Statewatch News Online, 23 September 2019 (19/19)

23 September 2019 — Statewatch

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Also available as a pdf file: http://www.statewatch.org/news/2019/sep/email-23-9-19.pdf

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STATEWATCH ANALYSIS

EU: New EU deportation law breaches fundamental rights standards and should be rejected

STATEWATCH NEWS

1.    EU seeks to “balance” privacy and rights against the demands of law enforcement agencies
2.    Counter-Terrorism Coordinator wants EU to target right-wing extremism and terrorism
3.    The ongoing disasters in Libya
4.   Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10-16.9.19)
5.   EU: Open letter to Members of the European Parliament: The EU peace project is under threat
6.   EU: Automating the exchange of police data: Council looks to national databases
7.   Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
8.  EU seeks to “balance” privacy and rights against the demands of law enforcement agencies

NEWS

1.   RTÉ to broadcast acclaimed Loughinisland Massacre documentary
2.    Northern Ireland: Court of Appeal ruled treatment endured by the hooded men is torture
3.   Niger: Has Securitisation Stopped Traffickers?
4.   Fastest-growing UK terrorist threat is from far right, say police
5.   Live facial recognition surveillance ‘must stop
6.   Far right Britain First patrolling beaches to ‘catch migrants’
7.   Using latest tech for border management
8.  Met boss Cressida Dick: More Met Police officers will carry tasers
9.   Europe’s refugee policy is test of its true ‘way of life’ by Mary Robinson
10. French Dunkirk camp cleared as migrants try to reach UK
11. Italy, France agree on ‘automatic’ distribution of migrants
12. Arrests made after migrants identify ‘torturers’ in camp in Sicily
13. Turkey stops 300,000 irregular migrants en route to EU so far this year
14. Hungary: Government extends the “state of crisis due to mass migration”
15. EU: ‘They are already citizens’: What will it take to bring Europe’s undocumented shadows?
16. UK: The Black Power movement and Special Branch: Special Branch Files in context
17. Edward Snowden: Germany a ‘primary example’ of NSA surveillance cooperation
18. EU grills Hungary over rule of law concerns
19. EU: 5 policy suggestions for the ‘European way of life’ commissioner
20. Aid workers warn of catastrophe in Greek refugee camps
21. Refugee Support Aegean (RSA): The systematic rejections of family reunification requests
22. Ireland should more than double intake of refugees to meet ‘fair share’, migrant group says
23. Ocean Viking: Rescued migrants disembark in Italy
24. FRONTEX: Migratory situation in August – Slight increase on main migratory routes
25. Greece says time for EU to step up and deal with migration issue
26. WEST BALKANS: Illegal push-backs and border violence report: August
27. Poland’s ruling party plans to allow arrests of MPs and judges
28. Child Immigration Detention is Not Only Wrong, It Is Ineffective
29.  MSF: 3 migrant children attempted suicide, 17 had injured themselves
30. Ex-CIA spy readies to publish book about undercover exploits without agency approval
31. GREECE: Migration exploited for leverage, says former police inspector general
32. EU: The College of Commissioners: What’s in a Name?
33. Over 3,400 migrants reached Greece in September
34. Some Dutch police using excessive force against immigrants: report
35. Germany prepared to take in 25% of migrants who arrive in Italy by sea
36. Italy’s new government says migrants can disembark from rescue boat
37. ‘Protecting the European way of life’ from migrants is a gift to the far right
38. EU-UK-BREXIT: The annotated draft agenda
39.  EU extends Operation Sophia for 6 months, still without ships
40. The Brief – Don’t ‘protect’ the EU way of life. Improve it!
41. Inside Lampedusa, the Front Line of Europe’s Migration Crisis
42. Lesvos: Head of Moria hot spot submits his resignation
43. Deportations to Turkey – overview: August 2019
44. Germany pressures Greece to step up migrant deportations to Turkey
45. Are You Syrious (11.9.19)
46. Aegean Boat Report
47 . Claude Moraes: ‘Protecting our European Way of Life’ is ‘anachronistic and insulting
48. UK government accused of ‘harvesting citizen data’ ahead of Brexit
49. UK-BREXIT: Yellowhammer: no-deal chaos fears as secret Brexit papers published
50. EU to discuss boatless Operation Sophia
51. ENAR: Justice gap: racism pervasive in criminal justice systems across Europe
52. EU chief under fire over ‘protecting way of life’ portfolio
53. NGO rescue ship barred from Italy despite new government
54. National Day protest registrations up to 400,000
55. Switzerland: Former local MP must not be punished for aiding asylum-seekers
56. New database at Eurojust: Who’s a terrorist?
57. EU facial recognition
58. Greek PM urges talks, rejects Turkish refugee ‘threats
59 . Viktor Orbán’s choice for EU commissioner faces ‘rough ride’:
60. EU: Over 200,000 persons, vehicle and premises “checked” during transnational police operation
61. ”Obstacles to surveillance“: How authorities insecure 5G telephony
62.  UK: Defence secretary under fire for appearing to condone torture
63. Europe Keeps Asylum Seekers at a Distance, This Time in Rwanda
64. Morocco Cracks Down on Migrants as Spain and EU Pay Out
65. Roma ghettos in the heart of the EU
66. BELGIUM: PNR: 94 terror suspects caught when booking airline flights, says report

DOCUMENTATION

1. EU: Third Annual EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Review)
2. Prorogation of Parliament: Conflicting judgments in England and Scotland
3. CJEU four data retention cases: Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor
4. EU: Fair Trials: Pre-trial detention: It’s time for EU action to end excessive use

STATEWATCH ANALYSIS

EU: New EU deportation law breaches fundamental rights standards and should be rejected

A proposed new EU law governing standards and procedures for deportations would breach fundamental rights standards, massively expand the use of detention, limit appeal rights and undermine ‘voluntary’ return initiatives. It should be rejected by the European Parliament and the Council, argues a new analysis published today by Statewatch: Analysis (pdf)

The original Returns Directive was agreed in 2008, but a proposal for a ‘recast’ version was published by the European Commission in September 2018 as one a number of measures aiming to crack down on “illegally staying third-country nationals” in the EU.

STATEWATCH NEWS

1. Here we go again! EU seeks to “balance” privacy and rights against the demands of law enforcement agencies 

Here we go again! In the aftermath of 11 September 2001 in each new measure we were told that they had “balanced” fundamental rights and the demands of EU security. In practice the latter almost always won the day.

The emergence of new technologies presents a whole new era of demands which are the subject of a Note from the Council Presidency: The future direction of EU internal security: new technologies and internal security – Preparation of the Council debate (LIMITE doc no: 12224-19, pdf).

2. Counter-Terrorism Coordinator wants EU to target right-wing extremism and terrorism

The EU’s Counter-Terrorism Coordinator (CTC) has distributed two papers to national delegations in the Council’s Terrorism Working Party calling attention to the threat of right-wing extremism and terrorism: “Attacks in Western countries such as Norway, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States and New Zealand, as well as foiled attacks in France, have shown that there is a need to further strengthen the EU approach in tackling right-wing extremist violence.”

See: NOTE from: EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator to: Delegations: Right-wing violent extremism and terrorism in the European Union: discussion paper (11756/19, LIMITE, 30 August 2019, pdf) and: background information (11756/19 ADD 1, pdf)

The CTC (since 2007 a Belgian official, Gilles de Kerchove) underlines that “right-wing extremism is a problem in Europe” – not exactly news, but it is now deemed urgent to address the issue at EU level.

3. The ongoing disasters in Libya

– There are between 700,000 and 1 million migrants in Libya

– “migrants and refugees rescued or intercepted at sea being transferred to detention centres [with a] lack of traceability, transparency and accountability”

– “The government’s reluctance to address the problems raises the question of its own involvement.”

See: Note from the Council Presidency to national delegations; Libya and the surrounding area: current situation and need for immediate action (LIMITE doc no: 115381, pdf)

4.  Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10-16.9.19)

5. EU: Open letter to Members of the European Parliament: The EU peace project is under threat (pdf) signed by over 60 organisations including Statewatch:

“As a coalition of 61 organisations we are writing to express our deep concern about a number of policy proposals which, taken together, call into question the EU’s founding values of human rights, peace and disarmament.”

6. EU: Automating the exchange of police data: Council looks to national databases

The EU’s recently-agreed plans for interconnecting its migration and policing databases are still being implemented (two Regulations were approved in July), but national delegations in the Council are looking to the future – in particular, how to make national law enforcement databases ‘interoperable’ with EU systems and with one another.

7. Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (2-8.9.19) including:

  • Britain and France to strengthen joint action against small boats
  • Turkey’s Erdogan threatens to ‘open the gates’ for migrants to Europe
  • Legal Centre Lesvos denounces the Greek governments proposed changes to the Asylum procedure
  • Europe’s Complicity in Turkey’s Syrian-Refugee Crackdown

NEWS

1. RTÉ to broadcast acclaimed Loughinisland Massacre documentary (RTE, link):

“RTÉ One has announced that it will broadcast Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney’s No Stone Unturned, a feature-length documentary on the 1994 Loughinisland massacre.

On 18 June 1994, in the small village of Loughinisland, Co Down, three gunmen burst into a pub with assault rifles and fired on the customers, killing six people and wounding five others. (…)

Belfast journalists Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey were arrested following the making of the film, over the alleged theft of a Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland document, with the charges ultimately being dropped. (…)

No Stone Unturned will air on RTÉ One on Wednesday 2 October at 9.35pm.”

2. Northern Ireland: PRESS RELEASE: The Court of Appeal have ruled this morning that the treatment endured by the hooded men is torture, and an effective criminal investigation is necessary (pdf):

“Francis McGuigan, the applicant, said:

“Todays Judgment makes it expressly clear that the treatment that I suffered at the hands of Ministers was torture and should be investigated by an independent police force.”

“This treatment cannot be forgotten, it has had lasting and terrible effects on my mental health to this day and I can only hope that this judgment will assist someone somewhere in the world that suffers torture at the hand of their Government”

The Court said at Para 116 of the Judgment that they were satisfied that “the treatment to which Mr mcGuigan and Mr McKenna were subject would if it occurred today properly be characterised as torture.””

See also: ‘Hooded Men’: PSNI’s appeal over inquiry dismissed (BBC News, link): “A group known as the Hooded Men have won the latest stage of a legal battle to force an investigation into alleged torture by the security forces in 1971 “.

3. Niger: Has Securitisation Stopped Traffickers? (ispionline.it/itispionline.it, link):

“In the past five years there has been an increase in border controls and foreign military presence in Niger; paradoxically this has only diversified and professionalised the criminal networks operating there. In fact, this development was to be expected. ”

4. Fastest-growing UK terrorist threat is from far right, say police (Guardian, link)

“Counter-terror police vow to thwart rise in violence driven by extreme-right ideologies.

Police have vowed to thwart the rise of the far right, which they have said is the fastest-growing terrorist threat in the UK, as they try to stop race hate ideologues from bringing violence to the country’s streets.”

See also : Counter-Terrorism Coordinator wants EU to target right-wing extremism and terrorism

5. Live facial recognition surveillance ‘must stop (BBC News, link):

“UK police and companies must stop using live facial recognition for public surveillance, politicians and campaigners have said.

The technology allows faces captured on CCTV to be checked in real time against watch lists, often compiled by police.

Privacy campaigners say it is inaccurate, intrusive and infringes on an individual’s right to privacy.”

See: Joint statement on police and private company use of facial recognition surveillance in the UK (pdf, link)

6. Far right Britain First patrolling beaches to ‘catch migrants’ (Metro link):

“It says it is determined to stop people who undertake the dangerous journey from Britain to France on small boats ‘from landing on our shores’. Calling it ‘Operation White Cliffs’ the far right group focuses on the beaches of South England. Wearing high vis jackets and carrying torches and binoculars, they search the area looking for migrants.”

7. Using latest tech for border management (geospatialworld.net,link):

“While a lot of tasks performed by people in border management must not be replaced by Artificial Intelligence, it is important to use new and emerging technologies to prepare for those tasks, emphasizes Berndt Körner, Deputy Executive Director of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex.”

8. Met boss Cressida Dick: More Met Police officers will carry tasers (ITN News, link)

“The Metropolitan Police Commissioner has said more officers in London will carry a Taser, but a fifth do not want to use them.”

9. Europe’s refugee policy is test of its true ‘way of life’ (euobserver, link) by Mary Robinson, a former president of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:

“What is the “European way of life”?

In a continent as geographically, linguistically and culturally diverse as ours, this is very difficult to answer.

The way that Europeans live their lives is informed by centuries of history, enriched by overlapping traditions and the shared experience of different peoples, from long-settled communities to new arrivals, living side by side.

In today’s turbulent times, we believe it is more fruitful to reflect on what constitute European values, and how these can be applied and strengthened in an era of globalisation and mass migration.”

10. French Dunkirk camp cleared as migrants try to reach UK (BBC News, link):

“French police have begun an operation to evacuate a gymnasium and a tent camp near the northern port of Dunkirk amid an increase in migrants trying to cross the Channel.

Some 1,000 people, many of them Iraqi Kurds, have been living on the Grande Synthe site.”

11. Italy, France agree on ‘automatic’ distribution of migrants (DW, link):

“France and Italy have agreed on a new system to distribute migrants across the European Union. It comes ahead of an interior ministers meeting in Malta next week.”

12. Arrests made after migrants identify ‘torturers’ in camp in Sicily (The Guardian, link):

“Detectives in Sicily have arrested three men who allegedly raped and tortured dozens of migrants in a detention centre in the north-west of Libya.

Prosecutors in Agrigento have collected testimonies from numerous asylum seekers from north Africa who allegedly recognised their former captors at a migrant registration centre in Messina, Sicily.

The three alleged captors, a 27-year-old Guinean man and two Egyptians aged 24 and 26, are accused of torture, kidnapping and human trafficking.”

See: The ongoing disasters in Libya

13. Turkey stops 300,000 irregular migrants en route to EU so far this year (Daily Sabah, link):

“According to the migration authority’s most recent data, the authorities have intercepted some 269,059 irregular migrants between the period of Jan. 1 and Sept. 12. The number is expected to rise until the end of the year. Last year Turkey intercepted 268,003 illegal migrants. The number was 146,485 in 2015, 174,466 in 2016 and 175,752 in 2017 – meaning the number has almost doubled over the last three years.”

14. Hungary: Government extends the “state of crisis due to mass migration” (AIDA, link):

“On 6 September 2019, the Hungarian Government announced it would extend the “state of crisis due to mass migration” until 7 March 2020 to protect the country’s security and borders.

To justify this extension, the Government referred to the 7,000 irregular border crossing attempts that have been registered since the beginning of the year as well as to the “critical situation in Serbia and the thousand illegal migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina and some 30,000 migrants in Greece”. It further argued that, without Hungary’s southern fences and border control activities, the country would face a similar scenario to the so-called 2015 “migration crisis” and become the main transit route of irregular migration.”

15. EU: ‘They are already citizens’: What will it take to bring Europe’s undocumented out of the shadows? (Horizon Magazine, link):

“Innovative ways of supporting undocumented migrants so that they can access vital health, social and emergency services are required so that European countries can properly assist these vulnerable people.

Undocumented or irregular migrants live in Europe’s shadows. They are some of the most vulnerable people in society, often exploited by others but also the least likely to seek help.”

16. UK: The Black Power movement and Special Branch: Special Branch Files in context (SBFP, link):

“The British state took the threat of Black Power very seriously, both at home and across the Commonwealth. When an international conference on Black Power took place in British Protectorate Bermuda on July 10-13 July 1969, the British government sent a warship full of marines to anchor off the coast in case civil disorder broke out and Special Branch officers attended, submitting a 133pp report afterwards.

Beforehand, the option to ban the entire conference had been discussed up to the level of the PM in the UK. The fact that there was no law to do such thing, and that it would be impossible to enforce a ban, was seen as a minor issue set against the risks of UK military involvement should disturbances occur.

While both Special Branch and the government’s Joint Intelligence Committee did not believe that Black Power would ever become widely supported by black people in the UK, they did worry about its potential to inspire civil unrest.”

17. Edward Snowden: Germany a ‘primary example’ of NSA surveillance cooperation (DW, link):

“In his new book, Edward Snowden describes how US intelligence agencies collect vast amounts of data around the world. Foreign governments often help facilitate the collection, and Germany is no exception.(…)

In his new book Permanent Record, he describes working at “America’s premier signals agency” as being “a dream job.” He also writes of how he uncovered STELLARWIND, which he calls “the deepest secret of the NSA.””

18. EU grills Hungary over rule of law concerns (euractiv, link):

“EU affairs ministers grilled Hungary on Monday (16 September) over Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s tightening of restrictions around free media, judges, academics, minorities and rights groups, which the bloc worries weakens democracy in the ex-communist country.”

See also: Hungarian minister grilled by EU about ‘threats to rule of law’ – Judit Varga called to account for erosion of press freedom and judicial independence (Guardian, link)

19. EU: 5 policy suggestions for the ‘European way of life’ commissioner (Politico, link):

“Greece’s Margaritis Schinas is the EU’s new migration commissioner ­ except he’s not.

Instead of giving him a title that makes sense, President-elect Ursula von der Leyen named him “the vice-president for protecting our European way of life,” which led to outrage and accusations that she has kowtowed to populist rhetoric. French far-right leader Marine Le Pen hailed Schinas’ title as an “ideological victory.””

20. Aid workers warn of catastrophe in Greek refugee camps (Guardian, link):

“At least 24,000 people are trapped in vastly overcrowded Aegean island camps in squalid conditions.

“Children being bitten by scorpions, rats and snakes; hundreds being forced to use a single shower; the stench of human excrement never far away; and food shortages becoming the norm. One by one, Sophie McCann lists the degradations of life for refugees detained on Lesbos, the Greek island on the frontline of a new surge of asylum seekers desperate to reach Europe.

McCann, a British advocacy manager with Médecins Sans Frontières, like other aid workers, is now raising the alarm: at least 24,000 men, women and children trapped in vastly overcrowded Aegean island camps are being subjected to conditions so harrowing they bear all the hallmarks of humanitarian catastrophe. Four years after the greatest migration crisis in modern times, there are fears history is repeating itself.”

21. Refugee Support Aegean (RSA): The systematic rejections of family reunification requests from Greece by Germany and their detrimental impact upon the right to family life and the best interest of the child (pdf, link):

“While the Dublin Regulation – the “cornerstone” of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) – has been repeatedly and not unjustly criticized as an unfair and ineffective mechanism for the allocation of responsibility for the examination of asylum applications submitted in different European member states, its family reunification procedure remains until today one of the scarce safe legal routes to fulfill the rights and core principles of family unity, the best interest of the child and the right to family life.”

22. Ireland should more than double intake of refugees to meet ‘fair share’, migrant group says (Irish Examiner, link):

“Ireland should more than double its annual intake of refugees over the coming three years to meet its “fair share” of the projected global refugee resettlement need, a migrant umbrella group has said.

The Irish Refugee and Migrant Coalition said Ireland had taken in almost 2,600 people under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) in the four years since September 2015, averaging at 650 people per year.”

23. Ocean Viking: Rescued migrants disembark in Italy (BBC News, link):

“Eighty-two migrants have disembarked on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa after six days at sea.

Italy says it is allowing the ship, the Ocean Viking, to offload the migrants as most of those on board will be relocated to other EU countries.”

24. FRONTEX: Migratory situation in August – Slight increase on main migratory routes (pdf, link):

“There were nearly 9 300 detections in August 2019* on the Eastern Mediterranean route accounting for nearly three-quarters of the total number of irregular migrants reaching Europe. This was double the figure from the same month of last year due to a large number of boats reaching the Greek islands in eastern Aegean, especially Lesbos, in late August.

In the first eight months of this year, the total number of detections in this region was up 10% from a year ago to more than 38 300.” [emphasis added]

25. Greece says time for EU to step up and deal with migration issue (ekathimerini.com, link):

“Greece’s migration policy minister says the European Union’s Mediterranean states are in a better position to convince other EU partners to help them cope with migrant arrivals.

Giorgos Koumoutsakos says the incoming European Commission’s priority to forge a new EU migration policy affords Mediterranean states the opportunity to underscore their own concerns.

Koumoutsakos says that between 4,500 and 5,000 migrants entered the EU from its eastern Mediterranean frontier last month, nearly four times more than anywhere else in the Med.”

26. WEST BALKANS: Illegal push-backs and border violence report: August (Border Violence Monitoring Network, pdf):

“- Torture: Recurrence of extreme violence and abuse
– Pushback from Italy
– Beyond police: Actors within the pushback framework
– Further dispersion of pushback sites in NW Bosnia
– Trends in pushback sites to and from Greece.”

27. Poland’s ruling party plans to allow arrests of MPs and judges (euractiv, link);

“Poland’s ruling right-wing Law and Justice (PiS/ECR) announced its election programme at the weekend, under which there would no longer be immunity for judges and prosecutors and it would be possible to detain parliamentarians at the request of the prosecutor general.”

28. Child Immigration Detention is Not Only Wrong, It Is Ineffective (link):

” Today, the United Nations Network on Migration strongly reiterates its position that child immigration detention must be ended in every region of the world. Detention of children for immigration purposes – whether they are traveling alone or with their families – has been recognized as a child rights violation and can be highly damaging to their physical and psychological health and wellbeing. Detention of children based on their migratory status is thus never in their best interests.

Community-based programmes, case management and other human rights-based alternatives have proven highly effective and all governments should work to replace immigration detention for children and families with appropriate reception and care arrangements.”

29. MSF: 3 migrant children attempted suicide, 17 had injured themselves (Keep Talking Greece link):

“Children are the real victims of the Migration policy, many of them are not in position to comply with the harsh realities. According to a press release by Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Greece, in the summer months of July and August, three children attempted suicide and 17 had injured themselves. Ten of a total of 73 children referred to MSF were under the age of six, the youngest being just two.”

30. Ex-CIA spy readies to publish book about undercover exploits without agency approval (nbc, link):

“Some former CIA agents question the veracity of “Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA,” by Amaryllis Fox, which hits stores in October. (…)

A former CIA officer who says she spent years under deep cover has written what appears to be one of the most revealing memoirs ever put to paper by an American intelligence operative ­ a book so intriguing that Apple bought the television rights even before its October publication date.”

31. GREECE: Migration exploited for leverage, says former police inspector general (ekathimerini.com, link):

“Turkey is exploiting the migrant crisis as a form of leverage in its relations with the European Union, but also on a bilateral level, with our country,” she stressed.

She also revealed that three meetings between Greek and Turkish officials that had been scheduled to take place in April, May and June at the Evros border between the two countries had been canceled by Turkey.”

32. EU: The College of Commissioners: What’s in a Name? (ECRE, link):

“A furore has erupted over the unfortunately named “Protecting Our European Way of Life” portfolio, with concern centring on the rather, let us say, fascistic connotation of the expression. (…)

the Home Affairs Commissioner’s mission, the talk is of “challenges” and “concerns” of Europeans. This framing is immediately othering in that it sets up oppositions between Europeans and migrants, security and the threat of people on the move (…)

33. Over 3,400 migrants reached Greece in September (ekathimerini.com, link):

“A total of 3,469 migrants arrived at Greece’s northern Aegean islands from the start of September till Friday morning, according to figures published by the region’s general police directorate.

Breaking down the numbers, 2,078 foreign nationals arrived on Lesvos, 589 on Chios and 802 on Samos since September 1.”

UNHCR reports that so far this year refugee arrivals have been: 36,386 to Greece, 19,782 to Spain, 5,796 to Italy, 1,585 to Malta and 794 to Cyprus.

34. Some Dutch police using excessive force against immigrants: report (Daily Sabah, link):

“Some Dutch police centers, especially those located in the Hague, use excessive force against immigrants, according to a report published Friday by Dutch public broadcaster Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS).

The NOS report said that the discriminative incidents and the cases in which police used excessive force against immigrants are especially related with the Hoefkade Police Station in Schilderswijk – a district known for its large immigrant population.”

35. Germany prepared to take in 25% of migrants who arrive in Italy by sea (DW, link):

“Interior Minister Seehofer has made the gesture ahead of EU talks on migration later this month. The issue has been one of hot debate in recent years following a spate of arrivals in the Mediterranean.”

36. Italy’s new government says migrants can disembark from rescue boat (Guardian, link)

“Rome’s new left-leaning government breaks from era of hardline immigration measures pushed by Matteo Salvini.”

37. ‘Protecting the European way of life’ from migrants is a gift to the far right (Guardian, link):

“EU technocrats still believe tougher border controls will defang their populist rivals – but they are fuelling a dangerous new nationalism. (…)

Yet Europe’s rightwing populists did not make Von der Leyen president of the commission, and her clumsy debut is another example of a broader trend: politicians of the centre adopting the nationalist demands of their far-right challengers in an attempt to keep them at bay.(…)

The plan, it appears, is to co-opt the demands of the far right – and thus neutralise their appeal – rather than take them on.”

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:

“In the EU bubble lexicon this strategy is known as “triangulation” – you adopt the policies of the populists, fascists and racists in the hope they will go away. Whereas history tells that appeasement only legitimates these political forces.”

38. EU-UK-BREXIT: The annotated draft agenda (pdf) for the European Council meeting (the Heads of state) on 17-18 October 2019 does not – as yet – include a discussion on BREXIT.

38.  EU extends Operation Sophia for 6 months, still without ships (Politico, link):

“spokeswoman declared that “Sophia is a maritime operation and it’s clear that without naval assets, the operation will not be able to effectively implement its mandate.” (…)

Four diplomats told POLITICO the decision to extend the mandate on its current terms was taken on Thursday by the EU’s Political and Security Committee (PSC), which is composed of member countries’ ambassadors and deals with defense and foreign policy issues.

Despite the six-month extension, one diplomat said the PSC could “revert to the matter much earlier if needed” ­ a hint that naval assets might return to the mission sooner.”

See also: Operation ‘Sophia’ is Given Six More Months Without Ships (ECRE, link)

39. The Brief – Don’t ‘protect’ the EU way of life. Improve it! (euractiv, link):

“The reactions were caused by the Commission’s new name for the migration portfolio, “Protecting our European Way of Life”, which was assigned to the former chief EU spokesperson, Greece’s Margaritis Schinas.

The title itself is complex and open to different interpretations. One could argue that it’s another effort to construct Europe’s identity. Critics, though, talk about a very careful wording which implies an ultra-conservative or even a xenophobic turn worth of Donald Trump.

However, the problem lies in the mission letter von der Leyen wrote for Schinas, which explicitly describes his role in finding “common ground” on migration. This practically means that the anti-migration rhetoric of several member states, led by Hungary, is allowed into the mainstream, after having being ostracised and strongly opposed.”

40. Inside Lampedusa, the Front Line of Europe’s Migration Crisis (The Global Post, link):

“recent shakeup in the Italian government, Salvini is now out of power, making the future of the migrant situation in Lampedusa unclear. To help shed light on the situation, The Globe Post spoke to Alberto Mallardo of Mediterranean Hope, a project of the Federation of protestant Churches in Italy created in 2014 to analyze migration flows in the region and assist migrants and asylum seekers who arrive on Lampedusa.

Mediterranean Hope also includes the Observatory on Mediterranean migration, based in Lampedusa and coordinated on the field by Mallardo.”

41. Lesvos: Head of Moria hot spot submits his resignation (Keep Talking Greece, link):

“The head of the hot spot of Moria on the island of Lesvos submitted his resignation to the political leadership of the Ministry for Citizens’ Protection on Wednesday afternoon.

Citing personal reasons, the Manager of the Reception and Identification Center, Ioannis Balbakakis said that he was “tired” and he had to go.

“I leave with my head up at doing what I needed to do in difficult situations. I am neither leaving as a thief nor leaving as a protesting politician. I’m leaving because I have to leave. I’m tired.”

42. Deportations to Turkey – overview: August 2019 (Deportation Monitoring Aegean, link)

43. Germany pressures Greece to step up migrant deportations to Turkey (DW, link):

“Germany has also called on Turkey to accept the repatriations as part of a 2016 agreement between Ankara and the EU. A recent upswell in illegal crossings has led to rapidly deteriorating conditions in Greek camps.

Germany’s Interior Ministry on Thursday called for Greece to step-up deportations to Turkey, as well as for stronger efforts to stem the flow of illegal crossings to Greek islands in the first place.

Stephan Mayer, the parliamentary secretary in the Interior Ministry, said, “We urgently need to make progress in small repatriations to Turkey, to improve the deteriorating conditions at certain hot spots on the islands.”

Speaking with the Funke Mediengruppe news publisher, Mayer described the situation on the Greek destinations closest to Turkey as “very difficult.”

44. Are You Syrious (11.9.19, link)

FEATURE

“On 1 September a group made up of three women, and six men experienced a violent group expulsion by the Romanian border police, volunteers active in Serbia have reported.

The policemen asked who in the group spoke English, and then proceeded to beat up each of the English speakers. One of the girls tried to move, but they beat her with their boots and batons. She fainted briefly and did not regain consciousness for five minutes. Then she helped her friend and was beaten again as punishment.”

MALTA

“For the second time in a week, people detained at the Malta migration center protested and demanded their release. After disembarking on Malta from NGO boats, people are held in detention until they have undergone a health check, the official reason given by authorities. As former detainees report, the conditions in this center are grave and people are not told how long they have to stay there.”

45. Aegean Boat Report (link):

“Total number of refugees on the islands: 25,484.”

46 . Claude Moraes: ‘Protecting our European Way of Life’ is ‘anachronistic and insulting title’ (EP, link):

“UK MEP Claude Moraes has joined a growing chorus of scathing criticism of the European Commission’s new portfolio for “Protecting our European Way of Life.

Moraes, a Socialist member, told this website on Wednesday, “The European Commission have either deliberately played to the populist right in naming this or they have made a serious mistake.”

47. EU Commission Wants the Fox in Charge of the Henhouse – European Parliament Should Block Appointment of New Enlargement Commissioner (HRW, link):

“Yesterday, the new European Commission president, Ursula Von der Leyen, proposed Hungarian politician László Trócsányi as enlargement commissioner. Given his background, it’s a move that threatens the credibility of the Commission’s role to promote human rights, rule of law, and fundamental values in the European Union and third states.”

48. UK government accused of ‘harvesting citizen data’ ahead of Brexit (euractiv, link):

“UK opposition parties have hit out at the government for allegedly harvesting user data, surreptitiously obtaining information from individuals accessing the official Gov.uk website, ahead of the UK’s scheduled withdrawal from the EU at the end of October.

A leaked memo seen by the Buzzfeed news website details private messages that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson shared with government ministers in the cabinet committee dealing with no-deal preparations, in which he informed them of the importance of gathering user information in order to facilitate exit preparations.”

49. UK-BREXIT: Yellowhammer: no-deal chaos fears as secret Brexit papers published (Guardian, link):

“Ministers forced to publish documents predicting public disorder, rising prices and disruptions to food and medicines.

A no-deal Brexit could result in rising food and fuel prices, disruption to medicine supplies and public disorder on Britain’s streets, according to secret documents the government was forced by MPs to publish on Wednesday.

The content of the document was strikingly similar to the plan leaked to the Sunday Times in August, which the government dismissed at the time as out of date.

That document was described as a “base case”; but the new document claims to be a “worst-case scenario”. (…)

On law and order it warns: “Protests and counter-protests will take place across the UK and may absorb significant amounts of police resource. There may also be a rise in public disorder and community tensions.”

See: New Yellowhammer document (pdf)

50. EU to discuss boatless Operation Sophia (euobserver, link):

“Ambassadors representing member states will meet in Brussels on Thursday to discuss extending the mandate of the defunct and boatless Naval Operation Sophia. Sophia is mandated to crackdown on migrant trafficking, but had all its boats pulled following an Italian backlash over where to disembark people rescued from the Mediterranean Sea.”

51. ENAR: Justice gap: racism pervasive in criminal justice systems across Europe (Press release, link):

“Brussels, 12 September 2019 – Institutional racism prevails in criminal justice systems across the EU and impacts how racist crimes are (not) recorded, investigated and prosecuted, according to a new report published by ENAR today.

“Twenty years after the Macpherson Report revealed that the British police was institutionally racist, we now find that criminal justice systems across the European Union fail to protect victims of racist crimes – this despite the increase in violent racially motivated crimes”, said Karen Taylor, Chair of the European Network Against Racism.”

The report and key findings are available here

52. EU chief under fire over ‘protecting way of life’ portfolio (BBC News, link):

“Incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has found herself under fire for nominating a commissioner responsible for “Protecting our European Way of Life”.

Critics say the portfolio, which will oversee migration and security, taps into right-wing rhetoric.

One Dutch MEP described the move as “grotesque” while Amnesty International said it was “worrying”.”

53. NGO rescue ship barred from Italy despite new government (Guardian, link):

“Alan Kurdi vessel awaits safe port as leaders promise to revise Salvini’s hardline law.

An NGO rescue ship with five people onboard has been barred from landing in Italy, despite the new left-leaning government in Rome vowing to change the hardline immigration laws of the former interior minister Matteo Salvini.

The Alan Kurdi, operated by the German NGO Sea-Eye, has been awaiting a safe port since 31 August after rescuing 13 people fleeing Tunisia.”

54. National Day protest registrations up to 400,000 (Catalan News,link):

“Organizers of annual pro-independence demonstration call on more to sign up with verdict on jailed Catalan politicians and activists soon due”

55. Switzerland: Former local MP must not be punished for aiding asylum-seekers (AI, link):

“Ahead of tomorrow’s appeal against the conviction of former local MP, Lisa Bosia Mirra, fined almost 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,000 US) for helping 24 Syrian and Eritrean asylum seekers to cross the Italian border into Switzerland, Amnesty International Researcher, Rym Khadhraoui said:

“Lisa Bosia Mirra’s actions were examples of humanity rather than criminality. By helping asylum seekers, who were mostly unaccompanied minors, to access protection in Switzerland, she committed no crime but instead showed compassion to desperate people – some of who had suffered torture.”

56. New database at Eurojust: Who’s a terrorist? (link):

“The EU has a Criminal Record Information System since 2012, but last week a second database was introduced only for “terrorist threats“. Its added value is unclear and may be the search for “interconnections“. The system also includes “right-wing and left-wing extremist groups“ in Europe.”

57. EU facial recognition (link):

“Police and secret services can currently search facial images only in individual EU Member States. The EU wants to change that

The European Union wants to make it much easier for police to cross-check facial images. In the future, it will be possible to compare search photos with corresponding databases in all member states. Such a search could be carried out with still images from surveillance cameras in order to identify an unknown person. At present, each country in the EU must be contacted individually for this purpose.”

See also: Automating the exchange of police data: Council looks to national databases (Statewatch News)

58. Greek PM urges talks, rejects Turkish refugee ‘threats (euractiv, link):

“Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis rejected on Sunday (8 September) Turkish “threats” to let Syrian refugees come en masse to Europe unless more international aid was provided and called for neighbourly dialogue instead.”

59. Viktor Orbán’s choice for EU commissioner faces ‘rough ride’: As justice minister, László Trócsányi oversaw laws that put Hungary and EU in conflict (Guardian, link):

“Viktor Orbán’s choice for Hungary’s EU commissioner faces “a very rough ride” in the European parliament, as MEPs warned that the Hungarian government’s record on the rule of law could not be ignored.

The nominee, László Trócsányi, described as an executor of Orbán’s will, was Hungary’s justice minister from 2014 until elected to the European parliament in May. (…)

He oversaw laws criminalising NGOs for helping refugees and setting up Hungary’s container camps for asylum seekers, as well as measures that led to the Central European University being forced to quit Budapest.”

60. EU: Over 200,000 persons, vehicle and premises “checked” during transnational police operation: 30 countries team up to combat crime in the Western Balkans (Europol, link):

“The Joint Action Day (JAD) Western Balkans 2019 is an international operation, involving 6 758 law enforcement officers: 6 708 officers on the ground and 50 officers in the Operational Centre at Europol’s headquarters. Law enforcement officers from 30 countries, as well as 8 agencies and international organisations teamed up to tackle the 4 EMPACT (European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats) priorities: firearms trafficking, illegal immigration, document fraud and drugs trafficking.”

61. „Obstacles to surveillance“: How authorities insecure 5G telephony (Matthias Monroy, link):

“Following the auction of frequencies, mobile operators are building the new 5G network. This fifth generation of mobile phones is considered particularly secure because of its concept of „Privacy by Design“. Connections can be encrypted end-to-end, which makes interception much more difficult. The device numbers of the telephones and the unique identification of the SIM cards are also transmitted in encrypted form. Under 5G, the registered mobile phones also recognize suspicious mobile cells. This makes the IMSI catcher currently in use unusable for locating and listening to telephones in the vicinity.

The new possibilities for encryption and anonymisation are causing police forces and secret services headaches. The German Federal Ministry of the Interior complains of „additional technical hurdles in the monitoring of telecommunications and the implementation of technical investigation measures“ and announces „adjustments“ of the telecommunications legislation.”

See: Statewatch Analysis: A world without wiretapping? Official documents highlight concern over effects 5G technology will have no “lawful interception” (pdf)

62.  UK: Defence secretary under fire for appearing to condone torture (The Guardian, link):

“Defence secretary Ben Wallace was accused of appearing to condone the use of mock executions after comments he once made that soldiers “might pretend to pour petrol” over prisoners taken on the battlefield resurfaced.

The former Scots Guard captain and future cabinet minster had declared that “battlefield short sharp interrogation where the prisoner is manhandled fairly roughly is absolutely the norm” to a newspaper in 2003.

Trying to obtain information at the point of capture was critical, Wallace told the Scotsman in the immediate aftermath of the Iraq war. “It’s taught to soldiers that’s how it’s done. You might pretend to pour petrol over them, when it’s actually water.””

63. Europe Keeps Asylum Seekers at a Distance, This Time in Rwanda (New York Times, link):

“Under the agreement with Rwanda, which is expected to be signed in the coming weeks, the east African country will take in about 500 migrants evacuated from Libya and host them until they are resettled to new homes or sent back to their countries of origin.

It will offer a way out for a lucky few, but ultimately the Rwandan center is likely to run into the same delays and problems as the one in Agadez.

“The Niger program has suffered from a lot of setbacks, hesitation, very slow processing by European and other countries, very low numbers of actual resettlements,” said Ms. Sunderland of Human Rights Watch. “There’s not much hope then that the exact same process in Rwanda would lead to dramatically different outcomes.””

64. Morocco Cracks Down on Migrants as Spain and EU Pay Out (The Globe Times, link):

“The number of migrants arriving by sea in Spain has plunged with Morocco clamping down on boat departures since signing lucrative agreements with Madrid and Brussels, experts say.

While Madrid praises its cooperation with Rabat, human rights groups accuse Morocco of forcibly preventing migrants form boarding boats to Spain.

So far this year 15,683 migrants have arrived by sea, 45 percent down on the first eight months of 2018, according to Spanish interior ministry figures.”

See also: Statewatch Analysis: “Migration control, not rescue”: squeezing search and rescue in the Mediterraneaane by Jane Kilpatrick.

65. Roma ghettos in the heart of the EU (El Pais, link)

“Despite slight improvements in recent years, there is still deep-rooted discrimination against the community in Czech Republic and elsewhere in Europe.

The Romani community represents around 2% of the Czech Republic’s 10.6 million inhabitants. This is similar to the European average and to Spain, though far lower than in Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. There are six million Romanis altogether in the European Union and a number of studies show that there is not one country where they are not discriminated against.”

See: Roma integration in the EU (European Commission, link)

66. BELGIUM: PNR: 94 terror suspects caught when booking airline flights, says report (Brussels Times, link)

“The system of Passenger Name Record (PNR) in operation in Belgium since January 2018 has managed to track down 94 suspected terrorists and suspects involved in a variety of crimes, according to the government’s crisis centre.

…The centre qualifies its results, however, by pointing out that 40 of the 94 terrorism suspects were on an existing register of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF), and that none of the suspects captured by PNR is actively wanted or has ever been the subject of a conviction. As a result, the men in question were detained, questioned and investigated further and then released.

The 54 men and women were flagged on PNR after being named in a case of terrorism or radicalisation, but were otherwise unable to be traced by police. They were identified with the help of BelPIU.”

DOCUMENTATION

1. EU: Joint Press Statement from Commissioner Vìra Jourová and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on the Third Annual EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Review (pdf):

“Gender Equality Vìra Jourová made the following statement regarding the third annual joint review of
the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework:

“Senior officials from the United States Government, the European Commission, and EU data protection authorities gathered in Washington, DC on 12 and 13 September to conduct the third annual joint review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework. The broad and senior level participation from both sides underscored the shared and longstanding commitment of the United States and the European Union to the Framework.”

The reports on the first and second review can be found here (link) See: Snowden: Privacy Shield won’t stop US mass surveillance (Statewatch database)

2. Prorogation of Parliament: Conflicting judgments in England and Scotland (EU Law Analysis, link):

” The outcome of the conjoined appeals at the Supreme Court of the UK on Tuesday the 17th of September is far from certain. The Scottish judgment is a constitutional first: the first time a serving Prime Minister has been found guilty of acting illegally in relation to the proroguing of Parliament.

What is certain is that the 11 justices of the Supreme Court will once again make UK constitutional history after the hearing on Tuesday week.”

3. CJEU hearings on four data retention cases: Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS, pdf):

On 9 and 10 September, the Court of Justice of the European Union held hearings on four data retention cases involving several Member States (United Kingdom (UK), Ireland, France, Spain, Sweden, etc.) and civil society actors such as Privacy International and La Quadrature du Net. The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) was also present and shared its point of view.

4. EU: Fair Trials: Pre-trial detention: It’s time for EU action to end excessive use (pdf):
“Across the continent, there are over 100,000 people who have not been convicted of any crime being held in pre-trial detention. They are imprisoned and trapped in a legal limbo for months or years. The hu __________________________________________
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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