Sunday

21st Apr 2019

Investigation

Gaddafi-tainted firm scoops EU contract

  • Amesys, a subsidary of Bull SAS International, is accused of helping Gaddafi capture dissidents (Photo: EU's attempts)

The EU’s newest IT agency has awarded a contract to a firm linked with the late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s efforts to track, capture and torture people during the Libyan revolution.

Tallinn-based EU-Lisa, which is to manage all the databases connected to EU asylum, migration and border management policies, recently awarded a € 3.7 million contract to S.A. Bull N.V. and two other companies.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The so-called Eurodac Transfer deal, which concerns the collection of asylum seekers' fingerprints, was made public on 5 September.

Belgian-based S.A. Bull N.V. is a subsidiary of French firm Bull SAS International, which, via its other subsidiary, Amesys in France, sold surveillance equipment to Gaddafi.

Two French NGOs, the Federation International of Human Rights (FIDH) and the Human Rights League (LIDH), took Amesys to court in 2011.

They accused it of complicity in torture by helping the Libyan dictator to locate and capture dissidents who later suffered physical abuse.

Amesys signed a contract with the Libyan government at the end of 2006 to intercept communications, process data, and help with analysis and monitoring. The company became a part of Bull SAS International in 2010.

A Wikileaks document describes the company’s flagship product, Eagle, as akin to a digital dragnet that sweeps up the country’s entire Internet traffic.

Meanwhile, Amesys’ own literature says its core technology is designed to help law enforcement and intelligence agencies “to reduce crime levels, to protect from terrorism threats and to identify new incoming security danger.”

It says Eagle can retrieve the complete protocol information from the Call Data Record (CDR) and all the attached documents for mail, webmail (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo), VoIP, chats, and others.

Bull SAS sold its Eagle technology in January.

It is now being developed and marketed by a group of former Amesys employees led by Stephane Salies, an Eagle chief designer and an ex-director at Bull SAS.

Amesys says it worked with the Libyan authorities to track child pornography and terrorists but not opponents of the regime. It also denies that it helped the regime record telephone calls and Skype conversations.

But a Paris court over the summer decided to launch an official investigation into the allegations after it heard the testimonies of five victims.

“The Court of Appeal has confirmed that there was sufficient evidence to start investigating in this matter, despite the road blocks erected by the Paris Prosecutor’s office, obviously reluctant to allow an impartial and independent inquiry into this matter,” said Patrick Baudouin, a legal counsel at FIDH, in a statement in July.

The victims, who had opposed the regime, say their emails, Skype conversations, and Facebook pages had all been hacked.

They say Libyan intelligence agents had shown them print-outs and made them listen to recorded conversations.

Journalists from the Paris-based news agency Mediapart also revealed in August that Abdallah Senoussi, who is Gaddafi’s brother-in-law and former chief of intelligence, had helped seal the Amesys deal.

For its part, EU-Lisa told this website that the agency became financially independent four months ago. The agency is responsible for all its own security-related procurements.

It noted that the Eurodac Transfer contract is its first procurement tender.

It noted that Amesys is not a part of the contract consortium and that tenders can be excluded only if they perform an illegal activity that “is detrimental to the Union’s financial interest.”

EU-Lisa started operations on December 1, 2012. While the seat of the agency is in Tallinn, the operational management of the large-scale systems is carried out in Strasbourg, France with a backup site in Sankt Johann im Pongau, Austria.

Private firms put price tag on migrant suicides

Private security companies operating UK-based immigrant removal centres use formulas to calculate the profit loss incurred when detainees commit suicide under their watch.

Magazine

All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  6. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  7. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  8. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  9. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  11. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  12. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us