act on the basis that extensive evidence of the CIA torture programme—and of their abduction—has been in the public domain for years.

Many key facts in the case and of the CIA rendition programme in general are officially confirmed.... The High Court found that none of this official evidence required an ordinary, fair public trial. The Court held that an open trial “would cause significant damage to the interests of national security […] irrespective of the current sensitivity of the intelligence itself.”"

Anti-immigrant ship on its way to stop refugee boats in Mediterranean stopped in Suez Canal (The Independent, link):

"A ship chartered by activists to hamper the rescue of refugees in the Mediterranean has reportedly been “arrested” in the Suez Canal after the its captain failed to produce a satisfactory crew list.

The Defend Europe ship set sail from the east African nation of Djibouti where it was chartered last week.

Called the C-Star, it was predominantly funded with donations on a crowdfunding website.

The crew had intended to sail the ship through Egypt's Suez Canal before heading towards the Italian city of Cantania where many rescue boats run by charities and non government organisations (NGOs) are based."

UN Global Compact on Migration: Preventing torture of migrants should be at the core of the Compact (Association for the Prevention of Torture, pdf):

"On 19 September 2016, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, a Resolution that sets in motion a complex process to elaborate by 2018 two instruments laying out States’ commitments regarding large movements of refugees and migrants. These instruments are the “Global Compact on Safe Orderly and Regular Migration” and the “Global Compact on Refugees” (not addressed in this paper).

This paper outlines seven key messages that the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) considers essential, from a torture prevention perspective, for the establishment of a Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (hereafter the “Global Compact on Migration”)."

The Hamburg G20 Leaders’ Statement on Countering Terrorism (pdf)

Concerning: Implementing international commitments and enhancing cooperation; Fighting terrorism finance; Countering radicalization conducive to terrorism and the use of internet for terrorist purposes.

Austria wants to spy on messaging apps, Australia not far behind (ZDNet, link):

"Austria is pursuing plans to give police the authority to monitor messaging services such as WhatsApp and Skype in an attempt to "close the gap" on criminals who increasingly avoid communicating via telephone.

The government has asked political, technology, civil rights, and legal experts to review draft legislation that would give it authority to monitor real-time conversations using new messaging services and applications, Justice Ministry officials told Reuters on Monday.

Such surveillance would be permitted only with a court order in investigations into terrorist activities or other crimes punishable by at least five years in prison, one of the officials said."

EU: European Commission's handling of military research 'Group of Personalities' to be investigated

An inquiry into the European Commission's alleged mishandling of a high-level advisory group charged with setting out plans for EU military research and cooperation has been launched by the European Ombudsman, in response to a complaint filed by the European Network Against the Arms Trade (ENAAT).

EU: Council of the European Union: Manual on Law Enforcement Information Exchange ( 6261-17, pdf): 110 pages:

"The manual contains an overview of all EU systems, legal bases and instruments of information exchange available to the law enforcement authorities of the Member States. This way, the user is fully informed of the available options when it comes to deciding how to seek or provide information across borders."

And see Chart on page 5.

UK: Rashman: Police watchdog to investigate lethal restraint of young black man in Hackney (Open Democracy, link):

"Police claim officer “intervened” to “prevent the man from harming himself”. But video shows sustained restraint. (warning: distressing video)."

UK-EU: BREXIT: The joint technical note attached summarises the UK and EU positions and compares them following the 2nd round of Art. 50 negotiations (pdf) Contains 4-column document: Comparison of EU/UK positions on Citizens' Rights:

"This table summarises the UK and EU positions and compares them. Green indicates convergence, red indicates divergence and yellow indicates where further discussion is required to deepen understanding."

EU: Qualifications Directive: Council of the European Union: Proposal for a Regulation on standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection... Mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament (LIMITE EU doc no: 10475-17, pdf): Council's negotiating position with European Parliament in trilogue despite the fact that:

"Four main aspects of the proposal could not be agreed upon during the discussions at the preparatory bodies level. Therefore, the Presidency has prepared draft compromise solutions, which take into account the different positions expressed by delegations during the above discussions and which can be found in the Annex to this Note. The changes in the text of the draft Regulation as compared to the Commission proposal are indicated in bold and deleted text is marked in […]."

See: European Parliament draft orientation position (pdf)

USA: Government Accountability Office (GAO): Aviation Security: TSA Does Not Have Valid Evidence Supporting Most of the Revised Behavioral Indicators Used in Its Behavior Detection Activities (pdf):

"According to TSA, certain verbal and nonverbal cues and behaviors—TSA’s behavioral indicators—may indicate mal-intent, such as the intent to carry out a terrorist attack. These behavioral indicators include, for example, assessing the way an individual swallows or the degree to which an individual’s eyes are open. According to TSA, such indicators provide a means for identifying passengers who may pose a risk to aviation security and referring them for additional screening...

TSA does not have valid evidence that most of the indicators in its revised list of behavioral indicators can be used to identify individuals who may pose a threat to aviation security. In our review of all 178 sources TSA cited in support of its revised list, we found that 98 percent (175 of 178) of the sources do not provide valid evidence applicable to the specific indicators that TSA identified them as supporting. In total, we found that TSA does not have valid evidence to support 28 of its 36 revised behavioral indicators, has one source of valid evidence to support each of 7 indicators, and has 2 sources of valid evidence to support 1 indicator."

IT workers in other countries had access to secret Swedish records: report (The Local.se, link):

" Two secret police databases were made available to Czech IT workers without security clearance during a cyber security slip-up at the Swedish Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen), reports the DN daily.

It emerged this week that Sweden's security police Säpo investigated Transportstyrelsen after key information was made available to IT workers in other countries who had not gone through the usual security clearance checks when the agency outsourced its IT maintenance to IBM in 2015."

UK: Girl, 5, fined £150 for running homemade lemonade stall (Guardian, link): "Father says girl was left in tears after council enforcement officer accused her of trading without licence."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18-20.7.17) including: EU visa war against African "elite"; EU to restrict sale of rubber boats to Libya

ECHR: No rights violations caused by Belgian bans on covering face in public

The European Court of Human Rights recently handed down two judgments on Belgian bans on face coverings in public, targeted at those who were the full-face veil. In both cases - which concerned bans in three municipalities and a national ban - the Court found there was no breach of the rights to private and family life; freedom of thought, conscience and religion; or the prohibition on discrimination. In one of the cases, however, the Court did find a violation of the right to access a court.

The UK Granted Spy Tech Export to Turkey Amid Its Massive Crackdown on Dissent (Motherboard, link):

"Turkey has ordered over a hundred media outlets to close, jailed journalists, and most recently demanded the arrest of a senior Amnesty International employee.

The UK is a prolific exporter of surveillance technology, ranging from IMSI-catchers that can monitor mobile phones to internet mass surveillance equipment.

Now, according to newly published data from the UK's Department for International Trade, the country granted a license to export surveillance technology to Turkey earlier this year. That in itself may not be very surprising—the UK has greenlit surveillance exports to Turkey in the past—but the license comes at a time when Turkey is undergoing a particularly potent wave of crackdowns and oppression against dissent, including the incarceration of journalists and human rights defenders."

UK: Durham Police unveils ‘bodycam intelligence database’ (Netpol, link):

"One of the UK’s smallest police forces, Durham Police, is reportedly gathering video captured by officers’ body worn cameras to create a ‘troublemakers’ database – contravening national guidance that officers should not use the technology as an ‘intelligence-gathering tool’.

Body Worn Video cameras, or ‘bodycams’ as they are more usually known, are now a global phenomenon. Most UK police forces use them routinely, as do forces in the US, Australia and Europe. Nor is it just the police that is using this technology: bodycams are routinely worn by bailiffs, security guards, even traffic wardens and council workers.

This is arguably one of the biggest single expansions of surveillance capacity since the introduction of CCTV, and one that is highly profitable for bodycam manufacturers such as Axon (formerly Taser International)."

UK: Official figures show biggest rise in crime in a decade (The Guardian, link):

"Police-recorded crime has risen by 10% across England and Wales – the largest annual rise for a decade – according to the Office of National Statistics.

The latest crime figures for the 12 months to March also show an 18% rise in violent crime, including a 20% surge in gun crime and knife crime. The official figures also show a 26% rise in the murder rate to 723 homicides.

The 10% rise in police recorded crime to nearly 5m offences include increases in burglary and vehicle theft suggesting that the long-term fall in these higher volume offences may be coming to an end."

POLAND: Street protests and EU warnings over attempt to bring judiciary under political control

The latest set of measures going through the Polish legislature that would undermine the independence of the judiciary and seperation of powers have led to protests across Poland and warnings from the EU that it will invoke the 'Article 7' procedure, which could ultimately see Polish voting rights in the Council suspended.

ITALY: Mafia Boss: “The State is Me.” (OCCRP, link:

"By sunrise, 116 alleged members of the ‘Ndrangheta – one of the world’s most powerful crime syndicates – were under arrest, including the bosses of some of its most important clans.

“Mandamento,” a long-planned operation aimed at crushing one of the world’s most dangerous criminal groups, had ended with a big catch. It also helped investigators piece together, with more detail than ever before, how the group operates.

The Calabria-based ‘Ndrangheta stretches its tentacles throughout Europe. Italian prosecutor Nicola Gratteri, who wrote an authoritative book on the cocaine trade, believes that the syndicate controls over 40 percent of the world’s market of the drug.

Experts say that in 2013, it made more money than Deutsche Bank and McDonald's put together, with a turnover of €53 billion (US$ 70.41 billion), mostly from drug trafficking.

(...)

The investigation that led to operation “Mandamento” - led by local anti-mafia prosecutors and the Carabinieri - went on for years. Detectives pieced together clues from dozens of previous anti-mafia operations and put them together like a jigsaw puzzle.

The picture still has a few missing parts. But it already reveals a state-like criminal structure that has developed here over centuries."

UK-JAMAICA: Inhumane deportation (The Gleaner, link) by Luke de Noronha:

"Just over a week ago, two reports were published in Britain that might interest the Jamaican readership. They both concerned mass-deportation charter flights from London to Kingston.

(...)

The first report was an annual review by the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) regarding several charter flights from Britain in 2016 - to Albania, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Jamaica. I have met a few people who were on that charter flight to Jamaica in September 2016, and the majority of them left children behind in Britain. Theirs were stories of banishment from home, rather than a return to home. People had been away so long that they had few memories of the island, and no close family members to turn to. This is a familiar story.

What was significant about the report was the use of waist-restraint belts on the flight. Far more than any other nationality, Jamaicans were restrained in these belts, which act like straitjackets to prevent people moving their arms - often for hours at a time. On other chartered flights, only a few deportees are restrained in this way; it's the exception rather than the rule.

(...)

The second report, conducted by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons, covered the last deportation flight from the UK to Jamaica in March 2017. Again, the independent inspectors found that force was used far too often."

See the reports: Annual Report of the Independent Monitoring Boards Charter Flight Monitoring Team for the calenday year 2016 (pdf) and: HM Chief Inspector of Prisons: Detainees under escort: Inspection of escort and removals to Jamaica (pdf)

Teenage refugees in Greece are being labelled 'adults' if they have wisdom teeth (International Business Times, link):

"Children as young as 14 arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos are being identified as over-18s and forced to live with unrelated adults, without access to education and protective services, a shocking new report has revealed.

Greek authorities are quick to register teenagers as adults, without conducting a proper assessment, according to the Human Rights Watch report 'Lone Migrant Children Left Unprotected' published today.

If an assessment is carried out, it is often during a hasty visit to a dentist where any children whose wisdom teeth have come through are registered as adults. This was how 17-year-old Akash from Bangladesh ended up in the adult section of Moria refugee camp, where more than 3,000 people are living in "inexcusable" and "inhumane" conditions."

And see: Greece: Lone Migrant Children Left Unprotected (Human Rights Watch, link): "Unaccompanied migrant children on the Greek island of Lesbos are being incorrectly identified as adults and housed with unrelated adults, leaving them vulnerable to abuse and unable to access the specific care they need, Human Rights Watch said today."

USA: Silicon Valley mostly quiet in internet surveillance debate in Congress (Reuters, link):

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Facebook Inc (FB.O), Alphabet Inc's Google (GOOGL.O), Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and other major technology firms are largely absent from a debate over the renewal of a broad U.S. internet surveillance law, weakening prospects for privacy reforms that would further protect customer data, according to sources familiar with the matter.

While tech companies often lobby Washington on privacy issues, the major firms have been hesitant to enter a fray over a controversial portion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), industry lobbyists, congressional aides and civil liberties advocates said.

Among their concerns is that doing so could jeopardize a trans-Atlantic data transfer pact [the 'Privacy Shield] underpinning billions of dollars in trade in digital services, the sources said."

Statewatch Analysis: The EU goes to war with African “elite” (pdf): by Tony Bunyan

EU to target African governments, officials and others with the threat to refuse or delay visas to enforce its returns and readmission policies
EU starts setting out the “consequences” of non-cooperation by agreeing “Measures targeting the "elite" of third countries”

See: Council of the European Union: "Link between return/readmission and visa policies" (RESTRICTED, EU doc no: 9097-REV-1-17)

Germany says EU aid to Turkey could be halted over arrests (euractiv, link):

"Germany raised the possibility on Wednesday (19 July) of suspending European Union aid payments to Turkey after summoning Ankara’s ambassador to Berlin to protest over the arrest of six human rights activists including a German citizen."

UK: A Vanishing Breed? Walker v Innospec Ltd - The UK Supreme Court Disapplies a Statutory Provision on the Grounds of Incompatibility with EU Equality Law (EU Law Analysis, link):

"Last week’s decision of the UK Supreme Court (UKSC) in the same-sex pension rights case of Walker v Innospec Ltd [2017] UKSC 47 generated plenty of excited commentary in the UK media.

This mainly focused on the UKSC’s finding that it constitutes direct discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation – and thus a breach of EU law - for the rules of a employer’s contributory benefit scheme to deny payment of a ‘spouse’s pension’ to a surviving member of a same-sex married couple, in circumstances where such a pension would be paid to the surviving member of an opposite-sex married couple."

USA: No One Should Have to Guess Meaning of Surveillance Laws - Court Hearing Highlights Problem of Secret Justice Department Opinions (HRW, link):

"The US government may be entitled to keep many of the specific details of its intelligence surveillance operations secret, but should it be able to invade your privacy, hinder your free expression, and jeopardize your fair-trial rights on the basis of secret laws and legal interpretations?

Under international human rights law, the answer is a resounding no – and a lawsuit heard by a federal court in Washington, DC earlier this week may help to advance this principle under US law."

UK-EU-BREXIT: House of Lords Select Committee report: Brexit: the EU data protection package (pdf):

"The Government has said that it wants to maintain unhindered and uninterrupted data flows with the EU post-Brexit. The Government’s White Paper on The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union, says, for example, that the UK “will seek to maintain the stability of data transfers between the EU, Member States and the UK.

We support this objective, but were struck by the lack of detail on how the Government plans to deliver this outcome. Our analysis suggests that the stakes are high, not least because any post-Brexit arrangement that results in greater friction around data transfers between the UK and the EU could present a non-tariff trade barrier, putting the UK at a competitive disadvantage. Any impediments to data flows post-Brexit could also hinder police and security cooperation."
[emphasis added]

Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU): The Commission cannot refuse access to written submissions of the Member States held by it, on the sole ground that they are documents relating to court proceedings (Press release, pdf):

"The Court of Justice confirms the judgment of the General Court holding that the decision on such an application for access must be made on the basis of the regulation concerning public access to documents held by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission."

Patrick Breyer writes:

"The European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg today ruled in favour of the German civil liberties activist and pirate party member Patrick Breyer (Commission vs. Breyer, C-213/15 P): It ordered the Commission to give the press and the public access to the pleadings exchanged in completed court proceedings. In the present case Breyer successfully demanded the Commission disclose Austrian pleadings concerning the non-transposition of the controversial EU Data Retention Directive. However the Court fined Breyer for publishing the written submissions in his own case on his homepage....

Todays ruling confirms that the EU's judicial system is lacking transparency and in urgent need of reform, comments Breyer. Since EU judges appear to consider transparency in pending proceedings a threat, the EU needs to revise the Court rules in accordance with those applicable to the European Court of Human Rights. Indifferently prohibiting parties from publishing pleadings ­ including their oown ­ is inacceptable and endangers the freedom of the press."

See: Judgment: full text (pdf)

Database on “European extremists”: How is the plan pursued since 2001 supposed to function? (link):

"After each major summit protest, there are calls for a European “troublemakers” database to be established. Centralised data storage at EU level or decentralised networking of national systems would be conceivable options. For a number of reasons, it has not been possible to set up a database of this kind since the turn of the millennium. The governing coalition in Germany has now announced a new initiative to this end following the G20 Summit in Hamburg."

And see:Protests in the EU: “Troublemakers” and “travelling violent offenders [undefined] to be recorded on database and targeted (Statewatch Analysis) and List of sources

“Armed Drones in Italy and Europe: Problems and Perspectives - Between military strategy, transparency issues and protection of fundamental human rights” with international experts in activists on 25 September 2017 at the University of Milan.

The conference is organized by Rete Italiana per il Disarmo, Coalizione Italiana Libertà e Diritti civili (CILD) and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR).

See: Poster (Pdf)

USA: CIA Plans to Destroy Some of Its Old Leak Files (Daily Beast, link):

"The National Archives has tentatively approved a proposal to let the agency get rid of files that don’t have historical value. Historians fear there’s a lot of room for error."

EU research policy for peace, people and planet: A Civil Society perspective on the next EU Research Framework Programme (FP9) (pdf):

"The research that is prioritised and funded today will have a decisive impact on the future of our societies and our planet.

Our societies face immense environmental, social and economic challenges, as exemplified by the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 agenda.

It is certainly no time for “business as usual”, and radical change is needed for the European Union (EU) to address these challenges, such as climate change, food security, antimicrobial resistance, decent jobs for all, rising inequalities, and to mainstream the SDGs into the research agenda of the EU."

See also: Report by the European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) adopted 13 June 2017: Assessment of Horizon 2020 implementation in view of its interim evaluation and the Framework Programme 9 proposal (pdf) including: "Calls on the Commission to separate defence research from civil research in the next MFF, providing two different programmes with two separate budgets that do not affect the budgetary ambitions of civilian research of FP9; calls on the Commission, therefore, to present to Parliament the possible ways for financing the future defence research programme in accordance with the Treaties, with a dedicated budget with fresh resources and specific rules; highlights the importance of parliamentary oversight in this respect"

EU: Frontex cooperation with non-EU states: information from the agency

A November 2016 letter from Frontex provides an overview of the agency's cooperation with third states in the fields of risk analysis, return, research and innovation and joint operations. The information was provided in response to a parliamentary question from Sabine Lösing and Cornelia Ernst, two German MEPs from the GUE/NGL left group in the European Parliament.

UK: Neglect contributed to Liverpool prisoner's suicide, jury finds (The Guardian, link):

"An inquest jury has found that neglect contributed to the death of a prisoner who killed himself at Liverpool prison last year.

The jury’s findings mirrored another inquest verdict on a death at the Merseyside jail last year. Six prisoners at Liverpool have taken their own lives in the last two years.

Edwin “Ned” Lewis O’Donnell, 26, was found hanging in his cell in the segregation unit at Liverpool on 23 October last year.

Last Friday, the jury at Liverpool coroner’s court found that his death was accidental, contributed to by neglect."

GREECE: Serious gaps in the care of refugees in Greek hotspots; Vulnerability assessment system is breaking down (Refugee Support Aegean, link):

"Following the departure of Non-governmental organisations (NGOs), medical and social services have seriously been minimised in the Registration and Identification Centres (RIC), the so-called hotspots of the Aegean. Ever since the needs of refugees are not being covered effectively. Huge gaps have been observed concerning psychological aid, and this in a period where the mental health of refugees is deteriorating severely due to being stuck and under constant threat to be readmitted to Turkey. At the same time, the system of vulnerability assessment seems to be breaking down. It is not known, how far the state agencies who are planned in to take this job over, will be able to replace the work the NGOs had provided until recently.

The working contracts most of the NGOs had signed with the Ministry of Migration Policy ended end of May. As a result the staff left the RIC and dozens of people lost their jobs. More than that, a huge service gap emerged all of a sudden. Until recently those NGOs had been tasked with a large part of the medical and social services, which are among the responsibilities of the Reception and Identification Service."

And see: EU to scale back Greek asylum aid (EUobserver, link)

IRELAND: Regulator and CSO in stand-off over mobile data (Irish Times, link):

"An extraordinary stand-off has emerged between the State’s official statistics body and the data protection watchdog over a plan by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) to force mobile phone network providers to hand over roaming data about tourists and Irish residents travelling abroad.

Communications between the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) and the statistics office over a period of almost nine years up to late last year reveal the statistics body wanted to compel mobile operators to transfer to it on an ongoing basis the details of phones or users roaming on the networks, as well as the dates and times of their calls.

The commissioner objected on the grounds there was no legal basis to allow the CSO obtain such data and on the grounds it would be a serious interference with people’s privacy rights.

The statistics office first wrote to former commissioner Billy Hawkes in 2008 to say the data on international mobile phone roaming usage “may significantly enhance our statistics on tourism and international travel”."

EU: Counter-terrorism recommendations from 2006 declassified

The Council of the EU has published two declassified versions of a 2006 paper containing a host of recommendations on counter-terrorism policy, covering Islamist extremism in prisons, an assessment of "returning jihadis" on radicalisation and recruitment in Europe, terrorist movments and travel patterns, "what deters terrorists?", and the "terrorist threat to rail and underground systems." The recommendations were drawn up by officials in the Council with a view to including them in the EU's Counter-Terrorism Action Plan, at that time in its infancy.

INTERPOL to highlight need for military to police terrorism data flow at Global Coalition meeting (INTERPOL, link):

"LYON, France – Ahead of a meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, INTERPOL has underlined the need for military success against the group to be translated into actionable intelligence for police around the world.

With mounting pressure on former ISIS strongholds likely to result in increased numbers of battle-hardened terrorists returning home, fleeing to neighbouring countries, or joining other conflicts, it is vital that critical information left by retreating fighters and recovered by Global Coalition forces is quickly shared with the global law enforcement community through a secure multilateral platform.

Details of more than 18,000 Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs) have now been shared via INTERPOL’s global network with an increasing amount being sourced from the conflict zones. Biometric data such as photos, fingerprints and DNA profiles have already led to the positive identification of terrorists around the world, including via facial recognition."

Italy’s Smuggling Prosecutions Ruin Lives While Real Criminals Go Free (Refugees Deeply, link):

"This improvised captain – a migrant just like everyone else aboard – had no idea what to do. The overloaded dinghy started spinning uncontrollably and taking on water. Yusuf stepped in and found himself at the helm until the dinghy was found by the Italian coastguard nearly two days after setting sail.

Upon disembarking, Yusuf was identified by fellow passengers as one of the scafisti, the Italian term for smugglers who pilot boats, and was arrested.

(...)

Between August 2015 and the end of July 2016, a total of 793 scafisti were arrested, according to Italy’s interior ministry. This is on top of the 1,511 arrested since 2013. Arresting migrant pilots has been central to the approach of the Italian government, with then prime minister Matteo Renzi boasting on Twitter in April 2015: “We have arrested 976 scafisti and rescued thousands of people.”

While Italy’s popular press paints them as ruthless criminals, the reality of the scafisti is more nuanced. Stories like that of Yusuf are common."

Polish TV denounces pro-democracy 'putsch' (EUobserver, link):

"Demonstrators in Polish cities have raised an outcry over judicial reforms amid a toxic media campaign.

The largest protests were in Warsaw, where 10,000 people, according to city authorities, assembled outside parliament and outside the supreme court on Sunday (16 July).

Thousands of people also assembled in other Polish cities, including Katowice, Krakow, Opole, Poznan, Szczecin, Torun, and Wroclaw.

People lit candles around court buildings in what they called a “Chain of Light”. They also carried signs and chanted slogans which accused the ruling party, Law and Justice (PiS), and its leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, of turning Poland into a “dictatorship”.

The demonstrations came after PiS extended its control over Poland’s judiciary by passing two reform bills in the senate on Friday."

See also: “Very, very dangerous”: Thousands protest proposed Supreme Court changes in Poland, fearing creep toward one-party rule (Krakow Post, link): "[The bill] would allow MPs and the the Minister of Justice to appoint judges, bypassing the consultation of judicial circles. The bill would also give the judiciary council, a body which will have almost all of its members chosen by parliament, the power to choose future appointees."

Neuromarketing in the Age of iPhones (Epoch Times, link):

"Marketers are hoping to capitalize on biometric data that can reveal feelings we may not even know we have—or would rather not share.

The field of neuromarketing could be on the verge of a breakthrough with the latest smartphones and wearable tech. In the past, neuromarketers operated on the fringes of credibility, but that could change, along with the ethical issues the technology raises."

UK-EU: Brexit: European Commission publishes Position Papers: Justice and Home Affairs

The Commission has published three Position papers on the effect of the UK's withdrawal from the EU - whether or not these will be replaced later is not known at this stage of the negotiations:

 Position paper on Ongoing Police and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal matters (12 July 2017, pdf):

"The following general principles should apply in accordance with Union law, as interpreted by the Court of Justice of the European Union on the date of entry into force of the Withdrawal Agreement."

Thirteen measures including: European Arrest Warrant, European investigation order, ECRIS and Passenger name records.

 Position paper on Ongoing Union Judicial and Administrative Procedures (12 July 2017, pdf):

"The Withdrawal Agreement should provide for arrangements relating to proceedings before the Court of Justice involving the United Kingdom, and/or United Kingdom residents/legal persons (I(1)), and administrative procedures before Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies concerning the United Kingdom, and/or United Kingdom residents/legal persons (II(1)), which are ongoing on the withdrawal date, as well as for arrangements relating to judicial proceedings and administrative procedures initiated after the withdrawal date and relating to facts that occurred before the withdrawal date (I(2); II(2))." A Footnote says:

"The arrangements dealt with in this paper are without prejudice to the possibility, e.g., for the Court of Justice to consider, on a case by case basis, that a preliminary question addressed to it by a court in the United Kingdom can no longer be adjudicated by the Court of Justice for lack of substantive Union law applicable to the case after the United Kingdom's withdrawal."

 Position paper transmitted to EU27 on Ongoing Police and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal matters (28 June 2017, pdf) Covers:

"General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679;
- Directive (EU) 2016/680;
- Sectorial Union legislation in the area of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters.
- Classified information."

UK: Draft Technical Capability Regulations notified to European Commission following targeted consultation (gov.uk link):

"Regulations to help make companies maintain the technical capability to respond to warrants and authorisations from law enforcement.

The Home Office has notified the European Commission of regulations to help make companies maintain the technical capability to respond to warrants and authorisations from law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13-14.7.17)

UK: Government criticised for refusing to publish report into funding of extremist groups

The UK government has been criticised for refusing to publish a Home Office report on "the nature, scale and origin of the funding of Islamist extremist activity in the UK, including any overseas sources."

Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, said in a written statement to parliament that the report would not be published "because of the volume of personal information it contains and for national security reasons."

Certain MPs - members of the Privcy Council, an archaic government body - will be able to view the report in private, but will not be allowed to discuss what they have learnt in public.

EU remains silent as Poland’s government assaults top court (euractiv, link):

"The EU remained silent on Thursday (13 July) despite being pressed by journalists to say something following the news that Poland’s far-right government tabled a bill in parliament that would subordinate the country’s Supreme Court to executive power."

And see: Poland 'leaving EU community of values' (euobserver, link):

"Leading MEPs and legal watchdogs have raised the alarm on Polish judicial reforms, but the European Commission declined to speak out so far.

Manfred Weber, the German head of the centre-right EPP group, the largest in the European Parliament, said on Thursday (13 July) that EU states and the Commission ought to “take measures against the Polish government”. "

Interpol Rejects Azerbaijani Request for Arrest Warrant Against European Parliamentarian (Armenia Weekly, link):

"International police cooperation agency Interpol has rejected a request for an international arrest warrant to be served on a Czech Member of the European Parliament (MEP), reported Prague based Czech Radio.

Interpol refused the request for the arrest of MEP Jaromir Štetina following an appeal from authorities in Azerbaijan. The request was done following a visit by the MEP to Artsakh in February, during which Štetina denounced Azerbaijani authorities."

Europol chief defends EU counterterrorism efforts as battle-hardened Islamic State fighters return (Washington TImes, link):

"Europe’s top intelligence and counterterrorism officials are bracing for a surge of battle-hardened Islamic State foreign fighters returning home to the continent as the jihadi group loses its territorial base in the Middle East, the head of the European Union’s main law enforcement agency says."

AAR DOSSIER / Dragnet surveillance for secret services (Bits of Freedom, link):

"Late last night the Dutch Senate passed the bill for the new Intelligence and Security Services Act. With the Senate’s vote, a years-long political battle has come to an end: the secret services have been afforded dragnet surveillance powers....

We’re beyond disappointed that a bill has been passed that faced such overwhelming opposition from experts, civil society and citizens alike. Traditionally, Senate concerns itself with the quality of legislation, compliance with the constitution and international agreements, and the question whether citizens' rights are upheld. The dragnet surveillance bill fails on all counts."

UK-BREXIT: Repeal Bill: Summary "factsheet" are here (link)

- Full-text of the Repeal Bill (pdf)
-
Explanatory Notes: EU withdrawal Bill (68 pages, pdf)
-
Note on delegated powers (pdf)

See: Small print of repeal bill creates unprecedented new powers for Brexit ministers (Politics.co.uk, link):

"On the face of it, the repeal bill addresses many of the concerns of its critics. But once you dig in a little further, the full scale of the executive power grab becomes clear. There has never been a piece of legislation like this in modern British history. We have never handed the government so much power. "

And: The White Paper on the Great Repeal Bill: Invasion of the Parliamentary Control Snatchers (EU Law Analysis, link)

European Commission: Infringement proceeding: Hungary & Spain

- Hungary: Commission launches infringement procedure for law on foreign-funded NGOs (pdf):

"Infringements - Today, the European Commission decided to send a letter of formal notice to Hungary for its new law on foreign-funded NGOs adopted on 13 June.

The Hungarian law introduces new obligations for certain categories of NGOs receiving annual foreign funding above HUF7.2 million (approx. € 24,000) to register and label themselves in all their publications, websites and press material as "organisations supported from abroad", and to report specific information about the funding they receive from abroad to the Hungarian authorities. These organisations face sanctions if they fail to comply with the new reporting and transparency obligations."

- Commission refers SPAIN to the Court of Justice of the EU for failure to implement EU rules on whistle-blowers (pdf):

"This Directive is part of the Market Abuse rulebook and requires Member States to establish effective mechanisms to enable
the reporting of infringements of the Market Abuse Regulation. It contains provisions to protect those who report such infringements and further specifies procedures to protect whistle-blowers and reported persons, including follow-up arrangements on reports by whistle-blowers and protection of personal data."

See also: Proposed law on whistleblowing and corruption is "perverse, megalomaniacal and authoritarian" (Statewatch News)

BREXIT: Ongoing Union judicial and administrative proceedings Position paper (pdf):

"Leaving the EU will end the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the UK."

UK: SURVEILLANCE: Final Report DATA-PSST (pdf):

"Core insights:

- Transparency has two important dimensions: (a) degree of citizen control over how visible they are; and (b) degree of oversight of the surveillant entity.

- Post-Snowden, we have moved towards a transparency arrangement of radical translucency. This is where (a) people have no personal control over their own personal visibility because they have signed this away for the greater good, but the surveillant organisation helps secure people’s privacy by adding opacity; and (b) public processes are maximally opened up for inspection...".

Statewatch contributed to this project.

European Parlliament: Smart Borders Entry/Exit System is unproven, expensive and violates right to privacy (GUE/NGL, link):

"The European Parliament's LIBE Committee today adopted the first part of the so-called Smart Borders Package; the Entry/Exit System (EES).

"The Entry/Exit System text that was voted on today is the result of negotiations with the European Council. It is complex, costly and dangerous to fundamental rights and freedoms. It conflates irregular immigration, border security and the fight against terrorism, and it's effectiveness has not been proven. This is particularly worrying, considering the huge sums of money that would be invested in it."

"In this text, the European Parliament has retreated on many of its initial positions, notably on the right to respect for privacy and data protection. All biometric and alphanumeric data recorded in the EES will be accessible to the member states, including their immigration authorities, law enforcement authorities and intelligence services.

"Even worse, it allows data sharing and cooperation with third countries without specifying the purposes for this.

"The EES therefore institutionalises the registration of personal details of all third-country nationals on a mass scale in violation of their fundamental rights. This is a big brother-style policy and it would set a dangerous precedent," warns the French MEP."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (8-12.7.17) including: Italian code of conduct for NGO search and rescue ops; Operation Sophia is "a failed mission"

EU completes ratification of Association Agreement with Ukraine

The EU has taken the final step in ratifying its Association Agreement with Ukraine with the adoption on 11 July of a decision to conlude the Agreement, allowing full implementation of the agreement from 1 September 2017 and giving "a new impetus to the cooperation in areas such as foreign and security policy, justice, freedom and security (including migration) taxation, public finance management, science and technology, education and information society."

UK: New criminal tagging system scaled back after ministry failings (The Guardian, link):

"A new tagging system to monitor criminals has been dramatically scaled back and is running at least five years behind schedule after a series of expensive failings by the Ministry of Justice, the government’s spending watchdog has found.

The National Audit Office (NAO) discovered that as attempts to develop bespoke technology failed, civil servants turned to G4S for a new tagging contract even though the outsourcing firm is under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.

A report released on Wednesday describes a chaotic picture of the department’s handling of the project, launched six years ago under the then justice minister Ken Clarke, and supposed to be a cheaper and efficient alternative to prison."

See the full report: The new generation electronic monitoring programme (pdf), summary (pdf) and the NAO press release: The new generation electronic monitoring programme (link)

UK: Met police spy faces disciplinary over relationship with activist (The Guardian, link):

"A police spy who deceived an environmental activist into forming a long-term relationship with him is facing disciplinary proceedings initiated by Scotland Yard.

Jim Boyling, a serving Metropolitan police officer, will appear before the disciplinary panel six years after he was unmasked as an undercover spy when the activist revealed details of their relationship to the Guardian. The activist wishes to remain anonymous and is known as Laura.

The Met has apologised unreservedly to Laura and six other women after admitting they had been deceived by undercover officers into having intimate relationships that were “abusive, deceitful or manipulative”. The Met paid substantial compensation to Laura and the other women after a long legal battle."

SPAIN: Over 60 detainees in Barcelona migrant detention centre on hunger strike

On Monday night 52 detainees in Barcelona's migrant detention centre (CIE, Centro de Internamiento de Extranjeros) began a hunger strike. On Tuesday morning another 11 detainees from a variety of countries joined the 52, who are said to be from countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The detainees are in "different administrative situations", although the hunger strike was started to protest against the impending deportation that many of them are facing.

UK: South Wales Police in the UK uses NEC facial recognition system (Biometric Update, link):

"NEC has provided a facial recognition system for South Wales Police in the UK through NEC Europe Ltd., which uses the company’s flagship facial recognition software platform NeoFace Watch.

The software is used for real-time CCTV surveillance, as well as still image and recorded video face search, which acts as a security measure in crowded locations, such as airports and stadiums.

The police force has deployed NeoFace Watch using CCTV cameras installed on several police vehicles. It is using the software’s real-time surveillance capability to locate persons of interest on pre-determined watchlists, including criminals, suspects, vulnerable individuals and missing persons." (emphasis added)

USA: Does the Militarization of Police Lead to More People Killed? Research Says Yes (Truthout, link):

"Scenes of heavily armed police forces are becoming more common across the country. New research from Ryan Welch, Jack Mewhirter, Casey Delehanty and Jason Wilks finds that this militarization results in more individuals killed each year by law enforcement. The study found that twice as many people are more likely to die in counties that receive an influx in military equipment. Additional research conducted in 2016 also found that police are more likely to be attacked when they are militarized, which raises the question of how beneficial it is to pad police forces with military-grade weaponry."

See: Militarization and police violence: The case of the 1033 program (SAGE, link) and: The Case Against Police Militarization (pdf) by Eliav Liebnich and Adam Shinar:

"this Article develops the first comprehensive and principled argument against police militarization that is not strictly instrumental. Contrary to argument that are preoccupied with the consequences of militarization, we argue that militarization undermines our basic understanding of the nature of the liberal state."

IRELAND: Revealed: The Department of Justice 'shopping list' includes new HQ, helicopters and garda station (Irish Independent, link):

"The Department of Justice 'shopping list' for gardaí includes requests for funding for major projects like a new headquarters for key units, the reopening of a Dublin station and new helicopters.

Additional funding needed for gardaí and wider justice sector has been set out in a briefing prepared for new Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan.

Officials have sent details of extra funding requirements between 2018 and 2021 to the Department of Public Expenditure, which is in the process of preparing its mid-term capital plan review."

EU: UK parliamentary report: "failed" Operation Sophia has caused more deaths, EU should "combat irregular migration" in southern Libya

A UK parliamentary committee has said in a new report that it sees "little reason to renew the mandate of Operation Sophia", the EU's anti-migrant smuggling mission in the Mediterranean, when it comes up for renewal at the end of July.

According to the report by the House of Lords European Union Committee, the operation "has not in any meaningful way deterred the flow of migrants, disrupted the smugglers’ networks, or impeded the business of people smuggling on the central Mediterranean route," while an "unintended consequence" of the mission "has been that the smugglers have adapted, sending migrants to sea in unseaworthy vessels, leading to an increase in deaths."

UK: ‘Was my friend a spycop?’ publication now out (Undercover Research Group, link):

"A guide to the do’s and don’t’s of investigating if a comrade was an undercover police officer is released today,

In this 24 page booklet, we have brought together all the lessons we have learned to help you do your own investigation.

It covers how to start investigating and the sorts of questions that need answering. Equally importantly, we discuss how to support each other or deal with situations which are inconclusive. It takes you through the process step by step, so even if you have already started your own investigation there is help with what to do once you have come to a conclusion."

Italian uproar over fascist-themed beach near Venice (BBC News, link):

"When a national newspaper revealed that a beach near Venice was styling itself on the fascist era of Benito Mussolini, police quickly raided the club.

One sign said "Anti-democratic zone and regime" while another appeared to joke about the Nazi Holocaust, reading "Entry forbidden - gas chamber".

The Venice prefect ordered "any references to fascism" to be removed.

But now the row has spread to parliament, over a bill to tighten up laws against promoting fascism."

USA: PREDICTIVE POLICING: The Ex-Cop at the Center of Controversy Over Crime Prediction Tech (Bloomberg, link):

"Goldstein’s company does make one unusual promise, which it thinks can satisfy skeptics in law enforcement and civil rights circles simultaneously. Other companies that make predictive software for criminal justice settings keep their algorithms secret for competitive reasons. In March, CivicScape published its code on GitHub, a website where computer programmers post and critique one another’s work. It was an unprecedented move, and it caused an immediate stir among people who follow the cop tech industry. “They’re doing all the things I’ve been screaming about for years,” said Andrew Ferguson, a professor at the University of the District of Columbia’s law school and author of the forthcoming book, The Rise of Big Data Policing.

Posting computer code online won’t erase the worries about predictive policing. There are still concerns about how CivicScape responds to perceived shortcomings, and there’s also the big question of what police departments do with the intelligence it produces. But more than any other company, CivicScape has turned itself into a test case for what it means for law enforcement to use artificial intelligence in a way that’s transparent and accountable—and whether that's even possible."

And see: FAQs on Predictive Policing and Bias (Human Rights Data Analysis Group, link)

EU: Open NGO Letter to EU Member States and Institutions Regarding the Export of Surveillance Equipment (Access Now, link):

"Following the alarming evidence that EU-made electronic surveillance equipment is still being exported to authoritarian countries around the world, we strongly urge all EU member states and institutions to respect their human rights obligations and call on them to prioritise long overdue EU reforms.

We are extremely concerned that little has changed since civil society first recognised the need to modernise current EU rules governing the export of surveillance equipment as far back as 2011 during the Arab Awakening. As the European Commission has since proposed reforms to the current system specifically aimed “to prevent human rights violations associated with certain cyber-surveillance technologies”, we urge member states to refrain from any further delays in the process and to ensure that states throughout the European Union prevent surveillance exports that pose risks to human rights."

See: Open Letter (pdf)

UK: Bristol police officer to be charged after man shot with Taser weapon (The Guardian, link):

"A police officer is to be charged with assault after one of her force’s race relations advisers was allegedly shot with a Taser electronic weapon.

PC Claire Boddie, 47, has been summonsed to appear before magistrates following an incident in which 63-year-old Judah Adunbi was stopped outside his home in Bristol.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigated and sent a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which decided there was sufficient evidence to charge the officer."

See: Judah Adunbi 'welcomes' decision to charge police officer who Tasered him as suspension calls grow (Bristol Post, link): "A race relations advisor Tasered in the face by a police officer said he welcomed a decision to prosecute the officer on an assault charge. It came as calls grew for the two PCs involved in a confrontation with Judah Adunbi in Bristol to be suspended.

Mr Adunbi, speaking via the Justice for Judah campaign, which was launched following the incident in January, said he "keenly awaits the verdict" of a court case, which will begin next month."

SPECIAL: EU: Italy's proposed code of conduct for Mediterranean NGOs "threatens life-saving operations"

The European Commission asked Italy to draw up a "Code of Conduct" for NGOs carrying out search and rescue in the Mediterranean: See full-text of: Code of Conduct for NGOs involved in migrant's rescue operation at sea (pdf). The organisation Human Rights at Sea has said the proposed code "threatens life-saving search and rescue operations".

All NGOs operating in the Med are required to sign and obey the Code: "Failure to sign this Code of Conduct or failure to comply with its obligations may result in the refusal by the Italian State to authorize the access to national ports, subject to compliance with the existing international conventions."

Italy’s New Law on Torture Fails to Meet International Standards (HRW, link):

"After 28 years of failure, Italy has finally made torture a crime. But there’s little to celebrate.

The compromise text, finally approved on July 5 by the Chamber of Deputies after four years of tough negotiations, falls short of the bar set by European and international bodies of which Italy is a member and fails to meet international law standards.

The flaws rest with how the law defines the scope of the crime and the statute of limitations."

Germany asks for EU help following Hamburg G20 protests (DW, link)

"Germany has asked EU members to help trace demonstrators who vandalized property or attacked police at the Hamburg G20 summit. More than 50 suspects from seven countries are currently being detained."

See also: Politicians want EU-wide "extremist" database after arrests, injuries, protests and riots at "dystopian" Hamburg G20 summit

EU: Migration only factor bumping up EU population (euractiv, link):

"The European Union’s population increased last year, despite the same number of births and deaths being recorded. Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office, said the bump was driven by migration.

On World Population Day (11 July), it can be revealed that the EU’s population increased from 510.3 million on 1 January 2016 to 511.8 million on 1 January 2017. Eurostat said that in 2016 the same amount of births and deaths were recorded (5.1 million), meaning the 28-country bloc’s natural population change was in fact neutral.

That means the positive population change of 1.5 million was driven largely by an increase in net migration."

EU The impact on fundamental rights of the proposed Regulation on the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) (FRA, link):

"The European Parliament requested this FRA Opinion on the fundamental rights and personal data protection implications of the proposed Regulation for the creation of a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), including an assessment of the fundamental rights aspects of the access by law enforcement authorities and Europol."

See: Opinion (pdf, link)

EU: Data retention discussions continue at informal JHA Council meeting

"In a format of joint session between the Ministers of Justice and Home affairs, the issue of data retention was discussed. The ministers exchanged views on possible options for data retention for the purpose of prevention and prosecution of crime, underlining that this does not concern the content of the messages.

“Communications metadata is a very important element in fight against serious crime, for example to help discover links between possible criminals and locate the victims of crime,” minister Reinsalu said.

“Estonia has always considered data retention an important element in fight against serious crime. During the presidency, Estonia will continue the good work of the Maltese and will be looking into different options for addressing the current situation of legal uncertainty,” said Mr. Reinsalu."

See: Press release, informal meeting of justice and home affairs ministers, 7 July 2017: At the informal meeting of EU justice ministers the future of e-Justice was set (pdf)

EU: An attack from outer space? These brokers of fear have just what you need (De Correspondent, link):

"The EU is playing an increasing role in public security. But a great deal of policy focuses not on understanding the dangers we face, but on boosting the security industry itself. Marijn Hoijtink has spent years researching the issue. This is what she found."

HUNGARY: What’s the new Fidesz game plan? (Hungarian Spectrum, link):

"Viktor Orbán himself talked about “the hot summer and even hotter fall that awaits us.” He predicted that George Soros will do his best to have a new government in Hungary that will take down the fence and open the borders to illegal immigrants. 444 might find all this sheer madness, but one can’t help thinking that we are faced here with a centrally manipulated propaganda campaign and that behind it the government may actually be preparing to create a situation that would require police intervention. That would give the government an opportunity for a major crackdown, possible martial law, and perhaps the large-scale jailing of activists and opposition politicians."

UK: 25% increase in police use of tasers against children

The number of times police officers used taser electroshock weapons against children increased by 25% across the UK in 2016 compared to 2015, with 597 deployments as compared to 476 in the previous year. Police are being equipped with an increasing number of more powerful tasers following recent approvals by the Home Office and ongoing police policy towards deployment of the weapons.

GERMANY: Politicians want EU-wide "extremist" database after arrests, injuries, protests and riots at "dystopian" Hamburg G20 summit

The G20 summit in Hamburg, which was accompanied by "dystopian" security measures including the deployment of Predator drones, robots in the sewers, heavily militarised police and 'no-protest zones', finished on Saturday following days of mass protests that continued over the weekend. Dozens of protesters were injured and hundreds arrested - although there are no official figures on how many exactly - while numbers offered for the number of police officers injured range from 200 to 500. The German justice minister, Heiko Maas, is now leading calls for a "Europe-wide extremist database" - which sounds similar to previous calls for EU-wide databases on "troublemakers".

UK: Children ‘blighted’ by care home criminalisation (Police Professional, link):

"Policing must understand the rejection felt by looked-after children to prevent unruly behaviour turning into a criminal record.

Figures from the Howard League for Penal Reform show young people aged 16-17 in children’s homes are 15 times more likely to be criminalised than others of the same age.

Launching a two-year campaign, the charity has claimed opportunities are being missed to help young people because care home workers are too quick to call the police over their behaviour.

It believes police officers and children’s home workers need to learn more about how a sense of rejection can lead to young people being criminalised."

And see: Programme to end the criminalisation of children in residential care (The Howard League, link)

A crisis of definition, re-humanising the refugee (Media Diversified, link) by Olivia Woldemikael:

"The label of refugee is deceptive—it often hides more about a person than it reveals. In particular, when we refer to the ‘21 million refugees’ or ‘the refugee crisis’, we inadvertently strip people of their individuality and reduce their diverse lived experiences to the single narrative of displacement. Refugees, as a whole, have been so dehumanised that it is palatable to enclose them in congested camps and detention centres, to deny them access to education and opportunities to work, and to want to keep them out of our countries like a plague. Nothing has made this clearer to me than a meeting with one African refugee, in particular."

UK: Asylum seekers forced into homelessness by paperwork delays, study finds (The Guardian, link)

"The government has been accused of routinely denying support to asylum seekers, leaving them homeless and unable to feed their families, following analysis of more than 300 recent cases.

Research conducted by Refugee Action found that the Home Office was missing its own deadlines for finding emergency accommodation for homeless and destitute asylum seekers, and in some cases wrongly refusing those who make claims for emergency assistance.

In one case, it took more than 10 months to make a decision on whether to grant an applicant asylum support – so long that the person had already received refugee status."

See: Slipping through the cracks: how Britain's asylum support system fails the most vulnerable (Refugee Action, pdf)

USA: Banks Deploy AI to Cut Off Terrorists’ Funding (Wired, link):

"Ever since the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, banks have been required to assist government agencies in detecting money laundering. Software has helped automate that process somewhat. Yet, the process is beset by false positives, in which the system flags behavior that is not actually criminal. A recent Dow Jones survey of more than 800 anti-money laundering professionals found that nearly half of them said false positive alerts hurt their confidence in the accuracy of the screening process.

Still, to comply with governments, banks invest billions of dollars in these systems every year. “That’s billions invested—a lot of humans investigating the flags a legacy system will generate, and a large majority of those turn out not to be financial crimes," says David McLaughlin, who founded QuantaVerse in 2014. "Meanwhile, the real financial crimes are going unnoticed.""

Interpol's global criminal database and my face (Financial Review, link):

"Good God, I needed a drink.

I was wandering around the booths at the Interpol World cybersecurity conference in Singapore last week, feeling curious and uneasy, when I noticed a high-definition photograph of my own sweaty face broadcast high on one of the hundreds of screens.

It had been captured as I climbed the crowded escalators outside the conference centre. I was half-looking down at my phone, oblivious to the camera, and underneath the picture was some helpful information. Ethnicity: caucasian. Gender: female. Hair: brown. Height: 170-180cm. Glasses: no. Smile: no."

EU-USA Justice and Home Affairs meeting

Migration, counter-terrorism and transnational crime - Awaiting CJEU opinion on PNR Canada scheduled for 26 July

The first "meeting with the new US Administration at ministerial level": Outcome of the EU – US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting,Valletta, 15-16 June 2017 (LIMITE doc no: 10483-17, pdf):

UK: This Woman Always Thought She Was British. Now, After 30 Years, The Home Office Says She’s Not (Buzzfeed, link):

"Five generations of Cynsha Best’s family are British, but she was detained by the Home Office after trying to register a marriage. Now she's scared of being deported."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6-7.7.17)

War and violence drive 80% of people fleeing to Europe by sea, not economics (Guardian, link):

"Report challenges economic migrant myth, revealing that most of those making perilous sea crossing were forced from their homes by persecution and fear.

The vast majority of people arriving in Europe by sea are fleeing persecution, war and famine, while less than a fifth are economic migrants, a report published on Friday reveals.

More than 80% of an estimated 1,008,616 arrivals in 2015 came from refugee-producing countries including Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, and a quarter of that number were children.

Researchers say the findings challenge the myth that migrants are coming to Europe for economic reasons."

EU-G20: Remarks by President Donald Tusk before the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany (pdf):

Tusk is seeking support to tackle "the unprecedented wave of illegal migration" through "targeted UN sanctions against smugglers" in north Africa. However, he notes that:

"Unfortunately I have to say that today we do not have the full support even for this minimum. If we do not get it, it will be a sad proof of the hypocrisy of some of the G20 members..."

Perhaps this is because he refers to everyone arriving in the EU as "irregular migrants" (who anyway have the right to claim asylum) and not as refugees and migrants. He also refer only to "smuggling" not trafficking - two legally distinct concepts.

Interoperability: Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA): Weighing the pros and cons of sharing information among EU borders and security systems:

"Interoperability between information systems for borders and security can help border and law enforcement officials thanks to fast and easy access to information about non-EU nationals entering the EU. However, as a new paper from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) shows in addition to benefits, there are also fundamental rights risks. These include using data for some purpose other than the one were designed for, unlawful access to personal data, replicating incorrect data about a given person, and children being linked to immigration offences their parents committed."

See: Report (pdf)

Hungary's Plan to Electrify Border Fence Draws Rebuke (liberties.eu, link):

"A Serbian NGO has strongly criticized the Hungarian government’s plan to electrify its border fence between the two countries in an effort to deter migrants. The Belgrade Center for Protection and Help for Asylum Seekers say the move was a violation of European human rights agreements..."

UK: From Hillsborough to Grenfell (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, link)

The law rarely holds powerful individuals to account. The Grenfell disaster is unlikely to be different, argue Steve Tombs and David Whyte.

European Parliament: Special committee to tackle deficiencies in the fight against terrorism (EP News, link): It will:

"examine counter-terrorism measures, detect shortcomings in cross-border judicial cooperation and information-sharing measure impact on fundamental rights.

MEPs approved setting up a 12-month special committee to address the practical and legislative deficiencies in the fight against terrorism across the EU."

See: Decision setting up the Committee (pdf)

UK: Tasers used against children as young as TEN in the West Midlands (Birmingham Mail, link);

"Tasers have been used against children as young as ten in the West Midlands. A primary school-age child in the region was 'red-dotted' with a Taser by police in 2016.

Police in the West Midlands fired Tasers six times at under-18s, three times at 15-year-olds, twice at 16-year-olds and once at a 17-year-old. There were 597 incidences of Tasers being used against children across the UK in 2016, according to figures released by police under the Freedom of Information Act."

Activist launches court battle over undercover police tactics as Scottish Government decline probe (Daily Record, link):

"Tilly Gifford and her legal team raised £7000 for legal challenge as they fight for inquiry into illegal police tactics in Scotland...A campaigner has launched a court battle over the Scottish Government’s decision not to order a public inquiry into undercover police tactics.

Glasgow-based environmental activist Tilly Gifford’s legal team used an online crowdfunding appeal to raise the £7000 needed to take the case forward and trigger a Government response in court.

They want the Home Office to extend the Pitchford Inquiry, which will probe illegal tactics used by undercover police since 1968, beyond England and Wales."

Pluralism under attack: The assault on press freedom in Poland (IFEX, link):

"Poland's government is using legislative, political, and economic means to stifle the media and limit dissent and debate within the country, according to Pluralism under Attack: The Assault on Press Freedom in Poland, a special report from Freedom House."

Brexit and the future of UK arms transfer controls (Saferworld, link):

"As the UK moves towards exit from the EU, Saferworld examines the implications for UK strategic trade control in a new report and accompanying comment piece.

We consider how - from sanctions and embargoes to an extensive EU control lists for military and dual-use goods and much more besides - UK and EU controls are closely entwined. Much needs to be done to ensure that UK still has its full suite of transfer control measures in place on the day it leaves the EU."

EU: Informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs ministers: Press statement following discussions on Central Mediterranean (pdf):

"In Tallinn, the Ministers of Interior acknowledged that the situation in the Central Mediterranean and the resulting pressure on Italy is of great concern to all Member States. In line with the European Council conclusions of 22-23 June, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to take urgent action by stepping up coordination and delivery of all the elements contained in the Malta Declaration, the Partnership Framework and the Joint Valletta Action Plan, as well as the need to continue steps towards finding the right balance between the principles of solidarity and responsibility and to provide adequate support to the most affected Member States.

The Ministers of Interior welcomed and based their discussions on the Action Plan presented by the Commission on 4 July 2017, containing immediate measures that can be taken by the Commission, the High Representative, Italy and other Member States."

See also: Presidency of the Council: Ministers of Interior agree on more robust approach to migration pressure (press release, pdf)

And: EU: Action Plan for Central Mediterranean: mandatory code of conduct for NGOs, massive expansion of detention and hotspots in Italy

UK government urged to end Muslim Council of Britain 'boycott' (Middle East Eye, link):

"The British government needs to fix its “broken relationship” with the Muslim community, according to a report by an influential charity.

“The Missing Muslims – Unlocking British Muslim Potential for the Benefit of All” is the result of an 18-month commission into the place of Islam in public life by the community support group Citizens UK.

The commissioners, who include high profile names from the world of business, academia, politics and faith, travelled the country and are said to have listened to 500 hours of testimony. They have proposed recommendations for the government, Muslim community, civil society and the business world to implement."

EU: Britain First supporter calls for Merkel to be shot for refugee policy (The Guardian, link):

"A prominent Britain First supporter has advocated gunning down Angela Merkel because of Germany’s policy of allowing Muslim refugees to settle in Europe.

Marian Lukasik, a far-right activist, said the German chancellor should be shot “to pieces” after allowing Syrian and Iraqi people to enter Germany.

Footage of his comments has been uploaded to YouTube as part of an interview which has been viewed thousands of times.

It comes days after a man, reportedly with rightwing views, was charged with planning to assassinate the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and one year on from the murder of the Labour MP Jo Cox, who was killed by a far-right activist who shouted “Britain First” before shooting and stabbing her."

UK: Criminal justice after austerity: are there radical possibilities? (The Independent, link) by Rebecca Roberts:

"In the aftermath of the exceptional bravery and heroism displayed by police officers during recent terrorist attacks, it seems almost heretical to question any expansion of police resources. We must not overlook the darker side of policing in terms of institutional racism and the overwhelming focus on black youth and poor communities. If we want to take seriously the problems of violence and harm in society then we need a new approach.

As both austerity and the economic crisis have wreaked havoc in society, the impulse to punish and control has trumped any commitment to taking seriously people’s needs. We need to look beyond the narrow confines of our existing legal system, police force and prison system.

To take law breaking and harm seriously, we need to reconfigure how we think about “safety” in society. Law breaking and harm have many complex sources, many that simply cannot be addressed by more police on the streets. In simple terms, if some of the problems we face include violence, mental ill health, poverty, and yes, harmful deregulation, then the “one-size-fits-all” solution of criminal justice is not the answer. "

And see: What lies beyond criminal justice? Developing transformative solutions (EG Press, link)

Central Mediterranean: Death toll soars as EU turns its back on refugees and migrants (Amnesty, link):

"The soaring death toll in the central Mediterranean and the horrific abuses faced by thousands of refugees and migrants in Libyan detention centres are clearly linked to failing EU policies, said Amnesty International in a report published today.

A perfect storm: The failure of European policies in the Central Mediterranean finds that by ceding the lion’s share of responsibility for search and rescue to NGOs and by increasing cooperation with the Libyan coastguard, European governments are failing to prevent drownings and turning a blind eye to abuse, including torture and rape.

EU Ministers meeting in Tallinn today are set to discuss new proposals that will make a dire situation worse."

And see: Europe migrant crisis: EU blamed for 'soaring' death toll (BBC News, link)

UK: Chilcot: Tony Blair was not 'straight with the nation' over Iraq war (The Guardian, link):

"Sir John Chilcot has said he does not believe Tony Blair was “straight with the nation” about his decisions in the run-up to the Iraq war.

The chairman of the public inquiry into the 2003 conflict said the former prime minister had however been “emotionally truthful” in his account of events leading up to the war, meaning he relied on both emotion and fact.

Breaking his long silence on the matter in an interview with the BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, Chilcot said: “Tony Blair is always and ever an advocate. He makes the most persuasive case he can. Not departing from the truth but persuasion is everything.”"

Interpol removes Turkey from database for uploading Gulenist profiles (New Europe, link):

"Ankara’s move to upload 60,000 ‘wanted’ supporters of the Gülenist movement on Interpol’s database has caused the suspension of Turkey’s use of the infrastructure, Hurriyet daily reports.

Interpol’s system of notices is used to issue international alerts for fugitives, suspected criminals, persons linked to or of interest in an ongoing criminal investigation, persons and entities subject to UN Security Council Sanctions, potential threats, missing persons and dead bodies. Details are stored in a database known as the INTERPOL Criminal Information System, which also contains personal data and the criminal history of people subject to a request for international police cooperation.

Turkey no longer has access to the database, as the use of Interpol’s infrastructure to prosecute 60,000 individuals with suspected links to what Turkish prosecutors consider a terrorist organization is seen as a “breach of trust.”"

But see: INTERPOL spokesperson: Turkey not suspended, has access to databases (Daily Sabah, link):

"Turkey's access to the International Police Organization's (INTERPOL) databases has not been denied, and it is still able to report Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) members to the institution, an INTERPOL spokesperson told Daily Sabah, after some Turkish media outlets claimed Ankara's access to INTERPOL's databases had been suspended since last July.

An INTERPOL spokesperson, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to restrictions, told Daily Sabah that Turkey's access to INTERPOL's databases has never been denied, and it is still able to submit names on the international wanted persons list."

UK: Government seeks secret trial in MI6 ‘rendition’ case (Reprieve, link):

"The Government will apply for a secret hearing in a challenge to a prosecution decision for the first time in a case stemming from the involvement of a senior MI6 officer in the abduction and ‘rendition’ of two families to Gaddafi’s Libya, it emerged today.

The move came today in a hearing in the case of Libyan Abdul-Hakim Belhaj and his wife Fatima Boudchar. The couple were seized and ‘rendered’ to Gaddafi’s Libya in 2004 in a joint CIA-MI6-Libyan operation. Last June, after Scotland Yard recommended that criminal charges be brought, the Crown Prosecution Service declined to charge the lead suspect – former MI6 official Sir Mark Allen. The couple are challenging the decision.

The Foreign Secretary and the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, are seeking to avoid the public disclosure of documents detailing the reasons it was decided not to prosecute. At the High Court today, lawyers for the DPP and the Foreign Office said they would apply to have the entire challenge heard in secret."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (5.7.17)

UK: Police officers who failed to help murdered refugee despite years of pleas displayed 'hallmarks of racism' (The Independent, link):

"Police officers who failed to come to the assistance of a disabled refugee who was beaten to death and set on fire by his neighbour showed “hallmarks of racial bias”, the police watchdog has said in a damning ruling that revealed a catalogue of failings.

Bijan Ebrahimi, 44, was murdered by Lee James in Bristol in July 2013 after seven years of abuse. James wrongly believed his neighbour, an Iranian national, was a paedophile.

In an excoriating report, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) criticised the “poor responses” of the police and suggested the officers involved had displayed signs of racism."

See: Poor responses over seven years by Avon & Somerset Constabulary to vulnerable man who was murdered (IPCC, link): "Evidence gathered by an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation identified poor responses over at least seven years by Avon & Somerset Constabulary to a vulnerable man who was brutally murdered by his neighbour in Bristol."

EU: EASO: Vast majority of migrants arriving in Italy not eligible for relocation (EurActiv, link):

"Quoting from a recent monthly statistic, Celis said that Nigerians were indeed the number one nationality applying for international protection currently in Italy, with more than 20%, followed by Bangladeshis and Pakistanis, who were “the top three for the moment”. Bangladeshis and Pakistanis are not considered eligible for relocation either.

Celis said that in 2016, of all Nigerians applying for asylum in the EU, 55% applied in Italy. The second country where applications were lodged was Germany. However Germany, in the vast majority of cases, is not the country of first arrival on EU territory.

The EASOs’ Ward Lutin explained that it was not correct to say that the nationals of a certain country were ineligible for asylum, as some certainly were, and this is why an individual assessment was needed. He also said that unlike the past, the vast majority of arriving migrants were applying for asylum."

See: Restrictive refugee relocation scheme means new lower targets might be met (Statewatch News Online, 18 May 2017)

And: European Asylum Support Office (EASO): Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the European Union 2016 (5.7MB, pdf)

GERMANY: Hamburg is transforming itself into an Orwellian dystopia for the G20 Summit (OpenDemocracy, link):

"In less than three weeks from now, the world’s attention will be drawn to your city, as you host the planet’s most powerful heads of state for the G20 summit. Let us be clear: the G20 has no democratic mandate: it embodies the politics of austerity, social inequality, war and ecological destruction. The protests and draconian security measures that follow G20 summits around the world are testament to this group’s odiously illiberal and autocratic nature.

Yet on July 7 and 8, your city will take security measures that are extreme even by G20 standards. Andy Grote, your senator of the interior, went back on a previous promise to not ban demonstrations and declared a general decree forbidding any kind of assembly in a territory of 38 km2.

Predator drones, usually deployed in warzones, will circle the skies, tanks will be out on the streets, and over 15,000 police officers are expected to be on patrol, including those on horseback and with dogs.

Robots deployed by U.S. secret services will crawl through sewers and subway tunnels (doing what exactly? No-one knows since the U.S. won’t give us any information about them!) Hamburg will be transformed into an Orwellian dystopia of complete surveillance, enforced by paramilitary means; a democracy-free area."

UK: Suicide and self-harm in prisons hit worst ever levels (The Guardian, link):

"Prisons have “struggled to cope” with record rates of suicide and self-harm among inmates following cuts to funding and staff numbers, the public spending watchdog has said. The National Audit Office said it remains unclear how the authorities will meet aims for improving prisoners’ mental health or get value for money because of a lack of relevant data.

Auditors said that self-harm incidents increased by 73% between 2012 and 2016 to 40,161, while the 120 self-inflicted deaths in prison in 2016 was the highest figure on record and almost double that for 2012. Since 2010, when David Cameron became prime minister, funding of offender management has been reduced by 13%, while staff numbers have been cut by 30%, the report said."

See: National Audit Office report: Mental health in prisons (pdf) and: Summary (pdf)

UK: New Court Interpreting Contract, Same Old Shambles (one small window, link):

"The Ministry of Justice published criminal court statistics for England and Wales for the first quarter of 2017 in June. Buried within is the first set of quantitative data on the performance of the new framework agreement for the provision of foreign language and deaf interpreting services in courts and tribunals and across the justice sector, in force since the end of October 2016.

Boasting a similar “success” rate as its predecessor and dogged by the same problems, the performance of the new contract offers few surprises to anyone who has watched the shambles of the privatisation of court interpreting services unfold over the past five years. With essentially the same structure and premise but a broader remit and larger budget, the new contract has picked up the baton and kept on running."

UK: Stop and search is not used fairly, most young BAME people believe (The Guardian, link):

"Three-quarters of young black and minority ethnic (BAME) people believe they and their communities are being targeted unfairly by stop and search despite a steep decline in the use of the controversial tactic, according to new research.

A survey commissioned by the Criminal Justice Alliance (CJA), a coalition of 120 organisations, also found that more than a third of BAME people aged 16 to 30 did not believe police used fair information to decide who they stopped and searched.

The figures, published within a CJA report titled No Respect, come at a time when the overall number of stop and searches has fallen from 1.2m to 380,000 over five years.

The latest Home Office figures show BAME people are three times more likely than white people to be searched, up from twice as likely a year earlier, and within this group black people are six times more likely to be searched, up from four times more likely a year earlier."

See: briefing by the Criminal Justice Alliance: No respect: Young BAME men, the police and stop and search (link to pdf)

Spain Still Struggles to Fill Gaps in Its Fight Against Torture (Liberties, link):

"From incommunicado detention to violence against women, there are many shortcomings in Spain's efforts to combat torture. The Spanish state will soon have to account for its actions, or lack thereof.

Coinciding with the International Day of Support for Victims of Torture, Rights International Spain has presented a report enumerating existing challenges in the prevention and elimination of torture in Spain.

The Committee will take this report into account as it prepares the list of questions the Spanish state will have to address during its upcoming review by the Committee. Some of these challenges are listed below."

EU: Action Plan for Central Mediterranean: mandatory code of conduct for NGOs, massive expansion of detention and hotspots in Italy

The European Commission has published an Action Plan containing a swathe of measures "to support Italy, reduce pressure along the Central Mediterranean Route and increase solidarity," in order to try to address the "structural challenge" represented by the "loss of life and continuing migratory flows of primarily economic migrants on the Central Mediterranean route."

This includes a proposal for Italy and the Commission to draw up a code of conduct for NGOs conducting search and rescue missions, and demands for Italy to massively increase the capacity of its hotspots and its detention centres as well as extending the maximum period of detention up to 18 months, the maximum allowed under EU law.

EU: Rule of law: double standards undermine EU's role in the neighbourhood (CEPS European Neighbourhood Watch, pdf) by Toby Vogel:

"Article 2 of the Lisbon Treaty defines the European Union as a community of values and then goes on to list them: respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are supposed to inform all EU policies, including enlargement and foreign and security policy, which crucially depend on the strength of the EU’s ‘soft power’. But what happens to the EU and its power to persuade and lead by example when it fails to safeguard its values at home?

Several events in recent months illustrate what happens when the EU loses sight of its commitment to democracy and the rule of law."

EU: Frontex in the Balkans: Serbian government rejects EU's criminal immunity proposals

The Serbian government is not happy with EU proposals that Frontex teams would be able to operate on its territory with total immunity from Serbian law. After two rounds of talks between the EU and Serbia, the text of a proposed agreement that would govern Frontex teams' joint operations, "rapid border interventions" or return operations in the Western Balkan country shows that the Serbian side rejects the EU's proposal that "members of the team shall enjoy immunity" from the administrative, civil and criminal jurisdiction of the Republic of Serbia.

UK: Exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, London until 28 August 2017: People Power: Fighting for Peace (IWM, link):

"Take a journey from the First World War to the present day, exploring how peace movements have influenced perceptions of war and conflict in this major exhibition.

From conscientious objectors to peace camps and modern day marches, Fighting for Peace tells the stories of passionate people over the past one hundred years and the struggles they have endured for the anti-war cause.

Over three hundred objects including paintings, literature, posters, placards, banners, badges and music reveal the breadth of creativity of anti-war protest movements, reflecting the cultural mood of each era."

UK: Legal Aid Cuts in Focus: The Law Society Has its Say (Rights Info, link):

"It is now four years since the government implemented an overhaul of the UK’s legal aid system. However, not everybody is happy with the changes.

With the new regime now well established, the Law Society (the professional body that governs the work of solicitors in England and Wales) has published a comprehensive review of how it thinks the new system is working out. With access to legal services coming under renewed scrutiny in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the report is disquieting to say the least. Here’s a snapshot of what it says."

See: LASPO 4 years on: Law Society review (The Law Society, link):

"Four years ago, the then government implemented the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). Hundreds of thousands of people who were eligible for legal aid on 31 March 2013 became ineligible the very next day.
Four years on, the Law Society has conducted a review of the legal aid changes introduced under the act. This review concludes that:

1. Legal aid is no longer available for many of those who need it
2. Those eligible for legal aid find it hard to access it
3. Wide gaps in provision are not being addressed
4. LASPO has had a wider and detrimental impact on the state and society
"

ISRAEL: Bureaucratic Chaos Abound After Biometric IDs Become Mandatory in Israel (Hareetz, link):

"During the first month that biometric identity documents have been compulsory, 15 percent of those getting new passports or identity cards refused to have their fingerprints stored in the database.

Under the new procedures, a high-resolution facial photograph is automatically stored in the database, while the issue of fingerprints is left up to the applicant. Those who refuse to have their fingerprints stored get passports or identity cards that expire in five years, rather than 10. Children under 16 do not have their fingerprints stored. According to the Population and Immigration Authority, 107,000 passports and 65,000 identity cards were issued in June.

But at a meeting on Sunday the parliamentary oversight committee on the biometric database reported that it had been deluged with complaints of citizens who had difficulty obtaining the new documents."

IRELAND: Right to work for asylum-seekers: Supreme Court judgment and Irish Refugee Council position

Following a judgment by the Supreme Court of Ireland calling on the government to consider giving asylum-seekers permission to work (there is currently a total prohibition regardless of how long an individual have been within the asylum system), the Irish Refugee Council has called on the government to give asylum-seekers the right to work after they have been within the asylum procedure for six months or longer.

SCOTLAND: New group to investigate Police Scotland's use of biometric data (The Herald, link:

"THE way the police handle and store the growing mountain of biometric data about Scotland’s citizens is to be investigated by a new independent group.

Led by John Scott QC, whose past work led to Police Scotland ending its disproportionate use of stop-and-search, the group will look at mugshots, fingerprints and DNA samples.

The use of data from CCTV, road traffic and police body cameras will also be examined.

The aim is to produce a report by the end of the year on the ethics and governance of keeping and disposing of biometric data, and whether new laws and rules are required.

Last year, an HMCIS report on police biometric data recommended tighter legislation, a statutory code of practice and the creation of a new post of Biometrics Commissioner.

Police Scotland retain custody photos for up to 12 years even if no one is charged, although mugshots are not uploaded to the Police National Database as in England and Wales."

See: Independent Advisory Group on the Use of Biometric Data (Scottish Government, link), the group's terms of reference and membership (pdf) and: Mobiles to offer crime scene access to fingerprint database (The Scotsman, link)

European Border and Coast Guard report
- 72% of returns inside Europe: 101 return flights to the West Balkans and only 41 outside the EU
- Deploying
"assets" to frontline Member States: thermo-vision vehicles, dog teams, CO2 detectors and smartdeck cameras

The Commission Press release of 14 June (pdf) concerning the Fourth report on the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG) stated on the question of "returns" that:

"The pace of return operations organised by the European Border and Coast Guard has continued to grow, with 6,799 irregularly staying migrants returned in 2017 so far, representing an increase of over 157% compared to the same period of last year." [emphasis added]

However, the Fourth Report on EBCG (COM 325-17, pdf) says that:

"Between 1 January and 9 June 2017, the Agency provided support to 144 return operations of third-country nationals during which 6,799 illegally staying third-country nationals were returned, with further 43 operations under preparation. This represents an increase of over 157% compared to the same period of last year. The majority of these operations (101 out of 144) concerned flights to the Western Balkans."

Thus 101 return flights concerned returns inside Europe to the West Balkans and only 41 outside the EU. There were an average of 42 people per flight.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (1- 4.7-17)

RACE & CLASS: Prison resistance and black self-defence (link)

"Read new and re-released material from Race & Class on black prison resistance, the role of the Black Panthers, and the influence of US rebellions on the struggle in the UK.

As the USA witnesses a resurgence of ‘law and order’ rhetoric, Toussaint Losier, assistant professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, publishes this month in Race & Class a double-length article based on his original research into the rebellions, which predated Attica, in New York City jails in 1970. These revolts in five facilities, against overcrowding, inhumane conditions and the practice of preventive detention – against political dissidents and those too poor to afford bail were influenced by the politics of the Black Panther Party and Young Lords Party. These radical prison movements drew on discourses of human rights, multiracial unity, national liberation and joined calls for broader social transformation. Click here

To coincide with the publication of this new research, Race & Class makes available a series of pieces on resistance to black incarceration in the USA and UK.

To read interviews carried out in 1992 with key members of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense –Geronimo ji-jaga Pratt (now deceased) and Mumia Abu-Jamal– click here

To read reflections on the lineage of radical black politics forged in the harsh conditions of the prison industrial complex from former prisoner Stephen Jones, who was politicised from age 13 during many stints in Californian jails – click here

To read the manifesto from Attica during the famous 1971 riot when prisoners seized control of the facility - click here

To read how US Black Power influenced the 1976 Spaghetti House Siege in the UK and later the prison resistance of Shujaa Moshesh, one of the gunmen, click here"

EU: Total information awareness for law enforcement: "turning point" reached, says EU police technology network
- Police foresee immediate 24/7 access to data/profiles, images, videos, biometrics on everyone stopped, checked or under surveillance with automatic flagging on what action to take
- Mobile technologies to access ID profiles from local, national and international records, gather photos and videos and be used for covert surveillance

The European Network of Law Enforcement Technology Services (ENLETS), an informal group funded currently funded by the European Commission, has produced a report on 'best practices in mobile solutions' (LIMITE doc no: 10127-17, pdf) which sees developments in mobile technologies, telecoms networks and 'cloud' computing as a "game-changer" for total information awareness for law enforcement authorities. The report foresees police smartphones, smartwatches or other devices having instant, 24/7 access to a complete profile on individuals from data gathered and stored locally, nationally or internationally.

European Parliament: Draft Report on legitimate measures to protect whistle-blowers acting in the public interest when disclosing the confidential information of companies and public bodies (pdf):

"the Commission has not proposed suitable legislative measures to protect whistleblowers in the EU effectively...

Considers that a breach of the public interest includes, but is not limited to, acts of corruption, conflicts of interest, unlawful use of public funds, threats to the environment, health, public safety, national security and privacy and personal data protection, tax avoidance, attacks on workers’ rights and other social rights and attacks on human rights;

Stresses that the role of whistleblowers in revealing serious attacks on the public interest has proved its significance on many occasions over a number of years and that whistleblowers have proved to be a crucial resource for investigative journalism and for an independent press."

Protesters plan to 'kettle' leaders at G20 summit in Hamburg (Guardian, link):

"Police say choice of inner-city venue is ‘incomprehensible’, as protesters prepare to block access routes... the decision to hold it at a congress centre in a densely populated part of the inner city, bordering a district with a long-running history of anti-establishment protests and annual May Day riots, has put police services on high alert....

The 2001 G8 summit in the Italian port city was overshadowed by clashes between police and an estimated 200,000 demonstrators, and the death of a 23-year-old Italian anti-globalisation protester, Carlo Giuliani.

Hamburg authorities have said they expect about half the numbers of protesters that descended on Genoa in 2001, but the presence of divisive political figures such as Trump and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is likely to draw protesters from a wide range of political causes. "

See: Genoa Reports from the ground: Statewatch News Online, July 2001

EU Commission must deliver justice for Italy's Roma (euobserver, link):

"In the past three years, the European Commission has begun legal proceedings against the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary for their systematic segregation of and discrimination against Romani children in the education system.

Yet, in Italy, where Roma suffer equally shocking discrimination and segregation at the hands of the authorities, this time in relation to housing rights, the EU commission is yet to take any similar decisive action, despite having received comprehensive evidence from Amnesty International and other organisations."

EU: Restricted document highlights plans for ongoing EU interventions in Libya

The EU's plans to re-establish functioning government institutions in Libya and to halt the flow of people across the Mediterranean are outlined in a restricted document currently being discussed by officials in Brussels. The detailed Strategic Review on EUBAM Libya, EUNAVFOR MED Op Sophia & EU Liaison and Planning Cell (9202/17, 15 May 2017, RESTREINT/RESTRICTED, pdf), produced by the European External Action Service, proposes extending until December 2018 the Mediterranean military mission EUNAVFOR MED/Operation, the EU Border Assistance Mission Libya (EUBAM Libya) and the work of the EU Planning and Liaison Cell (EUPLC), based in Brussels.

The report's recommendations were approved by the Council's Committee on Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management (CivCom) and Politico-Military Group (PMG) on 28 June: see Joint CivCom Advice and PMG Recommendations on Strategic Review on EUBAM Libya, EUNAVFOR MED OP Sophia & EU Liaison and Planning Cell (10714/17, 29 June 2017, LIMITE, pdf).

They will be discussed by the Council's Political and Security Committee tomorrow (link to pdf). The proposals will ultimately need to be approved by the Justice and Home Affairs Council, which is not due to meet again until September (Council of the EU, link).

Statewatch has produced summary of some of the key points from the EEAS report. See: Summary: Restricted document outlines official proposals and recommendations for future EU actions in Libya (pdf).

EU: Entry-Exit system (EES): Nearing agreement - some "technical" issues still outstanding

 •   Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 2016/399 as regards the use of the Entry/Exit System (Doc no: 10535-17, pdf):

The last political trilogue under the Maltese Presidency is scheduled for 29 June. A number of outstanding issues remain to be solved on this occasion in order to reach a political agreement and meet the objective set by the European Council:.

"The interinstitutional negotiations started on 23 March 2017. 15 technical meetings and 5 political trilogues have been held so far..... "Considerable progress has been achieved so far and the Presidency managed to defend the Council position on crucial issues such as the conditions for law enforcement access, the territorial scope of the Regulation and the data retention period for overstayers."

 •  State of play (LIMITE doc no: 10823-17,pdf) The outstanding issues on 29 June were:

1. Bilateral agreements (Article 64(5)(h))
2. Schengen Borders Code (Article 8a, 8b, 8d)
3. Calculator (Article 10(4))
4. Access to the EES by asylum authorities (Articles 25a and 25b and related provisions)
5. Enrolment of biometrics in case of refusal of entry (Article 16)
6. Transfer of data to third countries (Article 38)
7. Structure of Article 5
8. Data Retention (Article 31)

  4-column documents: ADD - 1 (10545-17, 265 pages, 26 June, pdf) and ADD - 2 (10545-17, 27 June, 99 pages, pdf)

  Council press release: 30 June 2017 (pdf):

"[agreement with] European Parliament representatives on 29 June on the political issues of a proposal for an Entry-Exit System and a proposal amending the Schengen Border Code in relation to the Entry-Exit System, with a view to an overall agreement once the remaining technical issues are addressed."

EU: Commission, France, Germany and Italy - Joint "Declaration": Italy to draw up a "Code of Conduct" to bring NGOs operating in the Med under state control: Press release, pdf):

The measures proposed contains many previous ideas: increasing "relocation" in the EU (which has failed miserably), increasing "returns" (which are low), helping Libyan Coast Guards and enhancing "readmission rates" to Africa.

But top of the list is a new proposal to:

"Work on a code of conduct for NGO's, to be drafted and presented by Italy, in order to improve coordination with NGO's operating in the Mediterranean Sea....

In order to allow swift progress in support of Italy, the Ministers of Interior of France, Germany and Italy and the European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs call on all EU partners to consider these action points at the next EU informal Council meeting in Tallinn on 6 July."

Statewatch Analysis: Policing the internet: how Europol takes action against undesirable content online (pdf) by Kilian Vieth (Translation by Viktoria Langer):

Europol removes content from the internet. This approach goes beyond regular measures in the fight against terrorism propaganda and mixes police work and media regulation. Should a police agency be responsible for the surveillance and control of Facebook posts and tweets?

Italy appeals for migrant help in Paris (euobserver, link):

"Interior ministers from Italy and Germany met in Paris on Sunday, along with their French counterparts, to discuss the inflow of migrants and refugees disembarking from Libya."

EU: Centralised biometric database for convicted non-EU nationals also part of "interoperability" agenda

Proposals published last week by the European Commission will see the development of a new a centralised database holding the criminal records of non-EU citizens, alongside their fingerprints and photographs.

"Although it is possible to exchange information on convictions concerning third country nationals and stateless persons (hereinafter: TCN) through ECRIS [the European Criminal Records Information System] today, there is no procedure or mechanism in place to do so efficiently," says the Commission, and thus a new system is required that will simplify the process and leave the door open for future "interoperability" initiatives with other EU databases and information systems.

GREECE: LESBOS LEGAL CENTRE: Arbitrary Detention in Lesbos – Refugees Driven to Hunger Strike to Protest Inhumane Conditions (link):

"The Legal Centre Lesbos condemns the unlawful practice of indiscriminately detaining people who are in the process of applying for international protection. The Greek Asylum Service is currently automatically detaining applicants whose initial appeals have been rejected, and arbitrarily detaining people of certain nationalities for the entire duration of their applications.

International law forbids discrimination on the basis of nationality, and prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention. It also provides that detainees have the right to meaningfully challenge any deprivation of their liberty. All these rights are being systematically violated in Lesvos."


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