Friday

21st Sep 2018

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.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  5. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  6. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  9. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  11. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us