The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. May 26, 2016: “Both Turkey and Israel are quickly turning into right-wing dictatorships. The right wing is making strides in Austria and Germany. Europe is filled with discontent and the flood of Muslim immigrants, coupled with fears of murderous Sunni Muslim acts of terrorism are enhancing the popularity of the right wing and creating the Muslims as a casus belli. The UN is a hopeless talking shop and the perennial threats of force by the United States have lost their effectiveness throughout the world. It is strange indeed that other than the Saudi-controlled 9/11 attacks, there have been no Muslim terrorist attacks inside the United States.”
The Müller Washington Journals 1948-1951
At the beginning of December, 1948, a German national arrived in Washington, D.C. to take up an important position with the newly-formed CIA. He was a specialist on almost every aspect of Soviet intelligence and had actively fought them, both in his native Bavaria where he was head of the political police in Munich and later in Berlin as head of Amt IV of the State Security Office, also known as the Gestapo.
His name was Heinrich Müller.
Even as a young man, Heini Müller had kept daily journals of his activities, journals that covered his military service as a pilot in the Imperial German air arm and an apprentice policeman in Munich. He continued these journals throughout the war and while employed by the top CIA leadership in Washington, continued his daily notations.
This work is a translation of his complete journals from December of 1948 through September of 1951.
When Heinrich Müller was hired by the CIA¹s station chief in Bern, Switzerland, James Kronthal in 1948, he had misgivings about working for his former enemies but pragmatism and the lure of large amounts of money won him over to what he considered to be merely an extension of his life-work against the agents of the Comintern. What he discovered after living and working in official Washington for four years was that the nation¹s capital was, in truth, what he once humorously claimed sounded like a cross between a zoo and a lunatic asylum. His journals, in addition to personal letters, various reports and other personal material, give a very clear, but not particularly flattering, view of the inmates of both the zoo and the asylum.
Müller moved, albeit very carefully, in the rarefied atmosphere of senior policy personnel, military leaders, heads of various intelligence agencies and the White House itself. He was a very observant, quick-witted person who took copious notes of what he saw. This was not a departure from his earlier habits because Heinrich Müller had always kept a journal, even when he was a lowly Bavarian police officer, and his comments about personalities and events in the Third Reich are just as pungent and entertaining as the ones he made while in America.
The reason for publishing this phase of his eventful life is that so many agencies in the United States and their supporters do not want to believe that a man of Müller¹s position could ever have been employed by their country in general or their agency in specific.
Saturday, 31 December 1949
A new decade ahead and what will it portend? The damp weather is bothering my knee again but one learns to live with such things. A large party tonight for some of the CIA people. A note from the President that I put together with his Christmas greeting card in my desk. I don’t want the donkeys from Harvard and Yale sticking their blue-blooded horse noses into my papers. The servants and the guards have the strictest orders to allow absolutely no one above the first floor. They can spew in the cloakroom or off the back terrace if they want to, but no one goes upstairs. After all, there is enough recognizable stolen art up there to stock a good museum and there is the possibility that someone on the guest list might have some knowledge of real art as opposed to Chagall or Norman Rockwell, America’s Spitzweg.
I must remind myself to keep off the topic of Hiss. Why offend my upper-class friends and co-workers by insulting their friend? I hope he goes to prison and some thoughtful patriot sticks a sharp file into him. As soon as this stupid socializing is over, I can get down to dealing with the interesting Mr. Harold Philby.
A most Happy New Year to myself and to my family!
Thursday, 5 January 1950
On to Philby! Or “Tally Ho!” as the foxhunting freaks in England shout.
Oscar Wilde referred to foxhunters as the Unspeakable in pursuit of the Inedible. A very funny man. Would have done well in the British Foreign Office. Probably in the lavatories
Our quarry lives at 4100 Nebraska. Brick Georgian house on a street between Florida and Massachusetts. Not a long trip to the Embassy. We have set up a watch in a neighboring house and the Hoover people have done their business with the telephones.
Philby, his hysterical wife, and a number of children all live there so the noise from the household makes conversations difficult to listen to.
Hoover and I are working very closely on this one. Of course, he now knows who I am but will say nothing at all. We both have the same goals. I flatter him from time to time and he knows I have interceded with Truman on his behalf. I am not certain how he knows this because T. does not like him. Maybe, like the CIA, Hoover has listened in on the White House telephones.
It will be my job to get Philby in a safe place and drop the safe on his head. My people will use FBI equipment to record the entire incident. If necessary, we will edit the material and give a copy of it to Hoover. Threatening a prominent British intelligence agent makes the very political Hoover very nervous, but to me, it is only a day’s play in the garden.
I have been reading through the files I have on Philby and have my act quite perfected. I have a fellow who has a perfect British accent and will pose as an atomic scientist who wishes to have a “private chat” with Philby. It will take a little doing to get them into contact but since we are listening to the Embassy conversations, we know that P. will be attending a cocktail party. Not much trouble to get our man in there and then let us see what happens.
Sunday, 8 January 1950
A bad start but a good finish. Philby, who stutters and drinks a great deal, was there and in fine form, entertaining everyone including other people’s wives. My man was late because someone stole his automobile and he arrived in a taxi. After about three drinks, he managed to get near Philby and mumble something about atomic bombs. Philby at once seemed to sober himself and took my man aside for a friendly chat. Fortunately, we filled the man with enough accurate information to interest P. and they made an agreement to meet at a room in the Shoreham Hotel on Saturday.
We reserved two rooms with a connecting door and got all the equipment into one room and the dummy scientist into the other. We were very careful to have the adjoining room “rented” to an elderly couple from New Mexico State and had to be even more careful about the identification we used on the room with our man. Who knows what Philby or others of his breed can check out? That the British have a large number of their spies in Washington we know. One must be very careful and assume, as I always do, that even the smallest detail will be checked out.
The plan was to have P. come in and our man would at once hand him some very impressive papers that “he was working on.” Then he would tell P. that he had left the rest down in the hotel safe and would be right back.
Just as I thought, Philby was sitting on the edge of the bed, intently reading through the thick file when I came into the room. I had a pistol and there were three men, including Arno, outside with a key in case I needed any help. The pistol was in my pocket and he never looked up. He even said, “Very nice, indeed. You wouldn’t happen to have a bottle on the premises, would you?”
“Mr. Philby,” I said in such a friendly way, “what a pleasure to find you so far from home.” He looked up very suddenly and shoved the papers inside his coat. “Who the devil are you?”
(I am taking this from the transcription)
“We have met a number of times before. In Berlin, 1939. I had more hair then. Remember? We talked about your papa.” I thought he was going to have an attack of some kind and he stared at me as if I were the very devil, come to snatch him away. I never needed the gun at all.
Philby is an amoral, greedy, needful man who works, or has worked, for anyone who will pay him. He worked for the British, for the “London Times,” for Franco’s intelligence in Spain, gave, or rather sold, information on Franco to the German Thaelmann Brigade, for the Gestapo in general and myself in particular, and finally for the Russians. The latter are the most dangerous because once one begins with them, one cannot just resign. Also, they do not pay well.
Philby is a masculine, pleasant and often entertaining person. He stutters, drinks too much, is a philanderer (who isn’t?) and owes no loyalty to anyone except himself; neither to his wife, his country nor his own honor.
We spoke together for nearly four hours. I will summarize my talks with him.
And I am not going to give Hoover what we originally agreed upon. More later.
Philby, after his initial shock at seeing me again, readily admitted a number of his sins to me. Why not? As I very politely but very firmly pointed out to him, if his Soviet handlers ever found out about his very well documented work for us, they would not hesitate to track him down and kill him. He knows this and I will have no trouble at all with Mr. Harold Philby.
Aside from the Sikorski business that I will note a little later here, (if I don’t get a cramp in my fingers first), he admitted that he was in Washington for one reason: He is here to protect the top Soviet spy in their Embassy!
Philby said that the previous top agent was the First Secretary, Donald Maclean, who has since been recalled for reassignment. I know nothing about Maclean and will have to make inquiry as to what level of secrets he had access to. P. states that he had access at the very highest levels, especially in the atomic bomb program! Philby initially declined to tell me who M’s replacement was but will “think on it” and if the price were right, would tell me.
This, as I said, I will not pass on to Hoover. He is too provincial, has no understanding at all of such matters and is far too much involved in mindless, bureaucratic manipulations to be given anything so valuable (for me at least) and so potentially damaging to international relations.
He is actually quite entertaining and we enjoyed the conversation…after the initial shocks had worn off. He knows that I am not an ideologue and will not expose him as long as he cooperates with me…and as long as I pay him well. Maclean is, I am told, “brilliant but unstable,” a latent homosexual with a very bad marriage, who is “utterly consumed with a terrible hatred for the United States.”
They knew each other in university and Philby said that of all of the proto-communists he had associations with, he, Philby, was the only heterosexual. This I can believe.
He went on about Victor Rothschild, the high-level Soviet spy and socialite, and his little place in London where all the fairies congregated and brought their dockworkers, sailors and amateur boxers. I do not need to imagine things like that. There is enough of that here in Washington.
I didn’t take notes because this was being recorded.
- knew this because I told him. I am not worried about Hoover watching me and making his own recordings. First, I told H. that the meeting would be next weekend at the American University or Georgetown University libraries. Second, I made certain to avoid anyone who might be following me here. Thirdly, I had the foresight to rent a pair of rooms on the top floor of the hotel, the important one (where the interview was to take place) on the corner of the building. I made certain that there was no one on the roof by putting a man there and the room below was empty. The adjoining room, with the equipment, was occupied by my men and two in the hall outside the room. Besides, Hoover likes to hire the type of serious young men who stand out like turds on a bed sheet and my men know what to look for.
When we finished our long talk, I suggested new, interesting but not damaging talks for a recording for just Colonel Hoover’s ears. It was then that Philby gave me a nice present in return for a small envelope full of American money. (He hates the U.S. but likes their money.) The nice present was information about one Dr. Klaus Fuchs.
I recognize the name. A German Jew who fled Germany in 1933 and came to the West (one source claims Fuchs was not Jewish, ed.). A well-known communist. How he managed to get into sensitive atomic research for the British, and later American governments is beyond me. Philby says British intelligence is “crammed with communists to the Plimsoll line.” This man I certainly will give to Hoover at once so he can get some kind of credit. At this point, I will say to Hoover that Philby is anti-American, sent here to iron out differences between the FBI-CIA and British intelligence.
I also find out that one of his tasks is to find out just how far the FBI has progressed with a decoding of Soviet agent traffic, both from the war and current. He has some luck, but the FBI agent in charge of this is very careful about what he says. The CIA, on the other hand, are a pack of loose-mouthed idiots. We do have some similar views at that.
The Sikorski business came as a genuine surprise to me. We had always thought that Churchill had murdered the Polish leader because he was causing trouble over the Soviet slaughter of thousands of Polish officers. Not so, according to P. He tells a different tale.
- was in charge of security for the Gibraltar area in 1943. Stalin wanted Sikorski killed, at once. P., in his official capacity, discovered that Sikorski was going to be flying into Gibraltar in July of 1943, and from there to London. The Soviets arranged for Maiski, their Ambassador to London, to fly back, via Gibraltar, and to be there at the same time as S.
Sikorski was as valuable to the British as he was dangerous to Stalin. Maiski’s passenger list included two professional assassins. Both his plane and Sikorski’s were on the airfield at the same time.
The commandant, (of Gibraltar, ed.) Mason-Macfarlane, was asked not to let the two parties meet so S. was sequestered (with his consent) early in the day, allowing Maiski to land and be officially greeted. Later, the Russian was told to leave quickly because the weather was turning bad. When S. and his entourage got into their “Liberator” (a very ill-handling aircraft with inherent control cable problems) it had already been tended to by the Soviets. The rest is known.
I have to believe Philby because I have some small knowledge of this affair. He told me that although the British had nothing to do with this (other than Philby’s treasonable activities), nevertheless, Churchill had been “tipped off” that this would happen and he was so frightened about the possible rupture with Stalin over the dead Polish officers that he said nothing by way of warning.
At his level, this cannot be called murder but merely “furtherance of policy” after all.
Philby agreed to keep me “in the picture” and I have agreed to give him any information, aside from American security material…which I would never do… which might help him in his liaison work with U.S. intelligence.
I concluded with a drink (I had a Cognac and he had three big glasses of whiskey!) and we shook hands on our renewed friendship. I could never trust this man at all but it is not unpleasant to deal with him. He had a number of terrible and amusing anecdotes to tell me about the staff at the Embassy here. Most of them are perverts at best and alcoholic perverts at worst. Almost all of them hate this country and P. will supply me with the names of British (as opposed to Russian) agents working here. We will meet again soon enough and discuss the British spying program in this country. If I agree not to interfere with the ones who are giving him information, he will help with the others. As Lenin said, ‘One step backwards for two steps forward.’ It is lawful to be taught by the enemy.
And now to bed.
Note later: The recordings will be in my wine cellar and the creative one will be prepared for delivery to Hoover, but next weekend. This will give us some time to do creative editing.
One thing I have noted, and ought to make a study of, is the degree and extent of homosexuality in the U.S. government and most especially in that of England. These miserable assholes seem to be hidden everywhere you look. They support each other; get one another into this or that department where they proliferate like Jews in the banking business. There is no point in attempting to root them out because God alone knows who is a fairy and who is not. This is sort of a pink underground and is almost worth the trouble to catalog. These pests are rampant here in Washington and a normal man has a very difficult time visiting a public lavatory for fear of being accosted by frenzied individuals of some prominence. Given the predominance of Englishmen in this category, we ought to keep an eye on the various locals where they practice their trade. However, bringing this subject up to Hoover ought to be undertaken with some caution. I have revised an earlier opinion of his orientation and have come to the conclusion that his “Special Circle” of friends (some of whom I have met) is certainly highly suspect. Hoover is one who has lived with his mother and I have a great deal of distrust of such people. Like so many others I have encountered in my life, these individuals are rabidly moral.
I do not think Himmler was a pansy but I do recall one incident where he had his own nephew sentenced to death for homosexual behavior. I brought this sorry business to Hitler’s attention and he promptly pardoned the young man. Himmler claimed he was only attempting to enforce his own morality on members of his family. He did a good deal of this moralizing, from morning to night. Better to worry about the condition of the State than the bedroom antics of nephews, nieces and second cousins.
I have had some such people at the beck and call of the Gestapo but not, certainly, for sexual purposes. Handsome and willing young men are excellent bait for those easily tempted, either men or women (or those in between.)
The story of the Cambridge spies has been told and retold ad nauseum over the years but not from an entirely fresh point of view.
England, in the years after the First World War, was filled with frustrated youth, disillusioned by the collapse of their Empire and seeking for positive answers to their collective angst. Many turned to the utopian allure of communism and the universities were filled with young men who eagerly clutched at the tattered hem of Karl Marx’s overcoat, hoping thereby to find salvation.
A significant number of these students were practicing homosexuals, their public school system encouraging the development of such behavior. Since homosexuality was neither socially nor legally acceptable in the England of the 1920s, its practitioners quickly developed a hatred for a society which subjected them to ridicule on one hand and imprisonment on the other.
The Soviets, who long practiced sexual blackmail, found a rich harvest in the universities of England and many of the recruits in their intelligence services later went on to achieve considerable prominence in the British civil service. When rumors of high-level Soviet agents in British intelligence organizations and in their Foreign Office began to surface, both in England and America, the establishment at once went to enormous efforts to protect their own, even to the point of destroying incriminating documents and to persistently lying to American intelligence and other U.S. official agencies.
These upper-class traitors were not only protected from discovery but when it became evident that American investigators were uncovering deadly truths, the spies were not only warned that exposure and arrest were imminent but assisted to escape their completely just desserts.
Dr. Klaus Emil Julius Fuchs, born in Rüsselheim, Germany, in 1910, fled from Germany in 1933 and took refuge in England. He was interned as an enemy alien there at the outbreak of the war in 1939 but was subsequently released, becoming a naturalized British citizen in 1942. Fuchs went to the United States in 1943 where he worked on the American atomic bomb program. Although Fuchs was known in Germany as a communist and while in England had openly admitted his political beliefs, he was nevertheless given the highest security clearances by British intelligence and the American government was assured that he was beyond reproach. In August of 1949, the FBI was able to decode a wartime Soviet message whose contents pointed directly at Fuchs as a spy. The scientist, who had returned to England where he was head of the theoretical physics division at Harwell, finally confessed in February of 1950 and was sentenced to fourteen years in prison as a spy. Released in 1959, Fuchs went to East Germany where he worked for that government in their nuclear program. He died in 1988.
A common theme found in all writings on Soviet espionage concerns the fact that, in spite of his known communist connections, Fuchs was given a prompt security clearance by British authorities, and it was only when the FBI supplied incontrovertible evidence of his treason that Fuchs was finally arrested.
Müller’s information on Fuchs only confirmed what Hoover had recently discovered from his interview with Harold “Kim” Philby.
This theme of strangely careless British intelligence investigative data concerning known communists recurs with dismal regularity throughout the entire period from 1945 through 1955. This carelessness planned or otherwise (and Müller believed it was quite deliberate and makes an excellent case for this), resulted in the complete distrust by the Americans of both the abilities and the loyalties of Britain’s intelligence community.
Philby, whose father, St. John Philby, was a political advisor to the royal family of Saudi Arabia and a staunch supporter of Adolf Hitler. He was interned in England during the war as an enemy agent. His son attended Cambridge University and had there become acquainted with a number of avowed communist students, members of an elitist group called the Apostles Philby later became a war correspondent for the “London Times” and was decorated for his actions during the Spanish Civil War by Franco. Because of his father’s attitudes, Philby joined a German-English friendship group and traveled to Berlin in 1939. It has been long felt in some American intelligence circles that Philby had done more than admire historical buildings while on his visit to the capital of the Third Reich.
Donald Duart Maclean, born in 1913, attended Cambridge and joined the Foreign Service in 1934. He was the son of Sir Donald Maclean, a former Cabinet member in the MacDonald government, who died in 1932. Maclean was sent to the United States in 1944 where he was First Secretary and acting head of Chancery in the British Embassy. During his tour of duty, Maclean had almost unrestricted access to most of the secrets of the American government, especially those of the Atomic Energy Commission. The amount of vital material he turned over to his Soviet handler in New York was incredible and by all accounts, gave Stalin at least a three-year gain in his own atomic bomb program. Maclean also turned over to the Soviets an enormous quantity of other secrets that proved to be of vital importance to the anti-American, expansionist plans of the Soviet dictator.
Müller’s journals contain a wealth of information about British espionage against the United States. Resisting the urge to develop it all in a single chapter, each incident will be reported as Müller wrote it; in proper chronological sequence
Man on trial claims he did $17 million arms deal with Colombian terrorists for CIA
May 24, 2016:
by Jose Pagliery
Two Romanian businessmen and an Italian politician got caught trying to sell rocket launchers and AK-47s to Colombian terrorists. But one now claims he was really just helping the CIA.
A wacky tale is playing out in a federal courtroom in New York City, where a Romanian security consultant is on trial for an illegal $17 million weapons deal.
In 2014, Virgil Flaviu Georgescu got caught in a federal sting operation. He was brokering a deal that involved selling machine guns and rocket launchers to the Communist guerrilla fighters of FARC, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia.
The weapons would go to FARC soldiers who explicitly said they intended to kill American federal agents and shoot down the cocaine-crop-destroying helicopters flown by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
FARC’s half-century-long jungle revolution is being paid for by its $1 billion annual cocaine business.
Except the weapons were never actually sold. The supposed FARC buyers were actually DEA informants.
But that’s not Georgescu’s defense at his criminal trial this week. He admitted in court that he helped broker the weapons deal, but claims that the entire time he was just taking part in the deal to give information to the CIA.
At the center of this strange case is Georgescu, a 43-year-old native Romanian who obtained American citizenship through marriage. Back in Romania, he was a security consultant who provided body guards and logistical advice.
Georgescu called the CIA tip line twice in early 2012 to warn the U.S. government that he was approached by a Romanian acquaintance in Los Angeles seeking a shady arms deal, according to transcripts of the calls obtained by CNNMoney from the court file.
The man told Georgescu his clients were Colombian guerrillas in need of thousands of AK-47 rifles, M-4 carbines, Dragunov sniper rifles, anti-personnel mines and hyper accurate FN Five-seven pistols. Weapons factories normally require documents proving a legitimate buyer, so this guy needed a middleman to come up with fake documents.
Georgescu declined to take part in the deal. Instead, he called the CIA, gave his name and Social Security number, professed his love of America, and said he wanted to expose these criminals.
“Yes, I was just try to be useful to the U.S. government, because I love that country, and you know I am so proud to be a U.S. citizen,” Georgescu told a CIA phone operator in his broken English, according to the transcript. “I am not going to help these people… maybe is a case for you.”
The CIA has a tip line staffed by agency employees who receive information about national security matters — but also a flood of crazed theories and unsolicited offers.
Georgescu told the CIA operator that he once worked with the FBI in Las Vegas as a cooperative witness. He said he had performed secret operations, and he could be a tool for the CIA too.
“Every time when FBI needed me for Russians, Romanians which they do a lot of bad things in U.S., I help them,” Georgescu said. “And with my help, a lot of government confiscated a lot of cash, a lot of houses, a lot of cars… you know… I bring some money to the Uncle Sam all the time.”
The CIA phone operator promised to look into the tip and thanked Georgescu for his help.
“I assure you, we’re going to approach and investigate it very delicately,” the operator said. “Particularly if these guns are going to cartels.”
Georgescu made his offer: “Let me work for you, and I give you more information,” he said. “You just give me a call, or someone, and tell me, ‘go forward.’ And I go forward.”
“Okay, I understand,” the CIA operator responded.
Georgescu never heard from the CIA again. Two years went by. In that time, Georgescu spent $7,000 traveling to Albania, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy and Montenegro to make the deal happen. He found an arms supplier in Russia. He found a willing buyer to provide fake documents in Germany. He pulled into the deal a Romanian government employee, Cristian Vintila. He also involved a former Italian member of parliament, Massimo Romagnoli.
Georgescu did everything on his own.
Georgescu, Romagnoli and Vintila were arrested by DEA agents when they closed the deal in Montenegro in 2014, then flown to New York to face trial. The Italian politician and Romanian government employee pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against Georgescu.
All that’s left is Georgescu’s wild story. The calls were real, but the CIA has declined to comment on the case.
Federal prosecutor Ilan Graff grilled Georgescu when he testified in front of jurors on Monday afternoon.
“Let’s talk about the one-man investigation you embarked on,” Graff said. He pointed to the vague CIA phone conversation transcript. “Can you show me where… it tells you to obtain a weapons supplier from Russia?”
“Everything I did, I did for the United States government and the people in this country,” Georgescu kept repeating to jurors.
Jeremy Hockenstein, who was turned away from the jury pool, said he stuck around in court because he found the case “mind-boggling.” He wondered if Georgescu made a mistake by engaging in a rogue, unsupervised mission — or if he simply used the CIA call as an awkward alibi to perform a deal.
From the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2016, Issue No. 46
May 25, 2016
CYBER “EMERGENCY” ORDER NETS NO CULPRITS
In April 2015, President Obama issued Executive Order 13694 declaring a national emergency to deal with the threat of hostile cyber activity against the United States.
But six months later, the emergency powers that he invoked to punish offenders had still not been used because no qualifying targets were identified, according to a newly released Treasury Department report.
In a White House statement coinciding with the release of last year’s Executive Order, the President said that “Cyber threats pose one of the most serious economic and national security challenges to the United States, and my Administration is pursuing a comprehensive strategy to confront them…. This Executive Order offers a targeted tool for countering the most significant cyber threats that we face.”
The Executive Order authorized the Secretary of the Treasury “to impose sanctions on individuals or entities that engage in malicious cyber-enabled activities that create a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the United States.”
But although the criminal justice system has produced indictments against suspected Chinese and Iranian hackers, the President’s cyber “emergency” regime has not yielded any comparable results.
In the first periodic report on the implementation of the order, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said that “No entities or individuals have been designated pursuant to E.O. 13694.” Accordingly, the Department of the Treasury took no punitive licensing actions, and it assessed no monetary penalties, Secretary Lew wrote.
A copy of the Treasury report was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. See Periodic Report on the National Emergency With Respect to Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities, October 1, 2015.
Even though it generated no policy outputs, implementation of the executive order nevertheless incurred costs of “approximately $760,000, most of which represent wage and salary costs for federal personnel,” the Treasury report said.
Unbeknownst to most people, there are typically multiple “national emergencies” in progress at any given time. A helpful introduction to the subject was prepared by then-CRS specialist Harold C. Relyea a decade ago.
By invoking emergency powers derived from the Constitution or from statutory law, Relyea wrote, “the President may seize property, organize and control the means of production, seize commodities, assign military forces abroad, institute martial law, seize and control all transportation and communication, regulate the operation of private enterprise, restrict travel, and, in a variety of ways, control the lives of United States citizens. [However], Congress may modify, rescind, or render dormant such delegated emergency authority.” See National Emergency Powers, updated August 30, 2007.
One other ongoing “emergency” pertains to North Korea. A Treasury Department Periodic Report on the National Emergency With Respect to North Korea, dated May 21, 2015, reveals that five financial transactions involving North Korean agents or interests — and totaling $23,200 — were blocked by executive order between December 2014 and April 2015. That’s an increase from $17,600 during the previous reporting period.
PRE-PUBLICATION REVIEW MUST BE TIMELY & FAIR, SAYS HPSCI
Current and former intelligence community employees (as well as some other government employees) are obliged to submit their writings for official review prior to publication in order to screen them for classified information. This is often an onerous, time-consuming and frustrating process. It sometimes appears to authors to be conducted in bad faith.
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has instructed the Director of National Intelligence to prepare a new, IC-wide pre-publication review policy that will “yield timely, reasoned, and impartial decisions that are subject to appeal.”
In its new report on the FY2017 intelligence authorization act, the Committee said it “is concerned that current and former IC personnel have published written material without completing mandatory pre-publication review procedures or have rejected changes required by the review process, resulting in the publication of classified information.”
“The Committee is also aware of the perception that the pre-publication review process can be unfair, untimely, and unduly onerous and that these burdens may be at least partially responsible for some individuals ‘opting out’ of the mandatory review process.”
The Committee therefore directed the DNI to develop a uniform new policy that clearly sets forth what kinds of materials must be reviewed, with guidance for conducting and completing the review in a timely manner, and with a prompt and transparent appeal process.
The pre-publication review process was critiqued recently by Jack Goldsmith and Oona A. Hathaway in the Washington Post (The Government’s Prepublication Review Process is Broken, December 25, 2015) and in Just Security (The Scope of the Prepublication Review Problem, and What to Do About It, December 30, 2015). I also commented in Just Security (Fixing Pre-Publication Review: What Should Be Done?, January 15, 2016).
The new requirement “to improve the timeliness and fairness of the prepublication review process throughout the IC” was introduced by Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), a member of the House Intelligence Committee. The FY2017 intelligence authorization act was approved by the full House of Representatives yesterday following floor speeches on May 23.
FEDERAL PRISON POPULATION BUILDUP, AND MORE FROM CRS
New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service that have not been made publicly available online include the following.
The Federal Prison Population Buildup: Options for Congress, May 20, 2016
Zika Response Funding: Request and Congressional Action, May 20, 2016
Pay Equity: Legislative and Legal Developments, May 20, 2016
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (S. 524): Comparison of Senate- and House-Passed Versions, May 23, 2016
FHFA’s Administrative Reform of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Housing Finance System, May 23, 2016
DOT’s Federal Pipeline Safety Program: Background and Key Issues for Congress, May 20, 2016
Treasury Issues White Paper on Fintech and Marketplace Lending, CRS Insight, May 20, 2016
United States Lifts Remaining Restrictions on Arms Sales to Vietnam, CRS Insight, May 23, 2016
U.S.-Vietnam Economic and Trade Relations: Issues for the 114th Congress, May 20, 2016
Honduras: Background and U.S. Relations, May 23, 2016
A Resurgence of Unaccompanied Alien Children?, CRS Insight, May 20, 2016
Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress, May 23, 2016
Navy Virginia (SSN-774) Class Attack Submarine Procurement: Background and Issues for Congress, May 20, 2016
Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress, May 20, 2016
Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)/Frigate Program: Background and Issues for Congress, May 20, 2016
Navy Ohio Replacement (SSBN[X]) Ballistic Missile Submarine Program: Background and Issues for Congress, May 20, 2016
Russia killed 28,000 militants in Syria, third of all ISIS forces – Russian deputy security chief
May 24, 2016
Since Moscow started its air operation in Syria on September 30 last year, the Russian Air Force has eliminated over a third of Islamic State fighters in the country, the deputy head of Russia’s top security body revealed.
“We estimate that at the beginning of our operation Al-Nusra Front and Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL] possessed about 80,000 fighters, of whom 28,000 (35 percent) have already been eliminated. This is [the result of] our actions together with the Syrian Army,” Evgeny Lukyanov said at the VII international security summit being held in Grozny, the capital of Russia’s Chechen Republic.
“Well, the [US-led anti-terrorist] coalition eliminated an additional 5,000 in two years,” Lukyanov added.
“There were people predicting that it [Russia’s anti-terrorist operation in Syria] would result in another Afghanistan or something like that. That would never be. There are only limited military plans,” Lukyanov said, stressing that Syrians “must solve their issues for themselves.”
The principle task of the Russian operation in Syria has been to force the sides to start a political dialogue, the Russian Security Council’s top official stressed.
“Otherwise this [war] would have no end in sight.”
“A deal is needed, and arrangements must be made through compromise,” Lukyanov added. “There are no victors in a civil war, everybody loses.”
The war in Syria has witnessed a turning point, Lukyanov also said.
“Only those politically motivated could deny that fact or interpret it differently.”
However, judging by the reaction of certain parties on the Syrian battlefield and the aggressive actions of intransigent opposition, “they would like very much to wreck the settlement process.”
The forces that oppose the peace process would do anything to torpedo attempts to mend the tensions, Lukyanov noted.
He noted that over 100 Syrian settlements have already recognized the armistice and are observing it.
Another sign of relief in Syria is Russia’s withdrawal of most of its contingent and military aircraft, the Security Council official pointed out, stressing that the Russian military is “busy conducting an assessment of the situation.”
While 59 armed groups have joined the reconciliation process in Syria, which began on February 27 with the introduction of a ceasefire, terrorist factions like Islamic State and particularly Al-Nusra Front continue their efforts to regain ground. The city of Aleppo, once a major stronghold of terrorists, remains a hot spot of Al-Nusra activities.
The ceasefire does not apply to internationally-recognized terror groups such as IS and Al-Nusra Front, which means airstrikes can be delivered against their outposts.
On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry discussed via phone the possibility of joining forces to carry out attacks on militant groups breaking the ceasefire in Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported. No conclusion on the potential joint effort was reached.
Strikes at French nuclear plants over labor reforms
Nuclear power plant workers have joined rolling energy sector strikes against labor law reforms in France. The country has mobilized strategic oil stocks to counter ongoing fuel supply and transport disruptions.
May 26, 2016
Strikes and protests were being held across France on Thursday as activists continued to voice their dismay at planned reforms to the country’s labor laws.
“We have to hit where it hurts,” said union official Gilles Guyomard from the site of an early morning demonstration during which activists burned tires and blocked a bridge at Le Havre, adding “And where it hurts is the bosses’ wallets.”
French grid operator RTE’s website showed nuclear power capacity was cut by about 4 gigawatts (GW) early Thursday as nuclear plant workers from the CGT union joined the rolling nationwide strikes which have targeted the energy sector. That’s about 6 percent of total production capacity. Late Wednesday, the union said its members at 16 of the 19 nuclear power stations in France had voted to join the strike. The CGT has also called for rallies in major cities and work stoppages were scheduled at many ports.
Dock workers in the port of Le Havre have set off smoke bombs throughout the square in front of the city hall.
Refinery and depot blockades, also led by the union, have led to shortages at some fuel pumps. A train strike which was due to continue Thursday has added to the transportation difficulties, although state railway company SNCF said the impact on train connections was not as much as during strikes last week.
The leader of the CGT, Philippe Martinez, has vowed the action would continue until the labor law, which was pushed through by the government, was withdrawn. But Prime Minister Manuel Valls told lawmakers Wednesday that would not happen.
“The CGT does not rule this country,” Valls said.
On Thursday the head of the CFDT union, which is backing the government’s reforms, called for a truce.
“The political and industrial relations climate has turned hysterical … let’s calm things down,” he told France Info.
Dipping into reserves
Some companies said the shortages caused by the fuel blockades were starting to impact their businesses.
“We filled up at the end of last week and at the beginning of this week but our drivers need to fill up again and it’s not possible,” Pascal Barre, who runs a logistics firm in Poincy, said.
To counter the strikes, the French government on Wednesday dipped into its strategic fuel reserves for the first time in six years. France’s reserves are enough to last more than three months. Authorities also stepped up their efforts to break blockades. There’s concern the ongoing disruption could impact the Euro 2016 football tournament, hosted by France, which is due to begin in a fortnight.
The protests center on labor market reforms aimed at reducing unemployment, which hovers around 10 percent. The law change has made it easier for employers to hire and fire workers and relaxes some rules around the working week and overtime pay. Unions argue the changes erode workers’ rights.
A monthly Labor Ministry report released Wednesday showed France’s unemployment rate had dipped by 0.6 percent in April – accounting for nearly 20,000 people – the first time it has done so for two consecutive months during the past five years.
Germany’s finance minister has backed French President Francois Hollande, saying he was “right” to champion the reforms and that the months of protests against them were part of the country’s democratic tradition.
“France is obviously not incapable of reform,” Wolfgang Schäuble told journalists Thursday, adding that “France can live with such a dispute.”
French labour dispute: Widespread strikes cause disruption
May 26, 2016
France is being hit by serious disruption as unions lead strike action at oil refineries, nuclear power stations, ports and transport hubs.
Motorways, bridges and tunnels have been blockaded, and flights and rail services affected.
Nuclear power production has slowed, and fuel remains in short supply.
PM Manuel Valls has again insisted that labour reforms at the heart of the dispute would not be withdrawn, but suggested they could be “modified”.
The French government is under increasing pressure to give ground as the country prepares to host the Euro 2016 championships in two weeks’ time, correspondents say.
The unions have called for rallies in most major cities.
Hundreds of workers marched into the port city of Le Havre, in Normandy, having blocked off the nearby Bridge of Normandy.
To the east, a nuclear submarine base was also blocked off by striking workers.
Flights to and from Paris, Nantes and Toulouse have been affected, and a rolling strike by train drivers has brought further disruption to regional and commuter rail services.
CGT union members at nuclear power plants voted on Wednesday to join the strike, and the union said 16 of the country’s 19 power stations would be affected.
Nuclear power provides about 75% of the country’s electricity. Grid operator RTE said nuclear power capacity was being cut by at least four gigawatts, equivalent to 6% of the country’s total production capacity, on Thursday, Reuters news agency reports.
Six of France’s eight oil refineries have already been hit by strikes and barricades, as have major ports including Marseille and Le Havre.
As the union action ramped up on Thursday morning, Mr Valls indicated “there may still be changes, improvements” made to the labour reform laws.
But he rejected Finance Minister Michel Sapin’s suggestion that Article 2 of the bill could be rewritten. Article 2 gives individual companies the power to opt out of national obligations on labour protection if they feel they need to – something the CGT union is fiercely opposed to.
Pumps running dry
The French Union of Petroleum Industries says a third of France’s 12,000 petrol stations are now running dry.
It said the government had begun using its strategic fuel reserves, which analysts say will last around four months.
Transport Minister Alain Vidalies said 40% of petrol stations around Paris are struggling to get fuel.
President Francois Hollande told ministers on Wednesday that “everything will be done to ensure the French people and the economy is supplied”.
The CGT and other unions were enraged by the government’s decision to use a constitutional device allow its watered-down labour reforms to be made into law without parliamentary approval.
The government says the reforms, which make it easier for companies to hire and fire staff, are needed to bring down unemployment.
French labour reform bill – main points
◾The 35-hour week remains in place, but as an average. Firms can negotiate with local trade unions on more or fewer hours from week to week, up to a maximum of 46 hours
◾Firms are given greater freedom to reduce pay
◾The law eases conditions for laying off workers, strongly regulated in France. It is hoped companies will take on more people if they know they can shed jobs in case of a downturn
◾Employers given more leeway to negotiate holidays and special leave, such as maternity or for getting married. These are currently also heavily regulated
US still uses floppy disks to control nuclear bombers & ballistic missiles
May 26, 2016
Three-quarters of federal agencies’ IT budgets go on operation and maintenance rather than upgrades, and some legacy technologies, such as floppy disks used by the Pentagon for nuclear missiles, are over 50 years old.
The overview of how the US government continues to use archaic technologies in some vital areas was given in a report released on Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report said that the budget for IT modernization has fallen by $7.3 billion since 2010 while operations costs continued to grow. Of approximately 7,000 IT investments reviewed, the majority (5,223) do not spend a penny on upgrading their systems.
One of the legacy technologies identified by GAO is 8-inch floppy disks, which are used by the DoD to operate the functions of American nuclear forces. A computer system, on which deployment of ICBMs, nuclear bombers and tanker aircraft depends, runs on 1970s computers that use the floppy disks. The Pentagon plans to get rid of them by 2017, the report said.
Even more ancient technologies are still in use by the Department of Treasury, and unlike the DoD it has no plans to have them upgraded anytime soon. The department uses so-called master files to track accounts of individual taxpayers and businesses. The system run on an IBM mainframe is about 56 years old and is written in assembly language, a low-level computer programming language. It is hard to read or write by inexperienced coders and is currently reserved for specialized applications such as device drivers, computer viruses or boot instructions. The Treasury wants to replace the master files with something more modern, but has no specific timetable for doing this.
Archaic technologies are used by other federal agencies. The Department of Veterans Affairs has a 53-year-old system for tracking employee attendance and a 51-year-old computer network that deals with benefit claims. Both systems are written in Common Business Oriented Language (COBOL) – a programming language developed in the 1950s and 1960s.
Social Security has a three-decade-old system tracking benefits eligibility and amounts, also written in COBOL. The Department of Justice has a COBOL system for security and custody levels, inmate program and other prison information.
“Legacy federal IT investments are becoming obsolete,” the GAO concluded.
The GAO reports says the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) must come up with a specific plan to modernize federal IT investments, including a timeline for replacing obsolete legacy systems.
“Until this policy is finalized and implemented, the federal government runs the risk of continuing to maintain investments that have outlived their effectiveness and are consuming resources that outweigh their benefits,” the report said.
Former 9/11 Commissioner Won’t Rule Out Saudi Royal Family Foreknowledge of 9/11 Plot
May 25, 2016
by Alex Emmons
A former member of the 9/11 Commission on Tuesday left open the possibility that the Saudi royal family knew about the 9/11 terror plot before it happened.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., asked members of the panel at a House Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing to raise their hands in response to this question:
“How many of you there believe that the royal family of Saudi Arabia did not know and was unaware that there was a terrorist plot being implemented that would result in a historic terrorist attack in the United States, in the lead-up to 9/11?”
Two of the four panelists raised their hands, but Tim Roemer, 9/11 Commission member and a former congressman from Indiana, did not. Neither did Simon Henderson, director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
“Congressman, that is just too difficult a question for someone to raise their hand or put their hand down,” Roemer explained. He then suggested that Rohrabacher read 28 classified pages of a 2002 congressional report that describe overseas support for the 9/11 attackers.
Those 28 pages remain classified despite calls for their release from several former members of the 9/11 Commission — a bipartisan blue-ribbon panel that from 2002 to 2004 investigated the 9/11 attacks and the intelligence failures that allowed them to succeed.
Sen. Bob Graham, co-chairman of the congressional inquiry into the attacks, has suggested that the pages contain “substantial” evidence of Saudi involvement — both by the government and private citizens. “I think it is implausible to believe that 19 people, most of whom didn’t speak English, most of whom had never been in the United States before, many of whom didn’t have a high school education — could’ve carried out such a complicated task without some support from within the United States,” Graham said on 60 Minutes last month.
Graham and his Republican co-chair, former Sen. Porter Goss, have joined 9/11 victims’ family members, activists, and congressional leadership to call for the release of the 28 pages. The chapter was initially classified by the George W. Bush White House, fearful of upsetting a U.S. ally. Despite twice promising to release the pages, President Obama has withheld them.
In response to public pressure in the wake of his fourth visit to Saudi Arabia last month, Obama asked James Clapper, his director of national intelligence, to review the possible declassification of the pages. Obama told CBS’s Charlie Rose last month, “My understanding is that he’s about to complete that process.”
Roemer has previously described the 28 pages as a “preliminary police report,” so it is likely that they lack definitive conclusions about the knowledge of the Saudi royal family. But he clearly wasn’t ready to rule it out.
Rohrabacher left no doubt about his views, saying, “The Saudi royal family [has] been right up to their eyeballs in supporting radical Islamic terror in the Middle East.”
Russia accuses Turkey of supplying Islamic State extremists
May 25, 2016
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia has accused Turkey of supplying the Islamic State extremist group with components for improvised explosive devices.
Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said in a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon circulated Wednesday that the devices “are being widely used to commit terrorist acts.”
He said an analysis of chemical components of explosives captured from Islamists in the region of the Iraqi city of Tikrit and the Syrian city of Kobani, and a review of conditions for selling the components, “indicates that they were either manufactured in Turkey or delivered to that country without the right of re-export.”
Churkin accused five Turkish companies of delivering aluminum powder, ammonium nitrate, hydrogen peroxide and other material produced by various Turkish and foreign companies to the Islamic State group.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesman in Ankara called the letter “the most recent example of Russia’s propaganda campaign against Turkey, and as such it cannot be taken seriously.”
Russia, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, and Turkey, a major backer of Syria’s opposition, have been at odds during the five-year conflict. Tensions escalated following Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane near its border with Syria last November.
Russia retaliated by deploying long-range air defense missile systems to its base in Syria and imposed economic sanctions on Turkey. President Vladimir Putin has accused Turkey of “allowing terrorists to earn money by selling oil stolen from Syria,” and Russia’s top military brass accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his family of personally profiting from oil trade with Islamic State militants.
Churkin said one notable feature of the explosive devices assembled by militants from the Islamic State, also known as ISIL, is the use of parts manufactured by U.S., Swiss and Swedish companies.
He said “detonation cords manufactured in third countries have been illegally resold through Turkey to ISIL fighters.”
“These facts demonstrate that the Turkish authorities are deliberately involved in ISIL activity, as they are providing access to components for improvised explosive devices that are being widely used to commit terrorist acts,” Churkin said.
US prosecutors say businessman with ‘close ties’ to Turkey’s Erdogan poses flight risk
A US case against an Iranian-Turkish gold trader stands to reveal details of corruption in the Turkish government. The case is being closely watched in Turkey.
May 26, 2016
An Iranian-Turkish billionaire businessman who is accused of money laundering and sanctions violations poses an extraordinary flight risk and should not receive bail, US prosecutors said on Wednesday.
Reza Zarrab, 32, is a “sophisticated, well-connected, international businessman with immense wealth and influence,” US prosecutors in the Southern District of New York said ahead of a bail hearing next week.
The businessman was arrested in Miami in March on charges of using a web of companies based in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to help Iran and other entities violate US sanctions through millions of dollars of transactions from 2010 to 2015.
Zarrab possesses enormous assets, including 20 properties, 17 luxury cars, seven yachts, a plane and more than $10 million (8.9 million euros) in artwork, prosecutors said, noting that his businesses earn more than $11 billion a year.
Prosecutors said they had undeniable evidence of guilt through email communications, business records and financial documents. The defense lawyers are seeking $50 million bail and 24-hour security.US case threatens Erdogan’s circle
The case is being closely watched in Turkey.
US prosecutors said Zarrab has “close ties” to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Zarrab was at the center of a 2013 gold corruption scandal in Turkey that ensnared then Prime Minister Erdogan’s government. Prosecutors in Turkey alleged he bribed high-level officials to facilitate illicit transactions with Iran.
Three ministers were ultimately forced to resign even though they claimed their innocence.
The charges against Zarrab were ultimately dropped after Erdogan, who called the corruption allegations a coup orchestrated by political opponents, dismissed prosecutors and police working on the case.
US prosecutors said a Turkish prosecutor’s report into corruption had been “corroborated by emails obtained through the FBI’s investigation.”
The corruption scandal led to a sweeping crackdown on opponents and further control over the media.
US prosecutors allege Zarrab used his wealth and influence to buy access to corrupt politicians in Turkey and halt investigations against him.
“There appear to be credible allegations that Zarrab has already secured his release from Turkish prison by causing the wholesale reorganization of the Turkish prosecutor’s office and police department through bribery,” US prosecutors said.
Turkey’s opposition hopes the case will shed light on alleged corruption in the government.
Europe’s migrant deal with Turkey may be unraveling. But it was flawed from the start.
May 25, 2016
by Erin Cunningham
The Washington Post
ISTANBUL — Growing tensions between Europe and Turkey over elements of a deal to end the refugee crisis are raising fears that the accord, signed by the two sides in March, may already be on the verge of collapse.
The latest sign of trouble came this week when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned European leaders that he would block the deal if the European Union refused to lift visa restrictions for Turks — one of the pact’s key provisions. He said that Turkey would not take any more steps to implement the agreement.
E.U. lawmakers have said Turkey must enact political reforms before they grant visa-free travel to Turkish citizens on the continent. Under the deal, Turkey also agreed to accept the return of asylum seekers whose applications are rejected in Greece and to crack down on the smuggling networks that facilitated much of the migration.
But even as Turkish and European leaders publicly spar over the details, critics have warned that the deal — hastily negotiated in the midst of the refugee crisis last year — has been flawed from the start. The agreement is based on the premise that Turkey, which hosts more than 2 million Syrian refugees, is safe for asylum seekers and that returning migrants to Turkish territory does not violate European or international law.
But some of the first deportations under the deal have already exposed abuses by Turkey’s government, and Turkish authorities have forcibly returned refugees fleeing war in Afghanistan and Syria, rights groups and E.U. lawmakers say. Last week, a Greek tribunal ruled that a Syrian national who had appealed his deportation from Europe could stay on the island of Lesbos. The court said there is no guarantee refugees will be provided full protection in Turkey.
“This decision goes to the heart of why the E.U.-Turkey deal was so deeply flawed to begin with,” Gauri van Gulik, deputy Europe director at Amnesty International, said in a statement.
Turkey signed the U.N. Refugee Convention but limited its commitments to refugees fleeing “events occurring in Europe.” Under the E.U. deal, refugees and migrants returned to Turkey should still be granted the right to apply for asylum here.
“Turkey is not safe for refugees,” van Gulik said. “Nobody else should be sent back under this deal.”
More than 1 million refugees and migrants reached European shores in 2015 in one of the largest mass migration movements since World War II. The conflicts raging in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan have together displaced millions. And citizens of those three countries made up the bulk of asylum seekers in Europe last year, according to E.U. figures.
But as Germany and others opened their doors to refugees fleeing war, European leaders faced political backlash for what many in Europe saw as a growing and unmanageable crisis. With an average of 5,000 refugees and migrants arriving in Greece each day, according to the U.N. refugee agency, Europe scrambled to stem the flow.
Most of the refugees had crossed the sea from Turkey to Greece to get to Europe, and E.U. leaders needed to strike a deal with the Turkish government. European officials saw Turkey as the best hope for curbing migration, despite its increasingly repressive policies, experts said.
The E.U. offered more than $6 billion in funds to help Turkey, a member of the NATO military alliance, cope with its refugee population. And policymakers agreed that for every Syrian returned to Turkey under the E.U. deal, another Syrian refugee already residing in Turkey would be resettled to Europe.
But this was “not a deal that was made on the basis of mutual trust. It feels very political, and it was always going to be fragile,” said Elizabeth Collett, director of the Brussels-based Migration Policy Institute Europe.
“The people being returned [to Turkey] — they have no legal support, they’re in detention, they’re being kept in poor living conditions,” Collett said.
Of the roughly 8,500 refugees and migrants who have arrived in Greece since the deal went into effect March 20, fewer than 400 have been returned to Turkey, according to the Greek government.
“The management of the deal is inadequate . . . and the Greek government is reluctant to send anyone back who might have vulnerability,” Collett said. “The challenge now is predicting whether or not [the deal] will unravel.”
Collett’s concerns were echoed in a report released this month by a European parliamentary delegation that visited detention facilities in Turkey. The report, whose findings were based on a visit in early May, said that no one they interviewed was given the opportunity to ask for asylum, that access to a lawyer is “nearly impossible” and that the deportees were kept in “prison-style” detention.
“Deporting refugees to a place where they face such conditions is a disgrace,” said Cornelia Ernst, a European lawmaker from Germany, according to the report. “I cannot see how an agreement such as the E.U.-Turkey deal . . . can be legitimate or legal in any way.”
In Turkey, pro-government newspapers churn out anti-E.U. columns on a near-daily basis, calling on Erdogan to spurn a “hypocritical” Europe.
“The deal isn’t on hold,” a senior Turkish official said this week. He spoke on the condition of anonymity in accordance with government protocol. “Turkey maintains an open-door policy” toward refugees, he said.