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on the Statewatch website: 2016
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Carries all items that have been added or updated from News Online, News Digest and Observatories.

July 2016

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26.7.16)

UK: Police face legal action for snooping on journalists - ‘Domestic extremists’ unit kept a secret database of details on journalists including medical history of family members (Guardian, link):

"A group of journalists has launched a legal action against Scotland Yard after discovering that the Metropolitan police has been recording their professional activities on a secret database designed to monitor so-called domestic extremists.

The six journalists have obtained official files that reveal how police logged details of their work as they reported on protests. One video journalist discovered that the Met police had more than 130 entries detailing his movements, including what he was wearing, at demonstrations he attended as a member of the press.

They have started the legal action to expose what they say is a persistent pattern of journalists being assaulted, monitored and stopped and searched by police during their work, which often includes documenting police misconduct."

Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits Greece (link):

"Strasbourg, 26.07.2016 - A delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out an ad hoc visit to Greece from 19 to 25 July 2016.

One of the primary purposes of the visit was to examine the situation in the “Reception and Identification Centres” (so-called “hotspots”) on the islands of Chios, Lesvos and Samos and to evaluate any developments since the Committee’s April 2016 visit. The delegation also visited a number of police stations and holding facilities for irregular migrants in Athens, Thessaloniki and on the Aegean islands. A further focus of the visit was to look into the treatment of criminal suspects held in police custody and the safeguards afforded to them."

EU: UK House of Lords, European Union Committee: Children in crisis: unaccompanied migrant children in the EU (94 pages, pdf):

"The current refugee crisis is the greatest humanitarian challenge to have faced the European Union since its foundation. Although the outcome of the referendum on 23 June 2016 was that the UK should leave the EU, the UK remains a full member of the EU, with all the responsibilities that entails, until the final withdrawal agreement is ratified. It is vital, both on moral grounds and in order to help maintain good relations with the other 27 Member States, that the UK Government should participate fully in EU action to resolve this humanitarian crisis.

It has become increasingly clear that children, many of them unaccompanied by a parent, relative or guardian, are in the forefront of the crisis. In 2015 88,245 unaccompanied children applied for asylum in the EU, including 3,045 in the UK. In May 2016 alone, 3,133 unaccompanied migrant children arrived in Italy. Many children do not even reach the EU’s shores: at least 137 children have drowned in the Mediterranean since the start of 2016."

See: Migrant children are being failed by UK, says Lords committee report - Government accused of dismissing its responsibility to care for unaccompanied minors as ‘somebody else’s problem’ (Guardian, link)

  Greece: GISTI report on Greek hotspots in Lesbos and Chios after the EU/Turkey deal

"On 25 July 2016, GISTI published a report on its fact-finding mission to the hotspots set up on the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios and on the effects the EU/Turkey deal, entitled "Accord UE-Turquie: la grande imposture. Rapport de mission dans les hotspots grecs de Lesbos et Chios, juillet 2016....

The facts speak for themselves: in order to put an end to the serious violations of the rights of migrants detained in the Greek "hotspots" under threat of an expulsion to Turkey, it is indispensable for the EU and its member states to, at the very least:

Give up on the idea of implementing the 18 March 2016 Statement;

Conduct an in-depth review of the system for allocating responsibility to an EU member state (the "Dublin III" regulation) to evaluate an asylum application in order for the asylum application to be examined in the applicant's country of choice."

UK: Home Affairs Select Committee: Government response (pdf) to the Committee's Report (pdf): Keith Vaz MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

“This is a complacent, perfunctory and rushed response from the Home Office. The lack of progress on ethnic diversity in police forces is a serious and embarrassing problem and we made strong, practical recommendations about how this must improve.

As our Report stated, the current position is lamentable, and has so far failed to achieve any significant progress. That is why our Report called on the Home Office and Ministers to show leadership by requiring innovation and rapid action from those directly responsible for delivering change."

European use of military drones expanding (Drone Wars UK, link):

"Two weeks ago a new coalition of European civil society groups (including Drone Wars UK) launched a Call to Action on Armed Drones at a meeting in Brussels attended by, amongst others, US drone whistleblowers Cian Westmoreland and Lisa Ling.

The European Forum on Armed Drones (EFAD) launch was on the eve of an important European Parliament meeting, jointly organised by the subcommittee on Human Rights and the Subcommittee on Security and Security and Defence, focusing on the human rights impact of armed drones in counter-terrorism operations."

UK: New trials for delivering goods by drones (BBC News, link):

"The government's getting together with the retail giant Amazon to start testing flying drones that can deliver parcels to your door. Amazon's paying for the programme, which will look at the best way to allow hundreds of robotic aircraft to buzz around Britain's skies safely.

The company claims it'll eventually mean small parcels will arrive at your house within 30 minutes of ordering them online. Ministers say they want to pave the way for all businesses to start using the technology in future, but they will still have to convince the public that having automated drones flying around is both safe and won't invade people's privacy."

Passeurs d'hospitalités – English ~ Exiles in Calais and at the British border: Destruction of the northern part of the shantytown: statement of the Defender of Rights (link):

"While early July the pressure for the destruction of the northern part of Calais shantytown was increasing, the mayor of Calais had been to announce the imminence of it (and it is probably for respond to these pressures that the police operation against the restaurants and shops of the slum is conducted – see here, here, here and here), the Defender of Rights issued a statement reminding the conditions so that this destruction can be respectful of human rights. It also stresses the precariousness in which the risk of expulsion maintains people, and that previous destructions have only worsened their living conditions."

UK: Hate crime policing to be reviewed after spike in reports (BBC News, link):

"Police handling of hate crime is to be reviewed after a sharp rise in incidents following the EU referendum, the home secretary is to announce.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) will analyse how forces in England and Wales respond, Amber Rudd will say. It comes after figures showed there have been more than 6,000 reports of hate crime to police since mid June."

UK: CONTEST: Annual report for 2015 on the UK's counter-terrorism strategy

The annual report of the UK government on its counter-terrorism strategy, covering the year 2015, was published on 21 July. Amongst other things, the report includes statistics on the "effective use of proportionate counter-terrorism powers," noting that the power to cancel or refuse to issue passports to British passport holders was used 23 times; powers to seize and temporarily retain travel documents at ports have been used 24 times; and that two Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (essentially a form of internal exile) were in force "in the last quarter of 2015".

See: CONTEST: The United Kingdom's Strategy for Countering Terrorism: Annual Report for 2015 (pdf)

EU: The future of national data retention obligations – How to apply Digital Rights Ireland at national level? (European Law Blog, link):

"On 19 July, Advocate General (AG) Saugmandsgaard Øe delivered his much awaited opinion on the joined cases Tele2 Sverige AB and Secretary of State for the Home Department, which were triggered by the Court of Justice’s (CJEU) ruling in Digital Rights Ireland, discussed previously on this blog. As a result of this judgment, invalidating the Data Retention Directive, many Member States which had put in place data retention obligations on the basis of the Directive, were confronted with the question whether these data retention obligations were compatible with the right to privacy and the right to protection of personal data, guaranteed by Articles 7 and 8 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (Charter). Hence, without a whisper of a doubt, several national legislators eagerly await the outcome of these joined cases, in the hope to get more guidance as to how to apply Digital Rights Ireland concretely to their national legislation. The large number of Member States intervening in the joined cases clearly shows this: in addition to Sweden and the UK, no less than 13 Member States submitted written observations. The AG’s opinion is a first – important – step and thus merits a closer look."

See: the Advocate-General's Opinion (pdf) and press release (pdf)

UK: Protester, 91, goes to European court over secret police files (The Guardian, link):

"A 91-year-old whose political activities were covertly recorded by police has won the right to take his legal case to the European court of human rights.

John Catt, who has no criminal record, has fought a six-year battle to force the police to delete their surveillance records of his activities at 66 peace and human rights protests.

The police had noted descriptions of his appearance and clothes at the demonstrations and how he liked to draw sketches of the protests.

The case in front of the European court could help to determine how much information police are permitted to record on law-abiding individuals taking part in protests."

Background: A BAD DAY FOR DEMOCRACY (Statewatch News Online, March 2015) and: Files on politicians, journalists and peace protestors held by police in "domestic extremist" database (Statewatch News Online, November 2013)

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (25.7.16): migrants march to Serbia-Hungary border, Council wants EU migration budget increase, new detention centre to open in Spain.

UK: Appalling situation in prisons laid bare in latest annual report of chief prisons inspector

The new Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales issued his first annual report last week, noting that the "grim situation" highlighted by his predecessor has "not improved, and in some key areas it has, if anything, become even worse."

The number of assaults within prisons in 2015 grew to 20,000, a 27% increase on the previous year, while incidents of self-harm between April 2015 and March 2016 grew by a quarter to reach more than 32,000. In the same period there were 100 suicides, a 27% increase.

EU: Policing the internet: 91% of Europol's 11,000 requests for content removal successful

"Since its launch one year ago, Europol’s European Union Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) has assessed and processed for the purpose of referral towards concerned internet service providers over 11 000 messages across some 31 online platforms in 8 languages. The content had been put out by criminals to spread violent extremist online content materials.

91.4% of the total content has been successfully removed from the platforms by the social media and online service providers.

Additionally, EU IRU has expanded its open-source and internet monitoring activities in order to contribute to the disruption of illegal migrant smuggling networks. Content advertising smuggling services for migrants and refugees was referred for the purpose of removal."

EU: Council pushes for big increases in EU migration and security budgets

With the Council and the Parliament moving towards negotiations on the EU's budget for 2017, the Council has agreed its position and is calling for "€5.2 billion in commitments for specific migration-related expenditure" and increases of millions of euros in both commitments and payments from the Internal Security Fund.

GREECE: State punitiveness and political "transitions": the long view

"Extant research on the relationship between political systems and state punitiveness has so far paid little attention to the impact that transition from one political system to another may have upon levels and patterns of state punitiveness. This risks not only exaggerating the degree to which given trends in state punitiveness are distinct to particular political systems but also overlooking the legacy that punitive policies, practices or experiences under a prior political system may bequeath its successor. With a view to advancing a better understanding of the relationship between political systems and state punitiveness, we draw on the case of Greece, taking a long historical perspective to chart the trajectory of punitive state policies and practices in the country before, during and after its dictatorship of 1967–1974."

See: Punishment and political systems: State punitiveness in post-dictatorial Greece (link to pdf), from the July 2016 issue of Punishment & Society (link)

BELGIUM: Former Guantanamo prisoners convicted in "rather peculiar" case

"Two former Guantánamo prisoners were convicted in Belgium by the Brussels Criminal Court on Monday, July 18 2016, one on terrorism-related charges...

The case involved nine defendants, three of whom were charged with terrorism-related offences. One of the three was acquitted in full. [Abbar] Huwari was sentenced to 12 years in prison for running a terrorist group. One other person was sentenced for membership of a terrorist organization. Other sentences, including [Moussa] Zemmouri’s for conspiracy, related to the thwarted burglary only.

Huwari’s name only emerged when the case went to trial in June 2016; he became the main suspect. In a country where there is a constant threat of terrorism the case has surprisingly attracted little attention. From the few details made public, the case is rather peculiar."

See: Former Guantánamo Prisoners Convicted in Belgium (one small window, link)

And: Statewatch Observatory on "rendition": The use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners

UK-GREECE: European Arrest Warrant: judgments recognise that "certain Greek prisons are failing to protect prisoners' fundamental rights"

"The appalling conditions in certain Greek prisons have long been a concern of Fair Trials International and of lawyers representing those whose extradition has been sought by Greece... [In many cases] the courts in the United Kingdom refused to recognise that there was a real risk that extradition to Greece would give rise to inhuman treatment within the meaning of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Prohibition of torture).

"That has changed with the decision of the High Court in Marku v Nafplion Court of Appeal Greece and Murphy v Public Prosecutor’s Office to the Athens Court that was delivered on the 20th July 2016. With this decision the Court has recognised that certain Greek prisons are failing to protect prisoners’ fundamental rights and that the Greek Government appears to be unable to bring about the improvements that are needed to make these institutions safe."

EU: Review of the ePrivacy Directive: opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor

The European Data Protection Supervisor has said that the EU's forthcoming new legal framework on ePrivacy "must be extended... to take account of technological and societal changes."

UK: Growing calls to extend undercover policing inquiry remit beyond England and Wales

One of the targets of exposed British undercover police officer Mark Kennedy has taken the first steps towards legal action in an attempt to have the remit of the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing expanded to cover officers' activities outside England and Wales.

EU: Council of the European Union: New EU "returns" document & Turkey visa "benchmarks"

- EU Returns document: Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on a European travel document for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals (first reading) - Confirmation of the final compromise text with a view to agreement (LIMITE doc no: 10638-16, pdf)

This draft Regulation replaces the Maastricht era Council Recommendation of 30 November 1994. The Council reached its negotiating position on 23 May 2016 and the European Parliament did the same on 30 May. At the trilogue meeting on 23 June a "compromise" text was agreed. The parliament will formally adopt the measure at its plenary session of 12-15 September.

The document will be valid for a single journey to the country of origin or transit for refugees and migrants who have been found to be "illegally staying" in the EU and is "essential for increasing rates of return, which are unsatisfactory."

The Regulation states that the 1994 Recommendation is not widely accepted by authorities of third countries, for reasons including its inadequate security standards - the unstated primary reason is that third countries do not accept the idea of the return by the EU of maybe thousands of its people who fled the country or who have transited through it - and there is an understandable fear that most refugees do not want to be returned to the country they have fled from. It does not apply to the UK or Ireland.

- TURKEY: Visa Working Party/Mixed Committee (EU/Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, Liechtenstein): Summary of discussions: (LIMITE doc no: 11065-16. pdf)

Minutes from a meeting held on 14 June 2016. For visa waivers with Turkey to be agreed:

"COM confirmed that there are still seven benchmarks to be fulfilled, and gave a brief update on the ongoing discussions. This file would be followed up at the next meeting, depending on the progress achieved." [emphasis added]

No doubt there will be a few more after the Turkish government's reaction to the coup.

EU: H v Council: Another Court breakthrough in the Common Foreign and Security Policy (EU Law Analysis):

"This summer alone, the Court of Justice (‘the Court’) has issued two important decisions that will further shape the legal dimension of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). Despite this largely intergovernmental sphere of law (the former Second Pillar) being merged into the unified ‘EU’ at the Treaty of Lisbon, the pillar’s shadow still lives on. Lasting evidence of CFSP as a separate but integrated sphere of law allow for it to be titled ‘CFSP law’, with judgments of the Court arising from interinstitutional and direct action litigation, permitting its legal development.

The two judgments, Tanzania (Case C-263/14) and H v. Council (Case C-455/14 P) address different questions, and with a third, Rosneft (Case C-72/15), being delivered later in the year. This sequence of judgments demonstrates the fluidity of CFSP dynamics. In this blog post, analysis will focus on the H v. Council judgment, and specifically, given its peculiarity, the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice in CFSP."

IRELAND: Negative Legacy of Direct Provision (Trinity College Dublin, link): "A report which was co-authored by the School of Social Work and Social Policy, looking at the difficulties faced by former asylum seekers in attempting to transition from Direct Provision to life in the wider community, has just been launched.

Having endured years of living in the Direct Provision system, known to negatively affect mental health, the research highlights the multiple challenges faced by former asylum seekers. Once they receive their status, people must then navigate a complex array of systems as they attempt to move out of institutions that have systematically disempowered them for many years."

See: Irish Refugee Council: Transition: from Direct Provision to life in the community (pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22.7.16)

EU: Commission and High Representative "playbook" on "countering hybrid threats"

At the beginning of July the European Commission and the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy published a 'Joint Staff Working Document' on "countering hybrid threats".

See: European Commission and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy: EU operational protocol for countering hybrid threats - 'EU Playbook' (SWD(2016 ) 227 final, Council document number 11034/16)

BALKANS: Sharp increase in violence against migrants since border closures in the Balkans - MSF consultations for violent trauma doubled since March

On 9th March 2016, European leaders announced that the so-called "Balkan route" was closed after Croatia, FYROM and Slovenia completely shut their borders to people trying to pass through to seek asylum in northern Europe. For thousands of people fleeing, this route represented one of the few ways to reach safety and protection in Europe. Through their medical and mental health work, MSF teams in the region have seen an increase in the level of violence against migrants since the route was "closed".

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22.7.16)

News Digest: round-up of news stories from across the EU (22.7.16)

EU: Proposals for EU intelligence-gathering abroad and "civmil convergence and synergies"

A paper published by the European External Action Service calls for EU missions, officials and representatives abroad to be used for more information- and intelligence-gathering, and makes a number of proposals in relation to "civmil convergence and synergies" in security operations and activities overseas.

See: Working document of the European External Action Service: CMPD Food for Through Paper: "From strengthening ties between CSDP/FSJ actors towards more security in EUROPE" (EEAS(2016) 909, Council document 10934/16, pdf)

EU-ITALY: Refugee relocation scheme "has clearly failed", says Italy's immigration chief

The European Union's relocation scheme for refugees in Greece and Italy "has clearly failed", the Italian interior ministry's head of immigration, Mario Morcone, told a recent press conference hosted by the Italian Council of Refugees. The most recent European Commission report on the relocation scheme, published on 13 July, records a total of 843 people being relocated from Italy to other Member States since the scheme was put in place in September 2015. The Commission's aim is to relocate 6,000 people from Greece and Italy per month.

UK: Delayed "counter-extremism" plans denounced again

The UK government's plans for countering "non-violent extremism" have again been denounced, this time in a "pre-legislative scrutiny" report by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights. Despite announcing on a number of occassions that it will introduce a Counter-Extremism Bill, the government is yet to do so - but given the numerous problems with defining "extremism", and the harsh criticism that has been directed at the Prevent programme, it may be better for any such bill not to be published at all.

The report: House of Lords/House of Commons Joint Committee on Human Rights: Counter-Extremism (pdf)

EU: Implementation of the European Agenda on Security: Questions & Answers (European Commission, pdf)

A useful summary: "The European Commission adopted the European Agenda on Security on 28 April 2015, setting out the main actions envisaged to ensure an effective EU response to security threats over the period 2015-2020. Since its adoption, significant progress has been made in its implementation.

The period since the adoption has been marked by tragic terrorist attacks around the world, notably on European soil in Paris in November 2015, in Brussels in March 2016 and in Nice on 14 July.

This Memo highlights the actions already completed as well as the steps that still need to be taken as a matter of urgency in view of the current challenges, to pave the way towards a genuine and effective Security Union as proposed by the European Commission on 20 April 2016."

Background: Statewatch Analysis: Full compliance: the EU's new security agenda (pdf) by Chris Jones, May 2015

GREECE: Detention condition in the Malakasa camp: fit for children?

The camp described below by Shala Gafry is where the Greek government intended to hold the unaccompanied minors involved in the forthcoming Sh. D. v Greece case, which was communicated to the European Court of Human Rights on 24 March 2016.

"I wish I could tell you today was a better day. It wasn't. We, a group of 15 Greeks, Afghan-Greeks and Americans, visited Malakasa camp today, 50 km north of Athens. We spent some time speaking with people individually and collectively to learn about their experiences on the camp. Although I had visited the camp while I was there in April and it was terrible then, what we heard was shocking."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21.7.16)

Council of the European Union: From: Greek Delegation: Temporary entry/exit of persons into/from the Greek territory (LIMITE doc no: 10008/26, 8 June 2016, pdf):

"We kindly ask you to take note of the Joint Ministerial Decision dated 12.05.2016 and published on issue 1373/17.05.2016 of the Official Journal... on the temporary entry/exit of persons into/from the Greek territory via the sea ports of Kalymnos, Petra, Lesbos, Agia Marina/Leros and Karlovasi/Samos and the airports of Karpathos and Chios accordingly by the date of its entry into force (17.05.2016) until the 31st of October 2016.

We therefore wish to inform you that according to the aforementioned Decision, the relevant checks at the sea ports of Kalymnos, Petra, Lesbos, Agia Marina/Leros and Karlovasi/Samos will be conducted under the full responsibility of the Police Departments of Kalymnos, Kalloni, Leros and Karlovasi/Samos. With reference now to the airports of Karpathos and Chios, the relevant Police Department of Karpathos and the Security Subdivision of Chios aretasked to carry out those checks."
[emphasis added]

UK: Post-Brexit racism update (IRR News Service, 21.7.16, link): "Below we present an update of racially motivated attacks and other incidents of harassment that have taken place since the Brexit result, which indicate the types of attacks taking place across the UK. But of course, this account is in no way exhaustive."

Council of Europe: Turkey to suspend European Convention on Human Rights

"The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, has been informed by the Turkish authorities that Turkey will notify its derogation from the European Convention on Human Rights under the Convention’s Article 15....

There can be no derogation from the following articles: Article 2 (Right to life), Article 3 (Prohibition of torture and inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment), Article 4 para. 1 (prohibition of slavery), Article 7 (No punishment without law). It is important to note that the European Convention on Human Rights will continue to apply inTurkey.

Where the Government seeks to invoke Article 15 in order to derogate from the Convention in individual cases, the European Court of Human Rights will decide whether the application meets the criteria set out in the Convention, notably the criteria of proportionality of the measure taken.

The Turkish Government will inform the Secretary General about measures taken."

Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex comments: "Emergency derogation *can* be used to extend pre-trial detention and limit fair trials. Turkey has invoked it before."

See: Secretary General receives notification from Turkey of its intention to temporarily suspend the European Convention on Human Rights (pdf)

And: Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Johannes Hahn on the declaration of the State of Emergency in Turkey (link): "The declaration of State of Emergency gives the executive far reaching powers to govern by decree. Under the terms of the Turkish Constitution, core fundamental rights shall be inviolable even in the State of Emergency. "

Also: ECHR Factsheet: Derogation in time of emergency (pdf)

Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance: No Hiding Place for Spycops in Scotland (COPS, link):

"Support is growing for a Public Inquiry into the activities of undercover police in Scotland. Victims of blacklists, fellow trade unionists, environmentalists, Amnesty International, and politicians across the spectrum believe there should be some kind of Inquiry.

The main demands from campaigners are for an expansion of the Pitchford Inquiry (which is currently limited to England and Wales); or, for the Scottish government to launch a parallel Inquiry. Even the Scottish Tories support the call!"

Europol: TE-SAT report 2016 (pdf):

"This new edition of the EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT), which Europol has produced on an annual basis since 2006, provides an overview of the failed, foiled and completed terrorist attacks that took place in the EU during 2015, and of arrests, convictions and penalties issued. It has become clear that Europe currently faces a shifting and increasing range of threats emanating from jihadist groups and individuals"

And under: "Left-wing and anarchist terrorism": "In recent years, Marxist-Leninist terrorist groups have carried out no attacks in the EU. Members of such groups – active in the 1980s, the 1990s, early 2000s, and now dismantled – currently engage in propaganda and ideological indoctrination but not in violence. Terrorist groups active in the EU largely adopt an anarchist, antiauthoritarian ideology and some of them occasionally use Marxist-Leninist propaganda elements."

TURKEY: President Erdogan: Ready to reinstate the death penalty (Al Jazeera, link):

"Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he is ready to reinstate the death penalty if the Turkish people demand it and parliament approves the necessary legislation."

And see: Mogherini on Turkey: ‘No country can become an EU member state if it introduces the death penalty’ (euractiv, link): "EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini stressed on Monday (18 July) that “no country can become an EU member state if it introduces the death penalty”, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that the country should reintroduce capital punishment after last week’s attempted coup.

“Turkey is an important member of the Council of Europe and, as such, is bound by the European Convention of Human Rights that is very clear on death penalty,” Mogherini added, in a joint press conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Speaking about the role of NATO, Kerry said that it “has a requirement with respect to democracy and NATO will indeed measure very carefully what’s happening.”"

Also: Hunt Turkey’s Coup-Plotters: Greece deploys 6 Apache attack helicopters to Eastern Aegean Sea (Keep Talking Greece, link)

UK: Met puts extra police on patrol to curb spread of London disturbances - More officers to be deployed through to weekend and leave requests refused after Tuesday’s violent clashes with youths (Guardian, link):

"Scotland Yard said on Wednesday that it would put extra officers on the streets as it tried to stop a spread of disturbances that included violent clashes with youths at three events across London.

The extra officers would be deployed throughout London after the clashes on Tuesday night amid sweltering summer heat appeared to catch police by surprise."

The Metropolitan Police will be mindful of: UK-LONDON: A variety of articles discussing the outbreak of the London riots on 6th and 7th August 2011 (Statewatch database)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20.7.16)

Bulk data collection only lawful in serious crime cases, ECJ indicates - Initial finding from top EU court backs David Davis and Tom Watson and could have serious impact on snooper’s charter (Guardian, link):

"Retaining data from telephone calls and emails is legal only if law enforcement agencies use it to tackle serious crime, the EU’s highest court has indicated.

The preliminary finding by the advocate general of the European court of justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg came in response to a legal challenge that was brought initially by David Davis, when he was a backbench Conservative, and Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, over the legality of GCHQ’s bulk interception of call records and online messages.

Davis, one of the most vociferous critics of the state’s powers to collect data on its citizens, quietly withdrew from the case after his appointment to the cabinet. Many had commented on his involvement in the case at the EU’s highest court after he was appointed secretary of state for leaving the EU."

See: According to Advocate General Saugmandsgaard Øe, a general obligation to retain data imposed by a Member State on providers of electronic communication services may be compatible with EU law - However, it is imperative that that obligation be circumscribed by strict safeguards (Press release,pdf)

And: Advocate General: Opinion (pdf)

Also: Human Rights and National Data Retention Law: the Opinion in Tele 2 and Watson (EU Law Analysis, link): "The Advocate General goes beyond endorsing the principles in Digital Rights Ireland: even regimes which satisfy the safeguards set out in Digital Rights Ireland may still be found to be disproportionate."

TURKEY: ‘Graveyard for traitors’ to be built in Istanbul for coup plotters: Mayor (Hurriyet Daily News, link):

"Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Kadir Topbas has said the city ordered a space which will serve as a graveyard for the plotters of the July 15 failed coup attempt as no cemetery would accept their corpses, calling the plot “the graveyard for traitors.”

“I ordered a space to be saved and to call it ‘the graveyard for traitors.’ The passersby will curse the ones buried there. ‘Everyone visiting the place will curse them and they won’t be able rest in their graves,’ I said,” Topbas told a group of coup protesters gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square late on July 19, while adding that the mayor of the Black Sea province of Ordu had refused to provide a burial place for the coup plotters."

Günther Oettinger: No visa waiver for Turkey this year (politico, link)

‘Erdogan has to make concessions to us regarding the respect of the rule of law, and it doesn’t look like it is happening now,’ the digital commissioner told German media.

European Commissioner Günther Oettinger has ruled out visa-free travel to Europe for Turks this year, after Friday’s failed coup prompted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to launch a purge in the administration, the army, the police and the judiciary, German media report.

“Erdogan has to make concessions to us regarding the respect of the rule of law, and it doesn’t look like it is happening now,” Oettinger, the EU’s commissioner for the digital economy and society, told Funke Mediengruppe. “It is not possible to strip MPs of their immunity to bully them. It is not possible to intimidate journalists. And it is not possible to withdraw thousands of unwanted judges from service.”"

Referendum on Irish reunification is a ‘possibility’ after Brexit (euractiv, link):

"Enda Kenny, the Irish prime minister, said on Sunday (18 July) that Northern Ireland could vote to become part of a united Ireland if they want to stay in the European Union. But the topic is highly divisive."

US government allowed to plead in Facebook data case (euobserver, link):

"The US government can take part in a case against Facebook on data transfer from Europe to the US, the Irish high court said on Tuesday (19 July).

The case was brought by Austrian activist Max Schrems. It was formally opened last October after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) struck down an EU-US data protection agreement known as Safe Harbour.

It will determine whether European internet users' data is sufficiently protected from US surveillance."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18.7.16)

European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Data protection and Whistleblowing in the EU Institutions (press release, pdf):

"Confidentiality is the most effective incentive to encourage staff to report wrongdoing at work said the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) today as he published his Guidelines on Whistleblowing Procedures. Wojciech Wiewiórowski, Assistant EDPS, said:

"Whistleblowing procedures are meant to provide safe channels for staff or other informants to report fraud, corruption or other serious wrongdoing in organisations. Given that the information processed in whistleblowing procedures is sensitive and that leaks or unauthorised disclosure may have adverse consequences both for the whistleblowers and the accused, special care must be taken over that information. The EDPS Guidelines can help the EU institutions and bodiesto mitigate the risks."

See: EDPS Guidelines (pdf)

TURKEY: Aftermath of the attempted coup

The Turkey coup looks like the most incompetent undertaking imaginable (euractiv, link): "Whatever happened on Friday 15 July, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has emerged stronger than ever and can now arrest anyone he wants on charges of treason, writes George Friedman."

Erdogan says coup was ‘gift from God’ to reshape country, punish enemies (euractiv, link): "President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Friday’s failed coup (15 July) was a “gift from God”, giving him the chance to re-shape the country, and purge the country’s elite from enemies, who accuse him of creeping Islamisation in the traditionally secular state....

Erdogan promised “a new Turkey” after Friday’s failed coup. He has made clear that the country he plans would be different in two fundamental ways: power would be concentrated in the hands of the president, and the old secular elites would have a lesser political role."

And: Turkey's Erdogan vows talks on death penalty for coup plotters (DW, link): "Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he'll discuss the possibility of capital punishment for those involved in an attempted coup against his government."

See also: Council conclusions on Turkey (18.7.16, pdf): there is a striking omission of asylum or visa issues.

GREECE: Anti-authoritarian son of SYRIZA Minister sentenced for “disturbing public peace” outside Golden Dawn offices (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"An Athens Misdemeanors Court imposed a 14-month imprisonment to the son of a SYRIZA Minister for attacks that occurred last month outside the offices of far-right Golden Dawn in Maroussi suburb of northern Athens. The 21-year-old man and each of three other defendants were sentenced to 14-month imprisonment with 3-year suspension.

The defendants were charged for offenses of “disturbing public peace” and “refusal to allow fingerprinting.” They were acquitted for the offenses of “unprovoked dangerous physical harm against police” and “aggravated damage.”"

Race and class: the colour of struggle (IRR, link):

"The latest issue of Race & Class is devoted to black political struggle in the UK 1950s-1980s.

Race and class: the colour of struggle, 1950s-1980s, edited by Jenny Bourne, brings together the voices of unsung political heroes of the time, groundbreaking new research, and campaigning material from the archives, providing readers with key resources on Britain’s history of black anti-racist activism – especially relating to policing, racial violence, workers exploitation and immigration controls. Those who speak from its pages – mothers, workers, students, exiles – testify to the common experience of colonialism and racism which made Black the colour of their fight."

UK: Post-Brexit racism (IRR News, 7.7.16, link):

"We present an overview of racially motivated attacks and other incidents of harassment that have taken place since the Brexit result, which indicate the types of attacks taking place across the UK. But of course, this account is in no way exhaustive."

Council of Europe: Annual Activity Report 2015 (pdf)

"2015 was a year of fear and insecurity in Europe. In such an atmosphere, governments tend to neglect their human rights obligations and public opinion sometimes encourages this trend. Recurrent fears about possible military escalation in eastern Ukraine and ongoing economic malaise were increasingly overshadowed in 2015 by a growing sense of vulnerability to new terrorist threats and panic at the apparent inability of European governments to cope with the influx of asylum seekers.

The instinctive response in many quarters was to retreat back into one’s “national fortress”, to build fences, to grant enhanced powers to security services and to restrict freedoms. European co-operation faltered and European institutions struggled to formulate a response, as the divergent stances of member states often proved irreconcilable."

EU-NATO Declaration (pdf): Joint Declaration by the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and the Secretary General of NATO (pdf)

Including: "Broaden and adapt our operational cooperation including at sea, and on migration, through increased sharing of maritime situational awareness as well as better coordination and mutual reinforcement of our activities in the Mediterranean and elsewhere."

FATF rules on civil society and "terrorist financing" rewritten

Most people have never heard of “Recommendation 8,” the regulation intended to protect the nonprofit sector from abuse through terrorist financing. It’s a technical section of an esoteric regulatory system that governs the global flow of money.

Until this month, it was also a flawed regulation that left civil society vulnerable to illegitimate government crackdowns.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15.7.16)

Case Watch: Discrimination Dressed up as Neutrality in European Headscarf Bans (OSF, link):

"The Court of Justice of the European Union has been asked to interpret this law in two cases, each about a Muslim woman dismissed by a private sector employer because she wore a religious headscarf at work. In the first cases to reach the Court of Justice on the question of religious discrimination, national courts in Belgium and France have asked whether the dismissals were direct discrimination or whether exceptions to Directive 2000/78 allow such dismissals. In our legal briefing on the issue , we argue that the Court should rule that targeting clothing because it is religious is direct discrimination not allowed by EU law."

See also: Religious discrimination in the workplace: which approach should the CJEU follow? (EU Law Analysis, link)

EU-USA: Commission Implementing Decision of 12.7.2016 pursuant to Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the adequacy of the protection provided by the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (pdf)

And see: Privacy Shield – Press Breakfast by MEP Jan Albrecht European Parliament, Brussels, July 12th 2016 - Statement by Max Schrems, Summary (pdf):

"Schrems: “Privacy Shield is the product of pressure by the US and the IT industry – not of rational or reasonable considerations. It is little more than an little upgrade to Safe Harbor, but not a new deal. It is very likely to fail again, as soon as it reaches the CJEU. This deal is bad for users, which will not enjoy proper privacy protections and bad for businesses, which have to deal with a legally unstable solution. The European Commission and the US government managed to make everyone miserable, when they could have used this opportunity to upgrade the protections that are crucial for consumer trust in online and cloud services."”

EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Ministers meeting under the Slovakia Council Presidency, 7 July 2016

Minimalist background documents provided:

- Schengen Borders fit for the future (pdf):

"Ministers will discuss the implementation of the European Border and Coast Guard Regulation as well as interaction of the new Agency with neighbouring countries....

The Presidency attaches great importance to the Smart Borders project and is committed to bringing it closer to reality. A proposal on the EU Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is expected to complete the picture in a not too distant future. Ministers will discuss how the system should look like."

- European Asylum Policy, addressing common challenges (pdf)

"The Commission’s legislative proposals, both those already adopted and those expected in the nearest future, aim at improving many aspects of the CEAS. One of the leading concepts of the proposals is solidarity."

Comment: There has not been much solidarity between Member States on the refugee crisis.

"Reforming the Common European Asylum System - the way ahead: The package of asylum proposals submitted by the Commission is one of the most important elements of the legislative work ahead."

Germany: About the exposure of three undercover policewomen in Hamburg (link):

"In three successive years, undercover policewomen from the Hamburg Criminal Police Office have been unmasked by activists. Their assignments included cases with international connections.

At least two of the officers also maintained sexual or intimate relationships with their targets or informers. This was the subject of several meetings of Hamburg’s internal-affairs authorities and of internal police enquiries."

European Parliament: Draft Report: On the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union in 2015 (pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (14.7.16)

European Commission: Asylum, relocation, resettlement, legal channels - package

European Commission: Completing the reform of the Common European Asylum System: towards an efficient, fair and humane asylum policy (Press release, pdf)

"The Commission is proposing to replace the Asylum Procedures Directive with a Regulation establishing a fully harmonised common EU procedure for international protection to reduce differences in recognition rates from one Member State to the next, discourage secondary movements and ensure common effective procedural guarantees for asylum seekers."

- Proposal for a: Regulation on standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection, for a uniform status for refugees or for persons eligible for subsidiary protection and for the content of the protection granted and amending Council Directive 2003/109/EC of 25 November 2003 concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents (COM 466, pdf)

- Proposal for a: Regulation establishing a common procedure for international protection in the Union and repealing Directive 2013/32/EU (COM 467, pdf)

- Reforming the Common European Asylum System: Frequently asked questions (pdf)

- Proposal for a Directive: laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection (recast) (COM 465, pdf)

- Reforming the Common European Asylum System: Frequently asked questions (pdf)

- Enhancing legal channels: Commission proposes to create common EU Resettlement Framework (Press release, pdf)

- Proposal for a Regulation: establishing a Union Resettlement Framework and amending Regulation (EU) No516/2014 of the European Parliament and the Council (COM 468, pdf)

EU: Trilogues: Again citizens and civil society get half the cake: Institutional "space to think" (in secret) defended by EU Ombudsman

"The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, has called on the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission to further increase the transparency of law-making in the EU by publishing key documents related to their informal negotiations known as “trilogues”.

Prevent: UK anti-terror plan 'harms children's rights' - Prevent policy limits freedom of expression in the classroom and leads to Muslims self censoring, rights group says (Al Jazeera, link):

"The UK's counterterrorism strategy is stifling children's freedom in school classrooms, infringing young people's right to privacy and causing Muslim pupils to self-censor out of fear of being reported to authorities, according to a new human rights report.

Rights Watch UK called on Wednesday for the programme known as Prevent, which aims to stop people "becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism", to be abolished. Prevent is "leaving a generation of young Britons fearful of exercising their rights to freedom of expression and belief," said Yasmine Ahmed, the NGO's director."

See report: Preventing education? Human Rights and UK counter-terrorism policy in schools (pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13.7.16)

European Commission: Relocation and Resettlement, 13 July 2016

"Relocation and Resettlement: Positive trend continues, but more efforts needed... During the reporting period from 14 June to 11 July, the number of relocations increased with an additional 776 persons being relocated...

EU: Police chiefs: nine-point programme on keeping the 'Balkan Route' closed

The declaration was adopted following a meeting on 30 June in Vienna of police chiefs from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Macedonia, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia. It was circulated on 5 July by the Austrian delegation to the Council of the EU to other Member States' representatives.

See: Joint Declaration on Managing Migration Flows - Police Chiefs Meeting in Vienna on 30 June 2016 (LIMITE doc no: 10933/16, 5 July 2016, pdf)

EU: Implementing the Internal Security Strategy: May 2015 update

A May 2016 version of the "living document" maintained by the Presidency of the Council giving an overview of the implementation of the EU's Internal Security Strategy. It outlines "results achieved" between December 2015 and May 2016; sets out work for the current Slovenian Presidency of the Council; and gives an overview of the work of the different Council working parties dealing with internal security issues (covering areas as diverse as "organised property crime", border control and wildlife trafficking).

See: NOTE from: Presidency to: Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security (COSI): Renewed European Union Internal Security Strategy Implementation Paper: first half of 2016 (8587/16, 13 May 2016, pdf)

Background: Implementing the Internal Security Strategy: planning documents (Statewatch News Online, August 2015)

EU: Money laundering and terrorist financing: Commission set to adopt first EU-wide list of "high-risk third countries"

The European Commission is due to adopt this Friday a list of 11 "high risk [non-EU] countries with strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering/countering terrorist financing", establishing for the first time a common EU list of countries to which financial institutions will have to apply "enhanced customer due diligence measures when establishing business relationships or carrying out transactions with natural persons or legal entities established in listed countries."

See: Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) .../... of XXX supplementing Directive (EU) 2015/849 by identifying high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies (pdf) and: Annex to the Commission Delegated Regulation (pdf)

UK: Mass surveillance mandated in secret

"There are 15 secret “directions” in force under the Telecommunications Act enabling the intelligence services to collect bulk data about online and phone traffic, a surveillance watchdog has revealed."

UK: Older prisoners set up to fail by lack of support on release (Prison Reform Trust, link): "Older people released from prison are being set up to fail by a lack of adequate provision to meet their health and social care needs, according to a report published today by the Prison Reform Trust and Restore Support Network.

Limited and inconsistent support to help sort out housing, employment, personal finances and debt, drug and alcohol dependence, and re-establish family relationships is also undermining the effective resettlement of older prisoners and increases the risk of future offending.

The report, Social care or systematic neglect?, calls for the creation of a cross-government national strategy for meeting the health, social and rehabilitative needs of older people in prison and on release in the community."

See the report: Social care or systematic neglect? Older people on release from prison (link to pdf)

EU-US: Privacy Shield gets the go-ahead

The much-maligned "Privacy Shield" has been approved by EU governments, putting in place a new framework for EU-US data-sharing that - just like its predecessor, the Safe Harbour agreement - is likely to face legal challenges. Safe Harbour was struck down by the European Court of Justice in October 2015.

EU: New counter-terrorist financing rules: the "threat has grown and evolved recently"

The European Commission has published a proposal for new rules aimed at countering terrorist financing and money laundering that will amend the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive, agreed in May 2015.

Proposed changes include obligations for "virtual currency exchange platforms" and virtual currency wallet providers to conduct due diligence checks on customers; limiting the anonymity of pre-paid cards by lowering the threshold (from 250 to 150 euros) at which sellers of cards will be obliged to undertake due diligence checks; strengthening the powers of Financial Intelligence Units; improving the ability of authorities to find out who owns bank and payment accounts; and introducing a harmoised EU approach towards "high-risk third countries".

EU: New handbook on alternatives to prison

"Severe overcrowding and bad conditions are common features of prisons in all the eight states involved in this, the latest European Prison Observatory project: Italy, France, Greece, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. Community-based sanctions and controls are quite new in some of these countries, but long part of the criminal justice system in others (notably France and the UK). Latvia, the biggest per capita user of imprisonment, stands alone among these eight states, in having recently legislated to end the use of imprisonment across a large group of offences. By contrast the UK, another high per capita user of prison, has seen sentences grow longer and the imprisonment net widen: the state of our prisons is now widely acknowledged as a national disgrace.

The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (the Observatory’s UK partner) has long argued for an end to our over-reliance on prison, based as it is on the false premise that punishment and control can address social problems like poverty, substance dependency and mental ill-health. This project gave us the chance to compare the UK with other EU countries and assess the role that alternatives to custody have played in changes to prison populations. We found a complicated picture."

See: Alternatives to imprisonment in Europe (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, link) and the handbook: Alternatives to imprisonment in Europe: A handbook of good practice (link to pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (11.7.16): EU safe third country list and new rules for visa waiver suspension on the way; report on Greek asylum system; amendments to asylum law in Hungary; news round-up.

GREECE: Asylum policies and practices impairing the access to international protection in Greece (Greek Forum of Refugees, pdf): "As a result of regular interactions with refugee communities, GFR has continuously observed a number of obstacles preventing asylum seekers in the country from accessing the asylum procedures and receiving the international protection they are entitled to, according to international law.

Drawing on the implementation of the law and the practices adopted by the authorities, the present report mainly aims at pointing out the gap between the de jure situation, as it is defined by international law, and the de facto situation in Greece, as up to the EU-Turkey deal of 18 March 2016. In doing so, the privileged point of view and focus of research are represented by the series of testimonies provided by asylum seekers, refugees and communities and collected by GFR over 2015."

HUNGARY: Latest amendments “legalise” extrajudicial push-back of asylum-seekers, in violation of EU and international law

The amendments to the Asylum Act and the Act on State Border that entered into force today allow the Hungarian police to automatically push back asylum-seekers who are apprehended within 8 km (5 miles) of either the Serbian-Hungarian or the Croatian-Hungarian border to the external side of the border fence. Legalising push-backs from deep within Hungarian territory denies asylum-seekers the right to seek international protection, in breach of relevant obligations emanating from international and EU law.

EU: Legal response to migration continues: safe third country list and visa waivers

The European Parliament's civil liberties committee has approved texts on a common European list of "safe third countries" and the possibility of suspending visa-free travel for certain nationalities, with a view to reaching swift agreements with the Council. Plans to establish an EU-wide list of safe countries of origin were included in the May 2015 European Agenda on Migration, which also hinted at changes to visa waiver rules.

UK: Government condemned for overseas police training secrecy

"Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee has condemned the Government for the secrecy surrounding the approval of overseas police training, saying the current policy to guard against the human rights risks of such training may not be “fit for purpose.”

The Committee’s report, focused on the UK College of Policing, found that the College “has been put under pressure” by government departments “to raise revenue, including through providing overseas training”, and that some of this training been provided “on the basis of opaque agreements, sometimes with foreign governments which have been the subject of sustained criticism.” In a statement, the MPs warned that some of these programmes “threaten… the integrity of the very brand of British policing that the College is trying to promote and smacks of hypocrisy.”"

See: Government secrecy on overseas police training “unacceptable”, say MPs (Reprieve, link)

Home Affairs Committee news item: "Alarming" inconsistencies in policing across forces must be addressed (parliament.uk, link) and the full report: House of Commons Home Affairs Committee: College of policing: three years on (pdf)

EU: Procedural rights "package" completed with agreement on legal aid Directive

"After seven years the EU has reached political agreement on the final element of a package of laws to improve defence rights across the Union. Yesterday the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament (LIBE) voted by 44 votes to 1 to approve the text of the Directive on Legal aid for suspects or accused persons deprived of liberty and legal aid in European arrest warrant proceedings, agreed in trilogue negotiations between the Council, Parliament and Commission.

Speaking after the vote, Mr Mark Kelly, consortium leader for the JUSTICIA European Rights Network, welcomed the new Directive saying,

"Already we have seen European leaders strengthen criminal justice systems across the EU by setting down minimum standards for countries to provide access to a lawyer when people are accused of crimes. The truth is that having access to a lawyer is meaningless if you do not have the money to pay for one. Particularly, this new law will make a huge difference to people who are detained in police stations, conferring them the absolute right to seek legal aid.""


News Digest (8.7.16)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (8.7.16)

French government to ignore parliament for second time to pass labour law

"France's government has used a special measure to force through a divisive labour bill in the lower house of Parliament without a vote - for a second time.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls invoked a special constitutional article to approve the controversial bill Tuesday, prompting lawmakers to storm out of the National Assembly in anger.

This is the second time he has bypassed the legislature on this issue amid stiff opposition from members of his own party."

See: French PM Valls bypasses parliament to force through labour reforms (France 24, link) and: French government to bypass parliament to introduce controversial labour law (Statewatch News Online, May 2016)

UK: Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war: case closed?

"The long-awaited Chilcot Report was finally released today, examining the UK’s involvement in the Iraq War and occupation. Unfortunately, on the most important question, the report’s conclusions are all but silent: why did the UK go to war?

Chilcot takes at face value the Blair government’s claim that the motive was to address Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, and limits its criticism to mistakes in the intelligence on WMD, and on insufficient administrative and military planning. He shows a remarkable lack of curiosity about the political factors behind the move to war, especially given the weakness (even at the time) of the WMD case."

See: Chilcot's blind spot: Iraq War report buries oil evidence, fails to address motive (OpenDemocracy, link) by David Whyte and Greg Muttitt

And: Take it from a whistleblower: Chilcot has only scratched the surface (The Guardian, link) by Katharine Gun: "Following the damning Chilcot report, much will be said about the decision to go to war in Iraq. But one thing will be missing: the information I leaked in the runup to the war. It won’t get an airing because I was never questioned or asked to participate in the Chilcot inquiry"

The full, 12-volume, 2.6 million word report of the Inquiry is available on its website: The Iraq Inquiry (link)

EU: Decision establishing 'High-Level Expert Group on Interoperabilty and Information Systems'

"(1) With a view to structurally improve the Union's data management architecture for border control and security in particular by addressing the current shortcomings and knowledge gaps of information systems at Union level, in accordance with the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council entitled 'Stronger and Smarter Information Systems for Borders and security'1, the Commission needs to call upon the expertise of high level experts in an advisory body.

(2) It is therefore necessary to set up a group of high level experts in the field of Information Systems and Interoperability and to define its tasks and its structure."

See: Commission Decision of 17.6.2016 setting up the High Level Expert Group on Information Systems and Interoperability (C(2016 3780 final, pdf)

Background: Fingerprinting for all? Inclusion of all travellers in new border database to be discussed by 'High Level Expert Group'

Industry calls for the repeal of the e-Privacy Directive to "empower trust and innovation"

After the approval of new EU rules on data protection in general and with regard to law enforcement agencies, the next step is the revision of the 2002 e-Privacy Directive. Civil society groups are hoping to see the existing legal framework strengthened, while industry has its own ideas - scrapping the rules altogether in the name of "empowering trust and innovation".

FRANCE: Intelligence services should be merged, says parliamentary inquiry: 40 recommendations

"A French parliamentary commission of inquiry into the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks published a report recommending a fusion of the country's intelligence services. France currently has six different intelligence units answering to the interior, defense and economy ministries...

The main proposals include creating a new domestic intelligence agency working specifically in the suburbs with the task to monitor radical Islamists. It also promotes better coordination between existing intelligence and security agencies and the creation of a coordinating agency that directly reports to the Prime Minister."

EU: Council documents: responses to offensive cyber operations; "cyber capacity building" in non-EU countries; implementation report on Cyber Defence Policy Framework

UK: Getting off lightly: police and personal data breaches

Police staff in the UK were responsible for at least 2,315 data breaches between June 2011 and December 2015, according to a new report by Big Brother Watch. More than 800 staff accessed personal data "without a policing purpose" while data was shared with third parties over 800 times, with organised crime groups amongst the recipients. More than half of the cases led to "no disciplinary or formal disciplinary action being taken."

UK: Post-Brexit policing: special treatment, please

"The head of London's Metropolitan Police Service has sought assurances from political officials that the UK police will still have access to European biometric and DNA databases following the country’s decision to leave the European Union.

Speaking to the London Assembly, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Met commissioner, said he wants Europol crime-info sharing, European Arrest Warrant scheme & DNA profile exchange to continue post-Brexit.

That would mean that the UK keeps access to Europol/Interpol, and all arrest warrant and biometric database despite not being politically tied to the continent."

See: UK police want post-Brexit access to EU biometric database (Planet Biometrics, link)

UK: Racism after Brexit: overview and organising meeting

"Below we present an overview of racially motivated attacks and other incidents of harassment that have taken place since the Brexit result, which indicate the types of attacks taking place across the UK. But of course, this account is in no way exhaustive."

See: Post-Brexit racism (IRR, link). And: MEETING in LONDON, SATURDAY 9 JULY: Brexit, racism and xenophobia (The Monitoring Group, link): "Brexit represents a new, unlike any other, dangerous phase for people of colour and migrants in our country.

There is a glaring absence of political leadership in this present crisis. We believe that all of us – Black, Asian and Minority communities together with progressive people – need to develop a new plan and a common strategy to tackle the present surge of rising racism and inequality. Its impact will be long- lasting."

NATO to expand role in Mediterranean migration operations?

"Turning to the Middle East, the Secretary General said Alliance leaders will this week approve the deployment of NATO AWACS surveillance aircraft to support the Global Coalition to counter ISIL. He also said he expected NATO to agree on a new training and capacity building effort in Iraq and a role for NATO in the Central Mediterranean to complement the European Union’s Operation Sophia" (emphasis added). See: NATO Secretary General outlines Warsaw Summit agenda (NATO, link)

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also noted during a press conference (link) that NATO expects to "build on our effective cooperation in the Aegean to cut lines of human trafficking."

EU: Law enforcement efforts against "migrant smuggling" stepped up with new international bureau in Vienna

"On 4 May 2016, the Austrian Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Sobotka opened the “Joint Operational Office against Human Smuggling Networks” (JOO) in Vienna. In a statement, the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior stated that the institution was an “international investigative bureau against human smuggling”. The centre has an initial complement of 38 staff members, Europol intends to second additional personnel. It is intended to be a point of contact for investigations of authorities also from the migrants’ countries of origin."

See: International investigative bureau in Vienna to combat “migrant smuggling” (Matthias Monroy, link)

Technology of control? New remote camera disabling technology patented by Apple

"Imagine: You pull out your phone to record police misconduct—suddenly, your camera just doesn’t work. Turns out, your phone’s camera has been disabled by an infrared emitter. Apple’s newly patented technology may make this possible. The technology places an infrared sensor in your phone that has the potential to be disabled remotely. While the technology is being promoted as a tool to prevent the filming of copyrighted material, we think it has the potential to undermine efforts to hold law enforcement accountable."

EU: Rush to pass new terrorism law continues with LIBE vote

"Today, on 4 July 2016, the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE) waved through a compromise text for a Directive on “combating terrorism”. The compromise comes after a series of secret negotiations between a handful of parliamentarians.

Our freedoms and security are being threatened by unclear provisions on key issues like internet blocking and encryption. The text also includes undefined terms, such as “radicalisation” and the “glorification of terrorism” which can be subject to abuse. Due to political pressure, there was “exceptionally” no assessment of alternatives to the far-reaching measures contained in the proposal. This political expediency risks undermining the values on which the European Union is founded."

EU: European Parliament: thumbs up for beefing up Frontex

On Wednesday 6 July the European Parliament approved a proposal to turn the EU border agency Frontex into a 'European Border and Coast Guard Agency', with new powers that have been heavily criticised by some of the Parliament's political groups as well as civil society organisations. The new agency is expected to start operations in the autumn.

The text of the new Regulation - which was agreed in secret trilogue meetings between Council, Parliament and Commission negotiators before being voted on by the full Parliament - was adopted with 483 votes in favour, 181 votes against and 48 abstentions.

Statewatching Europe Conference 2016: Plenary speech by Gareth Peirce (mp3)

EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6.7.16): Hungarian border guards undertake shoot-to-kill practice; number of children in detention in France in 2015 doubles; refugees smuggling themselves in shipping containers; and more.

UK: UNDERCOVER POLICING: Core Participant? Your Name’s Not Down, You’re Not Coming In (COPS, link):

"When the [Pitchford] Inquiry was established there were over 200 applications for CP status. Most were accepted. A judgement made in October 2015 illustrates the open character of the Inquiry.

Based on this initial ruling we felt that the Inquiry was going to do two things, listen to those of us who were spied upon and investigate undercover policing of political groups who were engaging in their right to protest.

It was also said that there would continue to be an open door for those who wish to seek Core Participant status. We now question that initial promise, as recent refusals have thrown it into doubt."

EU: Securing the high seas: Maritime Security Strategy progress report

A recent joint report by the European Commission and the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy provides an overview of progress made in implementing the EU's Maritime Security Strategy, adopted in 2014 and supposed to ensure: "effective and cost-efficient responses to the protection of the maritime domain, including borders, ports and offshore installations, in order to secure sea borne trade, address potential threats from unlawful and illicit activities at sea, as well as to make optimal use of the sea’s potential for growth and jobs, whilst safeguarding the marine environment."

EU says "soft power is not enough" as German and French ministers call for "European Security Compact"

The new 'Global Strategy for the European Union's Foreign and Security Policy' issues the same demands that some leading EU officials have been making for years: that greater unity in defence and security issues is required, not just politically but also financially. "Member States must channel a sufficient level of expenditure to defence," says the report, because "soft power is not enough." A statement issued by the German and French foreign ministers following the British referendum on EU membership makes some similar demands.

EU: Frontex: Annual Report 2015, Western Balkans risk analysis January-March 2016

At the end of June the EU's border control agency, Frontex, presented its Annual Activity Report 2015 to the Council of the EU. The report provides an overview of the agency's work during 2015 - for example, through the coordination of joint operations and joint return operations - as well as information in budgetary and management issues. Frontex has also recently published its Western Balkans "risk analysis" for the first three months of 2016.

FRANCE: Number of children in detention doubles

The number of families with children locked up in detention in France doubled in 2015 compared to the previous year, finds a new report entitled 'Centres and Sites of Administrative Detention' by La Cimade and four other organisations

In 2015, 48,000 people were held in detention, among them 52 families with 105 children. More than half were in mainland France (58%), with the rest in the overseas territories.

"Does it need to be recalled that the best interests of the child must take precedence over arrest and confinement which, however brief, can be deeply traumatic for children?" ask the authors of the report, five French NGOs: Assfam, Forum Réfugiés, France terre d'asile, l'Ordre de Malte and La Cimade.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (4.7.16): new report on the companies profiting from Europe's border control industry; report on Softex camp in northern Greece.

EU: Fingerprinting for all? Inclusion of all travellers in new border database to be discussed by 'High Level Expert Group'

The possibility of subjecting all travellers entering and leaving the EU to the proposed Entry-Exit System - which would mean mandatory fingerprint checks and facial scans at the EU's external borders - is to be discussed by a new 'High Level Expert Group on Information Systems and Interoperability', which counts numerous law enforcement and security agencies amongst its members, but seemingly no data protection officials or authorities.

See: Roadmap to enhance information exchange and information management including interoperability solutions in the Justice and Home Affairs area (LIMITE doc no: 9368-REV-1, pdf),

Rendition: ECHR hearings continue; CIA officer could be imprisoned in Italy

Last week the European Court of Human Rights held confidential hearings on two cases concerning the CIA's rendition programme, Al Nashiri v Romana and Abu Zubaydah v Lithuania. Both men are currently imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay. An ECHR news item said: "Both cases concern the alleged “rendition” of the applicants, suspected of terrorist acts, to CIA secret detention sites, where, according to their submissions, illegal interrogation methods amounting to torture were used."

UK: Call for information on racist incidents in order to "build a national picture"

"After years and years of struggle against racial hostility to new migrant communities, we are back there again – albeit post Brexit, which, seemingly, has taken the shame out of racism. And now, just like in the 1970s, communities up and down the country are experiencing an upsurge in racist and fascist violence. The IRR wants to help organisations at the grassroots by building up a national picture. Can you help us by sending regular updates about what is happening in your community?"

See: Brexit and xeno-racism – help us to build the national picture (IRR, link)

UK: Undercover policing guidance: contradictions made clear

Last week the College of Policing launched a six week consultation on guidance regarding the use of undercover policing for intelligence and evidence-gathering in England and Wales. An article in online newspaper The Canary makes clear some of the problems with the draft guidance.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (2-3.7.16)

USA: Secret Rules Make It Pretty Easy for the FBI to Spy on Journalists (Intercept, link):

"Secret FBI rules allow agents to obtain journalists’ phone records with approval from two internal officials - far less oversight than under normal judicial procedures.

The classified rules, obtained by The Intercept and dating from 2013, govern the FBI’s use of national security letters, which allow the bureau to obtain information about journalists’ calls without going to a judge or informing the news organization being targeted. They have previously been released only in heavily redacted form.

Media advocates said the documents show that the FBI imposes few constraints on itself when it bypasses the requirement to go to court and obtain subpoenas or search warrants before accessing journalists’ information."


UK-EU-BREXIT: House of Lords Library: Leaving the EU: Parliament’s Role in the Process (pdf):

"Following a vote in the referendum on 23 June 2016 in favour of the UK leaving the European Union, the Prime Minister said that this decision “must be accepted”, adding that “Parliament will clearly have a role in making sure that we find the best way forward”. Drawing on parliamentary material and recent legal and constitutional comment, this Library briefing examines what Parliament’s role would be in the process of withdrawing from the European Union in several key areas."

European Parliament Study: Cross-border traffic accidents in the EU - the potential impact of driverless cars (pdf)

"this study provides an analysis of the potential legal impact of the introduction of connected and autonomous vehicles on rules of private international law determining jurisdiction and applicable law in the EU Member States in the event of a cross-border traffic accident."

UK: Howard League for Penal Reform: The Carlile Inquiry 10 years on: The use of restraint, solitary confinement and strip-searching on children (Press release, link) and Report (link):

"Force that causes the deliberate infliction of pain on children account for over a third of all approved ‘techniques’ that can be used on children. Pain is being used illegally to secure children’s compliance."

Irish EU minister: Post-Brexit North-South hard border ‘not acceptable’ (euractiv, link):

"Ireland’s EU minister has told EurActiv.com that any post-Brexit border between Northern Ireland and the Republic should allow status quo in terms of movement of goods or people, and a ‘hard border’ would be “unacceptable." ...

Well we said throughout the campaign and we continue to say now that any measures to restrict the movement of goods or people with border-related measures would be regretted as backward moving steps. That’s our position with respect to the movement of goods and people notwithstanding the UK vote, but as far as at all possible the status quo should be maintained."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (1.7.16): Hungary jails migrants for "violating the border fence"; warning over new Frontex powers; UNHCR statistics on June arrivals in Greece; and more.

News Digest: round-up of news stories from across the EU (1.7.16)

SCOTLAND: After the EU referendum - SACC Policy Statement (Scotland Against Criminalising Communities, link): "SACC stands against repressive legislation and policies that criminalise the daily lives of minority communities; criminalise dissent; and institutionalise, legitimise and promote racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia. Resistance to these policies is more important than ever in the aftermath of the EU referendum. It must become a priority for all progressive political movements and parties."

EU: European Parliament study on reintroduction of border controls in the Schengen area

"This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizen’s Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, analyses the Schengen area in the wake of the European ‘refugee crisis’ and other recent developments. With several Member States reintroducing temporary internal border controls over recent months, the study assesses compliance with the Schengen governance framework in this context. Despite suggestions that the end of Schengen is nigh or arguments that there is a need to get ‘back to Schengen’, the research demonstrates that Schengen is alive and well and that border controls have, at least formally, complied with the legal framework. Nonetheless, better monitoring and democratic accountability are necessary."

UK: Decriminalise sex work, says House of Commons Home Affairs Committee

A report from the Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons calls for changes to the law on sex work in England and Wales, recommending that "the Home Office change existing legislation so that soliciting is no longer an offence and so that brothel-keeping provisions allow sex workers to share premises, without losing the ability to prosecute those who use brothels to control or exploit sex workers."

UK: Unaccompanied child asylum seekers: Home Office age assessment policy unlawful

"The High Court has ruled that the Home Office policy on judging the age of unaccompanied children seeking asylum is unlawful. Ministers have, up until now, allowed immigration officers to treat as an adult anyone they believe seems to be ‘significantly over the age of 18’."

EU: Warning over new Frontex agency's data-gathering powers, lack of accountability and overseas deployments without oversight

With the full European Parliament due to vote on the proposed new Frontex Regulation on 6 July, the Frontexit campaign has called on MEPs to reject the text, warning that it provides new powers to gather and exchange personal data without the necessary safeguards; establishes a new complaint mechanism that does not meet the required standards of independence; and permits increased overseas deployments by the agency "away from any oversight by the European Parliament or national parliaments."

LITHUANIA: Lithuanian court prevents secret detention and rendition victim from participating in investigation into CIA secret prisons in Lithuania

Press release from REDRESS: London, 1 July 2016 – Vilnius Regional Court has issued its final rejection of REDRESS’ application for victim status for Mustafa al-Hawsawi in a pre-trial criminal investigation into CIA secret prisons (also known as black sites) in Lithuania. This status would have allowed Mr. al-Hawsawi to participate in the ongoing investigation, including to request access to pre-trial investigation material and to make requests to expand the investigation’s scope.

EU: Crime pays well, says Europol report

A new report by European policing agency Europol estimates that between 2010 and 2014, just "2.2% of the estimated proceeds of crime were provisionally seized or frozen, and 1.1% of the criminal profits were finally confiscated at EU level." Thus: "98.9% of estimated criminal profits are not confiscated and remain at the disposal of criminals."

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