GERMANY: UPDATED: 31.7.15: Germany halts treason inquiry into journalists after protests - ‘For the good of media freedom’, Germany’s prosecutor general suspends investigation into reporters who said state planned to boost surveillance (Guardian, link)
Statewatch coverage: Investigative journalism under attack
The Federal Prosecutor General is investigating two German journalists suspected of treason for releasing information classified as "confidential" online. Charges have been filed against Markus Beckedahl and Andre Meister, the two reporters who run the blog netzpolitik.org.
"That the Federal Prosecutor General who failed to investigate charges against the NSA is now investigating journalists and their whistleblowers is a deeply disturbing assault against journalism critical of the intelligence agencies' activities and an assault against the freedom of press."
EU-USA: Full-text of draft:Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (52 pages, pdf):
"This document is the European Union's proposal for services, investment and e-commerce text. It was tabled for discussion with the US in the negotiating round of 12 -17 July 2015 and made public on 31 July 2015. The actual text in the final agreement will be a result of negotiations between the EU and US."
USA: Government Accountability Office (GAO): Facial Recognition Technology: Commercial Uses, Privacy Issues, and Applicable Federal Law (pdf)
"No federal privacy law expressly regulates commercial uses of facial recognition technology, and laws do not fully address key privacy issues stakeholders have raised, such as the circumstances under which the technology may be used to identify individuals or track their whereabouts and companions. Laws governing the collection, use, and storage of personal information may potentially apply to the commercial use of facial recognition in specific contexts , such as information collected by health care entities and financial institutions." [emphasis added]
This report above recommends a response to an earlier report which refers to key privacy standards missing: Information Resellers: Consumer Privacy, Framework Needs to Reflect Changes in Technology and the Marketplace (2013 report, pdf):
"No overarching federal privacy law governs the collection and sale of personal information among private-sector companies, including information resellers. Instead, a variety of laws tailored to specific purposes, situations, or entities governs the use, sharing, and protection of personal information." [emphasis added]
Burgenland’s ‘red-blue’ coalition of shame (IRR, link): "The Labour Party is debating how to win back votes from UKIP. Meanwhile, in Austria, the Burgenland Social Democrats have set a worrying precedent, entering into a coalition with the extreme Right in the provincial legislative assembly." and Deaths in custody news round-up (IRR, link): "The last month has seen a number of developments in relation to deaths in custody: a misconduct hearing, the ten-year anniversary of the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, an inquest, new deaths in custody and a new government ‘review’ of deaths in police custody. Jean Charles de Menezes remembered."
Asylum seeker death toll rising (IRR, link): "In the last two months, at least thirteen people, two of whom were teenagers, have died trying to reach the UK, and countless others have been injured."
The Calais crisis: which Member State is responsible? (EU Law Analysis, link)
UK-FRANCE: JOINT ACTION: ARRANGEMENT ADMINISTRATIF (pdf) [The Joint Action: Government of France and the UK to secure the common border and combate illegal immigration, 2009]
UK: House of Commons: Letter from Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Minister for Immigration, to the Committee Chair, 21 July 2015 (pdf)
GREECE: Two groups in distress in the Aegean Sea near Lesvos, rescued by Turkey, one boat punctured by Greek coastguard! (Watch the Med, link): " person contacted us and reported that he had knowledge of a vessel that sought to reach Lesvos but was intercepted by the Greek police. He said that the police boarded their vessel and took away their engine. They then punctured the vessel and left them behind at sea. They were now, of course, in a situation of distress."
What the Calais ‘crisis’ reveals about racism - The deaths we have seen in Calais are not the first, and until Britain can come to terms with race and racism, they won’t be the last (Red Pepper, link)
SERBIA: Fears of humanitarian crisis in Serbia as refugees stream in (euractiv, link): "At the crack of dawn hundreds of refugees, most of them Syrians, stream into Serbia's southern valley of Presevo after a perilous journey they hope will lead to a new life in the European Union."
The Hungary PM made a ‘rivers of blood’ speech … and no one cares - All the attention has been on Europe’s neo-Nazi fringe groups, when it’s those in national governments who should be scrutinised (Guardian, link)
News Digest (31.7.15)
EU cybersecurity agency lacks funds for research on major tech issues (euractiv, link): "EXCLUSIVE / Europe's cybersecurity agency has admitted it is unprepared for the advent of the internet of things, lacking the money and expertise to meet the challenges posed by the much hyped move towards digitally connected devices."
UK: British forces illegally detained Afghan suspect, court of appeal rules - Judges find that UK acted unlawfully in detaining Serdar Mohammed for four months in 2010 before handing him over to Afghan authorities (Guardian, link)
USA: Revealed: The private firms tracking terror targets at heart of US drone wars (BIJ, link): "The overstretched US military has hired hundreds of private sector contractors in the heart of its drone operations to analyse top secret video feeds and help track high value terror targets, an investigation has found."
NSA-JAPAN: Today, Friday 31 July 2015, 9am CEST," WikiLeaks publishes "Target Tokyo", 35 Top Secret NSA targets in Japan including the Japanese cabinet and Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi, together with intercepts relating to US-Japan relations, trade negotiations and sensitive climate change strategy".(Wikileaks, link)
GERMANY: German press, politicians criticize 'absurd' Netzpolitik inquiry - Markus Beckedahl has called a treason investigation into him and a fellow journalist "absurd." Authorities are looking into whether he and Andre Meister committed a crime by publishing state secrets. (DW, link)
France and the UK are on the edge of Kafkaesque surveillance - Surveillance laws being debated around the world should avoid the recent fate of the French – and the scorn of Franz Kafka (Guardian, link)
Who will benefit from more GPS surveillance? Despite claims of its potential to protect us from serious crime, we run risks if we get hooked on mass GPS tracking, argues Catherine Heard (CCJS, link)
UK: Mother of Ricky Reel disappointed with secret police 'spy reports' released (YLG, link): "A mother spied on by police after the death of her son in Kingston has expressed disappointment the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has not publicly apologised. "
Inquiring into police accountability and spying on family campaigns (IRR, link): "On 16 July, the Home Office announced an inquiry into undercover police spies and their activities monitoring family campaigns and spying on protestors.Below we produce a statement by The Monitoring Group which has been supporting some of the families whose campaigns were infiltrated by the police."
Growing recognition of global problem of pre-trial detention (Fair Trials, link)
EXCLUSIVE: Edward Snowden Explains Why Apple Should Continue To Fight the Government on Encryption (Intercept, link)
EU: Statewatch Analysis: EU-USA Justice and Home Affairs cooperation: an honest and equal relationship? (pdf):
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:
“The USA role in justice and home affairs is like that of the 29th EU state. Year after year since 2001 there have been regular meetings of Ministers and Senior Officials in Brussels and Washington - it also attended the six-monthly G6 meetings of EU Interior Ministers (and its preparatory meetings).
The USA is a major, unseen, influence on EU justice and home affairs policies and practices and uses the meetings to lobby for direct access to EU and Member State databases.
These meetings take place on the oft-repeated assumption that the USA and the EU “share common values of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental values”. However, there are many people, in Europe and the USA, who do indeed believe we share these “common values”, but not the policies and practices of our governments.”
EU: Statewatch Briefing: Preparing the ground for “smart borders”: EU action on “overstayers” (pdf) by Zakeera Suffee:
"Quiet preparations for the EU’s ambitious “smart borders” proposals are ongoing. This will require the fingerprinting of all non-EU residents entering the Schengen area, and is made up proposals for an Entry/Exit System intended to detect visa “overstayers”; a Registered Traveller Programme for the vetting of selected individuals before they arrive at EU borders; and proposals for relevant legal amendments to the Schengen Borders Code....
The multiple efforts to ensure ever-greater capture, storage and sharing of information suggest that people on the move are increasingly seen as a threat that needs to be regulated and managed through high-tech surveillance combined with “on-the-ground” information-gathering and police operations. All of these initiatives pose significant challenges to fundamental rights, in different ways. The fact that they are, for the most part, discussed and prepared in secret only adds to the concerns that they raise."
EU: Smart borders: European Commission and Member States at odds over digitising passport stamps
The EU wants to replace ink-on-paper passport stamps with a digital alternative as part of its plans for an Entry/Exit System supposed to detect visa "overstayers". Member States are not convinced by the idea.
A proposed new database known as the Entry/Exit System (EES) would require the fingerprinting of all non-residents entering the Schengen area, with the aim of making it easier to calculate and detect who has "overstayed" their visa entitlement. A Registered Traveller Programme (RTP), for the vetting of certain travellers before they reach EU borders, would also be introduced, along with amendments to the Schengen Borders Code.
However, the Commission's plan has raised concerns amongst the Member States. Documents obtained by Statewatch show that a majority of Member States consider passport stamps to be the most effective way of detecting overstayers
EU: MED-CRISIS: Morocco: The forgotten frontline of the migrant crisis (http://newirin.irinnews.org, link):
"It's late afternoon on the forested slopes of Mount Selouane. In single file or knots of friends, young West African men are trudging down the hillside to the dusty, dishevelled outskirts of the Moroccan village of Shadia.
Nearly everyone is carrying an empty water bottle, part of their daily routine to fill them for free from standpipes outside the few general stores. They come as well to get a better network connection, to check their Facebook, make calls home, or catch up on friends who have made it to Europe."
- Four reasons Syrian ‘safe zone’ unlikely to work ( (http://newirin.irinnews.org, link)
- The only 'migrant madness' is the tabloid pretence about events in Calais - Analysis: It is time to end the lie that a few hundred migrants trying to enter the UK via the Channel tunnel amount to a mass invasion (Guardian, link) and Calais migrant crisis: David Cameron branded 'disgraceful' for Mediterranean 'swarm' remark (IBT, link): "“Cameron calling Calais migrants a 'swarm' is nothing short of disgraceful. [It] confirms there's no dog-whistle these Bullingdon Boys won't blow.” - Andy Burnham"
- Germany eases access to job market for refugees - German government has removed a legal obstacle for certain groups of young refugees who want to work as interns. German companies, opposition parties and local officials are pushing for even more reform of the system. (DW, link)
News Digest (30.7.15)
UK: Three-year-old child from London placed in government anti-extremism programme (Independent, link)
USA: Legislative Cyber Threats: CISA’s Not The Only One (Just Security, link)
UK: Government lifts remaining restrictions on arms sales to Israel after year-long review (Independent, link)
The Spanish export of arms in 2014: between illegality and joint arms programs (WRI, link)
Peace Activists Close Down Office of Arms Industry Lobby Group (WRI, link)
Calais migrant camps: seventeen years of shanty towns (Channel 4 News, link)
EU: European Parliament Study: The General Principles of EU Administrative Procedural Law (pdf):
"Upon request by the JURI Committee this in-depth analysis explains what general principles of EU administrative procedural law are, and how they can be formulated in the recitals of a Regulation on EU administrative procedure."
SPAIN: Statewatch Analysis: ECtHR: Spain guilty of not investigating allegations of torture in incommunicado detention by Yasha Maccanico:
On 5 May 2015, the third section of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg unanimously found Spain guilty of violating the procedural aspects of article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Arratibel Garciandia applied to the ECtHR on 6 September 2013, complaining about the failure by Spain’s internal jurisdiction to effectively investigate allegations that he was subjected to ill-treatment following his arrest at 3 a.m. on 18 January 2011 in his home in Etxarri Aranatz (Navarre). He was placed in incommunicado detention until 22 January and transferred to the Guardia Civil’s general directorate in Madrid, after his fingerprints and a DNA sample were taken in the Pamplona audiencia provincial (province court) in the Navarre region.
And see :Statewatch Analyses: Resources for researchers (from 1999 - ongoing)
News Digest (29.7.15)
LONDON: Home Office immigration vans 'had tyres slashed as officials were egged by youths in east London' (Evening Standard, link)
UK: Court of Appeal agrees that Detained Fast Track appeals are inherently unfair (Garden Court Chambers, link)
GREECE: Golden Dawn trial adjourned to Sept. 8 (ekathimerini.com, link)
USA-NSA: Documents Published by WikiLeaks Reveal the NSA's Corporate Priorities (truthout, link)
'Killer robots' with AI must be banned, urge Stephen Hawking, Noam Chomsky and thousands of others in open letter (Independent, link)
Terrorism, fines and money laundering: why banks say no to poor customers - The tightening of international banking standards is making it difficult for low-income people in the global south to get access to banking services (Guardian, link) and London mosque chairman demands removal from banks' terrorism blacklist - Mohammed Kozbar ‘astonished’ to see Finsbury Park mosque described as terrorism risk on World-Check database used by banks worldwide (Guardian, link): "Mohammed Kozbar said he was “shocked and astonished” to find the north London mosque described as a terrorism risk on a confidential database used by 49 out of the world’s biggest 50 banks. He made the discovery following a BBC Radio 4 documentary due to be aired on Tuesday night by the journalist Peter Oborne into why HSBC cancelled the accounts of several prominent Islamic bodies without explanation last year. The documentary concluded that Finsbury Park mosque, along with the Cordoba Foundation thinktank, have been classified under “terrorism” on World-Check, a risk-analysis database owned by the financial information giant Thomson Reuters." also: Why did HSBC shut down bank accounts? (BBC News, link)
UK: Undercover policing inquiry: officers giving evidence might receive immunity - Lord Justice Pitchford raises possibility of immunity from prosecution as he opens inquiry into covert infiltration of political groups (Guardian, link)
How America's psychologists ended up endorsing torture (Economist, link)
Germany shuts out refugees with 'safe' states list - With refugee numbers on the rise, German political parties have been wrangling once again over which Balkan states to add to its list of "safe countries of origin." But whether there is any point to it is another matter. (DW, link)
PM: Zeman tries to appeal to people hating refugees (Prague Monitor, link)
The heat is on: Surviving summer in an Iraqi camp (IRIN, link)
CES 2000 MIGRANTS FANTÔMES OFFERTS AU BRITISH TAXPAYER (passeursdhospitalites, link): ["What is the relationship between the "British taxpayer" and the announcement of spectacular figures for the increase in the number of pass attempts by the Channel Tunnel, 2000 in the night of Monday to Tuesday (2200 according to the BBC), nothing corroborates in the field?"]
EU: MED-CRISIS:: WHERE IS THE EU GOING?: Channel Tunnel: '2,000 migrants' tried to enter (BBC News, link): "Some 2,000 migrants tried to enter the Channel Tunnel terminal in Calais on Monday night in an attempt to reach the UK, operator Eurotunnel has said."
Emergency measures on Kent roads to combat Channel tunnel gridlock - Police reintroduce Operation Stack and close the M20 between junctions eight and nine to non-freight traffic after ‘continued disruption’ in Calais (Guardian, link) and HMS Bulwark's replacement yet to rescue any migrants in Mediterranean - HMS Enterprise was sent out in place of much larger vessel that saved nearly 5,000, as David Cameron insisted UK would continue to play full role (link).
GERMANY: Amid attacks on refugee homes, explosion destroys Left politician's car near Dresden - A local politician who supported a plan to house refugees in the town of Freital outside Dresden has been the victim of an arson attack. The Left party said that Michael Richter was the target of right-wing threats. (DW, link) and Refugees: German state of Baden-Württemberg sets up refugee task force - To deal with an influx of refugees, the wealthy south-western state of Baden-Württemberg plans to set up a task force and build more shelters. It also wants to speed up the deportation of migrants from "safe" countries. (DW, link)
GREECE: Seven children from makeshift refugee camp in Athens receive treatment (.ekathimerini.com, link)
Czech Republic and Austria to re-enforce border patrols in view of growing number of illegal migrants (Prague Monitor, link)
News Digest (28.7.15)
USA: Amazon proposes drones-only airspace to facilitate high-speed delivery - The retail giant’s proposal carves out airspace from 200ft-400ft exclusively for autonomous drones, with a further 100ft above it declared a no-fly zone (Guardian, link)
UK: Relationships with undercover officers wreck lives. The lies must stop - Discovering Mark Kennedy’s true identity turned our lives upside down. The public inquiry into police spying must offer full and frank disclosure (Guardian, link)
Petition to pardon Edward Snowden rejected by Obama administration - The White House responded to 168,000 signatories with its unwavering position that the NSA whistleblower should return to US to face espionage charges (Guardian, link)
Human-rights breaches & serious issues of sovereignty in Swedish diplomatic manoeuvre versus Ecuador over ‘case Assange’ (SWEDHR, link)
GERMANY: Number of far-right killings in Germany since 1990 revised up - The number of murder cases with a far-right motive since 1990 is higher then previously thought, police data show. The Greens party requested a revision after the killings allegedly committed by the NSU came to light. (DW, link)
ITALY: Senate Speaker Grasso says no to wiretap limits (ANSA, link)
SYRIA: Two Conscientious Objectors, Polen Ünlü and Alper Sapan, were murdered in the Suruç massacre (War Resisters International, link)
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: Council of the European Union: Latest state of play in secret trilogue meetings at summer break: Chapter II, preparation of trilogue (LIMITE doc no 10790-15, pdf): Developing the Council's position: "With a view to preparing the next trilogue, the Presidency invites delegations to discuss Chapter II . Principles (Articles 5-10).... While underlining that the General Approach reached by Council on 15th June 2015 constitutes the basis of the Presidency’s negotiation mandate, and taking into account the position of the European Parliament on Chapter II, the Presidency invites delegations to share their views on the different questions and suggestions listed below (points 7 and 8)." [emphasis added]
and Presidency debriefing on the outcome of the trilogue on 14 July 2015 (LIMITE doc no: 10680-15, pdf): 93 pages with multi-column positions. Summary of discussions including: "discussed in a trilogue on the General Data Protection Regulation the provisions related to Chapter V on transfer of personal data to third countries or international organisations and on the territorial scope of the Regulation." (emphasis added)
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Opening a new Chapter for Data Protection (Press release, pdf):
"Today, as the European Data Protection Supervisor sent his recommendations to the EU co-legislators negotiating the final text of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), he launched a mobile app to compare the latest texts from the Commission, the Parliament and the Council more easily on tablets and smartphones.
Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS, said: “Privacy and data protection matter more than ever to people. For the first time in a generation the EU has an opportunity to modernise, harmonise and simplify the rules on how personal information is handled. These rules must be relevant for the next generation of technologies. As part of my remit to be proactive and constructive, my recommendations aim to support the co-legislators to get a better deal for the individual, to make safeguards more effective in practice and enable them to benefit from technological innovation."
And see: EDPS Opinion on the new Regulation (32 pages, pdf) and Annex to Opinion 3/2015: Comparative table of GDPR texts with EDPS recommendations (520 pages, pdf) Multi-column document.
EU PASSENGER NAME RECORD (PNR): Council of the European Union: Preparation for internal trilogues (LIMITE doc no 11105-15: pdf): Multi-column document, 507 pages.
For full background and documentation see Statewatch Observatory: EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record: 2011: ongoing
UK: Scotland Yard shut down undercover police unit because it broke rules - A secret review found that the Special Demonstration Squad ignored ethical issues and gathered information that had no crime-fighting value (Guardian, link):
"The SDS was run by the Met and collected what the review called “high-grade intelligence” on protesters during “deep infiltration operations”. Established in 1968, the unit planted more than 100 undercover officers in more than 460 political groups, until it was wound up in 2008. The undercover officers adopted intricate fake personas and pretended to be campaigners for spells of usually five years.
The SDS spies were deployed to gather information about protests organised by campaigns including those of grieving families seeking the truth about police misconduct, environmentalists and anti-racist groups."
Background: Investigation into links between Special Demonstration Squad and Home Office (pdf) and Mark Ellison QC and Allison Morgan’s: Review of possible miscarriages of justice: Impact of Undisclosed Undercover Police Activity on the Safety of Convictions Report (57 pages, pdf) plus: Special Demonstration Squad: Tradecraft Manual (pdf)
LONDON: PUBLIC ORDER: Metropolitan Police: Guidance documents for Mass or multiple arrests (pdf): A fair bit of it is censored. Contains: Briefing Note Prisoner Transport - Mass Arrest SOP [Standard Operating Procedure] - Briefing Note Good Practice - Supervisors guidance card S12 & S14 (sections 12 and 14 of the Public Order Act 1986)
Follow the Spycops Across Borders (COPs, link): "German MP Andrej Hunko, who has taken great interest in Mark Kennedy’s deployment in Germany, has written to the Home Secretary insisting that the forthcoming inquiry into undercover police includes UK officers’ actions abroad. It comes after May’s announcement last week which, whilst scant on detail, did specify that it will cover “operations conducted by English and Welsh police forces in England and Wales”. It’s known that officers from the political police units have been going abroad for about twenty years. Conversely, their foreign counterparts work over here." See also: Secrets and lies: undercover police operations raise more questions than answers (Statewatch database, link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Adopted text: Proposal for a Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece - General approach (pdf): "Delegations will find attached a document on the above issue as agreed by the JHA Council on 20 July 2015." and see:
Frontex´ Annual Report on the implementation on the EU Regulation 656/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 establishing rules for the surveillance of the external sea borders (pdf)
News Digest (27.7.15)
UK: No place for the young: the towns where childhood is being criminalised (Open Democracy, link): "Across England, local councils are banning young people from public space." See: Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (link). Public Space Protection Orders were introduced by this Act . Councils can introduce them to ban "activities carried on in a public place" that "have had a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality." For young people, this includes activities such as skateboarding, swimming and being in a group of three or more. Councils have also targeted the homeless: Chester rough sleeping ban plan criticised by homeless (BBC News, link) and Oxford City Council 'criminalising homelessness' (BBC News, link). And see: Hackney Council backs down on Public Space Protection Order after pressure from community groups (East London Lines, link) or how about this: Kensington and Chelsea council wants crackdown on rev count of supercar owners (Independent, link)
Is the NSA lying about its failure to prevent 9/11? by James Bamford (FP, link)
UK: Revealed: Secret plan to put 5,000 heavily-armed troops on streets of Britain to fight jihadis in event of a terror attack: Operation Temperer would see troops guard key targets with armed police - Plans drawn up by police chiefs and discussed by top Government officials - Would be triggered by Cobra committee in event of - simultaneous attacks - Paris attacks convinced authorities military would be needed if UK hit (Mail on Sunday, link): "The plan, codenamed Operation Temperer, would see troops guard key targets alongside armed police officers, providing ‘protective security’ against further attacks while counter-terror experts and MI5 officers hunted down the plotters." and see: Secret plans to deploy soldiers on UK streets in the aftermath of a terror attack are 'shocking' and 'provocative', says peer (Indpendent, link)
GREECE: Coast guards aided more than 1,500 migrants in Aegean since Friday (ekathimerini.com, link)
LESVOS-GREECE: These are refugees, not migrants, arriving in their thousands on Greek shores - As Europe turns its back, the compassionate crisis response of local Greek volunteers, despite harsh austerity, puts the international community to shame (Guardian, link)
Royal Mile’s Camera Obscura faces ‘spycams’ probe (The Scotsman, link)
News Digest (25-26.7.15)
EU referendum 'within a year': David Cameron fast-tracks vote on Britain's membership of European Union to June 2016 (Independent, link)
GERMANY: German far-right extremists clash with police in protest outside Dresden refugee camp (Independent, link)
SCOTLAND: Sheku Bayoh ‘may have asphyxiated after being held down by police’ - Evidence from postmortem into Sierra Leonean’s death in custody points at positional asphyxia as the cause, says his family’s lawyer (The Observer, link)
FRANCE-UN: France approves 'Big Brother' surveillance powers despite UN concern - UN says powers given to intelligence agencies, which include phone-tapping and computer-hacking, are ‘excessively broad’ and intrusive (Guardian, link):"France’s highest authority on constitutional matters has approved a controversial bill that gives the state sweeping new powers to spy on citizens... In a report published on Friday, the 18-strong United Nations committee for human rights warned that the surveillance powers granted to French intelligence agencies were “excessively broad”. It said the the bill “grants overly broad powers for very intrusive surveillance on the basis of vast and badly defined objectives” and called on France to “guarantee that any interference in private life must conform to principles of legality, proportionality and necessity”."
UK: Chilcot tells frustrated MPs: Iraq war inquiry making progress - Chair of inquiry begun almost six years ago says no witnesses are taking unreasonable time to respond (Guardian, link):
UK: Judge overrules Theresa May and allows convicted terror prisoner to be freed (Independent, link): "A man believed by police to pose a threat to the UK is to be released from prison after Theresa May lost a court case to keep him in jail until he can be deported. The man, a foreign national, has spent years in behind bars on terror-related offences and is still believed to pose a threat to the public."
GREECE: Official calls for crisis talks over Athens park migrant camp (ekathimerini.com)
N IRELAND: The torture centre and the ‘hooded men’ (Irish Times, link): "Weekend read: In 1971 the British army took 14 men to a secret location in rural Co Derry and subjected them to a horrific interrogation from which they have never recovered. Nine of the surviving ‘hooded men’ are still seeking justice for what they say was torture – and they have the human-rights lawyer Amal Clooney on their side."
UK: Teachers must take over classroom deradicalisation lessons, says top policewoman Sara Thornton (Daily Telegraph, link): "Exclusive: The head of the National Police Chiefs' Council says police should abandon classroom role in a key counter-terrorism strategy, and advocates significant reform of the police complaints watchdog."
UK-USA-GCHQ-NSA: Speech by Tony Bunyan Statewatch Director, Cardiff University, 18 June 2015: Surveillance and democracy: the EU and civil liberties (YouTube, link). Tony talks about surveillance with respect to the European Union and the effect the EU has on our civil liberties. He details that what has happen in terms of mass surveillance is nothing new, but what is new is the political and legal framework which allows it to happen. And gives an overview of the relationships between each of the following: 1) Gatherers of data (NSA, GCHQ), 2) Users of data (CIA, FBI), 3) Suppliers of data (Corporations) and 4) Targets of surveillance (Suspected terrorists, protests and dissenters, refugees and asylum seekers, migrant communities, general public)
This talk was given as part of the plenary session entitled State-Media-Citizen Relations in the Surveillance Society. It was part of the 2015 Surveillance and Citizenship Conference held at Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies
ITALY: Strage di piazza della Loggia, ergastolo per Maggi e Tramonte 41 anni dopo [Life sentences for Maggi and Tramonte, 41 years after the piazza della Loggia massacre]: 41 years after an attack using explosives against a trade union antifascist demonstration in Brescia in which eight people were killed and more than 100 people were injured on 28 May 1974, Carlo Maria Maggi of the far-right Ordine Nuovo group, and Maurizio Tramonte, a former intelligence service source, were convicted and received life sentences.
UK: What is "The Wilson Doctrine" (House of Commons, pdf) that says MPs must not be put under surveillance by the state?
and see: MPs can no longer remain exempt from surveillance, lawyers concede - James Eadie QC tells investigatory powers tribunal the Wilson doctrine is unworkable in era of bulk interception by intelligence agencies (Guardian, link) and see: What is the Wilson doctrine? The story behind MPs' protection from snooping - The convention, outlined by former Labour PM Harold Wilson, says intelligence agencies should not bug MPs, but that hasn’t stopped such behaviour occurring (link)
UK. Police Confirm Ongoing Criminal Probe of Snowden Leak Journalists (The Intercept, link): "A secretive British police investigation focusing on journalists working with Edward Snowden’s leaked documents remains ongoing two years after it was quietly launched, The Intercept can reveal.
London’s Metropolitan Police Service has admitted it is still carrying out the probe, which is being led by its counterterrorism department, after previously refusing to confirm or deny its existence on the grounds that doing so could be “detrimental to national security.” The disclosure was made by police in a letter sent to this reporter Tuesday,
The admission that the investigation remains ongoing triggered criticism from the U.K.’s largest journalists’ organization. Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, called on the police to “stop attacking press freedom.” “Journalists who reported on the Snowden documents are not criminals, they are not a threat to national security,” Stanistreet said"
GREECE: PRESS RELEASE: Alarming humanitarian crisis at Pedion tou Areos’ park: The Greek Forum of Refugees, following the Press Release from Afghan Community in Greece, seeks to raise awareness concerning the situation of hundreds of Afghan asylum seekers. Fleeing the war in Afghanistan and seeking for protection and safety in Europe, they arrived in Lesvos Island and ended up in Athens.
- GERMANY: Attacks against Germany's refugee homes on the rise - The rate of violence perpetrated against refugee homes in Germany in 2015 has already outstripped the whole of 2014. The Interior Ministry has warned that right-wing violence is on the rise in the west of the country. (DW, link)
- Calais crisis: Teenage migrant found dead on top of Eurotunnel train (Independent, link)
- Bavaria’s tough asylum policy gains support across Germany (euractiv, link): "Horst Seehofer’s confrontational policy against asylum seekers from Balkan states sparked protest in Berlin. But now a growing number of Germany states and municipalities are calling for a tougher approach."
- The Latest: NYC mayor denounces EU over immigration (Yahoo News, link): "New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has denounced the European Union for leaving Italy to deal with waves of immigrants coming from North Africa, saying the EU must come up with a Europe-wide immigration policy."
- For them, there is no Schengen - In Europe, freedom of movement is suspended — for those who look like migrants" (Politico, link)
- ITALY: Amnesty stages flash mob for migrants in central Rome - Group hands over petition to prime minister's office (ANSA, link)
- GREECE: Minister mulling ‘open’ facility for migrants in city (ekathimerini.com, link)
- CZECH REPUBLIC: Foreigner police detain 20 to 50 illegal migrants daily (Prague Monitor, link)
News Digest (24.7.15)
Il dono del governo Monti fa strage in Libia [The Monti government's gift kills in Libya]: The "Puma" armoured cars Italy gave Libya as a gift to help restore its state apparatus two years ago, have been converted into rocket launchers by the Tripoli militias.
How British spies really spy: Information that didn't come from Snowden - GCHQ days of form-filling and 'bulk' intercept (The Register, link)
New Data on NSA Spying on Germany Shows US Hypocrisy Toward Allies (sputniknews, link)
NGOs tell Germany to stop blocking anti-discrimination directive (euractive, link): "Almost all EU member states are in favour of a planned Union-wide directive against discrimination. Only Berlin objects, and has been targeted by human rights associations, demanding that it stop blocking the legislation." and Joint appeal for European discrimination protection Joint appeal for European discrimination protection (EU network, link)
French court backs mass surveillance (euobserver, link): "The constitutional court in France on Thursday (23 July) broadly approved a new law that gives the state wide-sweeping surveillance powers.... They will be able to use a so-called “IMSI Catcher”, which picks up and records all text messages, phone calls, and Internet communication in a given area. This includes people not suspected of any crime. Wireless phone taps, hidden cameras and microphones, and forcing Internet providers to monitor suspicious behaviour using special "black boxes" are also in store. A warrant or any other type of court approval is not needed."
Kiev's far-right problem (euobserver, link)
UK: May dodges questions about MI5 failure to act on MP paedophile fears - Home secretary refuses to say whether she asked security service about why it did not follow up suspicions that MP had ‘penchant for small boys’ (Guardian, link)
UK: The Government’s Freedom of Information commission tilts the political discussion towards damage and cost (Democratic Audit, link): See: Government Announcement (pdf)
UK: Fiasco at Blacklist Trial REELNEWS, link)
USA: Government Accountability Office (GAO): COMBATING TERRORISM: State Should Evaluate Its Countering Violent Extremism Program and Set Time Frames for Addressing Evaluation Recommendations (pdf):
"Without specific time frames, it will be difficult for the bureau to ensure timely implementation of programmatic improvements. In addition, despite identifying its CVE program as a priority and acknowledging the benefit of evaluating it, the bureau has postponed evaluating it each fiscal year since 2012."
EU-USA: ECCHR and CCR: Former Detainees and Human Rights Groups Appeal Spain’s Decision to Discontinue Guantánamo Investigation (pdf):
"The Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York, together with their cooperating lawyer in Madrid, Gonzalo Boye, have lodged an appeal against the Spanish National Court’s decision to halt the long-running investigation into torture at the U.S. detention center in Guantánamo."
UK: Independent Review into Deaths and Serious Incidents in Custody must be effective and lead to real change (INQUEST, link):
"Responding to the announcement, Deborah Coles, Co-Director of INQUEST, said: “For the review to be effective bereaved families, their lawyers and INQUEST will need to play an integral role in the review, and the Reviewer will need to take full account of their views and experiences. It must also address why so many previous recommendations from reviews, inquiries and inquests have not been acted upon. It is too early to tell if this is more about a public relations exercise than a real attempt to bring about effective systemic change and the necessary accountability of police officers."
And see: Theresa May to launch independent review of deaths in police custody - Home secretary will state desire to rebuild public confidence in police in speech that comes after tensions between ministers and force under Tory-led coalition (Guardian, link): "Theresa May will announce plans on Thursday to launch an independent review of deaths in police custody as she vows to stamp out the “evasiveness and obstruction” suffered by families at the hands of the authorities."
EU: SURVEILLANCE: European Parliament: Amendments 1-125 to Draft motion (pdf) and Draft Motion for a Resolution: On the Follow up to the European Parliament Resolution of 12 March 2014 on the electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens: Claude Moraes (pdf)
See Statewatch Observatory (June 2013 - ongoing): EU-UK-GCHQ-USA-NSA: Data surveillance
News Digest (23.7.15)
UK: Intelligence agency policies 'failed to protect MPs' from spying - In the last year MI5, MI6 and GCHQ have followed eight different policies governing the interception of parliamentarians communications, court told (Guardian, link)
Preserving Britain’s Black heroes (IRR News Service, link) "Below we reproduce a review of a new exhibition, ‘No Colour Bar’, which was previously published in The Voice. A new exhibition breathes life into a story of struggle and activism that is truly home-grown."
N IRELAND: Activists protest over abortion case in North (Irish Examiner, link): "Abortion activists held a demonstration in Dublin against the prosecution of a woman in Northern Ireland for procuring her daughter with abortion pills." and WSM statement on Garda arrest of pro-choice campaigners at our rally this evening (WSM, link): " In particular, we condemn the casual and unjustifiable use of pepper spray on pro choice protesters, one of whom was being held immobile on the ground as he was sprayed."
UK: Protect Freedom of Information (FOI) laws (38 Degrees, link): "Why is this important?
The government wants to restrict Freedom of Information laws - that help citizens expose dodgy lobbyists, poor government decisions and threats to public safety. They're desperate to water-down our right to hold them to account. While only a few of us may have ever made a request using Freedom of Information laws - they have the power to affect us all."
Canada's anti-terrorism Bill C-51 faces charter challenge from civil society (IFEX, link): "The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) are initiating a Charter challenge today against key sections of Bill C-51, the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015. The legislation presents disturbing implications for free speech, privacy, the powers of government, including CSIS, and the protection of civil liberties in Canada."
COE: Convention on cybercrime: Protocol on xenophobia and racism (280 pages, pdf)
SPIEGEL Interview with Julian Assange: 'We Are Drowning in Material' (Der Spiegel, link): "In an interview, Julian Assange, 44, talks about the comeback of the WikiLeaks whistleblowing platform and his desire to provide assistance to a German parliamentary committee that is investigating mass NSA spying."
UK: MINERS STRIKE 1984-1985: ORGREAVE: We were fed lies about the violence at Orgreave. Now we need the truth - This pivotal event in the miners’ strike led to a police cover-up. Only an inquiry can correct history and repair broken trust (Guardian, link)
See: Despite finding evidence of assault, police withholding evidence and committing perjury the IPPC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) decides not to investiage any further: IPPC Decision (pdf) and IPPC Review (pdf)
"the IPCC found “support for the allegation” that three senior police officers in command at Orgreave had “made up an untrue account exaggerating the degree of violence (in particular missile throwing)” from miners to justify their use of force and the charges of riot. The report said one of these most senior officers had his statement typed and witnessed by another officer who led a team of detectives which, the IPCC said, dictated those identical opening paragraphs of junior officers’ statements" (Guardian report)
And see: Orgreave: Truth and Justice Campaign (link)
News Digest (22.7.15)
British military personnel assigned to US unit carrying out drone strikes - Legal charity says government needs to come clean about role of RAF personnel assigned to US Air Force unit targeting Isis (Guardian, link)
ECHR rules Cyprus must pay Syrian deportees (Cyprus Mail, link): "The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday ordered Cyprus to pay three Syrian Kurds deported from the island almost €17,000 in total for violating their human rights. Filed in 2010, the cases concerned a total of 17 Syrian Kurds who applied for asylum on the island saying they were at risk of persecution and torture in their home country as they are a small minority. Cyprus deported them all in 2012."
UK: Met press office provided journalists' mobile numbers so police could view call records and find sources (Press Gazette, link): "The Metropolitan Police made a series of errors in secret applications to view the phone records of Sun journalists and showed a complete failure to consider issues around the confidentiality of sources, a court heard. The Investigatory Powers Tribunal yesterday also heard that the Met Police press office provided the mobile telephone numbers of Sun journalists who had called in to check stories and ask for comments to investigating officers. Their phone records and telephone location data were then secretly accessed by police in order to identify confidential sources."
Slovakian extradition case raises questions of state cooperation (Fair Trials, link)
Hackers remotely kill jeep with me in it (WIRED, link)/
Stifling freedom of expression in UK schools - The UK Prevent programme infiltrates schools, targeting students who express certain views (aljazeera.com, link): ""The boy, who was then 15 and attending school in a southern English town, said he was also told that "Free Palestine" badges that he wore were "extremist". Al Jazeera is not naming the student or the school to protect his identity."
Drone users face jail if they 'recklessly endanger an aircraft in flight' - Civil Aviation Authority issues ‘drone code’ after several near misses when drones buzzed passenger jets using British airports (Guardian, link)
LONDON: Boris Johnson considering buying 'sound cannons' to help Scotland Yard tackle riots (Independent, link): "Boris Johnson may consider buying controversial “sound weapons” for Scotland Yard to use when dealing with riots – despite the risk they can cause permanent hearing loss."
Chelsea Paris Metro racism: Former policeman labelled a 'menace' after being given five-year ban from all football matches (Independent, link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: COMPULSORY FINGER PRINTING OF MIGRANTS including: "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" including on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" AGREED WITHOUT DISCUSSION at: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 July 2015, Brussels:
Not released until 21.7.15: "A" Points agenda: Non-legislative activities - Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints 11013/15 ASIM 60 EURODAC 8 (adopted without discussion, pdf)
See: Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints (EU doc no: 11013-15, pdf) agreed at the Council::
"On 16 June 2015, the Commission held an ad-hoc technical meeting with Member States and Associated Countries. The main focus of the meeting was to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges Member States face when taking fingerprints and to agree on a common best practice approach to taking fingerprints in circumstances where the migrant refuses to cooperate. At that meeting, participating Member States reiterated their different practices when fingerprinting asylum seekers and irregular migrants and talked about different ways to deal with non-cooperation and damaged fingertips. The meeting concluded with the unanimous agreement of all Member States present that the best practices put forward in the above Commission document should be followed...
All delegations welcomed the [Commission] document, which, based on existing EU law, provides useful guidance to facilitate the systematic taking of fingerprints in full respect of fundamental rights and more specifically of the right to data protection... Coreper is therefore requested to recommend that the Council, at its meeting on 20 July 2015, invite the Member States to follow the mentioned 10-step approach." [emphasis added]
There is no reference to the "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" in the Commission proposal (below)
See: European Commission: Staff Working Document “on Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints”(pdf) and List of designated authorities which have access to data recorded in the Central System of Eurodac pursuant to Article 27(2) of Regulation (EU) No 603/2013, for the purpose laid down in Article 1(1) of the same Regulation (pdf)
See: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers - Including "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" (Statewatch) and Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting (Statewatch)
EU states fall short on asylum targets (euobserver, link): "Interior ministers in Brussels on Monday (20 July) fell short of a European Commission-proposed target to relocate 40,000 asylum seekers arriving in Greece and Italy over the next two years. Instead they agreed to relocate 32,356 with Austria and Hungary refusing to take any asylum-seekers, despite the plan being billed by EU leaders last month as a demonstration of European solidarity."
UPDATED 21-7-15: EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 July 2015, Brussels: Asylum, Agreements on relocation, resettlement and safe countries of origin: Final press release (pdf)
- Background Note (pdf) The "non-legislative": Agenda (pdf) is sole concerned with:
Resettling 20 000 displaced persons from outside the EU in clear need of international protection
Relocating from Greece and Italy 40 000 persons in clear need of international protection
Provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece
Designation of certain third countries as safe countries of origin
See: Statewatch: Migration crisis: EU discussing common list of "safe countries of origin" and resettlement programmes Documents under discussion:
Draft Conclusions of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on resettling through multilateral and national schemes 20 000 displaced persons in clear need of international protection (LIMITE doc no: 10595/1/15, pdf)
Draft Resolution of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on relocating from Greece and Italy 40 000 persons in clear need of international protection (LIMITE doc no: 10849/15, pdf)
Draft Council Conclusions on safe countries of origin (LIMITE doc no: 10687/15, pdf)
See also Working Documents from the European Parliament: Developing safe and lawful routes for asylum seekers and refugees into the EU, including the Union resettlement policy and corresponding integration policies (INI report on the situation in the Mediterranean and the need for a holistic EU approach to migration) (pdf) and On Article 80 TFEU – Solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility, including search and rescue obligations (INI report on the situation in the Mediterranean and the need for a holistic EU approach to migration) (pdf)
UK: City of London police put Occupy London on counter-terrorism presentation with al-Qaida - Anti-capitalist campaigners described as ‘domestic extremism’ and put on slide with pictures of 2005 London bombing and the 1996 IRA bombing (Guardian, link) and see: NETPOL (link)
News Digest (20-21.7.15)
Europol admits Sicilian unit unable to target Libyan people smugglers - Deputy director of EU’s law enforcement agency admits shortcomings of intelligence-gathering hub hailed by David Cameron (Guardian, link)
EU finally begins making headway on march toward harmonised and regulated European RPAS air insertion gameplan (Security Europe, link): "The EU’s goal of framing a regulatory structure to enable remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), or drones, to safely move through Europe’s airspace is moving ahead, if slowly. A first decisive step was the European Commission’s March 205 “Riga declaration” where stakeholders committed themselves to a drone service market. However, for that ambition, “we are still very much at a vision stage”, said Koen de Vos, RPAS policy officer at the Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility & Transport."
UK: Cameron's extremism speech gets mixed response from Birmingham Muslims - Some in the city back PM’s highlighting of extremism as an issue needing to be addresssed, while others say large groups are being suffering stigmatisation (Guardian, link)
Turkey-funded mega-mosque in Bucharest sparks resistance (euobserver)
NSA-GERMANY: WikiLeaks: Steinmeier target of systematic NSA spying - WikiLeaks has published evidence that the NSA systematically spied on German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, as well as other officials. The alleged spying reportedly predates the September 11, 2001 attacks. (SW, link)
'Migration is not a security issue,' study says (euractiv, link): "The Federal Republic should apply new thinking to its development aid and asylum policy, says a new study from the University of Osnabrück, calling on decision-makers to see migration as an opportunity rather than a threat."
NSA Helped CIA Outmanoeuvre Europe on Torture (Wikileaks, link) and see:NSA Intercepts German Foreign Minister Steinmeier After Meeting US Secretary of State Rice Over CIA Renditions (link) also Document-1 (pdf): "Steinmeier described the mood during his talks with U.S. officials as very good, but feared that the most difficult part was still ahead. He seemed relieved that he had not received any definitive response from the U.S. Secretary of State regarding press
reports of CIA flights through Germany to secret prisons in eastern Europe allegedly used for interrogating terrorism suspects." And: CIA & Torture *pdf)
Spain causing concern on EU migrant relocation (euobserver, link)
Why appeasing governments over encryption will never work - David Cameron and the director of the FBI have both asked for ‘backdoors’ to be included in encryption software (Guardian, link)
UK: David Cameron launches 5 year-plan to tackle Islamic extremism in Britain (Independent, link)
EU: "FREE MOVEMENT OF [LEA] DATA": Council of the European Union developing its negotiating position on the: Proposed Directive on the exchange of personal data between law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in the EU:
- Proposal for a Directive on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and the free movement of such data (LIMITE doc no: 10335-15, pdf) 149 pages with 629 Member State position/amendments: "All changes made to the original Commission proposal are underlined text, or, where text has been deleted, indicated by (…). Where existing text has been moved, this text is indicated in italics. The most recent changes are marked in bold underlining."
- Chapters I, II and V (LIMITE doc no: 10133-15, 63 pages, pdf) Chapter 1: General, Chapter II: Principles and Chapter V: Transferring of personal data to third countries or international organisations. With 219 very detailed Member State positions/amendments including:
"DE, supported by FI, wanted it to be possible to transfer data to private bodies/entities, for cybercrime this was important. NL, SE and SI agreed with DE on the need for a solution on transfer to private parties in third countries...."
- Discussion on questions suggested by the Presidency (LIMITE doc no: 10208-15, pdf)
See Statewatch Observatory: Observatory on data protection and law enforcement agencies - the protection of personal data in police and judicial matters (2005-2008) and new proposals 2011 ongoing with full-text documentation on all the secret discussions in the Council - Last updated 19 July 2015
EU-PNR (Passenger Name Record): European Parliament PNR negotiating resolution (pdf) and see: MEPs back surveillance and profiling of air passengers as Council discusses "global approach" to PNR deals with non-EU states
UK: Public order broadcasting: ‘The Met’ and the press (IRR News Service, link):
"Embedded journalism and police power
This programme shows how far the gains of the landmark 1999 Macpherson report have been rolled back. The media now considers racism something to be consigned to Britain’s past; it has been ‘dealt with’. As community anger continues – in case after case – the media, faced with interpreting this dissent, proves incapable of scrutinising the actions that cause it. Left with effect without cause, it has turned to the same institutions that generate anger to fill the gap in the narrative."
FRANCE: Report on detention centres for 2014 - Increased use of detention, including of children and EU nationals
The fifth report on French detention centres, published jointly by the associations ASSFAM, Forum Réfugiés - Cosi, France terre d'asile, La Cimade and Ordre de Malta France, provides a wealth of official data, statistics and critical analysis concerning detention centres and places of detention for migrants on the French mainland and overseas territories for 2014.... [and] a practice initially introduced to target third-country nationals was later extended to Romanians and Bulgarians, and is now being used to deal with citizens of several EU member states..
UK: Universities will be allowed to host extremist speakers – within limits: External speakers at campuses must share platform with opponents under compromise on government’s Prevent counter-extremism strategy (Guardian, link) and see new: Prevent Duty Guidance:for further education institutions in England and Wales (pdf)
EU: MED-CRISIS: IRELAND: State will take 600 extra migrants in EU initiative - Government agrees to relocation scheme as part of bid to tackle crisis in Mediterranean (Irish Times, link) and Czech Republic expects about 400 asylum seekers to be accepted by end of year (Prague Post, link)
Google pulls controversial map showing German refugee homes - The US search giant deleted an online map that showed the location of homes for asylum seekers and planned shelters across Germany. Activists had urged Google to get rid of the map amid fears it could fuel violence. (DW, link): "Activists fear an online map apparently created by a neo-Nazi group and which shows the locations of refugee homes and planned shelters across Germany could lead to more attacks against asylum seekers."
ITALY: Anti-immigrant protests break out in Rome, Treviso - Fourteen cops injured in clashes in the capital (ANSA, link)
UK: House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union: The United Kingdom opt-in to the proposed Council Decision on the relocation of migrants within the EU (pdf): "We understand that the Government is minded not to opt into the proposed Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece. Nevertheless, we believe that it is in the United Kingdom’s interest to take part in the negotiation of this proposal, and that, should an amended or a new proposal be brought forward giving effect to the European Council’s Conclusions in April and June 2015, the Government should reconsider its position and opt in."
News Digest (18-19.7.15)
CoE: Convention on Cybercrime Protocol on Xenophobia and Racism: Explanatory Reports and Guidance Notes (pdf)
Met Police to face racism probe after secret online Facebook page filled with abusive comments discovered (Independent, link): "Exclusive: Abusive comments about Gypsies and Travellers prompt human rights group’s intervention and an official investigation"
UK: Anti-apartheid heroes urge Cameron not to repeal Human Rights Act - South African activists urge David Cameron not to ditch the law in Mandela Day appeal (The Observer, link)
Teenage asylum seeker who confronted Merkel allowed to stay in Germany - German chancellor had said ‘Politics is sometimes hard’ after Palestinian teenager burst into tears over deportation fears during televised debate (Guardian, link). This followed: Angela Merkel attacked over crying refugee girl (BBC News, link)
UK: Freedom of Information Act review 'may curb access to government papers' - Conservatives announce cross-party commission, which will be asked to decide whether act is too expensive and overly intrusive (Guardian, link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: European Commission's positions: "safe countries of origin", "Hotspot pre-removal centres" & Frontex as a "removal Agency
- Information note on “safe countries of origin” (18 pages, pdf): Steve Peers, Professor of Law, University of Essex comments:
"The CJEU ruled back in 2006 that the Council could not give itself special power to adopt a common list of supposed safe countries of origin, but had to follow the full EU legislative process. When EU law on asylum procedure was revised in 2013, the power to adopt such a common list was deliberately left out. But the Council now plans to draw up a de facto common list, with no democratic accountability whatsoever, in clear contempt for the rule of law."
- Explanatory note on the “Hotspot” approach (pdf): "structured border zones" are now referred to as "first reception facilities".or "pre-removal centres"
- Support to be provided by Frontex to frontline Member States on the return of irregular migrants (pdf) emphasises Frontex's role as a "returns" Agency rather that a Border Agency: "The Commission has announced its intention to propose to amend the Frontex Regulation to strengthen the role of Frontex, notably so that it can initiate return missions." [emphasis added]
- Letter from Dimitris AVRAMOPOULOS to Justice and Home Affairs Ministers (pdf):
"The aim of the "Hotspot" approach is to provide comprehensive and targeted support by the EU Agencies to frontline Member States which are faced with disproportionate migratory pressures at the external borders.... Frontex will provide prompt support for the identification of irregular migrants, the acquisition of travel document for their return, as well as carrying out return operations to bring them back to their home countries... . establishment of a common EU list of "safe countries of origin" [emphasis added]
See below documents on the Council's positions
EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 July 2015: Background Note (pdf) This will be a Mixed Committee (with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland attending) meeting discussing:
"Home affairs ministers will discuss the implementation package of the European Agenda on Migration as regards the resettlement and relocation of 60 000 persons in clear need of protection in the member states. Ministers are also expected to adopt conclusions on the designation of certain third countries as safe countries of origin within the meaning of the Asylum Procedures directive."
Statement from Informal JHA meeting on 9 July (pdf)
See: Statewatch: Migration crisis: EU discussing common list of "safe countries of origin" and resettlement programmes Documents under discussion:
Draft Conclusions of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on resettling through multilateral and national schemes 20 000 displaced persons in clear need of international protection (LIMITE doc no: 10595/1/15, pdf)
Draft Resolution of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on relocating from Greece and Italy 40 000 persons in clear need of international protection (LIMITE doc no: 10849/15, pdf)
Draft Council Conclusions on safe countries of origin (LIMITE doc no: 10687/15, pdf)
Joint statement by European Roma Rights Centre, Idea Rom Onlus and Associazione Studi Giuridici Immigrazione on convictions for an attack on a Roma camp in Turin On 17 July 2015, the ERRC, Idea Rom Onlus and ASGI issued a statement which welcomes the conviction of six people for a violent attack in December 2011.
Eurodac fingerprint database under fire by human rights activists (euractiv, link):
"The German Institute for Human Rights has criticised the repurposing of the EU's fingerprint database, Eurodac, for registering asylum seekers. Tagesspiegel reports. Biometric information, to which the police will soon be given access, will be stored there for ten years, just because an individual has fled their country, activists have warned.
The German Institute for Human Rights (DIMR) has come out strongly against the biometric registration of asylum seekers at Europe's external borders. The new regulation on Eurodac, scheduled to take effect on 20 July, is a misuse of the EU database and allows for "considerable interference into fundamental rights", said Eric Töpfer, a research associate at the institute."
and see: ECRE expresses concern over the European Commission's guidance on Eurodac fingerprinting (aida, link): "ECRE has published comments on the European Commission’s Staff Working Document “on Implementation of the Eurodac Regulation as regards the obligation to take fingerprints”, issued on 27 May 2015 as part of the first round of implementing measures announced by the European Agenda on Migration. These comments point to some alarming elements in the Commission’s guidance that challenges several underlying principles of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights."
Also: Fingerprinting by force: secret discussions on "systematic identification" of migrants and asylum seekers - Including "fingerprinting [with] the use of a proportionate degree of coercion" on "vulnerable persons, such as minors or pregnant women" (Statewatch) and Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting (Statewatch)
UK: UNDERCOVER POLICE: Attorney-General: Mark Ellison QC and Alison Morgan’s: REVIEW OF POSSIBLE MISCARRIAGES OF JUSTICE: Impact of Undisclosed Undercover Police Activity on the Safety of Convictions Report (57 pages, pdf).
Convictions of 83 political campaigners in doubt over undercover police failings - Report finds officers deployed to infiltrate groups appeared in trials using fake personas and allowed false evidence to be presented in court (Guardian, link) and Doreen Lawrence calls for undercover police who spied on family to be named - Mother of murdered teenager Stephen says officers who infiltrated political groups should be named at public inquiry (Guardian, link)
See: Home Secretary announces terms of reference for undercover policing inquiry - Theresa May also establishes miscarriages of justice panel to sit alongside inquiry following Mark Ellison's review (Home Office, link)
And see: National Undercover Scrutiny Panel – more minutes released (Undercover, link)
UK: SURVEILLANCE: High court rules data retention and surveillance legislation unlawful - Victory for Tory MP David Davis and Labour’s Tom Watson, who said there were insufficient privacy safeguards, as judges find Dripa inconsistent with EU law (Guardian, link):
"The high court has found that emergency surveillance legislation introduced by the coalition government last year is unlawful. A judicial challenge by the Labour MP Tom Watson and the Conservative MP David Davis has overturned the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (Dripa) 2014. The judges ruled that data retention powers in the legislation were inconsistent with EU laws. The government has been ordered to pass new legislation that must come into effect by the end of next March..... they argued, were there adequate safeguards against communications data leaving the European Union." and: Davis and Watson DRIPA challenge: Government surveillance law is unlawful, High Court rules (Liberty, link)
See Judgments by HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE: DRIPA Davis (pdf) and DRIPA Davis-Watson Order (pdf)
Also: Statewatch: Analysis: Mass surveillance of communications in the EU: - CJEU judgment and DRIPA 2014/RIPA 2000 in the UK (pdf)
EU-MED CRISIS: European Parliament: MEPs want a binding and permanent scheme to distribute asylum seekers in the EU (Press release, pdf): "A binding emergency mechanism to relocate an initial total of 40,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece to other EU member states was backed by civil liberties MEPs on Thursday. An upcoming permanent scheme, on which Parliament will decide jointly with the Council, must be based "on a more substantial contribution to solidarity and responsibility-sharing among member states", MEPs say."
Refugees face harsh plight in Greece (euractiv, link)
Arson attack on Bavarian building due to house asylum seekers - Police in Bavaria are investigating an arson attack on a building in the town of Reichertshofen, north of Munich, scheduled to house asylum seekers from September. Firefighters quickly brought the fire under control. (DW, link)
Police clash with anti-refugee protestors in Rome - Police on Friday clashed with a group of protestors who had set up a road block against the arrival of a group of refugees in a northern suburb of Rome as they broke through the cordon.(ANSA, link):"Four police officers were hurt in scuffles with residents in the northern Rome suburb of Casale San Nicola who were trying to stop 19 migrants being moved into a centre in the area Friday, the Rome police HQ said."
UK: Detained Fast Track: how to reform structural injustice? (IRR News, link): "Asylum rights campaigners and human rights lawyers are celebrating the suspension of the detained fast track – and gearing up to resume battle over a ‘reformed’ version."
EU: Statewatch coverage of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean 15 July 2015 (pdf): 14 new key documents and 21 news stories
News Digest (17.7.15)
Joint enterprise in action (IRR News, link): "Below we reproduce an article written by law student, Josh Radcliffe, on a recent joint enterprise trial observed at Birmingham Crown Court."
CJEU: By prohibiting a male civil servant whose wife does not work from taking parental leave, Greek legislation is incompatible with EU law - Parental leave is an individual right which cannot depend on the situation of the spouse (Press release, pdf)
CJEU-EAW: The expiry of the time-limits to take a decision on the execution of a European arrest warrant does not free the competent court of its obligation to adopt a decision in that regard and does not preclude, in itself, the continued holding of the requested person in custody The release of the requested person, together with the measures necessary to prevent him from absconding must, however, be ordered if the duration of the custody is excessive (Press release, pdf)
CJEU: The installation of electricity meters at an inaccessible height in a district densely populated by Roma is liable to constitute discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin when such meters are installed in other districts at a normal height (Press release, pdf): "Even assuming that it is established that there has been abuse of the meters in that district, such a practice seems to be disproportionate to the dual objective consisting in ensuring the security of the electricity transmission network and the due recording of electricity consumption"
Meijers Committee: Summary Annual Report 2014 (link): "This summary of the annual report 2014 provides a brief overview of the activities of the Meijers Committee last year. A full report is available in Dutch here. With scholarly assessments of pending European legislative proposals regarding migration, security and justice cooperation, the Committee tried to clarify the overarching legal framework and to contribute to constitutional quality of new legislation. "
GREECE: Lagarde: No IMF in Greek bailout without debt relief (euobserver, link)
MEPs denounce EU funding of Israeli defence firms (euractiv, link): "MEPs have called for tighter controls on European financing of Israeli companies. Lax regulation currently allows weapons manufacturers access to EU funding. EurActiv France reports. The participation of certain Israeli companies in the EU's vast research and development programme Horizon 2020 has angered some European lawmakers."
Hundreds of Afghans who grew up in UK face deportation to country they 'barely remember' (Independent, link)
Europe a step closer to keeping records on all passengers flying in and out of the Continent - Privacy activists alarmed by profiling implications (The Register, link)
'Progress made' as EU aims to get new data protection laws ASAP - Brussels moves like striking cobra, looks to achieve October agreement (The Register, link)
EU-PNR: MEPs back surveillance and profiling of air passengers as Council discusses "global approach" to PNR deals with non-EU states
The European Parliament's civil liberties committee has approved a proposed text for the EU PNR (Passenger Name Record) Directive, by 32 votes to 27. The legislation will be finalised later in the year through secret trilogue discussions between the Parliament, the Council and the Commission. Jan Phillip Albrecht, a Green MEP, has long been a critic of the proposed scheme. Remarking upon the deal, he said: "If these proposal do not infringe constitutional or treaty provisions, then civil rights in the EU is meaningless."
And: other developments: the text of a secret Council discussion document on a "global approach" to PNR deals with non-EU states; EU and Mexico open negotiations on PNR agreement: See: Passenger Name Record (PNR) data to third countries: a global approach? (LIMITE doc no: 10838/15, pdf)
Greek Lawmakers Approve Bailout as Angry Protesters Clash With Riot Police (Vice News, link): "After five hours of heated debate, Greek lawmakers voted to approve tough new austerity measures on Wednesday, allowing an 86 billion euro bailout deal to go ahead despite dissent within the ruling Syriza party and a tense atmosphere outside Parliament in Athens, where protesters gathered in Syntagma Square in a show of opposition."
EU: FRONTEX: Latest statistics and analysis from EU border agency Frontex
The publication is divided into two sections.
1. A "situational overview" covering risk analysis indicators; surveillance; border checks; "situation in the EU"; and fraudulent documents.
2. A series of "featured risk analyses" on: South-Eastern Europe: Migrants from Kosovo ranked first in Q1; Eastern Mediterranean route: Increasing flow of migrants arriving in the Eastern Aegean Sea; Central Mediterranean route: Winter low followed by spring increase; and Effective returns: Comparison with other indicators shows different patterns.
The annex contains statistical tables.
See: Frontex Risk Analysis Network Quarterly: Quarter 1, January-March 2015 (pdf)
MED CRISIS: House of Commons Library: Briefing paper: Mediterranean boat people (pdf): "Huge numbers of people are dying trying to cross the Mediterranean to Southern Europe from Libya. Lawlessness in Libya means that there is little authority to control the flow; some of the militias controlling the country are profiting from the trade. The numbers safely reaching their destination are creating problems for the recipient countries... The EU has also launched a military operation called EUNAVFOR MED, to disrupt the smuggling business that would include destroying boats used by the smugglers. The UK has contributed HMS Enterprise to the operation. There are, however, significant legal and practical problems with this approach."
Cybercriminal Darkode forum taken down through global action (Europol press release, pdf): "This week, law enforcement and judicial authorities worldwide have taken down the most prolific English-speaking cybercriminal forum to date: Darkode. In an international coordinated action against the hacking forum and its users, investigators from all over the world targeted cybercriminals that were using the Darkode forum to trade and barter their hacking expertise, malware and botnets, and to find partners for their next spam runs or malware attacks."
See also: Criminal hacking bazaar Darkode is dismantled and 70 members are busted (Ars Technica, link) and Dozens Nabbed in Takedown of Cybercrime Forum Darkode (Wired, link): "So far at least 12 people have been arrested in the US, and another 28 are known to have been arrested on Tuesday in Denmark, Germany, India, Israel, Romania, Sweden, and the UK."
EU: EUROJUST: Judicial cooperation agency dealing with growing number of cross border criminal cases
"Eurojust’s Annual Report 2014 reveals that the number of serious organised crime cases registered with Eurojust has grown steadily every year since 2002, when Eurojust had 202 cases. In 2014, the number of cases increased to 1 804, an increase over 2013 of 14.5 %, and demonstrates the increased demand by the Member States for Eurojust’s cross-border judicial support."
News in Brief (16.7.15)
CYPRUS: Intelligence Service chief steps down (in-cyprus, link)
NETHERLANDS: Dutch Minister reveals plans for dragnet surveillance (EDRi, link)
Study finds assessment of age based on physical development to be inaccurate (Medical Research Council, link)
UK: Margaret Thatcher's lobbying of Saudi royals over arms deal revealed (The Guardian, link)
UK: PETITION: COME CLEAN ON UNDERCOVER POLICING (38 Degrees, link): "We call for a transparent, robust and comprehensive public inquiry into undercover policing."
UK: Red lines and no-go zones - the coming surveillance debate (Cyberleagle, link)
EU-PNR: Travel surveillance and profiling: European Parliament voting on PNR proposal today
The European Parliament's civil liberties committee will today (15 July) vote on whether or not to approve the proposed PNR (Passenger Name Record) Directive. This will establish an EU-wide legal basis for handing air passengers' data to national law enforcement units, which will process and analyse the data in the name of combating terrorism and crime. The European Parliament's political groups are divided on the proposal.
GERMANY: Germany's Leading Digital Rights Blog Netzpolitik.org Accused Of 'Treason' After Leaking Bulk Surveillance Plans (Techdirt, link):
"Netzpolitik.org is arguably the most influential German blog in the realm of digital rights. It played a key role in marshalling protests against ACTA three years ago. You'd think the German government would be proud of it as an example of local digital innovation, but instead, it seems to regard it as some kind of traitor: "
See also: Criminal Charges From Domestic Secret Service: Federal Prosecutor Investigates our Publications, Leaks and Sources (Netzpolitik.org, link)
UK: Domestic drones: does the government take public debate seriously?
Does the UK government take public debate on domestic drones seriously? It hasn't yet set a date for a parliamentary debate on domestic drones, says its planned "public dialogue" will likely be "a series of drop-in events around the UK later in the year," and has recently been forced to agree to greater transparency over official plans for drones.
Belgium exposed vulnerable Serbian asylum seekers to extreme poverty in breach of ECHR
ECRE's weekly bulletin reports that: "In a judgment delivered this week, the European Court of Human Rights held that the conditions of extreme poverty faced by a Serbian family of asylum seekers following their eviction from an accommodation centre in Belgium amounted to degrading treatment, contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)."
GERMANY: New anti-terrorism laws come into force
"On June 20 and on June 30, 2015, new anti-terrorism legislation entered into force in Germany. The new law makes it a crime to travel outside the country with the intent to receive terrorist training, adds a new section on terrorism financing to the Criminal Code, and creates national identity card and passport restrictions on foreign fighters."
USA: Congressional Research Service: Dark Web (pdf):
"The furthest corners of the Deep Web, segments known as the Dark Web, contain content that has been intentionally concealed. The Dark Web may be used for legitimate purposes as well as to conceal criminal or otherwise malicious activities. It is the exploitation of the Dark Web for illegal practices that has garnered the interest of officials and policy makers."
See also: How Did The FBI Break Tor? (Forbes, July 2014, link): "Global law enforcement conducted a massive raid of the Dark Web this week."
News in Brief (15.7.15)
Chatting in Secret While We're All Being Watched (The Intercept, link): "if you take careful steps to protect yourself, it’s possible to communicate online in a way that’s private, secret and anonymous. Today I’m going to explain in precise terms how to do that."
EU: Eurodac fingerprint database under fire by human rights activists (EurActiv, link)
EU: IMF stuns Europe with call for massive Greek debt relief (The Telegraph, link)
French anti-terror squads march in Bastille Day parade (France 24, link)
GREECE: Greek bailout 'a new Versailles Treaty', says former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis (ABC, link)
Hungary builds fence, Commission watches and waits (Politico, link)
Italian court orders recognition same-sex marriage conducted abroad (European Parliament Intergroup on LGBT Rights, link)
Spain’s High Court to investigate ETA for crimes against humanity (El País, link)
The very French history of the word 'surveillance' (BBC Magazine Monitor, link)
UK: Brighton council rapped for attempt to charge £200 recording fee for interview (The Guardian, link)
UK: Police Taser shooting contributed to man's death, jury finds (The Guardian, link)
UK: Tories launch biggest crackdown on trade unions for 30 years (The Guardian, link)
UK: Budget 2015: Women who have been raped may have to prove assault for third child tax credits (The Independent, link)
USA: Filmmaker Laura Poitras files lawsuit against US government over years of border searches (Deutsche Welle, link)
EU: Migration crisis: EU discussing common list of "safe countries of origin" and resettlement programmes
Today the JHA Counsellors, a secretive working party of the Council of the EU, is discussing draft agreements between the Member States that concern the ongoing migration crisis. On the agenda are a set of conclusions on "designating certain third countries as safe countries of origin", and recommendations on resettlement programmes for 40,000 people currently in Italy and Greece and 20,000 people outside of the EU.
GERMANY: Authorities abandon comprehensive fingerprinting due to refugee numbers
Deutsche Welle reports that: "Border authorities in Bavaria have given up trying to take the fingerprints of all the refugees entering the country, reported "Der Spiegel" on Monday."
UK: Privacy campaigners win concessions in UK surveillance report (The Guardian, link): "Privacy campaigners have secured significant concessions in a key report into surveillance by the British security agencies published on Tuesday. The 132-page report, A Democratic Licence To Operate, which Nick Clegg commissioned last year in the wake of revelations by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden, acknowledges the importance of privacy concerns."
However: "Despite its concessions to the privacy lobby, the report overall is more favourable to the police and intelligence services than to the campaigners." The panel that wrote the report included "three former heads of UK intelligence agencies," and "also calls for an overhaul of existing legislation."
Full report: A Democratic Licence to Operate: Report of the Independent Surveillance Review (pdf) and Statements by Panel Members (pdf)
GREECE: Court awards €132,000 to HIV-positive inmates after prison hospital human rights breaches (Human Rights Europe, link): "Detention conditions for 13 HIV positive inmates in a Greek prison hospital's psychiatric wing, breached European human rights law, judges ruled today… the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been: a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights; a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the Convention."
Documents from the ECHR: Press release: Inadequate physical conditions and sanitation facilities for HIV-positive persons in Korydallos Prison Hospital (pdf) and judgment: AFFAIRE MARTZAKLIS ET AUTRES c. GRÈCE (pdf, French)
UK Home Affairs Committee begins inquiry into the situation in Calais
The first evidence session will be held today (14 July). Evidence is to be provided by Alan Pughsley QPM, Chief Constable, Kent Police; Richard Burnett, Chief Executive, Road Haulage Association; James Hookham, Deputy Chief Executive, Freight Transport Association; John Keefe, Director of Public Affairs, Eurotunnel; Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Minister for Immigration.
See: Immigration: the situation in Calais
News Digest (14.7.15)
AFGHANISTAN: Auditors praise EU work on Afghan police (EUobserver, link)
Council of Europe: PACE Rapporteur on Mass Surveillance calls on UK to investigate spying on human rights groups by UK secret services (CoE, link)
CZECH REPUBLIC: Police detain record number of illegal migrants (Prague Monitor, link)
EU: A German pirate just saved our right to take public selfies (Wired, link)
European Jewish group's head takes heat for meeting with far-right leader Marine Le Pen (Jewish Telegraphic Agency, link)
Germany confirms gaps in airport security monitoring (EurActiv.com, link)
ITALY: Six ex-HackingTeam staffers probed for cyber crime (ANSA, link)
UK: Apple Pay launches in the UK: boon or security nightmare? (Independent, link)
UK: London, 29 July: Roadmap Progress: Where are we now on pan European defence rights? (Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, link)
USA: Judge orders US government to prepare Guantánamo force-feeding tapes for public release (Reprieve, link)
EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council, Luxembourg: Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos after informal Home Affairs Council in Luxembourg (pdf):
"Although a national competence, the European Commission and the EU Agencies can play a crucial role in supporting Member States and facilitating information exchange among EU actors. At European level we need to continue to increase cooperation and intelligence sharing between national authorities.,,,
on the 1st of July, Europol launched the Internet Referral Unit (IRU). This Unit, which will become fully operational in the next 12 months, will support Member States in identifying and removing online terrorist material. It is also essential to have strong public-private cooperation in the field of security. To this end, the Commission will establish an Internet Forum that will bring together Member States and Internet Service Providers. The aim is to reduce the accessibility of online terrorist material and to counter the terrorist narrative and propaganda." [emphasis added]
See: Fight against terrorism: Follow-up to the Council (Justice and Home Affairs) of 12-13 March 2015 - Implementation of Counter-Terrorism measures (LIMITE doc no: 9418-15, pdf) which says:
"Europol is expected to establish a European response concerning internet content referral activities with concerned private industry companies, with Member States envisaging support to the EU IRU by appointing national EU IRU contact points. Referral activities will not constitute an enforceable act, thus the decision and related implementation of the referral is taken under full responsibility and accountability of the concerned service provider." [p8, emphasis added]
EU: European Parliament Resolution: European Agenda on Security: European Parliament resolution of 9 July 2015 (pdf): Adopted (by 250 votes to 204, with 184 abstentions).
Agence Europe reported that: " Monika Hohlmeier (PPE) regretted... that the link between irregular immigration and terrorism was rejected by MEPs. This approach to security is, in her view "reckless and unacceptable".... [the Resolution] condemned any lumping together of terrorism, immigration and Islam, and also serious violations of fundamental rights, epitomised by the secret CIA prisons in Europe."
See: EPP and S&D groups at odds on EU security priorities (VoteWatch, link)
And: Statewatch Analysis: Full compliance: the EU's new security agenda (pdf) by Chris Jones and European Commission: The European Agenda on Security (pdf)
UK: Former girlfriend of undercover spy sues corporate security firm - Environmental activist who had a relationship with spy Mark Kennedy is taking legal action against Global Open – thought to be first lawsuit of its kind (Guardian, link): "The woman is taking legal action against Global Open, a commercial firm hired by companies to monitor protesters. She alleges in the high court case that Mark Kennedy pursued her to start the relationship, while, she says, he worked undercover for Global Open."
See "Global Open" (link)
Caspar Bowden Legacy Fund for privacy advocacy and technology (link): "Caspar Bowden worked for over 20 years to protect fundamental freedoms on-line and off-line, and in particular the right to privacy and freedom from mass surveillance... In the hospital Caspar Bowden asked that we work to ensure equal protection regardless of nationality. Privacy is a universal human right."
Hacking Team Leaks Reveal Spyware Industry's Growth, Negligence of Human Rights (EFF, link): "This week’s document leak from surveillance software vendor Hacking Team provided new details on the burgeoning growth of a private surveillance industry which has spread globally without any meaningful oversight. While revealing many new and concerning aspects of Hacking Team’s activities, it also confirmed a number of theories we’ve long suspected about their operations." With global map.
News Digest (12.7.15)
Greece wins euro debt deal – but democracy is the loser (Channel 4, Paul Mason, link): "After an all-night negotiation during which Greek prime minister was subjected, according to one observer, to “mental waterboarding”, there is the basis of a deal to keep Greece in the euro.... Ordinary people don’t know enough about the financial logic to understand why this was always likely to happen: bonds, haircuts and currency mechanisms are distant concepts. Democracy is not. Everybody on earth with a smartphone understands what happened to democracy last night." and see: #ThisIsACoup (link) also: Euro Summit Statement: Brussels, 12 July 2015 (pdf)
EU: MED-CRISIS: French and British back closing EU's borders (The Local.fr, link) and West Europeans want end to open borders - French and other Europeans want to ditch Schengen Agreement, ending free movement of people across borders as the migrant crisis grows, a new poll shows" (Daily Telegraph, link)
POLAND: Polish criminal process after the Reform (Helsinki Foundation, pdf)
“(EU’s) Laws are like sausages. You should never watch them being made…” by Emilio De Capitani: "As denounced in several posts of this blog the distance between the daily practice of the EU institutions and the democratic principles enshrined in the Treaties is growing day by day." (EASFJ, link)
IRELAND: New laws could see people prosecuted over hate crimes - Irish Council for Civil Liberties says such attacks are currently not fully acknowledged (Irish Times, link): " Proposed legislation to combat hate crime will be published this morning by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL). Crimes, including theft, rape and assault, motivated by “hate” such as racism or homophobia are neither recorded nor prosecuted as such in Ireland. The council says this means these types of crime are not being acknowledged, effectively disappearing from the criminal justice process and victims’ experiences are not acknowledged."
BULGARIA: 'Slow and Fragile' Progress on Human Rights in Bulgaria by Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Liberties.eu, link) "The latest report on Bulgaria by the Council of Europe shows slow and fragile progress in strengthening human rights protection of persons placed in institutions, migrants and media freedom."
Australia aims to silence workers who blow whistle on abuse in refugee centres with two years in prison (Independent, link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: UNHCR says Greece faces 'unprecedented' migrant emergency (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Greece is facing an "unprecedented" emergency as migrants fleeing war and poverty stream into the country's islands in huge numbers, the U.N. refugee agency said Friday. The UNHCR said 77,100 people have arrived in Greece by sea this year, an average of 1,000 per day, overwhelming local authorities. The country's precarious economic situation is putting severe strain on small islands that are unable to cope, the agency said.
"Greece is part of the European Union and this is happening in Europe," UNHCR spokesman William Spindler said in Geneva. "We would like the European Union to have a much more active role in responding to the situation in Greece.""
And see: 7 videos guaranteed to change the way you see refugees (UNHCR, link)
UK: Government deradicalisation plan will brand Muslims with beards as terrorists, say academics (Indpendent, link)
And see Letter: "PREVENT will have a chilling effect on open debate, free speech and political dissent - The latest addition to the United Kingdom’s counter-terrorism framework remains fixated on ideology as the primary driver of terrorism" (link)
News Digest (11-12.7.15)
French spying agency tapping Australia’s communications (Saturday Paper, link): "France’s intelligence agency is listening in on Australia’s communication networks, as submarine contracts and regional relations vital to both nations are negotiated."
NSA-GERMANY: Report: Evidence of 2011 US cyberattack on defense giant EADS in Germany - According to German newspaper "Bild am Sonntag," evidence linking an attack on European defense group EADS from American soil has surfaced. The news outlet claims it is the first of its kind. (DW, link) and More NSA keywords detected in German spy agency's computers - More than 400,000 new keywords have been found in German spy agency BND's computers, a German media report says. The findings would further undermine the organization, accused of helping the NSA with surveillance. (DW, link)
UK courts need to be educated about Islam, says Birmingham Six lawyer - Gareth Peirce warns of prejudice in British justice system, and highlights campaign to free Anis Sardar, who was found guilty of murder (Observer) by Gareth Peirce
What happens when policy is made by corporations? Your privacy is seen as a barrier to economic growth (Guardian, link): "The latest trade deal to be passed by the EU will see us sacrifice our commitment to data protection .... One overlooked aspect of the emerging legal architecture that they enact is that, barring a Greece-like rebellion from the citizens, Europe will eventually sacrifice its strong and much-cherished commitment to data protection. This protectionist stance – aimed, above all, at protecting citizens from excessive corporate and state intrusion – is increasingly at odds with the “grab everything” mentality of contemporary capitalism.... It won’t take long for American lawyers to find the privacy equivalent of waterboarding: some border-case scenario, which would greenlight horrible abuses."
Letter to Guardian: Inquiry needed into GCHQ’s spying on us (link): "One measure of a free society is how it treats its NGOs and campaign organisations. The recent revelation (Rights groups targeted by GCHQ spies, 23 June) that Amnesty International has been snooped on by the UK security services is the death of the canary in the coalmine."
Gateway to freedom: Migrants walk thousands of km for haven of Western Europe (Globe and Mail, link)
US govt now says 21.5 million people exposed by OPM hack – here's what you need to know - Security clearance dossiers on millions of citizens stolen (The Register, link)
NETHERLANDS: Na tip WikiLeaks: privacycommissie opent onderzoek naar Hacking Team (link) [After tip WikiLeaks: Privacy Commission opens investigation into Hacking Team - The Belgian privacy commission has opened an investigation into the Italian software company Hacking Team. That company would be in possession of devices that Belgian data interception.]
US torture doctors could face charges after report alleges post-9/11 'collusion' - Following repeated denials that its members were complicit in Bush administration-era torture, leading group of psychologists faces a reckoning (Guardian, link)
EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION - TRILOGUE - Latest: 8.7.15: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) (LIMITE doc no: 10391-15, 683 pages, MB4.4, pdf):
"Delegations will find in annex the 4 column table on the General Data Protection Regulation which comprises the Commission proposal, the first reading Position of the European Parliament and the General Approach of the Council." [New text is highlighted]
Previous versions: (dated 2.7.15): Preparation for trilogue (LIMITE Council doc no: 10366-15, 93 pages, pdf): Run-up to the trilogues are: LIMITE doc no 9985-REV-2-15 (26 June 2015, 79 pages, pdf) and LIMITE doc no 9565-15 (201 pages, 11 June 2015, pdf)
EU: Official reports on EU databases show massive increases in "discreet surveillance" and asylum seeker fingerprinting
Two new reports on EU databases have been released by the EU's Agency for Large-Scale IT Systems (eu-LISA), which is responsible for managing and developing the Schengen Information System (SIS), the Visa Information System (VIS) and Eurodac (used by Member States to compare the fingerprints of migrants and asylum seekers). The new reports concern SIS and Eurodac.
SURVEILLANCE: Interesting historical review: Editorial - Before and After Snowden (pdf):
"In retrospect, it seems somewhat premature to have issued a call on Surveillance and Security Intelligence after Snowden.
At the time of writing, despite his enforced exile in Russia, former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor and whistleblower, Edward Snowden, seems almost ubiquitous as a participant in debates on transnational surveillance, even appearing virtually on one occasion in a Canadian High School (Bradshaw 2015). And, as with all such impromptu historical periodizations, there is always also a case to be made to say that Snowden’s revelations didn’t change as much as we thought it might, or at least, rested on a legacy of former events or long-standing processes.
In the case of surveillance and security intelligence, the latter is certainly true. The former remains open as revelations and discussion resulting from both the documents taken by Snowden continue in the broader context of the changed climate of transparency resulting from his revelations and other major initiatives like Wikileaks."
And see: Surveillance & Society (link)
Institute of Race Relations (IRR): Self defence or a licence to kill? (link): "When we look at the figures of young African Americans shot dead, some might comfort themselves with the mantra ‘thank goodness our police forces, unlike those of the US, are not routinely armed’ - But look at our record of BAME killings when they are armed."
EU: European Parliament: Copyright reform: promote cultural diversity and ensure access to it, say MEPs (Press Release, pdf) and Adopted text: Harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights (pdf)
See: Press Release: European Parliament shows little ambition on copyright reform (EDRI, link)
UK: Outspoken privacy campaigner Caspar Bowden dies after battle with cancer - Tributes pour in after well respected anti-surveillance campaigner and former Microsoft privacy chief who warned of NSA snooping before Snowden dies (Guardian, link):
"Microsoft’s former head of privacy and respected independent privacy campaigner Caspar Bowden has died after a battle with cancer. A popular and outspoken figure in privacy advocacy, Bowden was particularly active after the Snowden revelations of government surveillance, advising the European parliament among others. He was a co-founder of the UK-based Foundation for Information Policy Research."
News Digest (10.7.15)
UK: Blacklisted : the secret war between big business and union activists - a book review - Book highlights toxic allegations of covert police involvement in the blacklisting of trade unionists (Guardian, link)
WhatsApp Ban Causes Social Media Outcry As Government Pushes Ahead With 'Snoopers Charter' (Huffington Post, link): "During the Queen's Speech, the Government unveiled plans for a new version of the controversial 'Snoopers Charter' bill which would potentially allow the Government to ban instant messaging services such as WhatsApp, iMessage and Facebook Messenger."
CJEU: Learn Dutch or leave (New Europe, link) and see: CJEU Press release: Member States may require third country nationals to pass a civic integration examination prior to family reunification However, exercise of the right to reunification must not be made impossible or excessively difficult (pdf)
Syrian refugees: four million people forced to flee as crisis deepens - Largest exodus from a single conflict in a generation places humanitarian system under increasing financial strain (Guardian, link): "On Thursday, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said the total number of Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt and other parts of north Africa stood at 4,013,000 people."
EU sets new deadline to reach deal on migration (euractiv, link): "The European Union failed on Thursday (9 July) to reach a deal to resolve a migration crisis in the Mediterranean, and instead set a deadline for July 20 to find agreement on how to share out 40,000 asylum seekers currently in Italy and Greece." and Germany and France volunteer to take Mediterranean refugees - Germany and France have voluntarily agreed to take in some 21,000 asylum-seekers to help the EU deal with the Mediterranean migrant crisis. Other European countries have failed to reach an agreement in Luxembourg. (DW, link)
Surveillance: Secret report urges treaty forcing US web firms' cooperation in data sharing - Exclusive: UK privacy campaigners say international treaty could provide legal alternative to government’s ‘snooper’s charter’ proposals (Guardian, link)
UK: Safety of Tasers to be investigated after death of man in Manchester - Independent review of advice on safety of Tasers comes as figures show their deployment has now been fully rolled out to police forces across England and Wales (Guardian, link): "An independent inquiry is to look into the continued use of Taser stun guns by police in England and Wales after an inquest verdict earlier this week linking their use to the death of a factory worker in Manchester." and see: Police Taser shooting contributed to man's death, jury finds - Jordon Begley, 23, died partly as result of being shot with 50,000-volt stun gun and restrained by police officers, inquest concludes (link)
Macedonia's uniformed border thugs wait for war-weary Arab migrants arriving at Europe's doorstep (Independent, link)
CoE: Greece: Court awards €132,000 to HIV-positive inmates after prison hospital human rights breaches (link)
EU: Informal Justice and Home Affairs Council, Luxembourg, 9-10 July 2015:
- A brief update on the state of play of cooperation between security and intelligence services in the fight against terrorism (pdf)
Contains an extraordinary proposal to consider giving intelligence and internal security agencies right to intervene in policy-making by finding: "ways in which policy initiatives at the EU level could take into account the concerns, opinions and suggestions from security services at an early stage in the legislative process." and allowing: "access by security services to information such as the PNR, SIS, and call detail records, as essential tools in the fight against terrorism"
- Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the fight against fraud to the Union's financial interests by means of criminal law (pdf)
- Reflections on a revision of Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, repealing Regulation (EC) No 1347/2000 (pdf)
Background: Draft Conclusions of the representatives of the governments of the Member States on the Commission Recommendation of 8 June 2015 on a European resettlement scheme (LIMITE doc no: 10595-15, 6 July 2015, pdf): There is still nothing new here on asylum applicants' rights to be consulted and to agree to the relocation, or how to deal with the problem if Member States do not actually propose 40,000 places. The target numbers to be relocated have been moved from the main text to the preamble and Proposal for a Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (LIMITE doc no: 10596-15, 6 July 2014, pdf)
CoE: European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI): Dramatic increase in antisemitism, Islamophobia, online hate speech: annual report from Council of Europe’s anti-racism commission (link):
"Strasbourg, 9 July 2015 – With conflicts in the Middle East, acts of Islamist violence in Europe and incidents of unprecedented mass arrivals of migrants, the annual report of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), published today, identifies a dramatic increase in antisemitism, Islamophobia, online hate speech and xenophobic political discourse as main trends in 2014."
And see: Annual Report (pdf)
UN: Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Mutuma Ruteere (pdf): "Racial and ethnic profiling, defined as a reliance by law enforcement, security and border control personnel on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin as a basis for subjecting persons to detailed searches, identity checks and investigations, or for determining whether an individual is engaged in criminal activity, has been a persistent and pervasive issue in law enforcement, and its use has often arisen in connection with policies on national security and immigration."
See: UN Racism Rapporteur Presents Road Map to End Ethnic Profiling (Liberties.eu, link).
VERY SAD NEWS: [Privacy activist Caspar Bowden has died]: Datenschutz-Aktivist Caspar Bowden ist gestorben (netzpolitik.org, link):
"Data protection activist Caspar Bowden died. He is co-founder of the Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR), a British NGO, which has been very active earlier. From 2002-2011 he was Privacy Officer of Microsoft for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. After its end at Microsoft, he was a harsh critic of US surveillance programs, and warned before the start of the Snowden revelations before the FISA courts and the powers as PRISM, who can give this secret court the US intelligence agencies. He was also involved for anonymization infrastructures, including the board of the TOR project. For the Home Affairs Committee in the European Parliament (LIBE) he had written the report "The US Surveillance Program and Their Impact on EU citizens' fundamental rights" (PDF) last year."
MET POLICE: Is it a criminal offence to watch a video? (Jack of Kent Blog, link):
"The Metropolitan Police put out an alarmist statement this week that, in certain circumstances, merely viewing a video could constitute a criminal offence under terrorist legislation. This is, of course, false. There is no such terrorism offence for viewing a video, and the Met could not substantiate their claim when challenged. It seems to me that the Met press office simply invented a “viewing” offence. My full post on the Met’s alarmist and false statement is at the FT (free to access, but registration required). The conclusion of my FT post (which should be read in full for context) reads: "It would appear that the [Met] press office, which had produced and promoted the bold statement that that “viewing” a video could itself be a criminal act under terrorism legislation, could not substantiate it when challenged."
EU:The Missing Piece in the European Agenda on Migration: the Temporary Protection Directive (EU Law Analysis, link): "The EU’s Temporary Protection Directive entered in force in 2001 and was the first EU directive on international protection adopted after the Treaty of Amsterdam entered into force in 1999.... Lack of implementation of the Directive in the past 14 years"
USA-GERMANY: ALL THE CHANCELLOR'S MEN (Wikileaks, link): "Wednesday 8 July at 1800 CEST, WikiLeaks publishes three NSA intercepts of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, together with a list of 56 National Security Agency (NSA) target selectors for the Chancellor and the Chancellery. It lists not only confidential numbers for the Chancellor, but also for her top officials, her aides, her chief of staff, her political office and even her fax machine. The combined German NSA target lists released by WikiLeaks so far shows the NSA explicitly targeted for long-term surveillance 125 phone numbers for top German officials and did so for political and economic reasons, according to its own designations."
And see documents: NSA high priority targets for Germany - All The Chancellor's Men (link)
Also: WikiLeaks says NSA spied on top German politicians 'for decades': "Documents released by WikiLeaks appear to show the US spied on close aides of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other officials for years. The leaks show Merkel's private and professional opinions on a range of issues." (DW, link)
News Digest (9.7.15)
Greek island refugee crisis: local people and tourists rally round migrants - Residents and even holidaymakers on Lesbos are exposing themselves to threats and possible legal action by helping newly arrived refugees (Guardian, link)
UK: Avon and Somerset Police Chief Constable Nick Gargan found guilty of misconduct (Bath Chronicle, link)
UK: Manchester: Police force sacks 21 officers for having sex on duty, lying and posting racist Facebook messages (Mirror, link)
N IRELAND: Secret report accused three MI5 officers of concealing evidence in police killing - Sampson report recommended that two officers in Northern Ireland be prosecuted for perverting the course of justice (Guardian, link)
HackingTeam admits attack, says spy software out of control - Firm says terrorists, extortionists can now use technology (ANSA, link) and see: Hacking Team: Oh great, good job, guys ... now the TERRORISTS have our zero-day exploits (The Register, link) and Eight things we learned from the Hacking Team Hack (PI, link)
PM: Czechs have reservations about southern Schengen border (Prague Daily Monitor, link) and Lower house extends powers of intelligence services (link): "Agents will be able to ask telecommunication operators for data on their clients in fulfilling a specific task. They would be able to identify the owner of the telephone station or the telephone number of the phone from which the phone call is made. Now, the secret services have access to the call content and the number of the called person when applying wiretapping."
UK: Met police criticised for not suspending officer facing charges in Sean Rigg case - Sgt Paul White is on restricted duties having been charged with perjury, after Rigg’s family put pressure on prosecutors following his death in custody (Guardian, link)
IRELAND: Government considers proposal on undocumented migrants - Officials review programme aimed at regularising the status of up to 20,000 residents (Irish Times, link)
GREECE: Judge call recess at Golden Dawn trial to decide on media coverage (ekathimerini.com, link)
UK: How the British Government subjected thousands of people to chemical and biological warfare trials during Cold War (Independent, link)
European Parliament fails citizens in TTIP vote (STOP TTIP, link) and "It is very positive that the European Parliament repeated that TTIP could be endangered if US blanket mass surveillance activities are not 'completely abandoned'", said Joe McNamee, Executive Director of European Digital Rights"
Latest news from Netpol: June-July 2015: 'Privacy Bloc' takes our campaign on protest anonymity to London's streets (link)
Watchdogs call for OGP investigation into crackdown on Hungarian civil society (link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Draft Conclusions of the representatives of the governments of the Member States on the Commission Recommendation of 8 June 2015 on a European resettlement scheme (LIMITE doc no: 10595-15, 6 July 2015, pdf)
There is still nothing new here on asylum applicants' rights to be consulted and to agree to the relocation, or how to deal with the problem if Member States do not actually propose 40,000 places. The target numbers to be relocated have been moved from the main text to the preamble.
and Proposal for a Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (LIMITE doc no: 10596-15, 6 July 2014, pdf)
SURVEILLANCE: Keys Under Doormats: Mandating insecurity by requiring government access to all data and communications (MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Technical Report, pdf):
"we set out in detail the questions for which policymakers should require answers if the demand for exceptional access is to be taken seriously. Absent a concrete technical proposal, and without adequate answers to the questions raised in this report, legislators should reject out of hand any proposal to return to the failed cryptography control policy of the 1990s."
See also: UK and US demands to access encrypted data are 'unprincipled and unworkable' - Influential group of international cryptographers and computer scientists says proposals will open door to criminals and malicious nation states (Guardian, link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: Migrant dies on UK-bound freight train near Calais - Death is second in two weeks amid migration crisis at French port, causing delayed passenger services and freight traffic (Guardian, link)
Greek island of Lesbos struggles to cope with migrant influx (BBC News, link): "Record-breaking numbers of migrants are arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos, overwhelming local authorities, local police say. About 1,600 landed on the island on Saturday alone, the island's chief of police said."
Hungary MPs approve border fence and anti-migrant law (BBC News, link): "Hungary's parliament has passed new legislation tightening asylum rules, and backed plans to erect a border fence to keep out migrants. The new law allows the detention of migrants in temporary camps, the speeding up of asylum assessments and limiting the possibility for appeal. The move was criticised by the UN and human rights groups."
Balkans: Refugees and migrants beaten by police, left in legal limbo and failed by EU (AI, link): "Thousands of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants – including children – making dangerous journeys across the Balkans are suffering violent abuse and extortion at the hands of the authorities and criminal gangs and being shamefully let down by a failing European Union (EU) asylum and migration system which leaves them trapped without protection in Serbia and Macedonia, said Amnesty International in a new report."
Morpho wins Estonian API deal (Security Document World.com, link)
"Morpho has been awarded a major contract from the Estonian government to supply an Advanced Passenger Information/Passenger Name Record (API-PNR) system." Estonia was awarded nearly €5 million by the European Commission in 2012 for the setting up of a national PNR processing and analysis system. Given the ongoing development of national PNR systems with a view to interconnecting them, the following paragraph is noteworthy. According to Morpho:
"This latest contract reinforces our already established partnership with the Estonian government. Morpho also advocates a holistic view of data sharing and interface across borders, developing solutions which will ultimately facilitate data exchange on the European level."
See: EU: Travel surveillance: PNR by the back door (Statewatch database) and More recently, the Commission has made funds available specifically for
the interconnection of national PNR systems. Page 10 of this document: Commission Implementing Decision: Annual Work Programme for 2015 for support to Union Actions under the Internal Security Fund – Police cooperation and crime prevention (pdf)
News Digest (7.7.15)
Edward Snowden plea deal with US a possibility, says Eric Holder - Attorney general Loretta Lynch says the Obama administration’s position has not changed despite her predecessor’s recent interview (Guardian, link)
Leaked Documents Show FBI, DEA and U.S. Army Buying Italian Spyware (Intercept, link): "The FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Army have all bought controversial software that allows users to take remote control of suspects’ computers, recording their calls, emails, keystrokes and even activating their cameras, according to internal documents hacked from the software’s Italian manufacturer."
GERMANY: Right-wing extremist attacks in Germany on the rise, says new report - The number of attacks motivated by right-wing extremism in Germany has gone up, according to the country's 2014 Constitutional Protection Report. Refugee shelters were a frequent target. (DW, link)
EU Council of the European Union: Combating racism, Protecting Public Figures, Cybersecurity, DAPIX, Piracy, Europol/Customs & Visa Code
- Combating racism - state of play of work in the Council (EU: doc no: 9499-15, pdf). The Council adopted a Framework Decision in 2008 (pdf) and Report on the Framework Decision (2014, pdf). Historical reminder: European Parliament: Report drawn up on behalf of the Committee of Inquiry into Racism and Xenophobia on the findings of the Committee of Inquiry (Rapporteur: Glyn Ford: 1991, pdf)
- Law Enforcement Working Party (European Network for the Protection of Public Figures - ENPPF) Subject: ENPPF work programme (LIMITE doc no: 9742-15, pdf) among the concerns are: "Unmanned Aerial Vehicles".
- EU Cybersecurity Strategy: Road map development (LIMITE doc no: 6183-Rev-2-15, pdf) Detailed six-column document (23 pages)
- Working Group on Information Exchange and Data Protection (DAPIX): Subject: Future of DAPIX expert meetings (CM 2886-15, LIMITE, pdf): "During the LV Presidency, some Member States emphasised the need to maintain expert meetings on DNA, FP, VRD topics. However, the incoming Presidency estimates that such meetings should only take place if a substantial agenda is available."
- Results of the European Firearms Experts (EFE) meeting held on 14-15 April 2015 in Helsinki (Finland) - Assignment of commercial security staff - Piracy against vessels (LIMITE doc no: 9718-15, pdf): "The spiralling incidents involving piracy are causing shipping companies to also assign armed private security forces on their vessels in order to better fend off attacks by pirates. New questions which impact the control of weapons crime and the prevention of arms trafficking are therefore arising where government action and police co-operation are concerned."
- Strategic review: Europol and Customs LIMITE doc no: 9572-15, pdf): "Europol has access to only a fraction of the information and expertise available at national level as Europol is generally not the preferred channel of communication for Customs."
- Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union Code on Visas (Visa Code) (recast) (LIMITE doc no 9450-15, pdf) and Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union Code on Visas (Visa Code) (recast) (LIMITE doc no 9029-15, pdf) With Member States' positions. See also: EU visa policy: A dash for growth? (EU Law Analysis (link)
EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Commission Recommendation of 8.6.2015 on a European resettlement scheme - Proposal for a Council Decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece = Main outstanding issues (LIMITE doc no 10524-15, pdf)
And see: Draft Report on the proposal for a Council decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece (pdf): Rapporteur: Ska Keller MEP
The discussion paper for Coreper (Member States' representatives to the EU) confirms that the Council is still intending to adopt the Commission's proposal to relocate 40,000 asylum-seekers from Italy and Greece. There seems no prospect of increasing the numbers to 50,000, to take account of the increased numbers coming to the EU, as the draft Keller report suggests. Nor is it clear yet what the Council will do if Member States do not offer voluntarily the full 40,000 places, given that the Commission's idea of mandatory quotas will be dropped.
However, the Council is considering amending the rules on which nationalities are covered by the rules. This would mean that not only Syrians and Eritreans would be covered by the Decision; nationalities could be added or removed depending on refugee recognition rates (for instance, Afghans and Somalians also have a fairly high rate of successful claims).
The draft Council document shows great concern to avoid 'secondary movements', ie refugees or asylum-seekers moving between Member States. However, it says nothing about the part of the draft Keller report which would most obviously address this issue: allowing refugees to express a preference over which country they go to, and giving them a veto over their relocation. If refugees are only sent to countries which they prefer to and/or agree to be in, they are much less likely to move to another Member State.
See also: EU Naval Force EUNAVFOR MED sets sail in troubled waters (CEPS, link)
News Digest (6.7.15)
The Parliamentary Campaign to End Immigration Detention of Children (CoE, Parliamentary Assembly, link)
OECD: Discrimination and poor job prospects hit children of immigrants (link)
Head of EU data protection says trading privacy for security is a “false fad” - Greater security does not require the loss of privacy, according to Buttarelli.(Technica, link)
Wikileaks: US Bugs Germany Plotting BRICS Bailout for Greece (link) Date: 2011: "Classification: TOP SECRET//COMINT//ORCON/NOFORN: WikiLeaks Synopsis
Intercepted communication by UK's Intelligence Services of German Chancellery Director-General for EU Affairs Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut reveals German negotiating positions ahead of a European Union Summit to discuss a joint German French response to the financial crisis in Greece. The report reveals that Germany had opposed tailored European solutions to the Greek crisis, instead supporting a special IMF bailout plan for Greece funded by the BRICS countries."
UK: Life for British Muslims since 7/7 – abuse, suspicion and constant apologies by Mehdi Hasan - The London bombings shocked us all. But in the decade since, our community has been unfairly demonised (Guardian, link)
Spain's 'gag' law comes into force (euobserver, link)
Hacking Team hacked, attackers claim 400GB in dumped data (CSO, link)
Minister: Anti-Islam rally violated law (Prague Post, link): "Police should have stepped in during Prague protest that featured gallows and noose"
Defiant Greeks vote 'No' in victory for Tsipras (France 24, link). And see: Greek referendum no vote signals huge challenge to eurozone leaders - Victory by Syriza party of 60% to 40% in polarising referendum presents nightmare for eurozone elites, particularly Germany’s Angela Merkel (Guardian, link)
UK: Walk down the wrong street and you're back in prison: the Kafkaesque life of a terror suspect in Britain - Since Algerian asylum seeker Y was arrested in 2003, he has spent years behind bars or unable to move more than a few miles, yet he has never been convicted of a crime. What is it like to exist under such extraordinary restrictions? (Guardian, link):
"By order of a court, the Guardian cannot publish Y’s real name. We may identify him only as Y. If we breach the order, I may be sent to jail. All this is happening in Britain in 2015".
UK: Report of the Intelligence Services Commissioner for 2014 (pdf): Bulk data collection, the Commissioner reports that:
""I oversee how the intelligence services store and use bulk personal data (BPD). There is no statutory definition of BPD, but in essence BPD refers to data belonging to a range of individuals acquired by or held on one or more analytical systems in the intelligence services. The majority of these individuals are unlikely to be of intelligence interest." [emphasis added]
In 2014 a total of 2,032 surveillance/operations warrants were issued for: the Security Service (MI5), the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), GCHQ and the Ministry of Defence (MOD). No breakdown of the global figure is given - some warrants are for individuals/groups others are open-ended/general warrants. They cover Intrusive Surveillance, Directed Surveillance and Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS). There are also Property Interference Warrants (Intelligence Services Act), Section 5:
"A property warrant may be used for remote interference with a computer in order to obtain information from the computer"
Plus "class authorisations" for GCHQ and MI6 under "Section 7 of ISA the Secretary of State (in practice normally the Foreign Secretary) may authorise SIS or GCHQ to undertake acts outside the United Kingdom.... Section 7 authorisations can be used for highly intrusive activities"
EU: Council of the European Union: Europol: To: COSI: Subject: Proposals from Europol: Improving information and intelligence exchange in the area of counter terrorism across the EU (LIMITE doc no: 7272-15, pdf)
"Europol’s experience, supported by the figures below, is that the expectations generated by these political decisions have not been generally met, with the potentials for the full and proper use of Europol’s information management capabilities not realised in the area of counter terrorism."
Europol's new roles on counter-terrorism derive from political direction given by the Justice and Home Affairs Council of 12 March 2015 and the Paris and Riga statements. The legal basis for Europol's new role such as Check the Web, Focal Point Travellers and using existing mechanisms like SIENA and the Europol Information System is the Council Decision 2005/671/JHA of 20 September 2005 on the exchange of information and cooperation concerning terrorist offences (pdf). This Decision states all information concerning terrorist investigations should be sent to Europol and Eurojust (Article 2) and sent, under Article 6 to "other interested Member States". The Decision makes no provision for the correction of the data/intelligence files provided nor for its deletion should an investigated or detained person(s) be released, not charged or acquitted. It should be noted that most terrorist investigation files will concern more than one person (the suspect), possibly involving their family and friends.
EU: MED-CRISIS: Council of the European Union: Valletta Conference on Migration (Malta, 11-12 November 2015) - Orientation debate (pdf):
"Delegations will find enclosed at annex a note issued under the responsibility of the Cabinet of the President of the European Council, in close cooperation with the European External Action Service and the Commission services....
The Summit will bring together the leaders of the most concerned countries of origin, transit and destination as well as regional organisations to identify, agree and launch actions to jointly address immediate and long term migration challenges as well as to reinforce the current mechanisms to implement and follow up high level political decisions on migration. Therefore, the aim is to invite the Heads of State and Government of the European Union Member States and of the countries parties to the Khartoum Process and the Rabat Process, as well as the African Union Commission and the ECOWAS Commission.
Libya is central to irregular migration to Europe but its participation to the summit will depend on the evolution of its internal political situation....
Making progress on return and readmission agreements (actions for both the EU and the countries of origin to facilitate returns of irregular migrants, with particular attention to assisted voluntary return and integration and the establishing of readmission agreements with countries of origin)"
UK: Police facing claims that senior officers knew about spying on Stephen Lawrence family - Officers have said that information about Stephen Lawrence’s family gathered by an undercover operation reached senior levels in Scotland Yard (Guardian, lnk):
"The police watchdog has recently widened its investigation into claims that five officers were involved in spying on the family of Stephen Lawrence, the teenager murdered by a racist gang. The investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is examining allegations that the Metropolitan Police planted an undercover officer in “the Lawrence family camp”.
At the moment, however, it is unclear how far up the Met’s chain of command knowledge of the espionage went - a question that presumably the IPCC is looking at.Two officers involved in the police’s covert work have said that information about the Lawrences that had been gathered by the Met’s undercover unit was passed to, or requested by, the senior echelons of Scotland Yard."
See: THE STEPHEN LAWRENCE INDEPENDENT REVIEW: Possible corruption and the role of undercover policing in the Stephen Lawrence case Summary of Findings (link) and Report and summary of findings from Mark Ellison's independent review (link)
NETHERLANDS: Dutch intel bill proposes non-specific (‘bulk’) interception powers for “any form of telecom or data transfer”, incl. domestic, plus required cooperation from “providers of communication services” (link): "Notably, the bill removes the current restriction that non-specific interception can only be used against communication that has a foreign source and/or destination -- thus expanding the power to domestic communication"
London: Summer Conference: Drones and Forever War: "The summer conference has become an annual event for the Drone Campaign Network. It is open to everyone and free! It provides an excellent opportunity to update drone knowledge and to plan campaigns, inspiring each other as we share ideas and experience." Date / Time: Saturday 11th July 10.30 – 4.30: Location: Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ Programme: Download here (link)
News Digest (4-5.7.15)
Has Europe lost its hold on our collective imagination? Europe never existed. It was a story made up to deal with the legacies of war (Guardian, link)
UK: Theresa May backs down in college ‘hate preachers’ row - Home Office responds to criticism over how universities could apply ban on radical speakers (Guardian, link)
German business calls new right-to-stay law 'insufficient' - The head of a German employers' group has criticized a reform of the law regarding the right of asylum seekers to stay in the country. He says refugees in Germany needed still more legal security. (DW, link)
UK: Anti-fracking Nanas: 'The government is all out for shale – we're all out to stop it' - How a headscarf-wearing group of women faced up to Cuadrilla and became the frontline against fracking in Lancashire (Guardian, link)
Agenda européen pour les migrations et protection des réfugiés : «l’Europe n’est pas à la hauteur» (EASFJ, link) [European Agenda for Migration and Refugee Protection: "Europe is not up to par"]
UK: Tourist arrested on terrorism charge for taking a selfie video at Churchill Square (The Argus, link): " A TOURIST was arrested on suspicion of preparing acts of terrorism after filming himself on his mobile phone outside Churchill Square shopping centre. Nasser Al-Ansari was taken to a police van for three hours before police decided “there was no immediate threat” but officers kept his mobile phone for further investigation. The 38-year-old is furious about the way he was treated after being stopped at the Brighton shopping centre and said it is “changing his perception of the U.K.”. Mr Al-Ansari said he had been recording a condolence message in Arabic for terrorist bombing victims in his native Kuwait in front of the shopping centre last Friday afternoon. He was ordered to delete the footage by a store security guard, but said he refused because he didn’t think he should or had to. He then complained about the request, at which point police were called."
USA-UK: Former UK ministers urge Obama to free Shaker Aamer from Guantánamo Bay - Tory and Labour MPs, writers and actors among signatories of open letter to Barack Obama calling for release of UK resident held without charge for 14 years (Guardian, link)
Schriftliche Anfrage: Menschenrechtsverletzungen an der bulgarisch-türkischen Grenze (Ska Keller MEP, link) [Written question: human rights violations on the Bulgarian-Turkish border]
Germany: Opinion: Reforming Germany's domestic intelligence service - A law to reform Germany's domestic security agency aims to shore up spies' ability to operate. At least that's the idea, but the changes don't go far enough, says DW's Marcel Fürstenau (DW, link)
NSA’s Top Brazilian Political and Financial Targets Revealed by New WikiLeaks Disclosure (The Intercept, link): "Top secret data from the National Security Agency, shared with The Intercept by WikiLeaks, reveals that the U.S. spy agency targeted the cellphones and other communications devices of more than a dozen top Brazilian political and financial officials, including the country’s president Dilma Rousseff, whose presidential plane’s telephone was on the list. President Rousseff just yesterday returned to Brazil after a trip to the U.S. that included a meeting with President Obama, a visit she had delayed for almost two years in anger over prior revelations of NSA spying on Brazil." and see: Wikileaks - Brazil (link)
NEW: EU: DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: New document (dated 2.7.15): Proposal for a Regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation) - Preparation for trilogue (LIMITE Council doc no: 10366-15, 93 pages, pdf). Multi-column document giving the Commission proposal, the European Parliament and Councils (amended) positions and the "compromise" column: Comments from Council:
"On 1st July 2015, the Presidency also received compromise proposals from the European Parliament on these issues which are reflected in the 4th column of the document in annex...
Taking into account the General Approach reached on 15th June 2015 which constitutes the basis of the negotiation mandate for the Presidency, and taking into account the discussions at the DAPIX meeting of 1st July 2015, the Presidency’s suggestions are included in the 4th column. These suggestions are indicated in [brackets, italic and bold]."
Earlier versions in the run-up to the trilogues are: LIMITE doc no 9985-REV-2-15 (26 June 2015, 79 pages, pdf) and LIMITE doc no 9565-15 (201 pages, 11 June 2015, pdf)
EU: EUROPOL: Terrorist propaganda: SITES TO BE REFERRED TO INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS TO TAKE DOWN: European Union Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) to combat terrorist propaganda and related violent extremist activities on the internet (pdf):
"European Union (EU) Member States decided to implement a coherent and coordinated European prevention approach. On 12 March 2015, the Justice and Home Affairs Council of the European Union mandated Europol to establish a dedicated unit aimed at reducing the level and impact of terrorist and violent extremist propaganda on the internet. The European Union Internet Referral Unit at Europol will identify and refer relevant online content towards concerned internet service providers and support Member States with operational and strategic analysis." [emphasis added]
See: Fight against terrorism: Follow-up to the Council (Justice and Home Affairs) of 12-13 March 2015 - Implementation of Counter-Terrorism measures (LIMITE doc no: 9418-15, pdf) which says:
"Europol is expected to establish a European response concerning internet content referral activities with concerned private industry companies, with Member States envisaging support to the EU IRU by appointing national EU IRU contact points. Referral activities will not constitute an enforceable act, thus the decision and related implementation of the referral is taken under full responsibility and accountability of the concerned service provider." [p8, emphasis added]
European Parliament: FREEDOM TO TAKE PICTURES? Debate: should the freedom of panorama be introduced all over the EU? (Press release, pdf):
"Should people have the right to create and share images and photographs of public buildings without having to compensate for the use of copyright? The so-called
freedom of panorama already exists in some EU countries, but MEPs are now considering whether it should be extended to all member states. As they will debate it on 9 July, we asked two MEPs on opposing sides of the issue why they think it would be a good or a bad thing."
EU: MED-CRISIS: Update from Boukhalef: large-scale evictions and mass deportations (No Borders Morocco, link):
"For several years already, migrants, mainly subsaharans, have found refuge in Boukhalef, a district in the periphery of Tangier. Some just live their lives, others have been regularized or are being hosted by their respective community while trying to cross to Europe. Subsaharans get harassed in the quarter or beyond on a regular basis, sometimes violently, by Moroccans reproducing racist ideologies. Regularly, the authorities decide to evict migrants violently, which has provoked several tragedies. On 1st of July 2015 more than 200 police officers and soldiers were deployed to the district Boukhalef in order to evacuate all the “blacks”....
Hundreds of people were deported further South, others are now on the streets, hiding in the Tangier medina, and need urgent support. A delegation of migrants' NGOS from Tangier and Rabat is calling for funds to support the evicted inhabitants of Boukhalef. The priority would be to provide at least some shelter for the most vulnerable people for the coming days, as they have lost all their possessions and are just staying in the streets! Please let us know if you can donate any sum of money to buy some blankets, plastic sheets, some cooking utensils, food and medicine. Please email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will give you the account details. Any sum is welcome!"
Serbia receives assistance to stem illegal migrant flows (euractiv, link): "Police chiefs from Germany, Austria and Hungary have agreed to help Serbia crack down on waves of illegal migrants transiting its territory heading for the European Union. Meanwhile, Budapest said it will forge ahead with plans to erect a fence at its border with Serbia."
AUSTRIA: 'No let-up' in asylum seeker crisis (The Local.at, link): "Tent cities for 400 asylum seekers are being set up in Carinthia and Burgenland - with Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner saying that she sees no end in sight for the refugee crisis."
Hungary government condemned over anti-immigration drive - Activists accuse Fidesz party of stoking xenophobia to divert attention from escalating poverty and corruption scandals (Guardian, link)
EU parliament's largest political groups split over fundamental rights (The Parliament, link): "Parliament's 'grand coalition' between its centre-right and centre-left groupings is divided over a report on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU for the years 2013 and 2014..... The European People's Party (EPP) group voted against the report in parliament's civil liberties, justice and home affairs (LIBE) committee, dismissing most of its content as "plain absurd and nonsense". The report, however, was passed on Thursday and is due to go before parliament's Strasbourg plenary session in September."
News Digest (3.7.15)
UK: Azelle Rodney shooting: police marksman cleared of murder - Former firearms officer Anthony Long had told jury he acted in self defence when he shot 24-year-old without warning (Guardian, link)
LONDON: Metropolitan Police recorded crime figures (May 2014-May 2015, link) and see: Race hate attacks on the rise in London, Scotland Yard figures reveal (Evening Standard, link)
Oxfam Germany director: 'TTIP would intensify inequality in developing countries' (euractiv, link): "Developing countries will be among the biggest losers if the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is implemented, warns Marion Lieser, explaining what a socially and ecologically fair trade deal would look like."
UK Information Commissioner’s Office reports rise in spam calls and texts - Watchdog says most nuisance communications related to accident claims, green energy, payday loans and lifestyle surveys (Guardian, link)
NSA: Germany summons US ambassador over new spying claims - Merkel’s chief of staff requests meeting after WikiLeaks publishes what it says is evidence of NSA eavesdropping on ministers (Guardian, link): "WikiLeaks said 69 telephone numbers of government ministries, including the economy and finance ministries, had been found in secret NSA files. Germany’s attorney general, Harald Range, said he would investigate the allegations and decide whether to prosecute the NSA, according to Spiegel Online."
GERMANY: Germany revises law on residency, expulsion - Up to 30,000 migrants living in Germany for years on suspended deportation orders are to be granted residency under a law amendment. Another parliament move to expel those unwanted has been slammed by asylum advocates. (DW, link)
NSA: Behind the Curtain - A Look at the Inner Workings of NSA’s XKEYSCORE (Intercept, link): "The sheer quantity of communications that XKEYSCORE processes, filters and queries is stunning. Around the world, when a person gets online to do anything — write an email, post to a social network, browse the web or play a video game — there’s a decent chance that the Internet traffic her device sends and receives is getting collected and processed by one of XKEYSCORE’s hundreds of servers scattered across the globe."
France Moves to Stop Treating Its Traveller Citizens Like Foreigners (OSF, link): "France is home to more than 350,000 Travellers, people who live their
lives on the road a few months of the year... France is also the only country that requires these residents to carry special papers."
EU: Important challenge to secrecy of EU decision-making: How the EU “legislative triangle” is becoming a “Bermudes, triangle “… (EASFJ, link):
Emilio de Capitani applied to the European Parliament for documents summarising negotiations between the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament is secret trilogue meetings, namely:
"multicolumn tables (describing the Commission proposal, the Parliamentary Committee orientation, the Council internal bodies suggested amendments and, if existing, suggested draft compromises) submitted to trilogues for the current pending co-decision procedures"
The parliament refused access largely on the grounds that multi-column documents in its position had been produced by the Council and therefore could not be released. They also claimed that there are a large number of such documents - exactly!
Race & Class: Transnational capital and the technology of domination and desire (link): "The July issue of Race & Class takes up three topical themes: the monetarisation of private information, the politics of film and the demonisation of ‘anti-racism’."
EU: MED-CRISIS: UNHCR: "A large majority of the thousands of people who made dangerous sea journeys across the Mediterranean into Europe in the first six months of 2015 were fleeing war, conflict or persecution": UNHCR Tracks: The Sea Route to Europe People risking their lives to reach Europe are often called migrants, but the current Mediterranean crisis is primarily a refugee crisis (llink)
See: ITALY: Renzi says suspending Schengen won't stop migrants (ANSA, link) and EU: MED-CRISIS: Seeking Refuge: Central Europe balks at refugees. But then there's Ukraine.- Central Europe, and Poland in particular, could be key to easing the EU's migrant crisis. The region has been cold to the idea of taking in refugees – but Ukraine conflict could force the issue.(Yahoo News, link): "The most deadly and pressing elements of the current migration crisis are focused on the southern Mediterranean. But pressure is coming from the east, too. And Poland could emerge as a key powerbroker for the region &SHY; not just if a refugee crisis takes shape in Ukraine, butt also by setting the example in the region as the EU scrambles to get all 28 members of the bloc to see the refugee problem as their concern."
UK: Police publish secret training manual telling undercover cops to have 'fleeting, disastrous' affairs with targets (Mirror, link) "
The Metropolitan Police have released the 'tradecraft' manual for the Special Demonstration Squad, who infiltrated protest groups,,,The Metropolitan Police have published the manual used to train undercover spies to infiltrate protest groups for the first time. The so-called 'tradecraft' manual, given to members of the Met's Special Demonstration Squad, instructs new recruits on how to steal the identities of dead babies using methods inspired by a Frederick Forsyth novel. The document, finally published yesterday after numerous Freedom of Information requests, also suggests agents should: "try to have fleeting, disastrous relationships" with group members."
See: Special Demonstration Squad - Manual (pdf) 60 pages, massively censored.
European Digital Rights asks the European Commission to investigate illegal data retention laws in the EU (link): "European Digital Rights (EDRi) this morning sent a letter to European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, asking the European Commission to investigate the data retention laws in EU Member States which appear to be illegal in light of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruling on this issue from 8 April last year."
UK.gov spied on human rights warriors at Amnesty International - Snooping could cost lives, group claims (The Register, link):
"The British government has admitted that its spook agency GCHQ spied on Amnesty International, according to campaigners at the human rights group.
Amnesty said on Wednesday that it had received an email from the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) – the organization responsible for policing the UK's surveillance of its own citizens – revealing that the government intercepted, accessed and stored its communications for an unspecified period of time"
And see: UK was illegally spying on Amnesty International, 'mistakenly' forgot to tell human rights group (Independent, link): "The UK government was illegally spying on civil rights group Amnesty International — and neglected to tell it the surveillance was going on, after a mistake.".
GERMANY-NSA: WikiLeaks: US spied on Angela Merkel's ministers too, says German newspaper - The NSA did not just tap German chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone but also listened in on finance, economy, agriculture and other ministers (Guardian, link):
"The United States did not just tap chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone but also eavesdropped on several of her ministers, the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung has reported, citing documents from WikiLeaks."
and see: Wikileaks (link) and also: Wikileaks: 'Massive' NSA spying on top German officials (DW, link): "Wikileaks says its latest release of documents shows the wide reach of economic espionage conducted by the NSA in Germany. Documents released by the whistleblowers suggest an intense interest in the Greek debt crisis."
Council of Europe: PNR: Passenger Name Records, data mining & data protection: the need for strong safeguards (pdf): Prepared by Douwe Korff
Emeritus Professor of International Law, London Metropolitan University, Associate, Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, with advice, comments and review by Marie Georges, Council of Europe Expert:
"Much has been said and written about Passenger Name Records (PNR) in the last decade and a half. When we were asked to write a short report for the Consultative Committee about PNR, “in the wider contexts”, we therefore thought we could confine ourselves to a relatively straightforward overview of the literature and arguments.
However, the task turned out to be more complex than anticipated. In particular, the context has changed as a result of the Snowden revelations. Much of what was said and written about PNR before his exposés had looked at the issues narrowly, as only related to the “identification” of “known or [clearly ‘identified’] suspected terrorists” (and perhaps other major international criminals). However, the most recent details of what US and European authorities are doing, or plan to do, with PNR data show that they are part of the global surveillance operations we now know about."
USA-NSA: XKEYSCORE: NSA’s Google for the World’s Private Communications (The Intercept, link): "The Intercept is publishing 48 top-secret and other classified documents about XKEYSCORE dated up to 2013, which shed new light on the breadth, depth and functionality of this critical spy system — one of the largest releases yet of documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden."
News Digest (2.7.15)
UK: The Unseen March Questionning the militarisation of UK schools (Quakers in Britain, link): "Step by step, a military presence is entering schools across Britain. This is part of a conscious strategy to increase support for the armed forces in the wake of unpopular wars. Quakers in Britain have produced The Unseen March, a short film to start a public debate about the militarisation of education"
GS4 security guards granted limited powers - the ability to obtain the name and address of people breaking the law (Police Oracle, link)
UK: More than 100 asylum seekers to walk free after detention system quashed - About 800 cases to be reviewed after immigration minister orders system to be put on hold following court of appeal decision it was ‘structurally unfair’ (Guardian, link)
UK and Spain granted most EU citizenships (euobserver, link): "Spain and the UK issued almost half of all new EU citizenships in 2013. The figures, released on Wednesday (1 July) by the EU statistical office, Eurostat, show Spain accounted for around 23 percent (225,800) of all citizenships granted in the EU, while the UK accounted for 21 percent (207,500). In relative terms compared to population size, Ireland and Sweden come out top."
New code of conduct on data protection for cloud service providers being scrutinised by EU privacy watchdogs (Out-Law.com, link)
UK: CAGE publishes leaked PREVENT training DVD (link)
EU-GREECE: Syriza can’t just cave in. Europe’s elites want regime change in Greece - Greece’s confrontation with the euro overlords will shape resistance to austerity – and the future of the whole European Union (Guardian, Seumas Milne, link)
Guest Post: New Polish Criminal Procedure Code (Fair Trials, link): "The revised Polish Criminal Procedure Code enters into force today, and Malgorzata Maczka-Pacholak (from LEAP Advisory Board Member Mikolaj Pietrzak’s office) covers the key changes and talks about the current state of implementation of the EU Directive on Access to a Lawyer."
Owen Jones: The elites are determined to end the revolt against austerity in Greece - Europe's great powers won't be satisfied until they break Syriza, and stop an anti-austerity movement spreading across the continent. (New Statesman, link)
Council of Europe: Violence against women: Analytical study of the results of the 4th round of monitoring the implementation of Recommendation Rec(2002)5 on the protection of women against violence in Council of Europe member states (pdf)
EU: EIGE: Gender Equality Index 2015: Measuring gender equality in the European Union 2005-2012 Country profiles (pdf)
EU: Roaming Regulation: Provisional agreement of 30 June 2015– subject to formal approval of the European Parliament and the Council Proposal for a REGULATION laying down measures concerning open internet and amending Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 June 2012 on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union (pdf)
GREECE: Migrants 'attacked' at sea between Greece and Turkey (France 24, link): "Migrants trying to sail from Turkey to Greece are increasingly reporting being attacked by gunmen trying to prevent them from reaching Europe, according to multiple sources.... Nawal Soufi, and Italian activist who has handled numerous distress calls from Syrian refugees at sea, said she had heard of around 20 boats whose passengers had been attacked in recent months. "The migrants speak of commandos -- some say they (were confronted by EU border agency) Frontex, others by the Turkish or Greek coastguard -- others by militias or pirates," Soufi told journalists, adding that such cases have rocketed in recent months."
HUNGARY: Letter from Hungarian PM Orban to Commission President Juncker (pdf) stating that Dublin provisions will be adhered to but "technically temporarily not capable of receiving people sent back from the Western direction"
EU: MED CRISIS: HUNGARY: Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos after his visit to Budapest (pdf) He:
"offered the possibility to deploy ''hotspot teams'' to help in the swift processing of asylum requests and help with the return of irregular migrants. These teams will include experts from the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), Frontex and Europol in order to improve the capacity of fingerprinting, identify abusive asylum claims, and ensure effective returns."
See: European Council Conclusions: European Council meeting (25 and 26 June 2015) – Conclusions (pdf). For "hot spots" the term "structured border zones" is now referred to as "first reception facilities".
It is not all clear what the legal powers the Commissioner is referring to for Europol, Frontex or EASO [European Asylum Support Office] to ensure the "swift identification, registration and fingerprinting" of migrants or for EASO and Europol to: "identify abusive asylum claims, and ensure effective returns."
See also: Denmark to impose controls on border, risking EU ire (Reuters, link): "Denmark will impose controls on its border to stop smugglers and illegal migrants, its new foreign minister said on Tuesday, in a move likely to worry the European Union but please a right-wing party on whose support the government now depends. More police, machines screening number plates and other measures would increase security without breaking EU rules guaranteeing freedom of movement through the bloc, Kristian Jensen told Reuters."
GERMANY: MASSIVE RISE IN RECORDED RACIST ATTACKS: 2014 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution Facts and Trends (pdf):
"Two aspects should be noted:
• a rise in the number of violent offences motivated by right-wing extremism (the largest number since 2008) and xenophobia (highest level since the current definition of politically motivated crime was introduced in 2001); and
• an enormous increase in the number of crimes and violent offences in the category of politically motivated crime by foreigners."
'Euphoria' among jihadists in Europe, says German security agency (euractiv, link):
"The number of violent acts committed by right-wing extremists increased by 24% last year. A total of 990 violent crimes were recorded. De Maizière said now one in two right-wing extremists is considered to be violence-oriented, indicating that the 512 attacks against foreigners are troubling.
Attacks on refugee camps motivated by right-wing extremism also increased from 55 recorded in 2013 to 170 last year. This year, the number could be even higher. In the first half of 2015, there were already 150 crimes of this kind, according to de Maizière. There should be “no silent understanding and especially no silent consent” for this, he said."
UK: G4S and Serco continue to dominate criminal justice market (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, link): "Controversial security companies G4S and Serco received more than seven pounds in every ten spent by the government on prison and probation-related contracts in the four years to April 2014, according to new research by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies" See: Report (link)
SLOVAKIA: MANDATORY DATA RETENTION UNLAWFUL: Full version of the decision invalidating the data retention in Slovakia - the legislator has 6 months to come up with compliant provisions (link) and Judgment: Full-text (link):
"The Constitutional Court denounced mass and preventive collection of data – data about the location, duration, and the participants involved, based on the provisions of the Electronic Communications Act (Act No. 351/2011 Coll.) - as an extensive infringement of the fundamental right to privacy. According to the Constitutional Court, the extensiveness of the infringement was demonstrated by the very fact that collected data concerned a huge and unpredictable number of communicating parties and such collection could have induced a feeling of constant surveillance."
UK: CHILDRENS' RIGHTS: Report of the UK Children’s Commissioners UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Examination of the Fifth Periodic Report of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (pdf)
See: Government is stripping UK children of rights, says report to UN - Children’s commissioners’ review asks for welfare cuts and repeal of Human Rights Act to be reconsidered, and warns children will be denied justice in courts (Guardian, link)
UK: Watershed moment - INQUEST welcomes call for “radical change” in report on deaths of young people in prison (link) and Harris Review: Changing Prisons, Saving Lives: Report of the Independent Review into Self-inflicted Deaths in Custody of 18-24 year olds (pdf)
Deborah Coles, Co-Director of INQUEST said: “This important report is a devastating indictment of a flawed system that is systematically failing. That its findings echo what has been said repeatedly and that so many deaths could have been avoided if already-known lessons had been acted upon is all the more shocking.
Government can either ignore this report at its peril or do something radically different that could be a lasting legacy. Already this year eight young people have taken their own lives in prison."
News Digest (1.7.15)
Canadian Surveillance Agency Says Snowden Leaks Were Damaging, Because We Say So (The Intercept, link)
USA: Bulk Phone Surveillance Lives Again, to Die in a More Orderly Fashion in Five Months (The Intercept, link): "A federal judge with the top-secret surveillance court on Monday breezily reinstated the NSA bulk domestic surveillance program that was temporarily halted a month ago, allowing the agency to go back to hoovering up telephone metadata for five months while it unwinds the program for good."
Freedom of Panorama under threat (Julia Reda MEP, link): "Original proposal from my draft report: Calls on the EU legislator to ensure that the use of photographs, video footage or other images of works which are permanently located in public places is permitted
Amendment 421, adopted in committee with the votes of European People’s Party, Socialists & Cavada (Liberals):Calls on the EU legislator to ensure that the use of photographs, video footage or other images of works which are permanently located in public places is permitted; Considers that the commercial use of photographs, video footage or other images of works which are permanently located in physical public places should always be subject to prior authorisation from the authors or any proxy acting for them"
GERMANY: BUNDESTAG NSA INQUIRY: Spionageaffäre: Union und SPD einigen sich auf NSA-Sonderermittler Graulich (Spiegel online, link) [ex-federal administrative judge, Zen Buddhist - and freshly retired - 65 year old Kurt Graulich is soon allowed to sift through the top secret US spy lists. Union and SPD back his apointment]
USA: New Pentagon manual declares journalists can be enemy combatants (Washington Times, link): ""The Pentagon's new thick book of instructions for waging war the legal way says that terrorists also can be journalists."
Justice for Mitch Henriquez: Black Lives Matter goes Dutch (roarmag.org, link): "Public opinion happily condemns systemic racism and excessive police
force in other countries, but racist police violence is far from limited to the US."
Data or it didn't happen (maneeshjuneja.com, link): "Today, there is incredible excitement, enthusiasm and euphoria about technology trends such as Wearables, Big Data and the Internet of Things. Listening to some speakers at conferences, it often sounds like the convergence of these technologies promises to solve every problem that humanity faces. Seemingly, all we need to do is let these new ideas, products and services emerge into society, and it will be happy ever after. Just like those fairy tales we read to our children. Except, life isn't a fairy tale, neither is it always fair and equal. In this post, I examine how these technologies are increasingly of interest to employers and insurers when it comes to determining risk, and how this may impact our future."
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