I found some interesting photos of a big FATCA compliance conference in Europe where as Steve Mopsick says all the best and brightest were sharpening their steakknives. However, apparently there was a “special” guest in the form of Member of European of Parliament Sophia In’t Veld a noted privacy rights activist in Europe(more like privacy rights pitbull). Now I have no idea what was discussed by any of the participants including Ms. In’t Veld however, in my opinion the pictures told a 1000 words. I will also acknowledge that I have direct knowledge of Ms In’t Veld’s concerns on FATCA and she could emmerge to be the EU’s Elizabeth May on this issue. Take a look at the pictures though:
Notice the physical distance between Ms. In’t Veld(with the curly hair to the left) and the three best and brightest FATCA compliance consulants to the right. Also note the male FCC consulant is not making eye contact despite the fact Ms. In’t Veld is trying to talk towards him.
Now you might say well this is just one angle. Well here is another.
There is definately a gap.
And notice when she is sitting it is to the side and at an angle and away from all the FCC consultants.
You know that look your kid gets when you’ve just caught him with his hand in the cookie jar? Replicated perfectly on those 3 faces. She looks like the mom who’s caught them too. This is precious, thanks Tim 🙂
He knows that his position is indefensible so he is ignoring her as best he can. That is the U.S. way though. The argument for citizenship based taxation and FATCA is not a rational one and the U.S. will never conduct the discussion on that level because it would lose if it did so.
I just found this video a few minutes ago. You should watch it:
Great finds. Sitting in the front row at the side—that is truly a Power position. Interesting that she goes into the fights alone.
@Tim, interesting pictures and video. The video can be difficult to fully understand to layman…. especially since I watched it pretty late 🙂
Here’s what I got from it. Can you correct if it’s wrong:
– FATCA and other US laws infringe on EU data privacy laws.
– It’s a matter of international law that can be decided in international court.
– EU citizens should be protected, as long as their government don’t sign an IGA. It seems this is why the US did not want to involve the EU but instead negiciate on a country by country basis. Smart.
– Data exchange can happen without breaching data privacy laws, when it happens between the two taxation authorities and that’s the direction the US is going, something that is seen as a positive development.
So basically, there’s not much news that we did not know about. Without IGAs FATCA does not fly. If banks comply by themselves, it can be challenged in international court.
I need to watch it again… Tim, would you mind posting your summary and comment on this hearing?
Was interested in this, and found some interesting results:
……..” BRUSSELS — Each time Sophie In ‘t Veld tried to board a flight to the United States, the same thing happened: the airport authorities would stamp her boarding pass four times with the letter S and she would be subjected to extra pat-downs and questioning about her travel plans.
The stamp stands for Secondary Security Screening Selection, and Ms. In ‘t Veld said the pattern suggested how the U.S. authorities keep covert tabs on foreign travelers, who have no practical way of finding out if the information held on them is accurate.
Ms. In ‘t Veld, who is Dutch, obtained her passenger name records after a series of appeals to the U.S. authorities. But even then, she was none the wiser. “…..
……”In the most dramatic demonstration against U.S. government policies, the European Parliament, in an action led in part by Ms. In ‘t Veld, blocked an agreement this year that would have allowed the U.S. authorities to continue having access to European banking data from a cooperative responsible for routing trillions of dollars daily among banks, brokerage houses, stock exchanges and other institutions. The cooperative, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or Swift, is based near Brussels. “……. from ‘Air Travelers Lead European Privacy Concerns’
By JAMES KANTER and RAPHAEL MINDER
Published: April 28, 2010
“Dutch MEP a security risk?
A Washington judge has ruled that the United States government does not need to explain to Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld why she must undergo additional security checks each time she visits the US.
WASHINGTON – Ms In ‘t Veld, a member of the democrat party D66, discovered last year that she and 16,000 other people are on a special list of people called Selected Secondary Security Screening.
She has never received an answer as to why she is on the list, and has no idea why the US government would consider her a danger.” from http://www.expatica.com/nl/news/dutch-news/-Dutch-MEP-a-security-risk__48544.html
ACLU letter – Statewatch
……….”If Europe agrees to data-sharing with the United States under the current U.S. open records law, then European citizens will have far fewer protections for their data in the United States than U.S. citizens will have in Europe. U.S. privacy laws are weak; they offer little protection to citizens and virtually none to non-citizens. The U.S. open records law, the Freedom of Information Act, allows all individuals, including non-citizens, the right to access their data.
However, the redress process is cumbersome, and U.S. law does not include any process for
correcting errors contained in the data.
These problems are underscored by the experience of your own member Sophie in’t Veld,
who has been forced to file a lawsuit seeking access to records about her that are held by U.S.
government agencies in the departments of Homeland Security, Justice and State. Ms. in’t
Veld filed a Freedom of Information Act request in October for her records: the State Department has not responded, and the FBI (under the Justice Department), U.S. Customs and Immigration Services, Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (all under Homeland Security) have all claimed that they have no records pertaining to Ms. in’t Veld. This seems unlikely, as Ms. in’t Veld is a frequent traveler to the U.S. who often has been selected for in-depth “secondary screening” at U.S. borders. “………
Thanks for this find,Tim. I think that’s a tight little smile on the woman at centre of the three.
See this too:
….”I have made two further requests for access to documents: one to obtain the report on the implementation of the EU-US ‘SWIFT’ agreement, and one to obtain all documents relating to the negotiations with the US on FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act),” In’t Veld reported.”……
and more recently;
…”In 2012 In ‘t Veld won a case against the Counccil on disclousure of an document relating to the SWIFT treaty. The European Parliament decided to intervene on the side of In ‘t Veld in the appeal case brought against her by the Council. Two more substantial requests for documents (on FATCA and on the implementation report of the EU-US TFTP agreement) by Mrs In ‘t Veld have been refused by the Commission and by Europol respectively. Mrs In ‘t Veld is considering further steps.”….. from; http://site.d66.nl/d66nl/nieuws/20130320/sophie_in_t_veld_mep_determined_to?ctx=vghpm7u9vdea&s0e=vhdubxdwqrzw
Mopsick’s attitude of the “brightest and best” is just snobbery at its finest. There is a Harvard/Ivy League bubble in the United States, exported to the world, and it is highly overrated. The end of this bubble will be the complete collapse of not just the United States but the economy of the world–it is already starting in Greece, Cyprus and Italy–California, Detroit, etc. It is now time for a paradigm shift, and I am hoping that the Austrian school of economics will start to receive more attention–it certainly has more credibility in my view than anything that the East Coast liberals have produced–including the last two US presidents who both graduated from Harvard. I have utter disdain for Mopsick’s “best and brightest”. They make me nauseous.
Amazing, thanks, badger.
Sophia In’t Veld is hot! She’s on fire!
Chris. THe other reason for keeping the EU out of it is the standard “divide and conquer” strategy. From the information I see about Sweden, they have isolated the finance minister both from his parliament and from the EU.
I read Tyler Hamilton’s Book “The Secret Race” about Lance Armstrong this weekend, and the parallels between Lance Armstrong and the current administration are frightening.
To top it off, at the time Lance Armstrong’s investigation was called off by a political hack, during the quiet time needed for the 2012 election, Lance made a donation to Planned Parenthood so as to support the administration’s in-your-face-repubs position.
Thanks Tim for bringing Ms. In’t Veld to our attention. She’s obviously intelligent, brave, committed, and tenacious.
Glad to know that there are such courageous people working in the EU to reign in US arrogance and might-makes-right power plays – at home and abroad. Was interested to see the ACLU letter in support of Ms.Veld’s efforts – re data protection, privacy rights and secret travel restrictions.
Last year on IBS, Don Pomodoro posted this regarding Ms. Veld http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/2012/04/19/us-bullies-the-eu-into-sharing-passenger-data/ It is worth re-reading;
….”“…there are very strong reservations against this agreement. However, the US made it very clear that a ‘no’ vote would be answered by suspending visa-free travel to the US,” she [Veld] said.
[Don Pomodoro said] “Its just like FATCA: Using a massive, blunt, in-your-face threat to get the legislation desired forced through. If we resisted the US all of our banks would lose millions in FATCA fines and nobody would be able to travel to the US. This is of course being instituted officially to weed out terrorists, but we all remember how the FBAR was originally meant to just stop drug smugglers from laundering money, right? I imagine that this could be abused in the future to simply stop the travel of people who are critical of the US government.”…..
Read the BBC story that Don quoted from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17764365
‘The European Parliament has adopted a controversial bill clarifying US access to personal data about airline passengers in the EU.’
It goes on to talk about such an agreement with Canada. Since we know about the intentions and actions of the Harper government re the more ‘integrated’ Border Security intiatives with the US, this is all part and parcel of the same issues. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/privacy-czar-sounds-alarm-on-drones-patrolling-us-border/article610512/
‘Border Patrol Drones May Get Wiretapping, Human Identification Capabilities’
Posted: 03/01/2013 4:02 pm EST | Updated: 03/01/2013 7:42 pm EST
‘Aerial acrobatics: Despite obfuscations, RCAF says Canada still hot on armed drones’
By Paul Weinberg
very interesting post, Tim.
badger, I do expect that those of us who try to enter the US with our new countries’ passports and our CLNs will become subject to delay-harassment by border guards, if not official Secondary Security Screening Selection like Ms. Veld.
Thanks for the additional background info. Sophia in t’ Veld is my new favourite Dutch person. The position has been vacant for nearly a year following the unmentionable striker’s cash dash from my beloved Arsenal.
Today I found myself thinking that I must be crazy to think that the US government is a vindictive creature. I think to myself, go on, write to congress and tell them your personal thoughts about citizenship based taxation together with your name, address, email address and phone number. It’s important to participate in the democratic process. And then I read about Mrs. in t’ Veld’s Selected Secondary Security Screening presumably because she called into question US policy and had a principled disagreement with the US. I wonder what colour the SSSS is. Is it scarlet? Is it yellow in the middle of a star? What an utterly despicable way to treat a foreign elected representative, a member of the European Parliament and the Vice-Chair of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee. Democracy FTW.
Its just SSSS on your airline boarding pass. In the past at least it did not used to be a different color.
From EU Parliament site;
EU MEP Veld submitted a written question to the EU parliament re FATCA
9 March 2012
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Sophia in ‘t Veld (ALDE) and Sylvie Goulard (ALDE)
Subject: Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)
Since April 2011 the Commission and France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain have been in talks with the United States to see ‘if the objectives of FATCA could be achieved in a way that is less burdensome for financial intermediaries, avoids breaches of data protection and other laws of Member States and benefits EU tax administrations’ (letter of 22 February 2012 from Commissioner Semeta to Sophia in ’t Veld) . In a joint statement(1), all parties agreed to ‘an intergovernmental approach’ and to ‘explore a common approach to FATCA implementation through domestic reporting and reciprocal automatic exchange and based on existing bilateral tax treaties’.
Is the Commission aware that in the meantime the Netherlands has also expressed interest in an agreement with the US(2)? Does the Commission know whether any other Member States have expressed interest in an agreement with the US?
Commissioner Semeta writes in his letter of 22 February 2012 that ‘not all Member States may wish to enter into such agreements with the US’. Has the Commission investigated this? Which Member States are not interested in an agreement with the US, according to the Commission? How will foreign financial institutions (FFIs) in those Member States comply with the relevant EU data protection laws?
Does the Commission think that, with six Member States already involved in bilateral talks with the US, and given the fact that the FATCA will potentially affect all Member States, it would be more appropriate for the EU to conclude an international agreement with the US on the basis of Article 218 TFEU, thus providing a high level of data protection and legal certainty for companies and ensuring effective parliamentary scrutiny?
The FATCA was enacted on 18 March 2010. Does the Commission agree that there would have been ample time if it had prioritised this issue from the start?
Could the Commission explain how effective parliamentary scrutiny is ensured in this intergovernmental approach?
(1) http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Documents/020712 %20Treasury%20IRS%20FATCA%20Joint%20Statement.pdf
25 April 2012
Answer given by Mr Šemeta on behalf of the Commission – source http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2012-002760&language=EN
The ‘intergovernmental approach’ described in the joint statement, and the draft FATCA implementing regulations that the US issued on the same day, make it clear that this approach is not just open to the five Member States. The Commission is aware that others, including the Netherlands, also wish to adopt this approach and aims to ensure they can do so and that the agreements are coordinated, so as to guarantee a level playing field in the EU and compliance with EU data protection law. Not all Member States may wish to do so, preferring to apply withholding taxes rather than exchanging information.
The Commission would prefer an EU‑US agreement. However, Member States are free to sign tax arrangements with third countries once those arrangements comply with EC law, including on non-discrimination and data protection. Furthermore, an EU‑US agreement could not be adopted without unanimous acceptance by Member States and this is unlikely for the reason explained in the first paragraph.
Member States which do not sign up to an intergovernmental approach with the US may have to enact specific laws to ensure that their financial institutions would not, by applying FATCA, breach Directive 95/46/EC.
The Commission has been active on several different fronts since the adoption of FATCA, aiming for an EU‑wide coordinated solution to alleviate the impact of the law on the EU financial industry and address data protection concerns.
Parliamentary scrutiny would be ensured by the Parliament of the Member State that adopts the arrangement with the US. The European Parliament will be kept informed(1).
(1) See also QP‑009925/2011: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=P‑2011-009925&language=EN
Last updated: 27 April 2012
note the incessant discussion about protecting the EU financial industry and no talk about the rights of Citizens. Confirmation of full corruption of govt systems worldwide.
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To “pingback – When Law becomes a substitute for morality” –
“I do not wish to be a citizen of a country where law has become a substitute for fairness and morality!”
y’know what, I think I’m going to have my wife use that as her reason for renouncing her US citizenship. Thank you for that clear and concise statement.
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Unfortunately, if the consulate suspects a citizen’s reason for renouncing is one other than their own, they will be denied the ability to renounce.
That’s so true, bubblebustin — and the Animal (and I) know that inside out, as it especially applies to our children who do not understand the concept of citizenship or consequences of renouncing and would need their Parent, Guardian or Trustee to speak for them or help them to understand enough to convey for a renunciation appointment. It galls me, and likely the Animal, every day.