Europe/Hamas – The European Union’s top court kept Palestinian Hamas on the EU terrorism blacklist on the 26 Jul 17 and removed Sri Lankan separatist rebels, the Tamil Tigers. Judges at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) overruled the General Court’s view of 2014 that the Council of the European Union, the 28-nation grouping, had insufficient evidence to maintain asset freezes and travel bans on Hamas. The lower court had found that the listing was based on media and internet reports rather than decisions by a “competent authority”. But the ECJ said such decisions were not required for groups to stay on the list, only for their initial listing. “The Council may maintain a person or an entity on the list if it concludes that there is an ongoing risk of that person or entity being involved in the terrorist activities that justified their initial listing,” the ECJ said. The EU needed to rely on more recent material than used in its initial decision, it said. It said the General Court should now examine the facts and arguments it did not consider in its 2014 ruling. Hamas issued a statement saying it would challenge “the unjust, political decisions against our people and our movement through legal means” and would continue its struggle against Israel. In a parallel case, the top court did rule that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) of Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tigers, should be removed from the EU’s terrorism list. The court said that EU had not produced any evidence to show that there was a risk of the Tamil Tigers carrying out attacks after its military defeat in 2009. “The Court of Justice therefore confirms the annulment of the continued freezing of the LTTE’s funds,” it said. The EU terrorism list, created after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 and last updated in January, includes 13 individuals and 22 organizations, such as the Communist Party of the Philippines and Peru’s Maoist-inspired rebel group, Shining Path. Hamas has been listed since 2003, its military wing since 2001. LTTE was added to the list in 2006.
Germany/Reichsburger – The German Federal Criminal Police (BKA) have reported that the followers of the right-wing Reichsbürger movement could engage in “extreme violence, including terror acts.” The German newspaper Die Welt reports that a comprehensive report, compiled by German law enforcement services, concluded that the movement is more dangerous to public safety than other right-wing and nationalist German political movements it was reported on the 24 Jul 17. The Reichsbürger movement – which is somewhat similar to the U.S. Sovereign Citizen movement – is not considered the most extreme right-wing politically, and its followers are not organized in the traditional sense. Rather, they adhere to the view that all post-Second World War German (and earlier, West German) governments have been illegitimate — not much more than a creation of the Allied forces to subjugate Germany. Reichsbürger followers argue that West Germany, founded in 1949 after the end of the occupation of Germany by the Allies, was not a legitimate state because Germany never signed a peace agreement with the Allies. This illegitimacy applies to the government of united Germany, which came into existence in the fall of 1990. Moreover, these Reichsbürger followers say, Germany’s Basic Law requires a popular referendum to be transformed into a legitimate constitution — and Germany should be reconstituted in its 1937 borders. Members of the movement have been engages in small-scale violence, mostly attacking police officers and soldiers. It is this fact – that the more violent members of the movement have been targeting police officers and soldiers to highlight their resistance to the organs of the German state – which has led the BKA analysts to conclude that the Reichsbürger movement has an even “higher escalation potential.” “While Reichsbürger have an authoritarian understanding of the state and at a minimum consider officials fundamentally necessary, the sovereign citizens reject (foreign-)state paternalism and are in cases even prepared to defend their autonomy with armed violence,” Welt quoted police as reporting. The German domestic intelligence service estimates that the Reichsbürger movement has 12,800 active members, of whom 800 the agency classified as classifies as right-wing extremists. Both the federal and state police have recorded an alarming rise in the number and severity of crimes committed by Reichsbürger. The most recent numbers show that members of the movement have committed more than 13,000 offenses, about 750 of which were violent, with more than 700 of the violent acts targeting government employees. The domestic intelligence agency says that even more alarming is the fact that some Reichsbürger are police officers themselves. The BKA notes that the movement is positioned to exploit the racist backlash against the arrival of a large number of refugees – most of them Muslim — to recruit new members. “In the view of extreme-right ideologues, German citizenship should be tied to an ethnically defined ‘people’s community’ in order to combat ‘genocide’ through ‘mass immigration,’” Welt reported, quoting the BKA.
Spain/Morocco – A knife-wielding man charged across the border between Morocco and the Spanish territory of Melilla on the 25 Jul 17 attacking and injuring a police officer, authorities said. The man was subsequently detained, Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said. "A man entered the border post and once inside, pulled out a large knife and confronted (police), slightly injuring a policeman," Irene Flores, spokeswoman for the central government's representative office in Melilla said. A spokesman for Spanish police added he ran into the border post. Melilla and its sister city Ceuta are two Spanish territories located on Morocco's northern coast, and as such represent the only two land borders between Africa and the European Union. They have been hit by unrest before as migrants desperate to reach Europe regularly storm the border between both territories or try and smuggle themselves in, but this is the first attack of this type. Spain has been spared the type of jihadist violence that has occurred in nearby France, Belgium and Germany. But it was hit by what is still Europe's deadliest jihadist attack in Mar 04, when bombs exploded on commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 people in an attack claimed by Al Qaeda-inspired militants.