Statewatch News Online, 17 June 2019 (14/19)

17 June 2019 — Statewatch

e-mail: office@statewatch.org

Also available as a pdf file: http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/jun/email-17-6-19.pdf

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ANALYSIS

Analysis: The Commission and Italy tie themselves up in knots over Libya  by Yasha Maccanico.

STATEWATCH NEWS

1.  ECHR: Unaccompanied migrant minors  Greece unsuited conditions age and circumstances
2.  Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
3.  EU: Press release: EU officials in a panic over the possibility of a world without wiretapping
4.  EU: Ministerial statement on “migration challenges” keeps focus on control measures
5.  EU: JHA Council, 6-7 June: Returns, Migration challenges, data retention, e-evidence, visas & 5G
6.  EU: EEASand EDA: Report  “interactions, linkages and coherence among EU defence initiatives”
7.  EU: New immigration liaison officers network puts more emphasis on EU-level coordination
8.  Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21.5-3.6.19 )

NEWS

1.    Biometrics: The new frontier of EU migration policy in Niger
2.    Are You Syrious: A New Law has been passed in Italy
3.    UNHCR urges Italy to reconsider proposed decree affecting rescue at sea in Central Med
4,    Refugee ppulation on the Greek Islands as at 9 June 16,200 (UNHCR)
5.    2019 EP Elections – News from the UNITED network
6.    Frontex: Migration situation has improved significantly
7.    Italy to fine NGOs who rescue migrants at sea
8.   Germany withdraws from EUNAVFOR’s Operation ‘Sophia’ in Mediterranean
9.   Political groups in the European Parliament since 1979 – Facts and figures
10  EXCLUSIVE: What countries really think of the EU’s strategic agenda
12.  Migrant crisis: Children among seven killed as boat sinks in Greece
13. ITALY: Blacklisting of Judges is a breach of the Rule of Law
14. German intelligence wants access to domestic smart appliances
15. Are You Syrious (20.6.19): ,Croatia fence
16.  Neighbourhood Watched
17.  Asylum seekers in EU on the rise again: report
18.  EU restricts visas for non-cooperation on migration
19.  Europeans still anxious about AI facial recognition
20.  Refugees in Greece concerned about state of EU
21.  Five Star struggles to form or join an EU Parliament group
22.  ‘A Europe that protects’: what does that actually mean?
23. CoE:  Anti-racism Commission publishes conclusions including Italy, Turkey,and the UK
24.  Innocent until proven guilty? The presentation of suspects in criminal proceedings
25.  Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, escalates attack on judges
26.  ‘Violence by design’ – the PPT delivers its verdict on the hostile environment
27.  GREECE: : Samos Volence between residents of refugee camp and police
28.  IRELAND: Justice ‘not the appropriate department’ to support asylum seekers
29
CZECH REPUBLIC: Border protection centre opens in Prague
30.  EU’s Frontex border agency set for 34% budget increase
31.  Interview: We Need to Snap Out of the Crisis Mode and Take a Step Back
32.  CoE: European anti-racism body urges Ireland to act  hate speech and hate crime
33.  NUJ warns of FOI threat in Ireland
34.  UK: £900,000 bill for Notts shale gas policing
35.  Call for submissions: “Soft law” and informal lawmaking – counter-terrorism  – human rights
36.  FRANCE: The Yellow Jackets blinded by police weapons
37.  ICC submission calls for prosecution of EU over migrant deaths
38.  Orbán moves against historical research: The first victim is the 56-Institute
39. UK: Five ridiculous reasons why the police label campaigners as ‘domestic extremists’
40. UK: Football v the Hostile Environment in Sheffield and Bristol
41. Turkey police bust human trafficking ring, arrest smugglers
42. NI judge rebukes police for seizing papers from journalists – Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey
44. Meltdown Showed Extent of NSA Surveillance ­ From Hundreds of Intelligence Documents
45. USA: Report reveals details DOJ’s seizing of AP phone records (Columbia Journalism Review)

DOCUMENTATION

1. EU: JHA Council, 6-7 June: Returns, Migration challenges, data retention, e-evidence & 5G
2.  Political groups in the European Parliament since 1979 – Facts and figures
3.  LEAK: EU’s five-year plan doubles down on protecting borders
4. EU: Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM) update report – May 2019
5.  Ministerial Forum Member States of Schengen Area with External Land Borders Joint Statement
6. Case against EU taken to ICC on migration policy in the Mediterranean
7. CoE: Anti-racism commission  annual report – Hate speech and xenophobia  & populism
8.  EU: CJEU ruling casts doubts on the legality of the proposed e-evidence regulation

ANALYSIS

Statewatch Analysis: The Commission and Italy tie themselves up in knots over Libya (pdf): by Yasha Maccanico.

At the end of March, the European Commission and the Italian interior minister appeared to undermine one another both respectively and collectively through a sequence of messages that emerged as part of their efforts to assert the existence of a Libyan search and rescue (SAR) zone.

The entire incident demonstrates how Italy and the European Commission are trying to assert the fiction of a Libyan SAR zone – financing it, providing resources and managing it – in order to neutralise concerns over both the north African country’s status as an unsafe place and their own humanitarian obligations.

STATEWATCH NEWS

1   ECHR: Unaccompanied migrant minors stayed in Greece in conditions unsuited to their age and circumstances (pdf):

“In today’s Chamber judgment1 in the case of Sh.D. and Others v. Greece, Austria, Croatia, Hungary, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia (application no. 14165/16) concerning the living conditions in Greece of five unaccompanied migrant minors from Afghanistan, the European Court of Human Rights, unanimously:

– declared the complaints against Austria, Croatia, Hungary, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia inadmissible as being manifestly ill-founded;

– declared the complaints against Greece under Articles 3 and 5 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights admissible;”

See: Written Submission on behalf of Statewatch as Third Party Intervene (pdf)

2.  Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (4.6-10.6-19) including 20 items.

3.  EU: Press release: EU officials in a panic over the possibility of a world without wiretapping

5G telecoms networks could render traditional police “lawful interception” techniques obsolete unless EU and national governments take action, according to internal EU documents obtained by Statewatch, which is today publishing a new analysis explaining the issues and calling for them to be debated in public.

4.  EU: Ministerial statement on “migration challenges” keeps focus on control measures

5.  EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 6-7 June: Returns, Migration challenges, data retention, e-evidence & 5G

Background Note (pdf), Main “B” points agenda (for discussion, pdf), “A” Points – legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf), “A” Points – Non-legislative(adopted without discussion, pdf)

See: Press release for 6-7 June: final (pdf)

6.  EU: European External Action Service and European Defence Agency: Report on “interactions, linkages and coherence among EU defence initiatives”

“Since capabilities are ultimately developed to be used operationally – in the EU or within other frameworks (UN, NATO, national,
), further consideration should also be given to promoting the operational availability of forces for CSDP [Common Security and Defence Policy] operations…”

7.  EU: New immigration liaison officers network puts more emphasis on EU-level coordination

The Council of the EU and European Parliament recently agreed on a new Regulation establishing a network of European immigration liaison officers, aiming for greater EU-level coordination of the officials deployed to non-EU countries for the purpose of monitoring migration flows, assisting in obtaining documents for people subject to deportation from the EU and passing on relevant information to EU law enforcement authorities.

8.  Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21.5-3.6.19) including:

  • Submission to ICC seeks prosecution of EU over migrant deaths
  • Hundreds occupy Paris airport to protest against deportations
  • New report on the Dublin Regulation, the “infernal machine of the European asylum system”
  • Externalisation: Frontex launches first formal operation outside of the EU

NEWS

1.  Biometrics: The new frontier of EU migration policy in Niger (thenewhumanitarian.org, link):

“The EU’s strategy for controlling irregular West African migration is not just about asking partner countries to help stop the flow of people crossing the Mediterranean – it also includes sharing data on wh o is trying to make the trip and identifying to which countries they can be returned. (…)

proposed tougher mandate will rely in part on biometric information stored on linked databases in Africa and Europe. It is a step rights campaigners say not only jeopardises the civil liberties of asylum seekers and others in need of protection, but one that may also fall foul of EU data privacy legislation.(…)

Niger hosts the first of eight planned “Risk Analysis Cells” in Africa set up by Frontex and based inside its border police directorate.”

And see Statewatch Analyses: EU-Africa: Fortress Europe’s neo-colonial project (pdf) and From the “carrot and stick” to the “stick” From GAMM (2005) to “Partnership Frameworks” (2016) in Africa (pdf)

2.  Are You Syrious (12.6.19, link)

Feature: A New Law has been passed in Italy ‘Decreto Sicurezza Bis,’ that among other things, means exorbitant fees for all who dare to save lives at sea.(…)

“Specifically the new Decree includes: Fees between €10,000 and €50,000 for transporting people on the move to the Italian shores. The fee must be paid by the captain of the vessel, the owner of the vessel.”

3.   UNHCR urges Italy to reconsider proposed decree affecting rescue at sea in the Central Mediterranean (UNHCR UK, link):

“UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is concerned at a recent decree from the Government of Italy that contains several provisions affecting refugees and migrants, including fines for NGO vessels engaged in saving lives at sea.

Sea rescue is a long-standing humanitarian imperative. It is also an obligation under international law. No vessel or shipmaster should be at risk of a fine for coming to the aid of boats in distress and where loss of life may be imminent.

“At a time when European states have largely withdrawn from rescue efforts in the Central Mediterranean, NGO vessels are more crucial than ever,” said Roland Schilling, UNHCR Regional Representative to Southern Europe ad interim. “Without them, it is inevitable that more lives will be lost.””

4, Refugee ppulation on the Greek Islands as at 9 June 16,200 (UNHCR)

5.  2019 EP Elections – News from the UNITED network (link):

“The 2019 European Parliamentary Elections results brought an unprecedented political composition of the European Parliament. While the turnout (almost 51%) has been the highest since 1994, an important growth of the Greens, and great gains for nationalists and far-right parties shows a trend of increasing political polarisation.”

6.  Frontex: Migration situation has improved significantly (infomigrants.net, link):

“The illegal immigration situation in the EU has “significantly improved,” with 30,000 irregular crossings of EU borders since the start of 2019, Fabrice Leggeri, the director of the European Union border agency Frontex, said in a recent interview.

“The highest number of [arrivals were] in Greece, where migrants are either crossing the land border from Turkey, or by sea. The Aegean Sea is once again the number one route,” Leggeri said in an interview with German daily Welt.”

7.  Italy to fine NGOs who rescue migrants at sea (DW, link):

“The Italian government has decided to impose stiff fines on rescuers who bring migrants into port without authorization. It also gave the interior ministry, led by Matteo Salvini, power to demand the payment.”

And see: EU mute on new Italian decree to fine NGO boats (euobserver, link): “The European Commission has said it will not comment on a new Italian decree to fine NGO boats that rescue migrants at sea until it is officially passed by the government in Rome. Pressed on whether it opposes sanctions in general on such vessels, the Commission on Wednesday (12 June) also declined to respond.”

8.  Germany withdraws from EUNAVFOR’s Operation ‘Sophia’ in Mediterranean (.janes.com, link):

“Germany will end its participation in the European Union Naval Force Mediterranean’s (EUNAVFOR Med’s) Operation ‘Sophia’ counter human smuggling and trafficking mission, the German Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on its website on 6 June. German personnel will stop working in the mission’s headquarters in Rome, Italy, on 30 June.”

9.  Political groups in the European Parliament since 1979 – Facts and figures (EP, pdf):

“Taking a variety of shapes and forms, European transnational party cooperation is a unique international phenomenon. This is true of transnational party cooperation both outside and within the European Parliament. Moreover, transnational party cooperation in the Parliament and elsewhere is key to explaining the success of European integration and the various existing transnational party families at European level are crucial in shaping European politics.”

10.   EXCLUSIVE: What countries really think of the EU’s strategic agenda (euractiv, link):

“EU member states broadly supported priorities highlighted for the next five years, although they called for a more “positive” vision for the bloc. Despite the demands made by the capitals, the latest version of the blueprint only included small changes, according to the second draft seen by EURACTIV.”

12.  Migrant crisis: Children among seven killed as boat sinks in Greece (BBC NEWS, link):

“At least seven people have been killed and 57 others rescued after a boat carrying migrants overturned near the Greek island of Lesbos, officials say.

The bodies of two children, four women and a man were recovered on Tuesday morning off the port of Mytilene.”

13.  ITALY: Blacklisting of Judges is a breach of the Rule of Law (medelnet.eu, link):

“The recent declarations made by the Italian Interior Minister are unacceptable and a serious breach of the Rule of Law. MEDEL has issued today a statement in that regard:”

14.  German intelligence wants access to domestic smart appliances (New Europe, link);

“Germany plans to allow its police and security forces to access “smart home devices” in anything from fridges to Amazon’s Alexa.

The plan announced by the interior ministry would see Germany’s BND intelligence services gain access to the digital traces of devices in order to collect data from recordings of actual conversations. The practice is already used by the US and UK for counter-terrorism activities.”

15.  Are You Syrious (20.6.19, link)

“Croatia has erected a spiked metal fence on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina near the crossings Gejkovac and Pašin Potok yesteday.

That is surely the effect of the EU’s support to enforcing Croatian “discouragement” tactics that are basically illegal collective expulsions and violence imposed on the people who are found at the border area, but also within the country.”

16.   Neighbourhood Watched (PI. link):

“From facial recognition to social media monitoring, from remote hacking to the use of mobile surveillance equipment called ‘IMSI catchers’, UK police forces are using an ever-expanding array of surveillance tools to spy on us as we go about our everyday lives. Too often, these new and intrusive spying technologies are rolled out without the say, or even the knowledge, of the public or their locally elected representatives.”

We are campaigning alongside Liberty for the public to have a greater say as to whether their local police force should be allowed to use such highly intrusive technologies. We believe these technologies should not be bought or used without proper public consultation and the approval of locally elected representatives, such as Police and Crime Commissioners.

To join our campaign, download our campaign pack to help you organise as a community, contact your local Police and Crime and Commissioner to tell them how you feel about police surveillance of your community.”

17.   Asylum seekers in EU on the rise again: report (Politico, link):

“Analysis shows more applications from Latin American, western Balkan countries with visa-free travel.

The number of people seeking asylum in the EU has increased so far this year, bucking a downward trend since the height of the refugee crisis in 2015, according to an analysis by German media (…)

The increase is attributed to a dramatic rise in people applying from Venezuela, Colombia and the western Balkans, who don’t need a visa to travel to the EU.”

18.  EU restricts visas for non-cooperation on migration (DW, link)

“Citizens from third countries that do not take back rejected asylum-seekers may find it more difficult to obtain visas for the EU. Conversely, full cooperation could reap extra rewards.”

19.   Europeans still anxious about AI facial recognition (euractiv, link):

“Technology experts are usually among the first to embrace new and emerging digital tools. But that idea was put to the test at a stakeholders’ gathering about artificial-intelligence–enabled facial recognition this week at the Microsoft Center in Brussels.

Asked who in the audience was comfortable with facial recognition, only a smattering of people raised their hands. Asked who was uncomfortable, over half of the room said yes.”

20.   Refugees in Greece concerned about state of EU (DW, link):

“Thousands of refugees and migrants make a new start in the EU every year. After the recent European elections, Marianna Karakoulaki spoke to some of those who have made Greece their home about the problems they see.”

21.  Five Star struggles to form or join an EU Parliament group (euractiv. link):

“If attempts to rebuild the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group with the Brexit Party fail, 14 Five Star MEPs are likely to slip back into the black-hole of non-attached members, as no other parliamentary group has agreed to team up with them so far.”

22.  ‘A Europe that protects’: what does that actually mean? (euobserver, link):

“Yet despite its recent traction, I argue that the narrative puts too much weight on the protection of borders, security and living standards and not enough on the protection of European values.”

23. Council of Europe’s Anti-racism Commission publishes conclusions on Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Italy, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom (link)

24.  Innocent until proven guilty? The presentation of suspects in criminal proceedings (Fair Trials, link):

“This report seeks to identify key threats to the presumption of innocence resulting from how suspects are presented in public.”

25.  Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, escalates attack on judges – Three magistrates singled out over their challenges to government’s hardline immigration policies (Guardian, link):

“A simmering row over the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Italy has erupted after the far-right interior minister publicly singled out three magistrates who have challenged his hardline anti-immigration policies.

In an escalation of his battle with the judges and the courts, Matteo Salvini said he would ask the state attorney to examine whether the magistrates should have abstained from passing verdicts in cases involving immigrants because their opinions conflict with government policy on security and immigration.”

26.  ‘Violence by design’ – the PPT delivers its verdict on the hostile environment (IRR News, link):

“Public tribunal finds hostile environment policies foster racism, institutional cruelty and violence by design.

As the scandal over the treatment of the Windrush generation and the failure to offer adequate compensation continues, the Home Office’s immigration and asylum policies are under scrutiny like never before. The Department of Health and Social Care are under fire too for failing to make public reports on the detrimental effects of immigration checks on migrants. Now the jury of the Permanent People’s Tribunal on Violations of the Rights of Migrants and Refugees adds to the pressure, with a damning verdict on the impact of the government’s hostile environment policies.”

See: PPT-Report.(pdf)

Interior ministers and other representatives of EU and Western Balkan states recently produced a statement emphasising the need to maintain strict control measures along the ‘Balkan Route’ and at the EU’s south-eastern borders, with no reference to the dire situation faced by many migrants and refugees in the region.

27.  GREECE: Exclusive: Violence breaks out between residents of refugee camp and police on Greek island of Samos (Euronews, link):

“Police clashed with residents from a refugee camp on the Greek island of Samos on Saturday morning, an NGO has told Euronews.

The refugees and asylum seekers were staging a protest march about living conditions in the camp but had their route blocked by police at around 7.30 am local time, a member of the NGO said.

…Overcrowding is a serious issue in the Samos camp, which is designed to host a maximum of around 650 people, while there are roughly 4,000 people living there and in the “jungle” surrounding it.

…This is not the first time the inhabitants of the camp have demonstrated, with three peaceful protests taking place in January along with another that turned violent, although “nothing as bad as this,” according to the NGO.

Saturday marked the first time police used tear gas on the asylum seekers and refugees, it said.”

28.   IRELAND: Justice ‘not the appropriate department’ to support asylum seekers (Irish Times, link):

“The Department of Justice is not appropriately equipped to provide accommodation, health and social services to people in direct provision who are “effectively, living in punitive detention”, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has said.

The council’s submission to the Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality, co-written with Dr Maeve O’Rourke from the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, highlights the need for unannounced inspections of direct provision centres to ensure the rights of residents are respected.

The report follows a presentation made by the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) last week to the Oireachtas justice committee in which the group called for the system of direct provision to be abolished and replaced with a scheme which would provide asylum seekers with housing support via local authorities.”

See: Irish Council for Civil Liberties/Irish Centre for Human Rights: Joint submission to Committee on Justice and Equality on Direct Provision (link to pdf)

29
CZECH REPUBLIC: Border protection centre opens in Prague (Radio Praha, link):

“Minister of Interior Jan Hamácek, along with police and customs officials on Tuesday opened a National Border Protection Centre in Prague. The main task of the newly established centre is to ensure cooperation between security forces in the protection of the Czech Republic’s outer borders.

The joint centre of the immigration police and the Czech Republic’s Customs Administration, which is located in Prague, will cooperate with partners in the Schengen Area and other countries.

Mr Hamácek said better protection of the Czech Republic’s outer borders was a basic precondition for preserving the freedom of movement.”

30.  EU’s Frontex border agency set for 34% budget increase (EUobserver, link):

“The European Commission on Wednesday, in its draft EU budget proposal for 2020, said Frontex, the EU’s border and coast agency, should get €420.6m. That sum is a 34.6 percent increase compared to 2019. The money is slated to help set up a standing corps of 10,000 border guards by 2027.”

31.  Interview: We Need to Snap Out of the Crisis Mode and Take a Step Back (ECRE, link):

“Interview with Ruben Andersson, an anthropologist and Associate Professor in the Department of International Development, University of Oxford, working on migration, borders and security. He is the author of No Go World: How fear is redrawing our maps and infecting our politics (University of California Press 2019) and Illegality, Inc.: Clandestine Migration and the Business of Bordering Europe (University of California Press 2014).”

32.  CoE: European anti-racism body urges Ireland to act on Traveller accommodation, hate speech and hate crime (link):

“The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has urged Ireland to take action against local authorities that fail to spend money allocated for providing accommodation for Travellers. ECRI – part of the 47-nation Council of Europe – has also called upon the Irish authorities to enact new legislation on hate speech and hate crime, working together with civil society.

These two priority recommendations form part of ECRI’s fifth report on Ireland, published today. Progress towards implementing these recommendations will be reviewed by ECRI in two years’ time.”

33.  NUJ warns of FOI threat in Ireland (NUJ News, link):

“A decision by an Irish high court judge appears to have undermined the presumption of disclosure, considered central to any effective freedom of information legislation.

The judge, Justice Garrett Simons found that the information commissioner, Peter Tyndall, was wrong to assume a ‘presumption in favour of disclosure’ in a case challenging the information commissioner’s own ruling.

Journalists, politicians, legal experts and transparency campaigners have raised concerns that if Justice Simons’ decision is allowed to stand it would undermine the whole basis of freedom of information, which, of course, is based on a presumption of disclosure. The office of the information commissioner confirmed an appeal will be taken by the commissioner.”

34.  UK: £900,000 bill for Notts shale gas policing (Drill or Drop, link):

“Policing at two IGas shale gas sites in Nottinghamshire has cost nearly a million pounds, campaigners have revealed.

Frack Free Misson said this morning it had been told the total cost of police operations at Tinker Lane, near Blyth, and Springs Road, near Misson, stood at £900,000 up to April 2019.”

35.   Call for submissions: “Soft law” and informal lawmaking in the global counter-terrorism architecture: Assessing implications on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms (UN Human Rights, link):

“The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism is studying the impact of the proliferation of “soft law” instruments and related standard-setting initiatives and processes in the counter-terrorism context on global governance on the promotion and protection of human rights at the global, regional and domestic level.

The outcome of the study will contribute to the report of the Special Rapporteur to be submitted to the 74th session of the General Assembly.”

36.  FRANCE: The Yellow Jackets blinded by police weapons (Politico, link):

“Since the first Yellow Jackets protest last November, 24 people have been blinded in one eye and 283 sustained other head injuries as a result of police weapons, mostly LBD-fired bullets, according to David Dufresne, an independent journalist who keeps count of the injuries for the news site Médiapart. The French interior ministry, which does not keep individual counts of specific types of injury, said that as of May 13, 2,448 protesters and 1,797 police had been wounded.

Since the first protest six months ago, the Yellow Jackets movement has grown from a demonstration against a fuel tax raise into an at times violent revolt against President Emmanuel Macron and his economic policies. The scale of the protests eventually forced Macron to backtrack on the fuel tax and organize a “great national debate” for citizens to air their grievances. His attempts at dialogue were overshadowed by violence, however, as riots erupted on the Champs-Élysées and French police countered with a severe crackdown.

The heavy-handed police tactics sparked an outcry, and became a secondary driving force, along with economic discontent, for the weekly protests.”

And see: Viewpoint: Why have the French police become the most violent in western Europe? (pdf)

37.  ICC submission calls for prosecution of EU over migrant deaths (The Guardian, link):

“The EU and member states should be prosecuted for the deaths of thousands of migrants who drowned in the Mediterranean fleeing Libya, according to a detailed legal submission to the international criminal court (ICC).

The 245-page document calls for punitive action over the EU’s deterrence-based migration policy after 2014, which allegedly “intended to sacrifice the lives of migrants in distress at sea, with the sole objective of dissuading others in similar situation from seeking safe haven in Europe”.

The indictment is aimed at the EU and the member states that played a prominent role in the refugee crisis: Italy, Germany and France.”

Background: Time to Investigate European Agents for Crimes against Migrants in Libya (EJIL: Talk!, link)

38.  Orbán moves against historical research: The first victim is the 56-Institute (Hungarian Spectrum, link):

“On the last day of May, M. János Rainer, director of the 56-Institute, a historical research center focused on the 1956 Hungarian revolution, its antecedents and the Kádár regime that followed it, learned from the newspapers that his institute no longer exists. It will be incorporated into the Veritas Historical Research Institute, which was established five years ago to bring together researchers whose historical views coincide with those of the current political leadership. Viktor Orbán and his friends have been trying to destroy the institute for a long time, starting back in 1998 when they first acquired power, but it was only now that they dared to abolish it altogether.”

See also: 1956 Institute (link)

39.  UK: Five ridiculous reasons why the police label campaigners as ‘domestic extremists’ (The Canary, link):

“It’s unclear exactly how many people have their personal details included on the police’s secretive “domestic extremist database” – or to give it its full name, the National Special Branch Intelligence System. This database holds records identifying campaigners as either ‘nominals’ (with their own detailed profile) or as one of the much larger numbers who are connected to those with detailed profiles or mentioned in data gathered from social media.

…Netpol has long argued that police decisions about whom they target are subjective and political. But they are also not entirely arbitrary. There is a definite pattern to how units within the National Counter Terrorism Policing Operations Centre – the latest name for the part of UK policing responsible for gathering intelligence on protest movements – decide on who is a ‘person of interest’ and more likely to face surveillance in the future.”

See: Protest is Not Extremism (Netpol, link)

40. UK: Football v the Hostile Environment in Sheffield and Bristol (These Walls Must Fall, link):

“Forget Liverpool, Spurs and the Champions League: the real football action this week was on the streets of Sheffield and Bristol, where local clubs came together to take on the Hostile Environment.

The initiative was kicked off by Mount Pleasant Park FC and These Walls Must Fall campaigners in Sheffield, with an exciting match right outside the Home Office immigration reporting centre. A rambunctious crowd cheered on the teams, and showed the red card to the Home Office. It was from that building that a local football coach and some fellow Zimbabweans were recently snatched and taken to a detention centre. Sheffield folk were outraged, and their friends were released, but the local campaign to end detention goes on.”

41.  Turkey police bust human trafficking ring, arrest smugglers (Al Jazeera, link):

“Turkish police have arrested 20 members of an international migrant-smuggling organisation, including one of Europe’s most wanted traffickers, Turkish police have said.

Akbar Omar Tawfeeq, the suspected leader of the crime syndicate, and others were captured on May 25 during a joint operation conducted by police and intelligence agencies, officials said in a news briefing in Istanbul on Wednesday.

At least 569 migrants were caught and judicial authorities confiscated six vehicles, six boats and numerous life vests belonging to Tawfeeq’s organisation, police officials said.

The crackdown came after an investigation led by Istanbul’s chief public prosecutor, who suggested that the organisation smuggled migrants from Afghanistan and northern Iraq, to Greece, Italy and other European countries in return for large sums of money.

The prosecutor’s report also found that the group smuggled migrants stuck in Greece to other European Union countries, as a second route across Europe.

Authorities conducted a process of technical surveillance and tracked the suspects’ movements in countries such as Ukraine, England and Italy, in coordination with local authorities.”

42.  Northern Ireland judge rebukes police for seizing papers from journalists – Documents linked to investigation into 1994 massacre must be returned to Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey (Guardian, link):

Northern Ireland’s top judge has delivered a stinging rebuke to police for raiding the homes and offices of two journalists who investigated a notorious – still unresolved – massacre during the Troubles.

The lord chief justice of Northern Ireland, Declan Morgan, said on Friday that police had obtained “inappropriate” search warrants, and ordered them to return laptops, phones, documents and other material seized from Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey.

The judge vindicated the journalists, saying they had acted in “perfectly proper manner” in protecting their sources for the documentary No Stone Unturned, which investigated the June 1994 murder of six Catholics in Loughinisland, County Down, by Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) gunmen.”

43.   MI5 in court accused of ‘extraordinary and persistent illegality’ – Agency has been obtaining surveillance warrants based on false information, says Liberty (Guardian, link):

“MI5 has lost control of its data storage operations and has been obtaining surveillance warrants on the basis of information it knows to be false, the high court has heard.

The security agency has been accused of “extraordinary and persistent illegality” in a legal challenge brought by the human rights organisation Liberty. The failures have been identified by the official watchdog, the Investigatory Powers Commissioner, Sir Adrian Fulford, and admitted in outline by the home secretary, Sajid Javid. The full extent of the problems within MI5 began to become apparent in disclosures made public at the hearing on Tuesday. The revelations relate to bulk interceptions of data acquired through surveillance and hacking programmes and downloaded to its computers.”

See statement by Home Secretary: Investigatory Powers Act 2016: Safeguards Relating to Retention and Disclosure of Material (link)

44. Meltdown Showed Extent of NSA Surveillance ­ and Other Tales From Hundreds of Intelligence Documents (Intercept, link):

“The problem had been brewing for nearly a decade, intelligence sources had warned, as the National Security Agency vacuumed up more and more surveillance information into computer systems at its Fort Meade, Maryland, headquarters: There just wasn’t enough power coming through the local electric grid to support the rate at which the agency was hoarding other people’s communications.

…The Intercept is publishing three other articles taken from this cache of documents, including an investigation by Henrik Moltke into how revolutionary intelligence pooling technology first used by the U.S., Norway, and other allies in Afghanistan spread to the U.S.-Mexico border ­ raising questions about over-sharing at home and abroad. In another article, Miriam Pensack reveals how the sinking of the Russian submarine Kursk in 2000 was closely monitored by Norwegian (and eventually U.S.) intelligence, which knew more about the tragedy than was initially revealed. And Murtaza Hussain shows how the NSA drew up new rules in response to a request from its Israeli counterpart, which had sought to use U.S. intelligence to target killings, apparently at Hezbollah.”

45.  USA: Report reveals new details about DOJ’s seizing of AP phone records (Columbia Journalism Review, link):

“With its latest leak indictment last week, the Department of Justice under Donald Trump is now on pace to break the previous record for prosecutions of journalists’ sources, just two and a half years into its administration. A new report, released for the first time today, shows just how dangerous such cases can be to journalists.

DOCUMENTATION

1. EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 6-7 June: Returns, Migration challenges, data retention, e-evidence & 5G

Background Note (pdf), Main “B” points agenda (for discussion, pdf), “A” Points – legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf), “A” Points – Non-legislative(adopted without discussion, pdf)

See: Press release for 6-7 June: final (pdf)

2.  Political groups in the European Parliament since 1979 – Facts and figures (EP, pdf):

“Taking a variety of shapes and forms, European transnational party cooperation is a unique international phenomenon. This is true of transnational party cooperation both outside and within the European Parliament. Moreover, transnational party cooperation in the Parliament and elsewhere is key to explaining the success of European integration and the various existing transnational party families at European level are crucial in shaping European politics.”

3.  LEAK: EU’s five-year plan doubles down on protecting borders (euractiv, link):

“EU leaders want to focus on migration and protection of external borders, or the “integrity of our physical space”, over the next five years, according to a draft of the so-called strategic agenda obtained by EURACTIV. Economy and climate action rank second and third.

In the draft strategy for 2019-2024, meant to guide the work of the EU institutions, national leaders prioritise migration policy over other areas, while strengthening the economy, fighting climate change and taking Europe global also feature.”

See: Draft EU strategy 2019-2024 (pdf)

4. EU: Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM) update report – May 2019

The Commission Services together with the EEAS (European External Action Service) have produced the latest: GAMM update (9679/19, LIMITE, 24 May 2019, 44 pages, pdf).

5.  Ministerial Forum for Member States of the Schengen Area with External Land Borders Joint Statement (Council document 9761/19, 28 May 2019, pdf):

“We, the Ministers in charge of border management of Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, cooperating within the framework of the Ministerial Forum for Member States of the Schengen Area with External Land Borders (the Forum), established in Lappeenranta, Finland, in 2013; gathered in Kirkenes, Norway, on 20-22 May 2019, upon the invitation of the Norwegian Presidency of the Forum.”

6. Case against EU taken to ICC on migration policy in the Mediterranean: Full-text of submission to the court (244 pages, pdf)

See also: ICC submission calls for prosecution of EU over migrant deaths (The Guardian, link)

7. CoE: Anti-racism commission publishes its annual report – Hate speech and xenophobic populism remained major concerns in Europe in 2018 (link):

“Xenophobic populism and racist hate speech continued to make their mark on the contemporary political climate in Europe in 2018, says the annual report of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) published today.

The growing public anxiety about economic, geopolitical and technological changes was exploited by those scapegoating migrants and minorities, in particular populist politicians aiming at dividing societies along national, ethnic or religious lines. Not only were such views expressed by fringe politicians, but they increasingly gained footing within mainstream political parties and national governments, which remained a major concern for ECRI.”

8.  EU: CJEU ruling casts doubts on the legality of the proposed e-evidence regulation

According to the Court, “[t]hat independence requires that there are statutory rules and an institutional framework capable of guaranteeing that the issuing judicial authority is not exposed, when adopting a decision to issue such an arrest warrant, to any risk of being subject, inter alia, to an instruction in a specific case from the executive.” [emphasis added] __________________________________________
Statewatch: Monitoring the state and civil liberties in Europe
c/o MDR,88 Fleet St, London EC4Y 1DH
tel: +44(0)203 691 5227
http://www.statewatch.org

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